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Saying 'No' to an Executable Internet 306

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-read dept.
Dylan Knight Rogers writes "Applications are constantly being ported for usage on the Internet - either for a viable escape from expensive software, or because it's often helpful to have an app that you can access from anywhere. Operating systems that run from the Web will be a different story."
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Saying 'No' to an Executable Internet

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  • Ah, yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:49AM (#14699696)
    That would require a
    chmod a-x internet
  • errrr.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scenestar (828656) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:50AM (#14699705) Homepage Journal
    Wasn't UNIX designed to run off a main frame with network terminals connected to it?
    • UNIX was first implemented seriously on the PDP-11/20, which is best classed as a minicomputer. And while the system did indeed use terminals of a sort, they were dumb terminals. It's really not any different than how the keyboard, mouse and monitor are connected to your PC now.

      What's being proposed in this article is a different scheme, or so I would gather. It's not so much about applications executing on a separate machine, rather than the operating system software being obtained on the fly. Of course, s
      • Re:errrr.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:17AM (#14699834) Homepage
        UNIX was first implemented seriously on the PDP-11/20, which is best classed as a minicomputer. And while the system did indeed use terminals of a sort, they were dumb terminals. It's really not any different than how the keyboard, mouse and monitor are connected to your PC now.

        It would have been quite a trick to design an operating system based on the principles of the network protocols later developed on it.

        That said, the dumb terminal to mainframe concept was a big part of the UNIX legacy. UNIX was designed from the start as a multi-user environment for the individual user. The kernel supported multiple users but the tasks it was designed for were single user tasks, mostly programming. UNIX was a reaction against mainframe computing of its day.

        The author is completely wrong when he says that Windows did not have any security until 2000. Windows NT was designed from the outset to obtain Orange book B2 certification. It would take a huge amount of work to get Linux to meet that criteria. It is generally considered to be 'B2 equivalent' but thats like saying that being ABD is the same thing as having a Phd, the only people who say that are ABD grad students.

        Likewise the author is completely wrong about Microsoft being likely to take the O/S in that direction. Unix and VMS led the minicomputer revolution. Gates led the microcomputer revolution which was even more against the central processing store model of computing. If you look at all the early microcomputers you will find that they all ran Microsoft Basic. When IBM went to Microsoft while it was building the PC it was the BASIC they wanted. They only demanded a bootstrap loader when Kildal refused to deal with them for CPM.

        The company that tried to make the network the operating system was Netscape. They failed for several reasons, the most important of which was you can't hire 5000 world class engineers in a year and even if you could that you would not end up with a world class team. MarcA's policy of never hiring anyone he thought might be smarter than him didn't help either.

        The company that seems to be making the attempt now is Google. They might make it, at this point it is unclear.

        • Re:errrr.... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Cal Paterson (881180)
          "The author is completely wrong when he says that Windows did not have any security until 2000. Windows NT was designed from the outset to obtain Orange book B2 certification. It would take a huge amount of work to get Linux to meet that criteria. It is generally considered to be 'B2 equivalent' but thats like saying that being ABD is the same thing as having a Phd, the only people who say that are ABD grad students.

          Meh. The whole "certification" theory seems to not tally with practice. Why does NT see
          • Re:errrr.... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by suitepotato (863945)
            Meh. The whole "certification" theory seems to not tally with practice. Why does NT seem to have more security issues than Linux, even though Linux is, by the Orange Book, a less well designed system.

            Seems to me like there is something important that the Orange Book fails to take into account.


            It's not necessarily what the Orange Book is failing to take into account, it's the observer. Microsoft Windows, thanks to Microsoft Visual Studio, and Microsoft's maximum documentation overkill mindset, is childi
            • Re:errrr.... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by aminorex (141494)
              The Windows event model intrinsically is a security nightmare, and the service configuration of a default install is all that a script kiddie could dream -- althought there are specific Linux distributions which can rival Windows in the insecurty of their default installation, they are not the norm.

              It is easier to develop code for Linux than for Windows. That is why there are so many more applications for Linux than there are for Windows, and it is also why developers, on the whole, prefer to use Linux whe
            • by stuuf (587464)

              I didn't know it was going to turn the registry into swiss cheese, whatever that is.

              "Swiss cheese [wikipedia.org]" refers to a variety of cheese, such as the Emmantel cheese from Switzerland, known for the distinctive holes that appear throughout the cheese.

        • Re:errrr.... (Score:3, Informative)

          Likewise the author is completely wrong about Microsoft being likely to take the O/S in that direction. Unix and VMS led the minicomputer revolution. Gates led the microcomputer revolution which was even more against the central processing store model of computing. If you look at all the early microcomputers you will find that they all ran Microsoft Basic. When IBM went to Microsoft while it was building the PC it was the BASIC they wanted. They only demanded a bootstrap loader when Kildal refused to deal w
        • Re:errrr.... (Score:4, Informative)

          by pthisis (27352) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @02:23PM (#14700925) Homepage Journal
          Windows NT was designed from the obtain to have Orange book B2 certification

          This is true, but:

          1. Windows NT was only certified B2 secure when not connected to a network.

          2. Orange book isn't related to the type of security we're talking about; the certification says nothing about whether there are bugs in the system allowing remote attacks or even local privilege escalations. It only talks about how the system is nominally designed, and even there it's more about logging who does what on the system and forbidding things like copying and pasting between applications running at different security levels.
    • The very first iteration of what eventually became Unix was a simple task switcher to allow a game to run at the same time as actual work. Technically it wasn't multi-user, because there was only a system console.

    • No, a mini (pdp-11)
  • Forget it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadDoggie (145310) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:52AM (#14699709) Homepage Journal
    We gave up on the idea of centralised systems a long time ago with good reason. I remember coding COBOL on 3270s which had to connect to some computer center elsewhere. Can't connect? Can't work.

    Local apps give us a lot of freedom. It might be nice to be able to also have such a centralised system available, but even with access on planes, there are always times and places you'll be cut off.

    woof.
    • Yep that's why no-one uses X, Citrix or Windows Terminal Server.
    • Wireless, GPRS, 3G etc are all pushing us back to the centralised model, it's cheaper, simpler and more efficient than fully distributed.

      Mark my words... Google VNC servers... You saw it here first.

       
      • Although your ideas make sense, and i'm being nitpicky here, if a company like google were to host a service like this, they would need to come up with a much less "fat" protocal than VNC...

        Anyone have any experience in Graphical Terminal Protocal design that would like to shed some light on the subject?
      • by Nazmun (590998)
        Working through existing wireless networks in real time for serious apps. It's one thing to move a little bit of data here and there but the entire application on the server. THeres so many problems with that.
    • Dumb Idea? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bombula (670389)
      OK, I'm not a computer guy, but here's an idea - it's probably not new, but even so it may be worth thinking about:

      What about having the network augment the user's computer? I mean, there are a lot of idle CPUs out there, right? What if your apps were designed to run on your own system just fine, but could tap into free CPU time as needed, SETI@home-style?

      Now even to a non-computer person like me, security is obviously an issue here, but it seems like this could work pretty well on a company's in-house ne

      • Re:Dumb Idea? (Score:5, Informative)

        by merreborn (853723) * on Sunday February 12, 2006 @02:15PM (#14700880) Journal
        I proposed the same idea to my father when I was in highschool. The thing is internet latency is very, very high compared to the latency involved in hitting your own processor/memory. This ends up severely limiting the type of applications you can run in this sort of setting.

        Botnets are an interesting example of this sort of computing, though. In fact, botnets are the closest thing we have to this sort of idea being implemented right now.

        Anyway, the point is that real time applications such as gaming wouldn't really see much benefit from this. By the time someone else could execute part of your processing, and send the result back to you, you character is already a foot from where you were when you requested the work, and the old work is now completely irrelevant. Even more, I can't think of a single use for GPUs that *isn't* realtime -- distributed GPU use over the net is almost certainly 100% impractical. It's not uncommon for gamers to play at and above 100 FPS -- that leaves your system 10 milliseconds to render every frame; you can hardly ping someone a block away in that time -- severely limiting the number of computers available to your 'cluster'. Also latency is NOT garanteed on the net, much less successful, in order delivery.

        It works for apps like SETI@home because seti just sends you a chunk of work every few minutes or hours, and doesn't particularly care if and when you finish it. There's no 10 ms deadline on SETI -- the project will finish when it finishes.

        Internet wide cluster computing is most suitable for applications that are primarily about converting a very large input (years of SETI data, protein folding data, massive mailing lists for bot nets) into very large output (analyzed data, folded proteins, spam) over a long, unpredictable period of time.
      • Re:Dumb Idea? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BobPaul (710574) *
        What about having the network augment the user's computer? I mean, there are a lot of idle CPUs out there, right? What if your apps were designed to run on your own system just fine, but could tap into free CPU time as needed, SETI@home-style?

        As my assembly language instructor once said, "The time difference between loading something out of the local cache and access the computer's RAM is like the difference between taking a paper off the top of your desk and looking at it, and finding a paper in a filling
  • Anyone RTFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:54AM (#14699719) Journal
    Sheesh. This was more a "Microsoft Suck0rs, Linux RULZ" article. Very little in the way of actual content and analysis. How did something like this make it on Slashdot? Ooops never mind [blogs.com]
  • We all know "no" means "yes"... Yes... you.. dirty filth... yes... daddy like... daddy like...
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:58AM (#14699742) Homepage Journal
    plan9 boots across the internet since forever, the networked file system is delightful, none of this NFS idiocy.

    I was horrified when I went back to set up networking booting in Un*xville, yes, horrified. "These people are dumb, not the terminals" is about the most polite I could be about the state of "the network IS the computer".
    • Ah...plan9. I liked trying the live CD, it was fun, I got some gnarly screenshots [blogspot.com] out of it. It has a lot going for it. But seriously, the learning curve on this sucker is vertical. I have a hard enough time convincing people that they *can* *too* draw a straight line in Gimp, I run screaming from the scenario where I'm explaining the whole plan9 system!!!
    • Whatever happened to plan9 anyway. I guess it went the way of LISP and Smalltak to the "truly innovative and superior technology nobody uses" bin.

      This industry is a hoot.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:01AM (#14699752) Journal
    This reads like the author took twelve completely unrelated +3 comments from Slashdot articles and stuck them together.

    Basically, his point is that Lunix rulz and Microsoft is teh sux and such will continue to be the case with AJAX apps. That doesn't make sense even if you concede all the author's idiotic premises.

  • No need to keep selling updates to keep the cash stream going. Just sell a service via the Internet. And you don't even have to make money directly off the people using to service if you can sell their eyes for advertising or tracking data.

    Which is fine is the service doesn't disappear or go evil.

    • I think you've got a point. It makes more sense from a business point of view to offer a literal service via the Internet like this than to sell software which increasingly shows its obsolesence as more and more fields of software are superceded by Free or Open alternatives. Sure, there are still some fields where non-Free software is best, but a lot of types of software have great Free software for immediate use.

      Somewhat like a "OMFG look at how much money Google is making! Let's jump on the bandwagon!!
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:06AM (#14699777) Homepage
    Strangely I thought I was going to read an article about operating systems that run from the web (whatever that means). So I happily click on the article and start reading, wondering what an internet executable operating system is. Ok, history of windows, vast over-simplifications.. read read read.. but yet still no content. Turns out, there really is no content.

    Taco, you should be embarrassed for posting the article. There's nothing here but a bad rant about how Windows is a terrible OS, and microsoft sucks. You may agree or disagree with that statement, but rants against Windows aren't news.
    • The article may be a troll, but I notice no one is actually talking about network operating systems in response.

      J2EE is a network OS programming kit. DotNet is another. QNX was designed as a networked/RPC version of *nix.

      Given the market share the first two of that last have, I think the argument about whether network-bootable OS components/updates are viable is a moot point -- they've been here for years. Someone else just finally realized the fact.

    • Taco, you should be embarrassed for posting the article.

      You can't shame the shameless. ;)
  • The Point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by generic-man (33649) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:07AM (#14699779) Homepage Journal

    I read through that article and it just sounds like one pretentious blogger's disdain for Microsoft. Let's run through all the things that got this fast-tracked to Slashdot:

    • Early mention of Steve Ballmer throwing a chair as a microcosm of Microsoft's supposed corporate culture
    • Rampant grammer* and spelling errors overshadowed by a blind sense of faith in the Linux community. Example: "The Linux community will publish every vulnerability, regardless of it's criticality, but the chances that a hacker will even choose to expliot those vulnerabilities is very low, (unnecessary comma) since most of them are of low criticality and it would be stupid to do so, anyways." So people don't attack Linux because "it would be stupid to do so." Thank you.
    • The actual "Executable Internet" isn't mentioned until the second-to-last paragraph: "The only reason a version of Windows that runs from the Internet would even exist would be because there is competition. Microsoft simply does not have enough fists to punch every opponent; resulting in a poorly designed operating platform and ignorant users who don't know the difference between WEP and WPA and those who are also accustomed to having Viagara advertisements greet them every time they boot their computers." Seems like this man is more upset that the hoi polloi use Linux than that Microsoft doesn't care about security.

    This is pure Linux-user elitism, the sort of smug "Our Opponent Just Doesn't Get It; We Do; and We're Smarter Than You" attitude that loses political battles [commondreams.org] and makes the arguer only look like a pretentious fool in the eyes of the skeptic.

    I dislike Microsoft as much as the next Slashdot user but this article is awful: it simply slams Microsoft as the Big Corporate Machine with quotes like "Microsoft does not publish all their security vulnerabilities because other executive stockholders, whom are also ignorant would become worried and eventually begin to question the platform's security." If I wanted to hear ramblings about the willfully ignorant I'd listen to a David Cross album [subpop.com].

    * Intentional typo used to point out how correcting grammar on Slashdot usually leads to a spelling error, or vice versa
  • by homer_s (799572) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:08AM (#14699782)
    Windows sucks
    Linux rulez
    and , oh.. .executable internet...something...something...
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:13AM (#14699814) Journal
    Damn'it my access to the internet OS comes up as Jan. 1 1980....

  • by icepick72 (834363)
    The article says: Other factors that Microsoft paid little to no attention to and still don't today would be gaming consoles, advertising, portable music devices, and computer security.

    Um, Can anybody say "XBOX"?

    What is Microsoft's advertising revenue? I see many M$ adverts all around, but have yet to remember seeing the competition advertising. I think I don't want more M$ advertising thank you very much. Funny how they're doing such a good job of it without paying attention whatsoever!

    This blog art

  • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:19AM (#14699846)
    Just say 'No' to This Article

    Thanks.

  • Where users were controllable and things worked properly because WE managed things.

    A user doesnt need any more then just a terminal. Anything else is waste of resources.
  • by v1 (525388) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:22AM (#14699861) Homepage Journal
    The idea of web based applications is actually very handy, and offers access to the program from a variety of locations, which is good.

    Unfortunately, a huge majority of these applications are going active-x or other proprietary format, and are limiting users' access on a more fundamental level - they expand the coverage range but limit you by your access point. Our ticket system has just gone to an active-x system. Now I cannot access it from my laptop anymore. So instead of making things more flexible for me and being able to access the system from any of the 200 machines in the building that I used to be able to use, I now can access it from less than two dozen machines, only one of which I have convenient access to.

    Wonderful, just wonderful.
  • soooo, isn't teh whole point of .net that of internet based application development?
    • soooo, isn't teh whole point of .net that of internet based application development?

      Um, no. .NET is about managed code, langauge independance, messaging technologies inside a closed network or across the internet, and about 50 other things not related to Internet Applications.

      However, this really has no relevance, as this article is crap...

      Maybe I should write an article about monkey DNA, and devote ten pages to how Windows is perfect, Linux is the devil and then put in the last paragraph, "Monkeys have DN
  • Worst Article EVER (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pyite (140350) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:28AM (#14699878)
    This is the worst article ever linked to on Slashdot. I'd tell you read it and see for yourself, but I really don't want to put anyone else through that experience. Can I have my five minutes back?
  • i have seen some shell scripts in my SeaMonkey's Cache directory, i am not sure what they did so i made a shell script to delete the cache files automatically...

    it may be nothing but on the otherhand it may be an Evil shell script, next time i find one i will examine it closer...
  • Bandwidth on the WAN side is too expencive for anything more than what we have now - for Christs sake, a T1 is nearly 500$/mo. The baby bells are screwing us, they promised us hundreds of times the bandwith of today at a fraction of the price if only we "pay it forward" in user fees in the 90s, we did, they didnt keep their end, so no...cant happen.
    • T1, $500 a month? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, what is this the late 90's? T1 is what, 1.5mbit? I get 10mbit, cable TV and phone line rental for £45 a month. I'm sure there are internet only deals that are better still then that. (ok it's only 384kbit up, but if the focus of the internet changes I can see them putting more upload bandwidth aside).

      Of course this is assuming that broadband in the US is cheaper then the UK, which most things normally are.
  • by nesabishii (834123) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:38AM (#14699932)
    First let me point out a few odd statements in this article:

    "factors that Microsoft paid little to no attention to and still don't today would be gaming consoles..."

    The X-Box and the X-Box 360? Microsoft put billions of dollars into those gaming consoles.

    "As experience tells us, 'easily used' operating systems such as Windows are notorious for poor security..."

    What about Apple's Unix-based OS X? That's often considered easier to use than Windows for new computer users.

    "resulting in a poorly designed operating platform and ignorant users who don't know the difference between WEP and WPA..."

    It seems like he's arguing that the users of an operating system determine the quality of that operating system.

    Really, I think this article misses the point. Internet-based OSes will not be feasible now or in the near future, I agree; however, that has more to do with bandwidth limitations, and the enormous variety of hardware out there, than security flaws in Windows (Live?). Security will always be a big issue--especially when distributed to a network of hundreds of millions of computers--but the hardware and infrastructure issues will derail the process much earlier and more severely, IMO.
  • 404 - Page not found (Score:2, Informative)

    by limegreen (516173)
    Judging by all the negative comments, the flaming article has been pulled.
  • This type of model can be inherently secure as most of the processing, policies and intelligence for these types of applications will be in a central data center. The main difference between this new world and the old is the ability to access the compute resources from anywhere or virtually any device on any network. So if we use a lot of the lessons learned from the "olden days," we can create the best of both worlds.
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:53AM (#14700001) Homepage
    Saying 'No' to an Executable Internet

    Not Found

    The requested URL was not found on this server. Please visit the Blogger homepage or the Blogger Knowledge Base for further assistance.

    Sure told them!

  • Poetic, judging from some of the early comments... the article comes up as:
    Not Found

    The requested URL was not found on this server. Please visit the Blogger homepage or the Blogger Knowledge Base for further assistance.
  • by Rob_Warwick (789939) <(moc.rettirfelppa) (ta) (kciwraw)> on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:02AM (#14700056) Homepage Journal
    I notice that the blogger is reading this thread, so I was wondering if he'd answer a question.

    Being the author of the original piece and the guy who submitted the summary, I'd expect him to have a fairly good grasp on how to summarize it. However the summary reads as if a Web based OS would be a bad thing, yet he states in the blog post:

    A web based operating system would be really neat, and Jason Kottke wrote about it a while ago.

    So do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea?

    Also, why is the Slashdot summary focussed on the idea of a web based OS when you only mention the term once, and refer to a 'Web Windows' one time?

  • IT Phone Home! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paraplex (786149) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:06AM (#14700079) Homepage
    Well we all know that only assholes have opinions (which leaves only assholes to make decisions.. great) but I thought I'd throw in my two cents

    Gmail updates whether I like it or not. I'm always using the latest version, so now i'm stuck with a fking IM client for a mail host.

    Hamachi doesn't run online, but phones home constantly and nags you relentlessly to "update to version X.X" every time they release a minor bug fix. When you give in and click "update" the thing is riddled with new bugs the previous version didn't have.

    iTunes is similar. I never wanted all the bloat the latest versions give me. Thank christ its not an online prog. I can run the version I choose.

    I spent $99 on HalfLife 2 and *cannot* play it anymore because of the very poor "Phone Home" code in steam that refuses to contact the server.

    I got locked out of *my own* computer once for a day after an XP update. That wasn't cheap
    I'm desparately trying to swap to linux to avoid the Vista DRM hell.

    I love accessing my software from this computer remotely (using hamachi at present, but this seems to be an under developed tech) & would love to use a web interface to access info & software from my home PC from any device at any time, but I would like to retain the power over what runs on *my* pc & where that info is stored.
  • InternetOS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:08AM (#14700084) Homepage Journal

        Ummmm...

        Can't you run thin clients (of some variety) over the Internet? Like the variety that consist of a boot disk (floppy, CD, or boot ROM) and pull the rest from elsewhere?

  • by The FooMiester (466716) <<gro.sllihsseldne> <ta> <rimiog>> on Sunday February 12, 2006 @12:28PM (#14700444) Homepage Journal
    If it's not open for users to install their own programs, then everyone here will complain that it's a proprietary interface trusted computing bla bla bla.

    If it is open for users to install their own programs, then everyone here will complain that it's a huge security risk and will lead to the death of the internet bla bla bla.

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