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Cloud-based operating system in the works

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October 10, 2012

Chinese researchers have developed a cloud-based operating system called TransOS (Image: S...

Chinese researchers have developed a cloud-based operating system called TransOS (Image: Shutterstock)

While it has taken longer than some anticipated, cloud computing is finally coming of age and whether you have a business, creative or gaming focus, there’s a cloud-based option for just about any application you can think of. Researchers in China are now aiming to go one step further and take the operating system (OS) to the cloud with TransOS, a cross-platform, cloud-based OS.

The advantages of cloud-based computing include automatically updated software, applications that can be run on basic hardware, location independent access, and the ability to charge customers for what they actually use. It is just these advantages that Yaoxue Zhang and Yuezhi Zhou of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China are looking to take advantage of with TransOS.

While a minimal amount of code would be required to boot up the computer and connect it to the internet, the TransOS system code is stored on a cloud server. Featuring a graphical user interface, TransOS downloads specific pieces of code to perform the same kinds of tasks as a conventional OS, thereby allowing a bare bones terminal to perform tasks beyond the limitations of its hardware. The computer would only call on relevant TransOS code when required, ensuring that the inactive OS isn’t hogging system resources when applications are being run.

"TransOS manages all the resources to provide integrated services for users, including traditional operating systems," the researchers say. "The TransOS manages all the networked and virtualized hardware and software resources, including traditional OS, physical and virtualized underlying hardware resources, and enables users can select and run any service on demand."

The researchers add that TransOS could be adapted to platforms other than personal computers, including mobile devices, factory equipment and even domestic appliances. For such potential to be realized, the team says that a cloud system architecture and relevant interface standards need to be established.

Details of the TransOS system will appear in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Cloud Computing.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
6 Comments

If it's not open source then people won't be interested in a Chinese Cloud Based Operating System because of the trust issues with the Beijing Government, one example;

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-report-warns-of-chinese-government-influence-on-companies-zte-huawei

JSmith
10th October, 2012 @ 01:36 am PDT

This is a solution looking for a problem. Applications are already cloud based and many applications run in only a web browser. There is no little reason to move the native OS to the cloud and a lot of good reasons not to. Look at chromeOS, it runs Linux and has a 10 second boot time and all data/applications are stored on the cloud and hardly anyone uses it.

If there are talking about having a native OS that runs some kind of remote desktop software to a machine somewhere else that technology has been around for ages. It is even natively built into Linux with network transparency in X Window System.

Any computer not powerful enough to boot an OS that minimal wouldn't be powerful enough to boot something else that goes online, pulls down the OS, and loads it in RAM or run the web apps needed. There is no way you are saving anything by downloading the operating system from the cloud each time you boot the PC and further, the computer would need some way to know how to identify which data is yours so you are going to have to either store some kind of credentials on it or log in manually in some way.

If you run a minimal OS on the PC it can still be updated easily with less bandwidth than is required for pulling down the full OS each time the machine is booted.

In this case it doesn't even save the need to have some kind of local storage media (ie, $4 flash drive) because it still needs enough intelligence to connect to the cloud through some method to pull down the rest of the OS each time and without proper storage media it would have to store everything on a RAM drive anyway (read more RAM needed) and it would likely need to cache downloaded files somewhere for performance reasons.

This seems like a really bad idea. The only possible use I could think of for this is that it gives the government slightly more control over the people.

Daishi
10th October, 2012 @ 03:53 am PDT

umm..WHY do people keep calling this NEW? I seem to remember logging in to the school's mainframe from a dumb terminal back in the late 70's and early 80's....it was a bad idea then (though unavoidable because real amounts of power hadn't made it to the desktop) and it's a HORRIBLE idea now!

Bryan Paschke
10th October, 2012 @ 09:48 am PDT

This whole thing about the Cloud - sounds just like the utility industry - centralized control of software programs with data being distributed to terminals - which we now call smartphones. Wow - if the cloud goes down - or someone shuts it down - or starts charging ever higher prices - we're all screwed. I'll keep my software - thank you very much.

Lasereye
10th October, 2012 @ 07:58 pm PDT

Been done before: eyeOS

It used to be free, wasn't anything special last time i tried it.

Like Gwin said, if its not opensource it'll never take off

Andrew James Knowles
11th October, 2012 @ 12:52 pm PDT

Future OS(operating system) of the next generation of personal computers.

Corey Deas
19th October, 2012 @ 06:18 am PDT
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