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OS.js is a Javascript Based Open Source Operating System

OS.js is a Javascript Based Open Source Operating System

Last week I was browsing through some cloud providers and I came across OS.js which is a JavaScript based Open Source Operating System that runs on remote cloud systems. OS.js is built using JavaScript, so it can run on any web browser. And what’s good is that it is open-source and free, the code is available entirely on Github. So even you can deploy it inside your own server.

It’s an operating system that runs just like a website inside your web browser.

What does the official site say?

OS.js is an open-source JavaScript web desktop platform with a window manager, application APIs, GUI toolkit, filesystem abstractions and much more.

It comes with a fully-fledged window manager, ability to install applications, access to virtual filesystems and a lot more.

Calculator and File Manager apps - OS.js
Calculator and File Manager apps – OS.js

The internals

OS.js has a client and a server part.

OS.js javascript operating system
Source: OS.js manual

All of the source code is written in ES6+. Client-side scripts are transpiled to ES5 with Babel and bundled with Webpack. The client runs in any modern browser.

The server runs on Node.js (v8.x or later) and Express.js. Most of the features of the client are provided by service providers. Service Providers are the main way to provide features and extensions for OS.js.

You can look at the official docs for the details and installation instructions.

Is it really useful?

You might assume that a browser-based operating system won’t be of any use as it would lack some basic functionalities. However, OS.js is here to surprise you. This browser-based OS comes with a fully-fledged window manager, GUI toolkits, filesystem abstraction, and Application APIs.

It has a very simple and neat homepage but has many complex things going in the backyard. You can drag and drop application windows, do multitasking and a lot more.

OS.js comes with a collection of pre-built applications to help you write, paint, listen to music and watch videos, play a couple of games, use the calculator, and write emails. For example Text Editors, PDF readers, Calculators, Paint App, etc.

Although it has been there for several years, we are seeing increasing demand on Cloud Desktop, a virtual desktop, fast to deploy and accessible anywhere.

Virtual Desktops are becoming popular as you can deploy in a few minutes a secure and powerful Operating System in the cloud. This means, the user just needs to have access to a web browser to use its Cloud Desktop.

It’s a great way to reduce the IT hardware cost in large companies and speed up the integration of newcomers. 

Screenshot of OS.js demo in Chrome
Screenshot of OS.js demo in Chrome

Demo video

Check out this demo video from the official site.


Unlike other operating systems, OS.js can operate on any computer without installing anything. The OS is made entirely out of Javascript. It can be used on any platform that has a modern web browser. 

Give it a try. I am sure you will enjoy it. Cheers!


  1. Nicholas

    I could imagine that embedding it into hardware like NAS or similar could be a use case (even though they all have their own desktop/os already). But it could be useful from that sort of perspective.

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