Issue No. 02 - February (1997 vol. 30)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/2.566154
<p>The essence of mobile computing is having your personal computing environment available wherever you happen to be. Traditionally, this is achieved by physically carrying a computing device (say, a laptop or PDA) which may have some form of intermittent network connectivity, either wireless or tethered. </p> <p>However, at the Olivetti and Oracle Research Laboratory, we have introduced another form of mobility in which it is the user's applications that are mobile.1 Users do not carry any computing platform but instead bring up their applications on any nearby machine exactly as they appeared when last invoked. We call this form of mobility teleporting, and it has been used continuously and fruitfully by many members of our laboratory for the past three years. </p> <p>Clearly, teleporting to these machines requires that they be networked and that they provide a common interface at some level. In our case, we use our local area network (Ethernet and ATM), with X Windows serving as the common interface. When we teleport, our personal X session-with all its associated applications in their latest collective state-is transferred from one host's display to another within the lab. For example, we can walk into someone else's office and immediately call up and interact with our personal working environment on their machine, alongside any other working environments currently displayed there. </p> <p>We are currently extending this idea from our LAN to the entire Internet using Java as the common interface. It is still our personal X sessions that are made mobile, but now they can appear anywhere on the Internet within any Java-enabled browser. </p> <p>Although in theory the original form of teleporting could be used across the Internet, it would be restricted to hosts running an X server, and, even more problematically, would contravene the X security policy implemented by most system administrators. (The next release of X, code-named Broadway, will address some of these issues.2) But even more importantly, our current approach aims to take advantage of the rapid global proliferation of the World Wide Web. Web browsers are available in a dramatically growing range of locations, including corporate, personal, and even public-access sites. The ability to call up any personal computing environment on any such browser will enable nomadic computing on a truly global scale. </p>
A. Harter, F. Bennett, A. Hopper, K. R. Wood and T. Richardson, "Global Teleporting with Java: Toward Ubiquitous Personalized Computing," in Computer, vol. 30, no. , pp. 53-59, 1997.