Webian Shell: Prototype Web-Based Shell
Webian Shell is a web-based shell that is designed to run full-screen and function as the primary user interface for your computer. At the moment, it's still at the proof of concept stage, but 0.1 is runnable without making any modifications to your system. As it features some interesting ideas, it's worth having a play around with.
The Linux version of Webian is, for the moment, supplied as a tar.gz archive containing the executable and the supporting files. Builds are available for Windows and Mac.
Under the hood, this project makes use of Mozilla Chromeless, a project that eschews the standard web browser user interface. By the way, the “chrome” in the name refers not to Google Chrome but rather the user interface portion of Mozilla web browsers. As it consists of only a rendering engine, the idea is that the navigation interface can be implemented using web standards within the browser itself. Indeed, the Chromeless website lists Webian as one of the first projects to run with the idea.
The task switcher.
When run, Webian takes over the entire screen. The idea is that a stripped down web browser becomes the interface to the computer on a setup that relies entirely on cloud-based rather than locally installed applications. The tabs themselves are iconified and run along the bottom of the screen, aping the user interface style of other popular desktops.
The Webian start page. It doesn't do much yet.
For the moment, Webian is incomplete. For example, some sites don't render properly and apparently Google's cloud applications don't work due to a bug. Web navigation doesn't seem to be very usable as there are no forward and back controls and there was no bookmarking that I could find. The start page that exists does not yet really do anything.
Using Webian to browse some web content.
Shortcomings due to the incomplete nature of the project aside, it is possible to get an idea of how how setup like this could work. Once things are a little bit further along, one thing I'd like to see is a bootable ISO image that makes use of Webian. This would be particularly good if it were partnered with some sort of remote storage for configuration and customization. So far this project looks intriguing and it's fairly close to being a usable product already. If you have some ideas about how it should work, there's a forum for such discussions on the website.
The Webian Website
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.
Pick up any e-commerce web or mobile app today, and you’ll be holding a mashup of interconnected applications and services from a variety of different providers. For instance, when you connect to Amazon’s e-commerce app, cookies, tags and pixels that are monitored by solutions like Exact Target, BazaarVoice, Bing, Shopzilla, Liveramp and Google Tag Manager track every action you take. You’re presented with special offers and coupons based on your viewing and buying patterns. If you find something you want for your birthday, a third party manages your wish list, which you can share through multiple social- media outlets or email to a friend. When you select something to buy, you find yourself presented with similar items as kind suggestions. And when you finally check out, you’re offered the ability to pay with promo codes, gifts cards, PayPal or a variety of credit cards.Get the Guide
- Smoothwall Express
- Machine Learning Everywhere
- Bash Shell Script: Building a Better March Madness Bracket
- Own Your DNS Data
- Simple Server Hardening
- From vs. to + for Microsoft and Linux
- Understanding Firewalld in Multi-Zone Configurations
- The Weather Outside Is Frightful (Or Is It?)
- Understanding OpenStack's Success
- Ensono M.O.