A cloud OS simply refers to an operating system (or an interface filled with a complete suite of desktop applications) that resides on the Web and you can access to it anytime, anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.
While there are plenty of cloud OS out there that you can sign up and use for free, there might be instances where you want to have your own dedicated cloud OS. First of all, signing up a free account with third-party cloud OS often means that you have limited file storage space and all your data are stored in other people’s server. Next, the connection speed is dependent on the number of active users at any time. The more popular the site is, the slower it will get when you are using it.
If what you want is your own dedicated Web OS that you can use to manage your online stuff, and also to provide an environment to collaborate with your colleagues/partners, then eyeOS is the software for you.
EyeOS is a free and open source cloud OS software that you can install on your own Web server.
One thing that I like about eyeOS is its small file size and ease of installation. The whole package is only 2.5MB in size, and the installation required almost zero configuration (well, there are still several steps involved) and anyone who know how to use a FTP program can get it up and running in no time.
1) Download eyeOS.
2) Extract the zipped file. You should see a eyeOS folder with all the files inside.
3) Open your FTP program. If you want to install eyeOS on a top-level domain (for example, http://your-site.com) upload all the files and folders within the eyeOS folder to your Web server (do not upload the eyeOS folder, but just the files and folders within). If instead, you want your cloud OS to reside at a sub-level domain (such as http://your-site.com/eyeos), then upload the whole eyeOS folder.
4) On your browser, go to http://your-site.com/installer (or http://your-site.com/eyeOS/installer if you have uploaded the whole folder instead). You should see a screen that prompts you to enter your root password and the hostname.
5) In the next screen, you will be able to login to your cloud OS. (Didn’t I say it is easy?)
The first time you log in, you will see a nice and clean desktop with all its items nicely arranged in the four side of the screen. n the left is where all the shortcut icons are and the right is the application widget. The top of the screen lies a dock and the bottom is the eyeOS system bar where you can access the system administration and log out from the session.
By default, there is a simple WYSIWYG text editor, spreadsheet and a presentation viewer (no presentation creation yet) that you can use. For those who are in need of a complete Office suite, you can follow the instructions here to get Open Office installed.
There is a Calendar, Contact, and an internal messaging module in the default setting of eyeOS. You can easily install the eyeMail via the Package Manager to access to your POP3 account. The Contact module allows you to import/export all your contacts in .vcf format.
With so many websites that provide free flash games for you to play during your free time, I wonder how many people will want to spend their time on simple games within eyeOS. Nevertheless, Chess and Tetravex are two good additions to the software.
This is useful if you need a file from a remote site. You can now easily access it via the FTP module.
This is the applications installer for eyeOS. It allows you to install plenty of useful modules for you cloud OS. I am pretty impressed with the number of applications it supported and the speed at which it downloads and installs the application. The package manager can be accessed at the top of the Application menu.
If you are comparing eyeOS to the real physical desktop on your computer, it is definitely not up to mark, but if you are just looking at a dedicated platform that allows you to access to the various applications and your own files at anytime, anywhere and also a place for collaboration, then eyeOS has done a great job.
EyeOS is extensible via the installer modules in the System Preferences, and if you install the eyeSync, you can also sync a local folder on your computer with your dedicated eyeOS, which is a great way to backup your files (just like Dropbox).
For its ease of use, great functionality and at a price of FREE, this is definitely a software that I would strongly recommend.
Have you tried it? If not, better grab it now.