What Is a Cloud OS and What’s the Netbook Connection?

by Jay Bika on December 2, 2008 · 1 comment

in First Things First

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The netbook era will help the cloud OS movement spread its wings and fly higher. Cloud computing has not reached the mainstream yet and so if you’re not into web technology, you may be wondering what it is and what’s the big deal about it.

In this article, I will attempt to explain what it’s all about while leaving the jargon nonsense out.

Simply put, a cloud OS is an Internet based operating system. It means that the applications that you use to perform the different computing tasks that you need to do are Internet based instead of being on your desktop.

An example that will make it easy for anyone to grasp the whole cloud OS concept is email.

Most of us have a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail personal email account while at work we have an Outlook or other desktop based email client. You could say that Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail are email cloud applications because the software (email client) and the data (the actual email messages) are stored on a cloud* (a metaphor used for the Internet) instead of your desktop.

With cloud operating system, other computing tasks beyond email such as document writing and file storing can be done over the Internet and so Microsoft Word in your computer is not needed nor is an external hard drive to store your data.

What does all this mean?

Well it means that your computer does not have to be that powerful and that you do not have to store everything on a physical hard drive because everything is stored on a server somewhere.

It’s the same principle when you upload your photos to Facebook or Flickr. While most people upload their pictures to such sites to share them with friends, some (me included) store them there because they would rather keep there than on a computer. In that case, they are always accessible no matter the computer used.

Cloud operating systems help out a lot because what you are doing is being on the Internet all the time. The only software that you load up from your desktop is your browser that you need to connect to the Internet to access all your web based applications such as email, photos, music, video and yes word editing (Google Writely or Spreadsheets or Google Calendar to name a few).

Cloud OS benefit netbooks because the netbooks do not need that much power to run the browser that controls the web applications. That’s why netbook manufacturers are adopting them en masse.

They can still include slow processors as long as they can run the browsers that run the cloud applications.

I hope that this makes sense for now. If you have questions, please feel free to drop me a line at the usual contact email address. 

*Photo: notsogood [in malaysia nov18-dec4th]

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Introducing Jolicloud, Another Cloud Operating System Contender
December 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

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