Bootable CD-ROM OSes to challenge Windows desktop dominance

I mentioned a while ago that computers are the next big thing. It's being getting a little clearer for me now what form that's about to take. We'll call it 'Office 2.0' - it's an AJAX/Flash based MS Office replacement that exists entirely within the browser. The software and your documents are remotely hosted on the Office 2.0 webserver.

It's got a lot of benefits for the corporate and home user
- no upgrades - you're always using the latest version
- no location dependence - you've always got access to your documents
- no backup - all your documents are remotely stored and backed up by the service provider
- easy to share - share documents with co-workers and on the WWW easily

So it's a bit like using Gmail instead of Outlook except applied to Office. This service allows you to upload all your existing documents where you can easily search them. It's supported maybe via advertising for the home user, paid subscription for the corporate user.

What's interesting is what comes next. With the reliance on remote services provided through the browser, the OS(and i mean Windows here) becomes irrelevant. With all documents stored remotely, the hard disk becomes irrelevant. This, again, is a boon for the home and corporate user. The home user is usually incapable of the kind of maintenance required for an internet connected windows machine - maintaining a firewall, configuring virus protection, scheduling defragmentation and backups. There are big costs there for the corporate user too.

With the reliance on remote services provided through the browser, the OS becomes irrelevant.

Without the reliance on hard disk based applications, and the underlying operating system, we're going to see the increased adoption of bootable CDROM operating systems. Here's the scenario - your ISP provides you with a bootable CDROM. Contains maybe Linux, MacOS, or a cut down Windows. It bypasses your hard disk, boots your computer, detects your hardware, configures your internet access and gives you a browser. You've got everything you need and your PC is noticeably faster because there's no spyware, no trojans and no place for them to hide next time you reboot your system. 'Dead' computers come back to life. 'Slow' computers become sprightly. It'll maybe need a few more applications than just the browser, but there's no need for homogeneity here - many different OS flowers can flourish, it'll be easy to try out other CDROMS, users will stick with the ones that suit them best.

It's not for you, obviously. You're a computer professional or developer who needs a hard disk for video compression or Flash authoring or whatever. But it's for your Dad or your boss or for those guys in the accounts department who won't stop opening those darned e-mails no matter what you tell them.

Posted by Alexander at November 15, 2005 08:06 PM

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Interesting point. However i think the one Achiles heal to all these hosted application is the fact that you need to be connected to the internet.

Eventhough that is fast becoming ubiqiotous, there are still areas even in the US where getting unto the information superhighway remains a challenge.

Posted by: Sean at February 24, 2006 10:57 PM

Yep, there's no use for a network computer, without a network. I think WiMax will be the real revolution for last-mile-low-cost broadband in urban areas, but I'm not sure how things will pan out for rural users.

Posted by: Alexander McCabe at February 25, 2006 06:11 PM

i just want to run FCP (Final cut pro)on a pc

thank u

Posted by: moon at November 24, 2006 08:40 AM