You have heard of desktops and laptops, but now two engineering students in Kerala have come up with a virtual computer that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. All it needs is an internet connection.
K Ansar and PP Ismail, final year computer science students at an engineering college in Vatakara, about 45 km from Kozhikode, have set up www.bloxtr.com, the prototype of a virtual computer in which you can store all your important documents, favourite music, colourful pictures and even videos.
"The idea is that no one needs to carry a laptop or pen drive around. You can upload any files to the website and access it from any corner of the world. What you need is just an interface to access the internet," Ansar told IANS.
Ansar and Ismail are fans of Richard Stallman, the free software guru, and they are also keen on popularising the prowess of open source software.
Ismail said bloxtr is just a project and doesn't yet have the speed and features of professional applications. They are hoping for investment by corporate firms for the further development of their prototype.
According to the students, people are largely ignorant about the opportunities that open source software provides. They stumbled upon the idea of a virtual computer while mining the internet.
"The open source platform for creating a virtual computer is available on the internet. Open source platforms are available free for any kind of project," said Ansar.
"We'd like to popularise the concept of the virtual computer. As far as we know such a facility does not exist. Google has Google Docs to store and edit documents or spreadsheets, while websites like ibackup.com provide the facility of creating backup data.
"We want to make bloxtr more elaborate so that one can install software of one's choice on the virtual computer," he said.
Ansar and Ismail feel the cand 4oncept will become more attractive if it can be used via mobile phones.
"We are trying to convert this into a mobile application. When 3G services become operational in the country we think the virtual computer will really be an attractive proposition," Ismail said.
Ismail and Ansar, along with three other classmates, have already won a project from a local software company on behalf of a Gulf-based airline to develop a system to make flight schedule information available on mobile phones.
They are also planning a project to network educational institutions. "This is a long-term project, under which we plan to provide a website from where information on students from the networked institutions can be retrieved," said Ismail.
"If a parent wants to ascertain the score of his child he can access it directly from his home. For employers who are on the lookout for talent, this database could be a good source. We are also planning a virtual classroom. Eighty percent of the work on this is complete," he added.