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Virtualisation powers community PCs

Moka5, a personal computing virtualization technology company, announced the launch of moka5 LivePC BetaGarage. The introduction of a hands-on virtualization beta environment is the first step toward driving the moka5 LivePC technology to the consumer market.

Moka5 has plans to move the technology downstream toward consumers and techies who want to invent their own LivePCs.

LivePC technology allows a LivePC creator to deliver new PC content to many users instantly and effortlessly. Users simply subscribe to LivePCs they are interested in, just like updating a music play list or changing a TV channel, and the LivePCs are streamed over the network to them

Every time a user brings up a LivePC, it has the latest features provided by the LivePC creator: new software, new data, security patches or even a new operating system. LivePCs can be run on any Windows PC using the free moka5 LivePC Engine.

Moka5's streaming technology enables users to start running a LivePC long before it has completely downloaded. LivePCs even work when disconnected from the network.

Users can also create their own personal LivePC, share it with friends and run it on different machines. By putting moka5's LivePC Engine on an iPod or a USB drive, users now have a personal, portable LivePC player!

They can carry all the LivePCs with them, like their music, and use all these LivePCs on any Windows PC instantly.

The advantages of this technology are readily apparent because it solves real frustrations for consumers: PC management, security and portability.

"IT dads" can create and maintain LivePCs for friends and family, eliminating the need for support calls and independently trouble-shooting PCs. If there is an issue, a user simply re-starts the LivePC and the problem instantly disappears.

With a LivePC on a USB, companies can easily provide their employees with a secure computing environment that allows them to work from home. Universities can push educational software to students for them to run locally on their own dorm computers or at home.

The moka5 LivePC concept was developed in a 4-year research project at Stanford University.

MIT and Stanford students and researchers are using LivePCs to share their fast-moving research projects with colleagues from other universities. LivePCs make this type of collaboration and real-time sharing easy by separating the software environment from a particular piece of hardware.

The moka5 BetaGarage includes dozens of community-contributed LivePCs that allow users to experiment with Linux-based free software easily like Open Office. There are even LivePCs pre-configured with parental control and website blocking that is designed to keep children safe on the web.

The LivePC Engine is built on VMware's best-in-class client virtualization platform, and incorporates VMware Player, the industry's leading desktop virtualization product. Machine-level virtualization, as used by VMware Player, provides significant benefits.

There are no restrictions on applications and even operating systems (Windows, Linux, and even Mac OS X) that you can use in a LivePC. Additionally, a LivePC cannot infect another LivePC or the host computer it is running on, so users can try new LivePCs safely. With the portable LivePC Engine, users can rest assured that they take nothing away, or leave anything behind, on any computer they plug into.

moka5 LivePCs are a radical but obvious departure from how consumers currently interact with their personal PCs. Here are a few of the unique features of LivePCs:

* Subscription model -- Besides creating their own LivePC, users can run community-managed LivePCs available over the web.

* Always up to date -- Subscribers are kept up to date and protected against the latest viruses and other malware.

* Self healing -- If a user accidentally gets spyware or other malware, a reboot of the PC will return the user's environment, applications and operating system to their original pristine state, while keeping the user's data intact.

* Online/offline capability -- Once completely downloaded, a LivePC can operate even when disconnected from Internet access.

* Fast, streaming download -- Users can immediately begin working while the complete LivePC downloads in the background.

* Smallest portable PC -- Users can carry one or more LivePCs on a USB drive. Personal files on the portable drive are saved in background whenever the LivePC is docked at a home base computer.

Moka5 invites PC users to log onto (opens in new tab) and download moka5's free LivePC Engine and build their own LivePC or choose from the Library of LivePCs available. The moka5 LivePC Engine comes in two versions, as a Windows application on a host computer with Windows XP SP2 installed, or as a complete LivePC Linux environment.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.