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Added: 2018-12-05, Author: Marcin "Piana" Pianka, Category: Software, Page views: 2243


Friend OS - first overview

The idea is very interesting. A user-friendly system in the web browser. Running in any system - it sounds like inception. Please remember, that this is an open source project, so it immediately made me happy. We do not have a terminal here, but serious effort of building a full-sized system in the browser.

It sounds really great! But as usual, details are most important. Let's take a look on existing product. I bear in mind, that this is long-term project and there are plans for next several years, but we received public version, so Norwegian company wants to show us something. Friend OS (unofficially, of course) refers to AmigaOS, so this is the first reason to take a look. I will not hide, that my point of view is from perspective of a standard user with some experience (I had opportunity to work using cloud solutions from Microsoft and Google), but without any emotional involvement into this project.

Let's go! We can log in web site my.friendup.cloud and go inside. First impression? The desktop is nice, but it's a little bit old-fashion. I do not expect any magic inside, but ascetic design is not a perfect solution. First impression? No engaging.

Menu is hidden in the left, bottom corner looks similar to Windows 98/2000. Simple, clear and useful. I don't understand why Microsoft abandon this solution.

Friend OS

The upper parts work in the similar way like in AmigaOS. So we have bar with dynamic menu, where commands are connected with currently active window. Plus list of active programs on the bottom. One word - it is kind of mix Windows (early versions) with AmigaOS.

Friend OS

Here is the desktop:

Friend OS

So, let's change some settings! Design of the virtual desktop you can change according to your preferences.

Friend OS

There is nothing against to set several number of the virtual desktops. This functionality is well known from Linux system. The definition of startup programs has very nice name "Startup sequence" (and every Amiga user recognize it):

Friend OS

As you can see, there is a list of programs assigned to types of files. Not so much entries. Missing assignments force users to open files using programs installed on his computer instead applications within Friend OS. Strange...

Friend OS

User could change language of the system, for example Polish. It's a pity, that translation have been made only partially.

Friend OS

Advantage of Friend OS is Google integration. It is not official one (there is warning massage during establishment of connection), but it works fine. I had no opportunity to check other integrations.

Friend OS

General feeling is (maybe excluding legacy interface and strange way of settings) quite positive. Despite simplicity, everything works quite fast and is just clear. And hope to improvements in the future.

System has his own DOS. I’m not able to decide if it is powerful tool like Linux's terminal or Windows PowerShell.

Friend OS

And of course typical Amiga window to entering commands. Available using key shortcut ALT E.

Friend OS

We have, as in every serious system, application store. Selection is quite poor, but we should remember, that this is just the beginning. And there is open question about value for the user...

Friend OS

We just touched area of included software, so let's take a look what we have in Friend OS store. We have simple text editor Author (similar to Windows Notepad). Beside that, office suite OnlyOfice www.onlyoffice.com/pl/. It's a pity, that it is not integrated with Friend OS at all and is placed just to be there. By default you are not able to edit file made in OnlyOffice and you should set some assignments first . Is this a good way? Sharing and common editing options - I didn't find them, but such functionalities should be basic for such kind of system.

There is also music player, calendar, calculator and something for graphics. Basics, but clear. Some features look as useless, like for example Internet Archive. It is just link to web page, as well as Disrupt. Gadget, but just useless.

We have also number of games. Some are pretty fun, some not. I just wonder why they were added here? They are not integrated with the system. Maybe better solution was addink link instead and focusing on better integration and adjusting basic functionalities? Or maybe games are part of the show, show of Friend's possibilities? Probably for common users, but how about business? They just don't need them. I don't understand it.

Friend OS

Other thing, such annoying, is lack of functionality. For example basic operation - changing of avatar - ends with strange message.

Friend OS

We should remember, that such errors are little by little removing from the system Not so far time ago, to make window active you had to hit the border - now you can click at any part of the window.

We should not forget, that Friend OS has also version for mobile devices (I made some tests using mobile Opera), but I will quit this topic and focus on desktop version in this text.

During testing of Friend OS I was thinking about target of this system. How the vision looks like? I have listened to video with system presentation and it is still unclear for me. Cooperation and openness - it sounds beautiful. But I, as standard user, did not find in current moment (August 2018) nothing magnetic. Nothing magnetic, but lots of missing functionalities.

Keeping Amiga's root and heritage is definitely too less. We have project TAWS, which shows us how pretty could be Amiga interface in web browser. Yes, this not a rocket science. And there is also Amibian.js - please take a look to see how powerful such web system could be.

I fully understand, that this is just the beginning of this project, but instead big number of useless bells and whistles, I would like to received 100% integrated and useful system. This is how Google works. I know, I know, Google is an evil and spy, but they do grand products.

I'm not buying Friend OS at this moment, sorry. But, of course, keep my fingers crossed. The plans are very ambitious and wish good luck to whole development team. Maybe I should back to tests in nearest future? I was working with version 1.2rc1.

Friend OS

Author of blog Malinowa Amiga [PL] and connected fan page on Facebook [PL/EN] .

Marcin "Piana" Pianka
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