Step in to a time machine and listen to what you and some of your future friends will be discussing. It will probably go like this:
You: Dude, when I was your age, we used to download almost every app or game to our computers before we could use or play them.
Young pal: Really, why? That must have taken a long time!
You: Yeah, you have no idea! It took a very long time. Now, all we do is have every single app streamed to us. Heaven!
For the “heaviest” apps, that future has started, because as NVIDIA’s Phil Eisler wrote in Why Future Apps Will be Streamed, Not Installed:
A solution is now in sight, though, with the rise of cloud computing and the availability of virtualized GPUs, thanks to our NVIDIA GRID technology. They will make digital downloads as much a relic of the past as CD-ROM drives.
Then he listed several recent announcements he said showed that app streaming is about to take off:
- Amazon Web Services launched its G2 graphics instances based on NVIDIA GRID technology
- OTOY released ORBX, software that sits on top of a G2 instance and enables any application to be streamed to your browser
- Autodesk said it’s testing with OTOY the streaming of a suite of workstation apps to a browser using the NVIDIA GRID-based G2 instance
- Playcast deployed its cloud gaming system to the AWS G2 instance and demonstrated Warner Bros’s “Batman: Arkham City” video game streamed to your smart TV
- Mainframe2 demonstrated Adobe Photoshop running on NVIDIA GRID at AWS and streamed to a browser
- Amazon announced AppStream, an in-house software for streaming apps
A few of the announcements referenced streaming to your browser, like the one from Mainframe2. A posting on the company’s blog proclaimed that “NVIDIA and Mainframe are now bringing the best graphics performance to your browser. All you need is an HTML5 browser to use the power of the latest NVIDIA GRID GPUs.”
Really, any HTML5 browser?
So from my Linux machine (that’s the only OS I use), using Firefox and Chromium, I visited the Photoshop demo that the company set up here, clicked on the video and got the message shown in the image below.
So the service is not there yet. Ok, I know it is still in beta stage and they do say that only Chrome (Windows/Mac) and Safari (Mac) are supported and that “We’ll enable support for other browsers soon,” but I thought the service is supposed to be accessible via any HTML5 browser, regardless of the OS. I sure hope that when the service enters production, that it will be truly to any HTML5 browser, even if that browser is running on Linux.
Actually it CAN run on linux chrome. You should use fakeagent extension for chrome and e.g. Safari Mac OS string: “User-Agent:Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.101 Safari/537.36”
Also you’ll probably need to enable webgl options in chrome://flags/
I tried it with Ubuntu 12.04 and Google Chrome 29.0.1547.65 (didn’t try with Chromium but should be the same) using the user agent string given above.