Virtual OS or Web desktops are not enough! That's where products like iGoogle come into picture. But iGoogle is still not complete, you need Google gadgets to integrate the net on your desktop. GNOME's solution to interating Web and Desktop is what we call : Online Desktop! The Open source team doesn't take Online Desktop as another web-based desktop or "webtop". Instead they define it as:
We are trying to create the ideal experience outside your browser. The fact is, you need hardware drivers, and the browser itself can't be web-based. The computing environment of the future won't be "turtles all the way down." But neither does it need a bunch of complexity designed for a pre-web world.
The idea is to keep all the information online. People will use a live CD or "Linux on thumb" to just boot and connect to the web. The main catch in Online Desktop's pilosophy is:
Because our desktop is open source, it will work with all the best-in-category web sites and services that you use, no matter who owns them.
You can access the GNOME Online Desktop through http://online.gnome.org/. The registration is very simple with a invitation. Once registered, you get a interface like social networking where you can aggregate feeds, share links, rate and comment on anything shared on Mugshot. Mugshot (Online Desktop) also have downloadable gadgets for both windows and linux. For linux, they presently have Fedora 6 and 7. It also supports latest Ubuntu or you can download the source and build your binary.
For me, the Online Desktop doesn't seem to be much of a new inovation. But for a open source community its a new start. We will have something like iGoogle,Orkut, etc.... in one box!