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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Can Israel's "G.HO.ST" Bring Coexistance Between Jews And Palestinians?

(Image: Screen shot of virtual OS)

When it comes to computer operating systems (or OS for short), Microsoft Windows is king. Despite the fact that it dominates the desktop space, Windows (as well as many of its user friendly OS competitors) are often expensive, making them legally unaffordable for half of the planet.

Worse, accessing ones data while away from the office could be a hassle (especially if your computer is powered off due to human error or a power outage).

A fairly young Israeli startup called G.HO.ST hopes to resolve this issue by providing a free "virtual computer" for all of its users, which is accessible where ever there is an internet connection. But what makes this company unique is the fact that they are hiring Palestinians coders and teaming them up with Israeli marketers.

(Israel 21st Century) Zvi Schreiber's (the Global Hosted Operating System, pronounced "ghost") provides users with a virtual operating system, where they can store files, write and save documents, surf the Web, and even send instant messages to their friends. And he does it with a staff made up of residents of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority - who have to meet and collaborate virtually, through video chats and on-line conferences.

But all that virtual-ness is having a real impact on the lives of people in Israel and the PA, who for perhaps the first time are able to collaborate on high-tech projects, just like people in "normal" places, such as Silicon Valley.

In fact, the 30-strong staff at the Ramallah offices of, even have stock options in the company. "I'm not aware of any other company in the PA that gives out options to its employees," Schreiber tells ISRAEL21c. 

While Israel's may not appeal to the western corporate world, power users or super geeks, it may find enormous appeal for users in third world countries who may not be able to afford a personal computer and must access the web via internet cafes.

Either way, this is a good initiative by, and hopefully more companies will follow.

Update: Edited last text, made sure image was uploaded. Blogger's image uploader is having problems, inserted video instead.

Update 2: Video lacked audio (this is just not my day!). Inserted image since it is functioning again.

Update (7/8): Anton has informed me that the G.HO.ST team has open sourced its light weight client for mobile phones.

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  1. Note that is also opening up to the community and already already open-sourced its lightweight client for mobiles and mashups:

  2. Not that is not an Israeli company it's a joint Palestinian-Israeli company owned by both Israelis and Palestinians...

  3. @ Anton Bar: Thanks for the link! I remember hearing how the site was somehow connected with Google (as far as the coding goes) but I could not find the exact link again to add to the text. Thanks!

    @ Anonymous: I understand it is a joint cooperation, but is G.HO.ST only registered in Israel Proper? (for legality reasons?)


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