“It has been a hard year around here but steady progress on Symphony has continued. Symphony OS 2007 will be released either late this month or early next month with several major changes: Ubuntu 7.04 base system, Ubiquity installer, Google Gadgets as desklets, and continued performance improvements.”
Symphony OS 2007 Preview
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2007-05-08 5:52 pmPseudo Cyborg
From what I understand, the desktop runs a Mozilla layer allowing for web technologies to be utilized. It’s not running Gnome itself, rather another desktop environment (which particular one escapes me at the moment) with the Mozilla layer running “full screen”, as it were.
I’m really curious to see where that will go.
It’s a really different approach for Desktops, I wish luck to this project!
2007-05-08 7:38 pmbarspi
It’s not a new approach. Microsoft tried it years ago with its Active Desktop or something like that, where the whole desktop and file browser and everything was tied to the IE’s libraries and rendering engine.
For one thing or the other, it didn’t work at the time, (no real productivity, unstability, crashes that would hang the whole GUI, etc).
Now with Ajax technologies and XUL, Flex, Silverlight, etc. we may see a come back of the “active desktop” paradigm… for better or worse.
2007-05-08 10:41 pmbutters
I can’t say enough good things about SymphonyOS. Maybe if I could, the free software and web development communities would finally give this project the resources it deserves. SymphonyOS is a prototype for Web 3.0, a convergence between native and web programming environments. This guy is building a Linux desktop based on Firefox essentially by himself, despite major financial and personal limitations, and hardly anybody is taking notice. If Mozilla is really so keen on offline apps and bringing the web to the desktop, then they’d be wise to divert some of their $55M to SymphonyOS.
Active Desktop didn’t take off because back then, the web was predominantly used for static content. It also failed because Microsoft couldn’t foster and promote a community to bring interesting capabilities to Active Desktop. But the web has come a long way both as a platform and as a distributed development ecosystem. Let’s bring AJAX, social networking, and mashing to the desktop. Maybe all of that Web 2.0 mantra will really start to pay dividends when it becomes a first-class citizen of our desktops.
2007-05-09 8:44 pmsnozzberry
The chief questions this OS raises are as follows:
1. Is the current GUI metaphor in need of replacement?
2. If so, is Web 3.0 a viable platform for a desktop environment?
3. Slax is more of a distro than SymphonyOS is at this point. Now that SymphonyOS is nothing more than an add-on for existing Ubuntu installations, would it be better served marketing itself through Canonical the way Xubuntu is?
It looked really beautiful albeit a little rough on the edges. I see on their website that they are finally inviting more developers to join in. That will go a long way in resolving the QA issues. The google gadgets will be something interesting to see as well.
This looks a beautiful and innovative desktop design. I like it and wish them luck on the project. Nice to see some new stuff, can’t wait to try it in a VM.
I think it will be more useful for a server than a desktop. Let say like plesk or friend.
I tried it and it just don’t feel right for desktop use, maybe I’m getting too old…
Since the new version of Symphony is to be Ubuntu-based, will there be Ubuntu deb packages available for people who want to install Mezzo on Ubuntu?
2007-05-08 8:47 pmfak3r
This did indeed run fine on top of Ubuntu as I documented here: http://fak3r.com/articles/2006/01/31/howto-mezzo-desktop-on-ubuntu
But I’ve been waiting to try with the new builds. I’ll take a look now when the new one comes out, post over there if you have success, and perhaps we can put some debs together for Ubuntu 7.04.
Active Desktop, IIRC, was also one of the key debates in the Everyone vs IE court case back in the day. Were they forced to maybe remove it for anti-competitive reasons?
Is there a place to get it without using torrents? I think my university blocks torrent use.
I believe the SymphonyOS desktop is called Mezzo.
2007-05-10 5:28 pmPseudo Cyborg
Not quite. Mezzo is the name of the UI, not what’s actually rendering the desktop. I believe it’s XFCE doing the rendering and filesystem browsing with the Gecko engine running at “full screen” as the “desktop” allowing for Widgets/Gadgets/etc.
Perhaps I should have said “Window Manager” instead.
“google gadgets as desklets” – I didn’t know these could work on an Linux system. Considering the Symphony base is Ubuntu, does that mean there’s a way to run them on Ubuntu itself? Gnome lacks a good desklet system (gdesklets doesn’t have much, and while Jackfield is promising, it’s stalled).
The mezzo design looks pretty nice!