Gael Duval, the founder of Mandrake/Mandriva Linux distributions started a new project after his departure, from Mandriva, in 2006. It is called ULTEO, and can be found at http://www.ulteo.com Back in the early nineties, when I first started hearing about the internet, I imagined it to be a place I could connect to, use software onsite, store my data onsite, and not have to have a computer bloated with store bought software. This appears to be the goal of ULTEO. There is an excellent interview with Mr. Duval located here:
I downloaded his project, a virtual desktop, residing on my windows XP partition, signed up as a user, and am now testing everything to see how it works. You sign on to a Linux desktop, use its programs, save the data, which resides onsite, or you can save it locally. It is still in its early stages and there is not every program that you might want, or need. There are different levels of subscriptions, so I can see a use for individuals, and even small business operators. This frees up my windows partition so I can use it for the only thing it is good for, playing games, offline. Maybe Mr. Duval is ahead of his time, but this comes as close as I imagined 15 years ago.
I can look ahead 20 years, and find myself holding a small device, telling it to open, having a laser scan my retina, a holographic screen appearing, another retina scan and my Linux desktop appears. Doing what I need to do, and telling it to close.
Check it out at http://www.ulteo.com/
You could be looking at part of the future of computers.