Home > OS News > Silverlight OS Silverlight OS Submitted by cromat 2011-08-17 OS News 39 Comments SilveOS is a familiar-looking desktop “operating system” within a silverlight app. Just fire it up using any browser with Silverlight installed and start poking around. About The Author David Adams Follow me on Twitter @david_adams 39 Comments 2011-08-17 6:30 am kolmyo A web app that looks like a desktop is not an operating system. Calling it such is an insult to anyone who has ever tried to create one. 2011-08-17 9:31 am adinas It is as much an OS as Windows 3/95/98/me were 2011-08-17 12:58 pm sagum It is as much an OS as Windows 3/95/98/me were See OPs statement about being an insult. Your statement and the people who continue to call these web apps an OS are insults. Windows 3, 9x, me etc were and Operating system. Sure they needed DOS to boot, but thats like saying Linux isn’t an OS because it needs Lilo or grub to boot, and the are far more advanced then a simple bootsector program now, they read and can write files to the disk. When an application takes over system calls to the hardware THEN it is an operating system. Until then its just an application running on the platform its running on. Windows 7 still uses the NT loader to get from the BIOS into the what we know as the Operating System. As soon as the windows loads the kernel files, it takes over at the hardware level. Its then the Operating system of the computer. Now, if the SilverOS was to create its own hardware emulation and run on top of that, you could argue that it was a virtualised OS running in the browser… just sayin’ 2011-08-17 12:59 pm Laurence It is as much an OS as Windows 3/95/98/me were I wouldn’t even go that far. Windows 9x had it’s own driver model that could expose hardware functions. This is just a graphical shell – and not even a good one. For example the web-browser is just an embedded trident frame. In fact if you middle click a link then the new window doesn’t even open up in this “operating system”, instead in a separate tab in the host browser. Whats worse is this shell doesn’t even add anything functional nor different to Windows’ own shell – it literally just copies Windows, only badly and more fugly. I’m all for hobbyist OSs and even web-shells as “proof of concept”, but this servers literally no purpose nor point other than to kill a few hours of boredom for the developers. Sorry if I sound harsh, but it’s not an OS let alone a news worthy one. Edited 2011-08-17 13:02 UTC 2011-08-17 2:35 pm Soulbender No it isn’t. Windows 95/98/Me are real operating systems, SivlerOS isn’t. And before we go there; no, Windows 95/98/me was not glorified DOS shells. 2011-08-17 9:47 am BluenoseJake But one based on a web browser is? Thanks for clearing that up. 2011-08-17 1:42 pm Laurence But one based on a web browser is? Thanks for clearing that up. Erm, where did that come from? If you’re talking about ChromeOS, then that generally refers to the whole stack from the Linux kernel through to the Webkit shell rather than just the browser specifically Edited 2011-08-17 13:53 UTC 2011-08-17 2:12 pm BluenoseJake It came from the issue I had with the original post saying that this isn’t an OS. Why not? Why does he get to decide what an OS is. I was speaking about ChromeOS, because it’s just a browser running on Linux. Why is this any different? ChromeOS is just a bunch Web apps running in a browser. Is it because it runs on Windows? Because it’s Silverlight? Google didn’t write the rest of the stack, just the interface. I don’t see the difference, other than one is made by google, and one was made by this dude. Maybe it just a toy, but applaud the guys effort, his willingness to try something, and not put him down for no good reason. 2011-08-17 2:42 pm ebasconp But, ChromeOS technically IS NOT an OS. An OS is something that handles memory allocation, virtual memory handling, threading, multitasking, communication with devices, filesystem management, etc. If you take something that runs on top of any kernel (say Linux, Windows NT kernel, etc.) is not an OS. I see ChromeOS as a desktop environment, not quite different than Gnome or KDE, just running on top of one more abstraction layer: the browser. Edited 2011-08-17 14:44 UTC 2011-08-17 3:00 pm BluenoseJake I agree with you a hundred percent. This is no different than ChromeOS, and ChromeOS is not an OS. 2011-08-17 4:07 pm Neolander ChromeOS is an OS, unless I’m misunderstood. If I download an image of what’s called “ChromeOS” (or “ChromiumOS”), burn it on a CD/DVD, and run it on my computer, it works in a freestanding fashion, right ? 2011-08-17 4:04 pm Laurence It came from the issue I had with the original post saying that this isn’t an OS. Why not? Why does he get to decide what an OS is. This isn’t an OS by nearly everyones definition of an operating system. I was speaking about ChromeOS, because it’s just a browser running on Linux. Why is this any different? Because ChromeOS is an entire Linux distro. This is just a webpage. ChromeOS refers to the bespoke Linux architecture just as much as the webkit shell. ChromeOS is just a bunch Web apps running in a browser. The shell is, yes. But ChromeOS, as a distro, is more than that. Is it because it runs on Windows? Because it’s Silverlight? It’s because this doesn’t ship with the underlying architecture where as ChromeOS does. If this project shipped with a heavily customised Windows core which booted straight into this shell and those components were all interdependent, then I’d argue that this was an OS too – albeit just a “Windows distribution”. But it doesn’t – it’s just a webpage. Google didn’t write the rest of the stack, just the interface. Actually they did. ChromeOS is far from a vanilla Linux distro. There’s a great deal of bespoke stuff in there. I can see the point you’re making though and I do think that ChromeOS is largely pointless regardless of it’s classification. 2011-08-17 10:41 am abstraction I couldn’t agree more. At the same time most programmers can’t distinguish between their ass and their face so I’m not surprised. 2011-08-17 2:27 pm reez A Silverlight application linked/embedded into HTML also isn’t really a web app. 2011-08-17 4:46 pm David Adams That’s why I called it an “operating system” app. 2011-08-17 7:01 am Dimitar Panov Such apps are good for demoing what can be achieved with specific technology, but I can’t see anyone actually using it. From a user perspective it’s pretty pointless. 2011-08-17 8:24 am pandronic In theory, and let me emphasize theory, you could do a Chrome OS type of thing … take a barebones OS, add a web rendering engine, a Silverlight or a Flash runtime and add your “Web OS” on top. Granted the web part is more of a shell or a desktop environment than an OS. 2011-08-17 12:01 pm AndrewZ In theory, and let me emphasize theory, you could do a Chrome OS type of thing … take a barebones OS, add a web rendering engine, a Silverlight or a Flash runtime and add your “Web OS” on top. In theory, if you put a saddle on a dog, it’s now a horse. But in reality it’s not. Silverlight has no: protected memory, virtual memory, filesystem support, multi-tasking. So it’s not really close to being an OS. Bad article title. 2011-08-17 3:02 pm BluenoseJake as in ChromeOS, these things would be provided by the “Real” OS running underneath it. 2011-08-17 8:31 pm pandronic In theory, if you put a saddle on a dog, it’s now a horse. But in reality it’s not. Silverlight has no: protected memory, virtual memory, filesystem support, multi-tasking. So it’s not really close to being an OS. Bad article title. I’m not so sure this things are important to the vast majority of people. What I think is important is the experience to the end user. The rest is easily provided by Linux, BSD or why not a stripped down Windows. 2011-08-17 9:20 pm AndrewZ In theory, if you put a saddle on a dog, it’s now a horse. But in reality it’s not. Silverlight has no: protected memory, virtual memory, filesystem support, multi-tasking. So it’s not really close to being an OS. Bad article title. I’m not so sure this things are important to the vast majority of people. What I think is important is the experience to the end user. The rest is easily provided by Linux, BSD or why not a stripped down Windows. Then we are now talking about two different things. I am referring to “Silverlight OS”. Not sure why you are responding in this thread, because we are talking about Silverlight as an OS. Not public opinion polls. 2011-08-18 5:30 am pandronic We are talking about how to define an OS and how Silverlight OS fits that definition. And I’m saying that nowadays the UI is the OS to most people, so Silverlight OS and other “Web OSes” can theoretically be considered OSes if you slap a Linux, BSD or Windows foundation under them. 2011-08-18 12:51 pm AndrewZ Yeah no. I suggest you read the definition of Operating System, and then look at the functions provided by Silverlight. Shell, command interpreter, programming environment might all be better descriptors. 2011-08-18 1:50 pm pandronic What part of put a foundation underneath it don’t you understand? 2011-08-18 3:19 pm AndrewZ Yeah no. Because the foundation is the OS. What goes on top of an OS is: a shell, a command interpreter, or maybe a programming environment. 2011-08-18 7:22 pm pandronic Well, to me the foundation is irrelevant. All new OSes use Linux as a foundation although as I’ve argued in previous post they could also use BSD or Windows and the only different thing that is worth talking about is the shell. To me and most people I believe that’s the OS. Definitions change. 2011-08-17 10:34 am Calipso Very nicely done. I like it. Good work devs! 2011-08-17 11:05 am defdog99 Is it just me, or do youtube videos play smoother inside this silverlight OS youtube app… than they do inside Firefox6.0 and IE9. 2011-08-17 11:51 am senshikaze Doesn’t work with moonlight, as far as I can tell. another very good reason the people at Redmond shouldn’t be allowed to create technology for the web. They only create technology for their os (and sometimes mac). I am glad silverlight didn’t take off in any kind of appreciable way, or I’d be SOL on the web. 2011-08-17 12:05 pm M.Onty As far as I can remember this is only the second time in four years that I’ve been prompted to install Silverlight. The first time was on the Microsoft site whilst trying to look at a video about what Silverlight was. Which required Silverlight. And now number two, demonstrating what Silverlight’s capable of. Is it actually used anywhere in anger? Even the Realplayer plugin is more commonly used nowerdays … Not that I install that either. Has anyone found a real, bonafide, business-like implementation of Silverlight on the web? 2011-08-17 12:25 pm Cymro The British Library’s “Turning The Pages” was my first sighting of Silverlight in the wild: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/ttpbooks.html It turned out it was part-funded by Microsoft, however! Edited 2011-08-17 12:28 UTC 2011-08-17 2:04 pm Gusar Netflix Other than that, I don’t know anything else either. Except maybe, didn’t NBC also stream the previous Olympics with Silverlight? 2011-08-17 4:01 pm Neolander Yes 2011-08-17 1:01 pm Sodki From the project’s website: Convenience and freedom – A personalized desktop, files, apps are available and accessible from any computer in the world. Well, I can’t access it from any computer I own or use daily. Freedom, they say? 2011-08-17 2:04 pm FunkyELF No 2011-08-17 2:11 pm WarpKat I think I just died inside… 2011-08-17 2:35 pm Moochman Cool. Though it should be noted, you don’t need Silverlight to do this kind of thing… http://eyeos.org/ 🙂 2011-08-17 3:27 pm shmerl > Convenience and freedom – A personalized desktop, > files, apps are available and accessible from any > computer in the world. Proprietary technologies (like Silverlight) don’t promote freedom. 2011-08-17 4:15 pm Soulbender What, you don’t cherish the opportunity to run an inferior Windows clone on, uh, Windows anywhere?