Is Mainframe2 the End for Desktop Computing?

Jason McGovern By Jason McGovern  |  Oct. 17, 2013

If Angel funded Mainframe2 has their way with the cloud, what they reveal this week at Demo Fall 2013, will make Adobe’s Creative Cloud feel more like a light mist, whilst simultaneously driving the final nail into the coffin of desktop computing.

What Mainframe2 is attempting is to empower users of the multi-billion dollar software industry to run thousands of non-web Windows and Linux applications, in any browser that supports HTML5, via the cloud.

Imagine using Photoshop on your cell phone during your morning commute!

Don’t like the upfront cost of purchasing Adobe CS6, or the idea of paying the subscription for CC? Mainframe2’s rental model will allow you to dip in and out as you need at a cost that reflects your actual usage.

And because all of this is maintained in that mysterious cumulonimbus cloud high the sky, you’ll always be working with the latest releases.

Unlike already established virtualization and cloud computing providers such as VMware and Citrix, Mainframe2 claims to be able to scale power to the nth extreme by using as many CPU’s and GPU’s as your job requires. Think of it as engineering workspaces (plural) in the cloud. Because Mainframe2 supports nVIDIA’s virtual GPU standard, graphical intensive programs will not only be doable, but will be the primary targets for their Autumn release.

Granted, their vision is of the grandest nature, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t supremely confident in their ability to pull it off — their founder and CEO is Nikola Bozinovic, as Chief Technologist for MotionDPS, his work with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory enabled pilots to fly unmanned drones on different continents in real time over a multi-link satellite connection; for some reason, letting me edit an Illustrator file on my tablet by running it from a data center and converting frames to H.264 video doesn’t seem to carry quite the same air of complexity.

The technology and the brains behind it are there. But, what remains to be seen is whether the industry giants play nicely with Mainframe2. History suggests that isn’t likely. Remember when OnLive revolutionized the entire gaming industry? Yeah, you don’t, because months after Microsoft determined OnLive was in violation of Microsoft licensing terms they filed for bankruptcy, or as they later categorized it, “restructured.”

If Mainframe2 manages to avoid the hurdles, this could be the biggest shakeup in software licensing we’ve ever seen.


Will Mainframe2 revolutionize software licensing? Would you be happy licensing software by usage? Let us know in the comments.