Cloud OS Coming Soon Say Chinese Researchers
October 9, 2012

Cloud Operating System TransOS Coming Soon Say Researchers

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The push toward a world of total cloud computing continues, as a group of Chinese researchers are developing a critical piece of software meant to be accessed and stored offsite: The operating system.

These days, even the most casual of computer users understands the importance of the operating system. Be it Google´s Chrome OS, Apple´s Mac OSX or Microsoft´s Windows, the OS is the piece of software which not only ties together the bits and pieces of the computer, but also provides a platform on which applications and programs can be run.

As time and technology have progressed, these operating systems, like many other aspects of computing, have gotten much smaller. However, now that many are looking to the cloud as a cheap and viable option for storing data offsite, it seems only inevitable that a truly cloud-based OS would one day allow users to keep all of their data in the cloud.

Yaoxue Zhang and Yuezhi Zhou of Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, have finally developed this cloud OS, allowing any bare terminal computer to access this operating system from the cloud without having to store the actual software on the machine itself. This terminal computer runs only enough code to connect itself to the Internet dynamically. Once there, it is able to access TransOS. Once a user is in TransOS, they´re able to call upon the code within the OS to run applications and otherwise operate their computer as if their OS was locally stored on their hard drive. By storing the OS in the cloud, the computer is able to run ℠leaner´ since it doesn´t have any of its resources tied up with inactive OS code.

“TransOS manages all the resources to provide integrated services for users, including traditional operating systems,” says the team in a press release announcing TransOS.

“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.”

In addition to keeping a lean machine, TransOS users can also store their documents and files in the cloud, much like Apple´s iCloud, keeping their local storage free. With TransOS, users never have to worry about running the most up-to-date version of the OS or even maintain their own computer. With their OS, data, files and settings stored in the cloud, any computer with an Internet connection (for instance, computers which are publicly available at libraries and schools) becomes just like the user´s own machine. The files stored within the cloud can also be accessed at any time from any Internet-ready device, including smartphones and tablets.

Looking forward, the TransOS team hopes to see the desktop computer become more sophisticated as it becomes stripped down, acting as not much more than a blank terminal with plenty of speed.

There are many web-based services which already act as a sort of cloud-based OS. Java, for instance, acts as a bridge between the web and the desktop machine, allowing applications from the Internet to run on any machine, regardless of the operating system. Other web apps are able to bring extra functionality to machines without considering the specific machine or operating system that it has installed.

What´s more, the TransOS team is looking past simple PC use, noting that this new cloud OS could potentially be installed and used by common household appliances as well as large factory equipment.