eyeOS was first released in 2005; it is open source and has a pretty vibrant community behind it. The latest version when this is written is 1.8 named Lars. While Glide (previously reviewed) runs on Flash eyeOS use PHP and stores information in XML on the server. Using PHP means that it is easy to customize eyeOS, if you are a business and want to develop additional features it is easier in eyeOS compared to Glide. There is also an eyeOS toolkit for developers with functions and libraries available.
Thanks to the toolkit and the community behind eyeOS there is a number applications out-there. Of course the number of apps is nowhere near as many as for Windows or Linux, but it still looks very promising. However all of the applications are on eyeos-apps.org, it would be nice with a package installer integrated into eyeOS.
The interface in eyeOS is very easy to grasp, it is more oriented towards Linux than Windows so Linux users will feel even more at home. The terminology is also standard OS language, there are no newexpressions unique for eyeOS, folders are called folders etc.
The desktop in eyeOS is very much like any other OS. At the top of the screen there are a number of tabs; Favorites, Office, Network, Accessories, Games, System and Places. In the lower right corner of the screen there is a traditional start menu with applications, system preferences and a command line option.
In the system preferences it is possible to change the look of the desktop, there are about five themes to choose from. The desktop background can also be changed. It is also possible to change password and language (a surprisingly number of languages are available) from the system preferences dialog.
eyeOS comes with an integrated office suite, including a word-processor, a spreadsheet program and a presentation program. The OS also have an e-mail client, calendar and a contact manager. Surprisingly eyeOS also comes with a web-browser, considering that you access the OS in a web-browser it is a bit strange. There are however advantages if you for example decide to lock your computers web-browser to the eyeOS site only in a business or public environment.
I have often missed to be able to access FTP on the go to be able to edit websites. Eye OS takes care of that with the built in FTP-client. It is pretty basic but does FTP uploading and downloading pretty good. Both surfing and FTP is of course slower in eyeOS than on a regular desktop.
eyeOS is primarily intended to be hosted on a server; however there is a public demo server where anyone can setup an account for personal use.
Installing eyeOS on a server is pretty straight-forward for experienced users, the server needs PHP 5 and preferably Apache web-server. This enables any business or organization to setup their own free cloud operating system. The eyeOS team mentions schools and public libraries as example users of the system, but a medium sized business can almost certainly use the OS in certain settings.
All cloud operating systems seem to have issues with connecting with other popular cloud apps, eyeOS has the same problem. However chances are that as more apps become available from the community, hopefully we will see integration with Gmail, Amazon S3 and other popular cloud services. Until then users will be locked in, but compared to Glide users of eyeOS seem to have a brighter and more open future ahead.