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Friday, January 13th, 2006, 3:01 am

Portable Applications

Shrimp USB drive
One of the most unusual drives

IT is worth bringing to people’s attention a new concept in computing: portable applications. Applications reside on a USB drive and can be run and used anywhere, any time on any modern computer which is capable of a USB boot. Data files can be stored on the device, unlike for example, most Live CD’s. The portable application Web site offers a large variety of programs. Below is the list of portable applications with equivalents on Sourceforge, some of which are under development:

  • For browsing: Firefox
  • For communication: Gaim
  • For Web development/design: NVU
  • As an office productivity tool: and AbiWord
  • For diary/scheduling/PIM: Sunbird
  • As a mail client: Thunderbird

It is not only applications that get mounted onto USB devices nowadays. Entire operating systems, notably Linux distributions, have become portable as well. I once mentioned this as an expectation for he near future in Computers as Relics and Computer Become Host. That’s where I expressed similar ideas that envisioned a USB-based or portable hard-drive-based operating systems. The concepts, which are very reminiscent of a Live CD, were brought to my attention via a reader’s comment.

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