A network window manager

Just as I browsed the Wikipedia about window managers I stumpled uppon WinLIKE, a window manager programmed with Javascript/Ajax. Then I got the idea of a new kind of window manager:

  • imagine the window manager is only installed on a server and announcing itself via Bonjour (uses HTTP or not?)
  • If the Client starts up he gets the login of the window manager from Bonjour. I know we now have XDMCP but I think this is not appropriate, today
  • The window manager should be very lightweight and give the user a configurable interface. I mean it should have a Kiosk mode as a default – so maybe normally you start with a browser or whatever the admin gives you.
  • The configuration and administration should be very easy, similar to Sabayon. It should also allow the administrator to switch the interface to what the user needs – from a simple juke box, to a kiosk browser, an accounting system, just displaying movies. The admin also should be able to change the display in real time without having to use VNC or similar.
  • It should also be possible to share or switch screens if people switch their places where they work, even switching devices,
  • it should also be possible to “freeze” a session and continue work at exactly the same point where it had left. Well this would depend highly on virtualisation on the side of the OS, doesn’t it?
  • I suppose all the techniques should be more server based (editors, email,…) the client only gets very small applications with only the very necessary size, wherefore the real power is on the server.
  • It should let users easily share and cooperate (like with Wikis), also conferencing should be implemented.
  • Most of the techniques are set up to be used internally, although potentially this should also work if you combine two servers and there should be gateways to the outside for may, conferencing,… .

This all is nothing new, think about network computer XDMCP, network boot, Ajax. But right now I do not have a system where I have everything¬† like this on a server. Most window managers do very much depend on local interaction, especially when it comes to sound – and what do you do with USB devices? What I would envision is a system that is lightweight on the one hand and powerful in its integrated applications on the other hand. A sort of bringing back webapplications to an intranet whereas they are not just web pages. A web page is the clients desktop and there is no browser. I don’t think this should be made with Ajax, i don’t think Ajax is powerful enough. Ajax is nice for web access where everything is already slow and users are used to wait.

A lightweight window manager, that also has no problems with different devices like PDAs,…

Comments welcome.



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