A listing of random software, tips, tweaks, hacks, and tutorials I made for Ubuntu

A new Ubuntu-based OS is currently under development!

Update: This OS has been abandoned

We (Raja Genupula and I) have been making an OS that will integrate the Web seamlessly with the OS. Think of it like in between Chrome OS and a normal environment.

UPDATE: The new name is CosmOS!

  • Instead of having a web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, it will use a Chromium hack (chromium-browser –app=URL)
  • You can tab many windows together, sort of like workspaces in a workspace.
  • The system is much lighter than other systems (including Ubuntu), since most of the apps are in the internet, such as:
    • Office suite=Google Docs/Zoho Docs
    • Notepad=Google Notebook/Zoho Notebook
    • IRC Client=Mibbit/IRC Cloud/Alice IRC
    • Mail Client and Chat Client are online, but integrated in the system
    • Software Center is online too
This is only to list a few of the features that are going to be implemented.
But to make this project work, we need your help! We need Developers, Coders, Artists, Advertisers, Testers, People who can take part in polls, and even just people who can encourage the project!

27 responses to “A new Ubuntu-based OS is currently under development!

  1. David (FSF Supporter) September 22, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Please consider how many of the items you are considering will be proprietary in nature and will erode your users privacy. Google products, for example, are solely there to give Google information that can then be sold for a profit…the users gaining anything from them is coincidental to their real purpose. The users aren’t the end point they are the product that is sold to Google’s advertisers. This is mirrored by other seemingly free services which are, in reality, bought by a surrender of ones privacy.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:36 am

      OK thanks a lot for the info. I’ll add the option of either Zoho or Google.

      • David (FSF Supporter) September 22, 2011 at 2:07 am

        One way around the issue might be to integrate a GPL licensed product that the users could load on a server under their control…as an example how about ? Done this way the user retains full control in a freedom respecting manner.

        BTW why base it on Ubuntu or any distribution that isn’t fully free when you could use one of the FSF listed fully free ones

      • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 2:27 am

        Thanks for the ideas. I’ll look into Group Office.
        I don’t really know how to operate Debian, and I don’t know how we could host a repository, so if anyone knows how to do that, we could switch to Debian.

      • David (FSF Supporter) September 22, 2011 at 8:46 am

        While Debian is very close to being accepted as a fully free distribution it has a way to go yet…hence it isn’t listed on the link I gave you.

        To host a debian (or other apt based repository) try the details on the following link

  2. Ryan Prior September 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Sounds awful. Google Notebook is a horrible Notepad replacement and Mibbit is a third-rate IRC client. Integration with peripheral devices will be horrible unless you custom-engineer a browser-based solution as Chrome OS has, and that’s an ongoing effort based on a non-Mozilla codebase, so you have long odds at being able to re-use their code. Using Internet apps does not make the operating system lighter; native apps are often more responsive, while Internet apps stop working if you lose a connection (again, unless they support Mozilla’s [lacking] offline-mode features or you custom-engineer offline support for needed applications, as Google is doing with Chrome OS.)

    I hope you choose to reconsider.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:38 am

      Do you know of any alternatives of Google Notebook and Mibbit?

      This system is for anyone who has a decent internet connection. It’s an experiment, and we want to see if it will work. We don’t expect people who have a bad internet connection to use this system.

  3. Jorge Castro (@castrojo) September 22, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Instead of making your own distro, I’d encourage you to do this work in Ubuntu so that we have a better web application story! I’ve blogged about this a bunch of times:

    I would love to work with you guys on this and collect web-application .desktop files and get them integrated into the distribution!

    • Jorge Castro (@castrojo) September 22, 2011 at 1:56 am

      Oh, and you can use Alice for IRC, it’s open source,

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:56 am

      We might contact Ubuntu about this later. For now, it’s more of an experiment, and we want to see if it will work. If it works out, we’ll contact Ubuntu about it.

  4. Rejoicing Shepherd September 22, 2011 at 6:14 am

    How does this differ from something like Peppermint Linux? DOES it?

    Also, if you think running a web browser to type in a text file or chat on IRC is going to be “lighter” than using dedicated clients, I would suggest you not even begin this project.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      I never really tried peppermint Linux. This OS is more of an experiment, and I want to see if it will work.

  5. rmkrug September 22, 2011 at 7:46 am

    What I really like, is the tabbing of windows – one reason why I am using Fluxbox.

    If you want to make many users happy (I heard from many who went back to fluxbox mainly because of the tabbing of windows), provide this functionality in a package for standard Ubuntu – although I don’t know how complicated that is.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Fluxbox? I never knew that it had tabbing! I’ll look into it. Thanks!

  6. Jeremy Bicha September 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Prism isn’t being developed any more. One replacement, WebRunner, has also stopped development. The other replacement is Chromeless.

  7. Robin Lyndsay Taylor September 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Sounds like Jolicloud, kinda sorta… all web-based stuff will make it “lightweight” as far as storage space on the HDD, but security and privacy are practically non-existent, and all your stuff is “at the mercy” of Google or some other web service.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Yeah, that’s why I’m trying to find alternatives to Google and Zoho. Remember that if your data is on the web, that means that you can access it from more than one computer (provided that you have the correct U/N and Password)

  8. duncan September 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    peppermint is already doing it and well.

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      This system’s main goal is to unite the desktop and the web, but it’s also to simplify the usage of the desktop. I’ll look into Peppermint Linux.

  9. Jeremy Bicha September 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    David, Debian is pretty much the definition of a free software distro. I’m sorry to hear that you accept the FSF’s wrong position on this issue.

    • David (FSF Supporter) September 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      @Jeremy, While the FSF very much supports and, publicly and loudly, applauds the Debian developers work to remove non-free binary blobs we still have a problem with regard to Debian’s non-free repository as stated on the following link

      Frankly Debian is so close to meeting the FSF’s requirements that it’s tempting to bend the rules for it yet once you start doing that it’s a slippery slope.

      Would it be too much to hope that Debian might move their non-free repository off of their main servers and not list its contents on their online database…these two changes are all that would be needed to have it added to the FSF list?

      • Jeremy Bicha September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

        Debian does not ship non-free binary blobs on their CDs or in their main repositories.

        I fail to see how it makes the distro non-free for Debian to additionally maintain a non-default non-free repository clearly labeled as non-free…because that’s not really part of the distro. People would have to go out of the way to use it and it’s not officially recommended. And there obviously is a need for a non-free repository for some hardware without adequate free drivers.

  10. Kendall Weaver September 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Interesting. To reiterate some above points, Prism has indeed ceased development. Peppermint OS was originally put together using Prism as the default SSB framework, however it presented the additional issue of having pretty terrible integration with most non-Gnome desktops. A later “side by side” project that I developed called Ice is now used in the current version. It essentially adds SSBs using Chromium’s default ability to do so, but with clean integration for all desktops and the ability to remove SSBs as well.

    Default application selection is quite a big issue. I looked at web based calculator and text editor apps for a while before deciding that there was simply no good way of effectively replacing locally installed desktop versions of these. Google Docs works well to some extent, however it’s still at it’s best inside a browser. Web based text editors would require some type of auto-upload ability to be able to manipulate local files (not sure if this is something that HTML5 will be able to help us work around at this point). Essentially things like the text editor don’t really pose much of an issue regarding .iso file size and the SSB that would run a web based one would actually use significantly more RAM than a lightweight notepad style app would.

    Also I have to agree with @castrojo about making direct contributions to other projects. Peppermint was created to fill a specific need, something that nobody else was doing at the time, and is put together using my experience working on Linux Mint to try and streamline the system for new-user-friendliness as well as speed optimization and web integration. Essentially the template already exists and instead of offering yet another option to consider (and to support) and it makes sense to not start back at square one unless you’re considering using a different code base.

    From there you have a million other issues such as branding, wording things to make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to force certain products on people (such as the Google suite), hosting (which is a HUGE issue when dealing with .iso files), maintenance, updates, and a million other things all to start a project that essentially sits in the same playing field as JoliOS and Peppermint, while using the same code base.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic or anything, but I do believe that if you have the talent for distribution development and maintenance, then it may make sense to put that talent to work on an existing project. I’d love to get up with you and chat in the near future. I’m easy to find.

    Kendall Weaver
    Lead Developer
    Peppermint OS

    • lkjoel September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Thanks for all of your suggestions. We will use Chromium as the default browser. What we want is a simple way of integrating the web to the desktop, but not exactly making everything the web. CosmOS is a project to make using your desktop much simpler, and sharing your data through your computers.
      I will change a few things, such as using a local text editor instead of an online one, and just use Google Notes/Zoho Notes/Evernote for sticky notes.
      I’ll look into Peppermint OS.


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