WorkSpot's Technological Potential

As of November 18, 1999

Greg Bryant

This document contains descriptions of consequences of the workspot notion.

Linux to the masses, through a browser

This is of interest to many people.

Your place in cyberspace

A workspot is a place where people store their identity, all their computer work, arranged the way they like it. So that they can get to it from everywhere. So that they never lose it. So that they have an infinite, immortal computer at their disposal. So they don’t leave personal things on work machines, etc.

Access to Software

Installing Linux is a pain for new users. We eliminated that step. Installing software is also a pain. We’re eliminating that step. Infinite software: available on your workspot.

An Ad hoc, instant intranet (extranet/VPN)

Enables instant cooperation of groups of people in cyberspace.


Since a workspot holds your personal data (and ultimately medical, financial data etc) you should be able to do all e-commerce transactions through your workspot. Transfer money through your workspot (cellphone to cellphone, cellphone to internet parking meter/vendingmachine) WorkSpot is thus acting as an “infomediary”, holding your information securely. It also allows you to sell your personal data to marketing types, and determine other levels of access for different applications and parties you’ve authorized.

REAL Software in your website

Single app in a VNC window. Basically Citrix, but for the consumer market, and your web site makes money rather than spending it.

“Software to go”, just cut and paste some html into your website. For including a single-application VNC window in your web site (no desktop) and the user login/password registration form. The application reads and saves to your workspot account. Web site needs to do no back-end accounting. A HUGE partnership-making technology, which will garner millions of users and spawn countless interesting web sites.


“Software in your website” and “your single identity on the web”

"Personal workspot Software to go" will eliminate unnecessary database systems by giving users on the world wide web an account, and a virtual machine, every time they do custom work on an internet site. These can all be tied together, so that their identity is maintained throughout the web. One id, one workspot account, many sites.

Since we actively distribute these virtual machines, the work is load balanced across the Internet in a way that's almost impossible to imagine for a hardshell database system.

See “infomediary ”

Wireless: your workspot from anywhere

Find any way to partner with carriers, consortia and device manufacturers in order to make workspots available through all wireless Internet devices.

Datastreams of content

Partner with content providers in demand for wireless devices.

The VNC core

This is the primary user interface and client-server connection. It needs continual improvement.

The generic shell for VNC

Other needed functionality of the VNC applet

Alternative X access

Hosts of the workspot nodes – the ISP/ASP affiliates

A host of a WorkSpot node signs up directly with workspot, through an automatic process during the installation of the package. This server farm/data center does not interact directly with anyone else -- neither users nor vendors of software/content/ads. All work is forwarded to them automatically, and they are paid their share of fees automatically. They are part of a worldwide load-balancing operation. Making money is a turn-key operation for them – all they have to concentrate on is keeping their hardware up.

Information about users, software/content providers, agreements, financial accounts, etc is all kept on our secure authentication/authorization servers, which will be basically the invisible middleman for everyone. These will ultimately be distributed around the workspot network itself.

A node locally decides when it is overloaded with work, and requests distribution to other nodes.

WorkSpot nodes host user home files, software images/content, and user processes. They may be doing any of these as part of redundancy, based on requests made by the user for level of service.

In progress: Intel data centers, Itochu JII in Japan, about a dozen ISP's, server customers of Red Hat, VA Linux etc.

A site supporting the open source package, and community working to enhance it. Dmoz, lxr, cvs and other packages need to be integrated to make this decent.

Distributed web hosting

Users do web hosting on a their workspot. If the load is too great more VM’s can be spawned and ditributed around the WorkSpot network. This has tremendous potential for handling web traffic.

Job of installing software

We have a lot of this software to install. I just wanted to point that out. With luck, most people will install it themselves on a virtual machine, and pass it on to us for general consumption. Others will pay us to install their stuff.

Also, some general configuration problems need to be solved, and certain procedures need to become automated for the software vendor, so he can put up his program and attach it to KDE or GNOME (or other desktops) properly.

Auto hosting of a domain

Attach your public_html directory to a domain name; adjust tables in the nearest DNS nameserver. WorkSpot let’s you host an entire domain – mail, website, extranet …

“Enabling special client-server development” strategy

The more people who use workspots to host low and high-end websites the better.

Developer/content (datastream) provider environment over the web strategy -- provide, for example, a VoXML workspot that let's people write a voice dialog application,served from their workspot. Or a create a palm VII client-server application, with tools, served from a subdirectory of their workspot. Serving many Internet initiatives is possible: hp's e-speak, sun's jini,'s wap, etc. It will help all these inititives, and hoardes of software producers, to create environments from which ANYONE can just log in and create content.

We can also enable any number of cross-internet inter-operability schemes that are difficult to implement, and haven’t gone very far. CORBA, and other object-oriented remote-invocation, for example.

Vertical desktop configurations

These are just VM’s configured with certain software linked from the WorkSpot network. With desktops configured and software configured by someone who’s interested in doing so. Their configuration then gets replicated for others to use. New users will be forwarded to these desktops from many web sites.

Diverse desktop managers are good

We need to make more of them available (Gnome, enlightenment …), encourage improvement, and encourage experiments and new kinds of desktop paradigms. The more the better for WorkSpot, and for users.

Internationalizing of workspot

While this leverages off of Linux's internationalization, and most of our vertical workspot customization schemes, there’s still work that needs to be done to make them actually available as soon as possible.

Roaming broadband connections to reduce latency

When the user logs in, workspot determines which node is closest to them, to reduce response latency (a dragging mouse.) Of course, the new node gets paid for the work, the old node may get paid for the transfer, etc.

Virtual Machines

The basic workspot node is a linux machine with a VM handler, which spawns VM’s based on stored images, contacts the VM handler of another workspot node in order to distribute load, and authenticates users for services based on the service agreements at workspot central.

WorkSpots on various devices

Wireless II : the server side

Every thin device needs server-side computing and storage. That should happen within a person's workspot. This saves the wireless companies from maintaining user live databases, and from divergent back-end technologies.

WorkSpot, Inc. needs to become specialists in wireless and unusual server software, for the purpose of consolidation of client device services.

Examples: telephony/voice servers, 3Com's elaine for palm VII, etc.

The VM is a general purpose method for distributing all web serving..

These SHOULD be just another user making use by the overall workspot service. Except much much more secure than now. And we haven’t worked enough on security yet. So we’ll be our own test case for a user demanding security from WorkSpot!

Ultimately, our commerce servers need to be distributed in some optimization scheme, near the place they were used last for any piece of data/object. This is VERY much like what needs to be done with all traffic.

Software portal

A link appears on your desktop that lets you go to a portal, like yahoo, that categorizes software. Except that, when you get to the end of the branch, you launch an actual application, which works in your directory. Note that there’s

A checkpoint on your data and virtual machine at that launching time, which can be rolled back if the software messes up your data or session.

Like ebay, there will be user feedback on the value of the various software. Make requests, even offer to pay for them. People can easily participate in beta trials this way. Programmers can also get involved here in any software’s open source project, if it has one. For such a project, an unaffiliated programmer could be paid to add features for someone making a request.

Custom software and bazaar

Paired with the software portal, in every category and subcategory, people can place requests for new software. It is expected that programmers and financiers will visit often. An entire entrepreneurial software creation culture can then emerge, since the resulting software can run on any workspot, and will make residuals for the participants for years to come.

Paid content portal and Bazaar

Same as for software above – a categorized portal/request bazaar where people can access content (which just wrapped in viewing software anyway, so it uses the same e-commerce mechanism).

The syncing problem

We should be able to work off-line for limited, selected things. Easiest first for Linux systems. But window and mac laptops are a big market.

Instant messaging, teleconferencing etc.

Every linux technology that keeps people talking should be supported.


No rationing. ‘Quotas’ are bad. If someone wants something, they should just be charged more.

Some HTML and small device functions that need doing …

Pre-installed database on VM’s

WorkSpot VM’s can have running databases installed on them by default.

Encouraging software is always our business. We should encourage an easy “access”- like database, with easy database bulkload transfer tools (they exist, so organize them for the programmer as you would any tools for a consumer desktop.)

“Speak all commerce"

Workspot as an e-commerce system tying the internet to other e-commerce and transaction systems – jini, java wallet, passport, eSpeak, millicent, etc etc. The thing that ties jini federations to the Internet. Act as gateway to other kinds of networks, commerce and banking networks etc.