[Image from Porte Voix where you can also find
some ace illustrations]

Having studied interface design a wee bit at uni it's still something that interests me and I can't help feeling that there are going to be some immense developments over the next few years. The more I think about it the more I think that there will soon be a way of accessing all of your Google files through a desktop style interface. Recently someone has made a web simulation of the old System 7 and there is already a version of Linux available through your browser at Cosmopod (and a similar service is available from My Goya). With these sites in mind it's really only a small step to having your main operating system online and accessible via any browser as a web app. Aside from the fact that you wouldn't ever need to upgrade software (your online provider would do the server updates for you) the best bit about this is the fact that there is the possibility of a really wide range of operating system "skins". There are no shortage of interesting interfaces for websites and I love finding new ones from houses to books - each with their own special systems and animations. If your operating system was essentially inside your browser there would be no reason why you couldn't really break the boundaries and add exciting or unusual layout and functionality. There have already been tons of suggestions as to what applications will be available online in the next wee while and with the use of APIs it's inevitable that these will be pulled together all in one place (or, indeed, in many places). When that happens people will still want to style their online OS just as with their desktop OS with backgrounds, fonts, shortcuts and other interface tools. Having used Mac OS 7.5.5 at school (and recently having seen it ported onto the PSP) why shouldn't my online OS interface be able look like that? As soon at the systems are in place people will want to begin customising them... and just as we have Steampunk laptops some people at least will want Steampunk, vintage Mac OS and computer game style operating system interfaces. So... here's to 2008 when I hope we'll step a few steps closer to a pixelated retro operating system future.