Webuntu – A somewhat working desktop environment website

This project brought me so much joy. I love building websites that emulate completely different things in a somewhat similar way. And this one takes the cake.

I can’t recall when and how it started, but one day I decided to build a website that looks and works like one is it used from an operating system – to be precise, from the Windows 7 operating system. Utilizing JQuery and JQuery UI, the frontend wasn’t even that hard to build.

I chose that one over the Win 7 one because I liked the minimalistic and clean design. It’s just a wallpaper and some forms styled to the right positions.

The structure resembles that of Win 7, while keeping the color scheme of Ubuntu. You can see two icons on the desktop as well as the programs on the startmenu. Everything that you can see, excluding “Settings” and the “Uploads”-folder is actually working. The commandline for example can execute commands on the server via PHP’s shell_exec() while the text editor opens (only via the filemanager’s right click as of now), edits and saves files. I once even used the website to develop the website: I used the texteditor to edit the files while testing the page in the webbrowser. It was quite strange, so I went back to my normal developing process quite fast.

IIRC the settings file that you can see in the screenshot above contained the password in plaintext (here ‘ayylmao’) as well as the role (here ‘Admin’). Like I said, not really secure, but that wasn’t the point of the project anyways.

All in all, the project was a great learning experience. My PHP-Fu wasn’t as good as today, and my JS should’ve been more object-oriented. But I think it turned out great, though I was neither the first, nor the last one to build such a site.

For anyone who may be interested in playing around with it, I’m putting it up on Github.