Computer engineers at China's Tsinghua University are coding a cross-platform, cloud-based operating system for the masses.
Dubbed TransOS, the operating system code is stored on a cloud server, allowing a connection from even a bare terminal computer.
"The terminal has a minimal amount of code that boots it up and connects it to the Internet dynamically," explained Yaoxue Zhang and Yuezhi Zhou.
"TransOS then downloads specific pieces of code that offer the user options as if they were running a conventional operating system via a graphical user interface. Applications are then run, calling on the TransOS code only as needed so that memory is not hogged by inactive operating system code as it is by a conventional desktop computer operating system."
According to Zhang and Zhou, TransOS manages all the resources to provide integrated services for users, including traditional operating systems, as well as networked and virtualized hardware.
"Most types of software are already represented in the cloud by alternative or additional versions of their desktop equivalents but we are yet to see a fully functional cloud-based OS.
"[TransOS] should also work well with mobile devices, such as phones and tablet PCs. It is essential that a cloud operating system architecture and relevant interface standards now be established to allow TransOS to be developed for a vast range of applications," they added.