There seems to be a number of operating systems lately that are attempting to test the bounds of internet browsers by having a browser be the OS itself. Many of the companies behind these operating systems claim that the internet is the future, and that personal computers of the future will be merged with the internet. There are many users that believe this is a good thing, and an innovative idea. I’m not one of them.
The internet is a series of houses that aren’t yours. As fun and as informative as visiting these houses are, they aren’t yours. The books contained within these ‘houses’ aren’t yours, the devices contained within these ‘houses’ aren’t yours, and you don’t have absolute control of these ‘houses’.
What these developers believe is that you should exist as a metaphorical hobo, always being in the town, and never having a ‘home’ where everything is yours. What they forget, is that the owning of a home does not imply that you have an inability to visit other houses. It implies that you don’t want to visit other houses all the time. It implies that you want things that are yours; you want information that is yours; you want control of your environment, and you want the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it.
Of course there are other arguments for a browser based OS. Some of which are “but there aren’t as many components needed in a computer that is a giant browser, so the computers of these operating systems are much cheaper in result!”. Batteries, capacitors, LEDs, and wire is cheap also, however, I am not going to replace my computer with a blinking light. At a certain point you must ask yourself, does the cheap price justify the lack of features?
So, abstractions aside, should operating systems become more integrated with the internet? Definitely, there are many ways that most operating systems could benefit from being more heavily integrated with the internet right out of the box. Things like ‘App Stores’, Entertainment Media Centers/Stores, Online Storage, Internet Setup, and even default web browsers could definitely be improved with better integration. There are lots of improvements and innovations to be made in better integrating operating systems with the internet, however, removing the majority of the operating system is not one of them.