by May 2, 2011 0 comments

Cloud refers to provision of computing as a service, in which you pay for only the service and not the hardware and infrastructure. Naturally, it saves costs for an enterprise by a large margin. Be it Google Apps or even browser-based operating systems, in cloud computing, you let the cloud service provider deal with the infrastructural and hardware related costs. However, from a small or medium sized enterprise’s perspective, self-deployment, though not so common, seems to be better (and arguably cheaper) alternative in the long run. Why? Simply because for average enterprise cloud needs, deployment hardware is nothing out of the blue!

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The best thing about Cloud operating systems is the fact that they can be used from anywhere on the planet, without any concern for synchronization of data across multiple machines. All you would require is a computer with an Internet connection. However, most of the cloud based operating systems target either the general traveller-type users (journalists, writers, coders, etc) or the high-end enterprises with diversified needs and staffs that span continents. Yet, there are few cloud OS that cater to the needs of the mid-range enterprises as well, and we are going to explore one of them! Not just that. The real potential of cloud computing can be harnessed if you deploy it yourself. Fret not, though. Deploying Cloud OS may be a complex procedure, but it definitely is not the case if the OS of choice is eyeOS. As we shall soon see, deployment of eyeOS can be done even by those with little hardware resources.

eyeOS — what and why?

Simply put, eyeOS is a cloud-based OS powered by Apache, MySQL and PHP.

Desktop: The eyeOS desktop looks like any other operating system that you would come across. It can be customized on the basis of themes, though the looks of Windows Aero are obviously not a possibility. At present, the eyeOS system supports translations in 30 languages.

Productivity: On the productivity front, eyeOS supports MS Office and Open Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations. There is also a Personal Information Management (PIM) system with basic support for calendars and contacts (import/export in vCard format). Clearly, the PIM is nothing to drool over.

System: Uploading/downloading files to the cloud is a breeze, and so is browsing pictures using the default system viewing application. Compression support for ZIP/TAR formats is impresssive. Additional apps can be installed using the default package manager. Also, multiple instance of an application can run at the same time.

Network: eyeOS has a dedicated (proxy) FTP client, messaging client, RSS Feed Reader and Bulletin Board bundled by default.


Head to and download the file. There are two builds of eyeOS at the moment: v1.x and v2.x — choose whichever suits your purpose. In the screenshots, we’ve used eyeOS 2.

In order to run eyeOS as your own server, you will not need anything extravagantly grand. The minimum hardware required would be a Pentium-class processor with 256 MB of RAM, 200+ MB free hard disk space. The disk space is likely to increase depending on the number of users your enterprise has. So it becomes quite obvious, that requirements for running eyeOS from your own server are met by almost every mid-sized enterprise.

On the software front, you’ll need a Linux distribution (I employed Linux Mint), Apache, PHP and MySQL. But before going any further, let’s configure PHP and MySQL for eyeOS installation.

The first step would be to create a database for the eyeOS installation. In the terminal, type the following command:

Enter your password (if any), and at the prompt, type:

Last, run FLUSH PRIVILEGES. That’s it, MySQL is ready for action! Next, we need to modify the php.ini file (generally located at etc/php5/apache2/php.ini) The values, as per the minimum requirements specified above, are as follows:

Note that if your system doesn’t already have PHP-Curl, you’ll need to install it. Now, run the following command and in the resultant file, set the variable AllowOverride to All :

Last, restart Apache as follows:

Deploying eyeOS

Coming to the business end of the proceedings. Extract the downloaded tarball of eyeOS into /var/www/eyeos by running these commands:

Next, in a web browser, navigate to If all goes well, you’ll come up with something like the Fig 1 .Click the “Install eyeOS on my server” link. If there are any red items on the check list, they need to be resolved.

Once all items are green/orange, proceed to the next screen, wherein you’ll need to enter details about your database configuration as well specify the password for the root user. If need be, a new user can also be created using PHPMyAdmin.

That’s it. You’re through with the installation. You’ll be greeted with a screen such as Fig 2:

With that done, eliminate the install directory from /var/www/eyeos for security reasons. You can use the root account to create/delete users and perform other administrative and maintenance tasks.

What next?

Well, you’ve just setup a cloud-OS server for your enterprise. Once you kick it on, you will land on the nimble and easy-to-use eyeOS desktop. What this basically means is that you have a fully functional Operating System, bundled with Office suite and other productivity features for enterprise purposes — all on your own regular piece of hardware, with the only cost of maintenance being that spent on your regular hardware. eyeOS by default has a powerful File Manager that ensures effective management of your data. In addition, eyeOS productivity and Office suites cater especially to usage by SMEs.

On that note, I leave you to play with eyeOS. Once you implement the extremely simple installation of eyeOS, gear up to see the miracles it can perform for your enterprise.

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