I was led to Workspot today, via del.icio.us, and the only words that came out of my mouth was, “Wow.” Now this is impressive. Workspot allows me to use Linux, something that I have never really had the time to use all that much, and amazingly online (there is an online demo). I have always wanted to get the feel of the Linux environment and now I can. I have not subscribed to the service, but it is apparently free. You get all your basic functionality, although it seems some applications are restricted. Also, Workspot does run a little slow, but they say they plan on purchasing newer and faster servers to handle the load.

“Your GNU/Linux desktop is actually sitting on our servers in California, and the screen graphics are transported in real-time, to appear in a Java applet running within the web page. This applet is GPL, open source software: VNC (Virtual Network Computing), code formerly maintained by AT&T’s Cambridge laboratories. This lab has since closed, but, as is the nature of open software, the code lives on.” (Workspot F.A.Q)

I was also surprised that Internet works. That’s Solution Watch open in Firefox in the screenshot! Everything runs a little slow, small, and is a little slim on the quality, but that is okay with me because this is just really slick.

How is this possible? Through the use of a pretty hefty Java applet. “The magic is a Java applet, an AES encrypted, graphical connection to a Linux desktop. It works through every Java-enabled browser, and through most corporate firewalls. It works through fast native clients too, available on Linux, Unix, Windows & Macs. Transfer files easily to your Workspot, with the secure WebDAV protocol, available on all platforms.” Very impressive, indeed.

I am using this to learn the environment, but there are a lot of other uses as well. I don’t think I am going to subscribe though. I just want to get the feel of hour the system works. And you know what else is great? They plan on releasing a GPL distribution of the server software.

One last thing: I noticed that when you go to subscribe, it shows that the total comes to $0.00. BUT, in the F.A.Q., it shows that it is $9.95 a month. Has anybody signed up to this yet? Does anyone out there know what the deal is with this? Otherwise… this is just amazing. Great work to the crew behind Workspot.

View Workspot – Linux… through your browser!


2 Comments on “Workspot – Linux… through your browser!”

  1. Kevin says:

    Very cool. Does anyone know if there is something like this for Mac OSX?

  2. Brian Benzinger says:

    Not sure, Kevin. This is the first time I have come across anything like this. I’ll keep my eyes open. Thanks for the comment!