Hmm. Parakey Web OS. Interesting at Slashdot. Reading the Slashdot comments on this one is interesting because Blake Ross, the young guy the article is about, is fully engaged in the discussion there. (Or at least someone that says they are him). Fascinating!
BTW, I think this is on the right track. From using Google apps (the word processor and spreadsheets) I can see this. Your world is on the web and is accessible from anywhere. Folks that say “Bah!” to the idea of a Web OS are missing the point. Yes, it's true the Web OS is not about interfaces to hardware and interrupt handlers. But this is about what's on the screen in front of your face. What's on the screen moves from being housed in the box on or under your desk to the cloud that's the web.
That's initially a fearful thought, but consider that the box on your desk is already part of that cloud, so it's not that much of a shift as you might think. With easy encryption of data, it can be protected and just as protected as it is (and should be) on your desktop computer.
With Google and Microsoft rapidly converging on this idea of a web-based OS, the idea of network computing and the network as the system is about to happen with a vengance that exceeds the wildest dreams of Sun Microsystems.
With Google apps I've already experienced the one-click sharing of stuff and it's very cool, along with the capability of collaboration.
Whither the desktop computer? I think the desktop computer may be soon on it's way out. Maybe not the screen and keyboard. The screens will probably get bigger (wider and taller) and flatter (thinner). I guess they'll ultimately just be “paint on the wall.” But the thing the screen and keyboard talks to will become portable. We'll carry them in our pockets and they'll connect to the screen and keyboard when we need them to. They'll handle phone calls, news articles, Slashdot, blogging, picture taking, music and movies, etc. They'll also project our images (movies, whatever) on any reasonable white wall or surface we can find—large screen anytime!
Based on this article, if they pull off Parakey, it will be open-source Parakey vs. cool Google vs. the dying Microsoft (trying to hang on as the world changes underneath it) in this so-called Web OS world. Microsoft will be too old and unable to change quickly enough to keep up. Microsoft will hang on to it's entrenched corporate user base for a while as Google and Parakey invade from the bottom up the way Linux and Firefox have.
In that future, I imagine that (sadly) Google will become the giant, evil corporate entity that we love and hate, (“No one ever lost their job by choosing Google”) , and someone, perhaps Parakey, will be the cool, new open source solution that competes.