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Prototype of browser-based Shell ‘Webian’ available for download

Webian Shell is a full screen web browser aimed at devices that don’t need a traditional desktop.

An early prototype build for Windows, OS X and Linux is currently available.

Webian is, much like Google’s Chrome OS, designed around the concept that much of the traditional user desktop has been made redundant thanks to the capabilities of new web-based technologies.

“Pure Web. Ditch the desktop, live on the web!”

Ben Francis explains further on the Webian blog: –

“The idea of the Webian Shell project is to replace your computer’s interface with something much simpler, which treats web applications as first class citizens and does away with all the un-necessary clutter.”

Webian is based on Mozilla Chromeless: –

“The “Chromeless” project experiments with the idea of removing the current browser user interface and replacing it with a flexible platform which allows for the creation of new browser UI using standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.”

Try it and help shape it

It’s sounds rather pompous to say that it’s not what is in this initial prototype release that makes it exciting but what isn’t in it. It is quite literally a clean slate ready for writing on – and the developer is keen to hear feedback and future ideas for Webian from you!

Ideas mooted for future inclusion already include: –

  • Multiple Home screens, behaving much like those on Android etc with widgets and web app icons on.
  • Hardware controls – any graphical shell for a hardware device needs the ability to monitor and control hardware for things like sound, network, GPS, battery etc.
  • Zoomable tiled window manager – zoom out to a view of all currently loaded web pages (think Expose in OS X), then zoom in to the page you want.
  • On-screen keyboard for touch-screen devices

Download

Webian can be downloaded for Linux @ webian.org/shell/download/

Download the correct version for your system (32bit or 64bit) and extract. Enter the ‘Webian Shell’ folder and double click on the ‘Webian Shell’ executable inside to run.

To exit Webian press the ‘House’ icon followed by the ‘Power off’ icon.

Webian.org via Mozilla Labs