OS.js: A New Kind of Operating System for the Web

Have you ever wanted to have a web-based operating system – one that you can access anywhere on any computer right from your web browser? If so, OS.js might be just the thing. It’s a javascript-based operating system designed for the cloud.

Unlike other operating systems, OS.js can operate on any computer without installing anything. The OS is made entirely out of javascript. It can be used on any platform that has a modern web browser. There’s even a live demo which you can test out here.

osjs-demo-greeting

Despite the fact that this operating system is web-based and is designed to be used inside web browsers, it is very complex. It’s no pushover by any means. OS.js has a full window manager and desktop and comes with a full set of applications (file manager, music and video player, etc.), very similar to traditional open source operating systems. Best of all, like any traditional open source operating system, all of OS.js is completely customizable. Just about every aspect of it can be tweaked.

Here are some compelling things that OS.js has to offer:

  • Virtual file system powered by Google Drive, Dropbox or One Drive
  • Google API Javascript support
  • Windows API Javascript support
  • Can run independent of a server if built that way
  • Runs native GTK+ 3.x applications via Broadway
  • Can be run as a regular x11 desktop on Linux
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Support for custom code and custom modules
  • Support for Linux, BSD, OSX and Windows

What makes OS.js special is the fact that it is so prolific. Imagine setting up OS.js on a VPS (or your home server). You’re out and about, and something comes up. You need to do some quick things, and your smartphone apps just won’t cut it.

osjs-desktop-applications

You could easily open your smartphone browser and launch a full-fledged application to get work done. It’s an incredible idea, to say the least. Best of all, there are many, many applications to choose from. The regular build of OS.js is quite sparse, but they have some extra repositories filled with awesome programs to choose from.

osjs-file-manager

OS.js is a javascript application at its core. That being said, it isn’t tied down to one specific type of server platform. Instead, the web-based operating system can run on many, many different types. Supported platforms include: PHP, Nginx, Apache, NodeJS, Docker, Vagrant and even locally via X11.

osjs-documentation

Since there are so many ways to install this operating system, the process won’t be covered here. Instead, head over here and read the official documentation, and learn how you can install OS.js for your preferred platform of choice. Each platform has its own detailed section to help get OS.js running perfectly.

OS.js is a revolutionary idea that turns an operating system into a portable tool rather than something stuck on one machine. It’s in its early days, making it hard to think of where this tool could fit in for the average user. Still, with the proliferation of web-based applications and services, it’s only a matter of time for something like this to catch on.

How do you feel about web-based operating systems? Tell us below!

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