US20090138876A1 - Method and system for delivering application packages based on user demands - Google Patents

Method and system for delivering application packages based on user demands Download PDF

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US20090138876A1
US20090138876A1 US11/944,456 US94445607A US2009138876A1 US 20090138876 A1 US20090138876 A1 US 20090138876A1 US 94445607 A US94445607 A US 94445607A US 2009138876 A1 US2009138876 A1 US 2009138876A1
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client terminal
server
user
method
subscribed
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US11/944,456
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Hsuan-Yeh Chang
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Hsuan-Yeh Chang
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F21/00Security arrangements for protecting computers, components thereof, programs or data against unauthorised activity
    • G06F21/10Protecting distributed programs or content, e.g. vending or licensing of copyrighted material
    • G06F21/12Protecting executable software
    • G06F21/121Restricting unauthorised execution of programs
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F21/00Security arrangements for protecting computers, components thereof, programs or data against unauthorised activity
    • G06F21/60Protecting data
    • G06F21/62Protecting access to data via a platform, e.g. using keys or access control rules
    • G06F21/629Protecting access to data via a platform, e.g. using keys or access control rules to features or functions of an application
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F8/00Arrangements for software engineering
    • G06F8/60Software deployment
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/12Payment architectures specially adapted for electronic shopping systems
    • G06Q20/123Shopping for digital content
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/12Payment architectures specially adapted for electronic shopping systems
    • G06Q20/123Shopping for digital content
    • G06Q20/1235Shopping for digital content with control of digital rights management [DRM]
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/12Payment architectures specially adapted for electronic shopping systems
    • G06Q20/127Shopping or accessing services according to a time-limitation
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/22Payment schemes or models
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/20Network management software packages
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F2221/00Indexing scheme relating to security arrangements for protecting computers, components thereof, programs or data against unauthorised activity
    • G06F2221/07Indexing scheme relating to G06F21/10, protecting distributed programs or content
    • G06F2221/0702Binding
    • G06F2221/0713User
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/10Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network

Abstract

A method and a system are provided for delivering on-demand software packages. In one aspect, the method may include subscribing services of a service provider operating a server, the server including an operating system and several application packages installed therein, initiating a client terminal by performing a network booting process using the operating system installed in the server, and executing in the client terminal a subscribed application package installed in the server using resources of the operating system resident in the client terminal. The method may further include charging the user a fee according to the application packages and the operating system subscribed by the user.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • The present invention relates to a method and a system for delivering application packages. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method and a system for delivering application packages based on user demands.
  • In order to normally operate a data processor, such as a personal computer, it is often required that an operating system (OS) and some application packages operable under the OS be installed in the data processor. The OS may provide resources for operating the data processor and manage the sharing of the resources. The application packages may use the resources of the OS to perform specific tasks.
  • In certain cases, the data processor may be purchased including an OS and some basic application packages pre-installed in the data processor. The user of the data processor may then obtain a license for the OS and/or the application packages with or without additional fees. If the user wants the data processor to perform a special task and none of the pre-installed application packages can perform the task, the user will then need to purchase a special application package that performs the task and install the purchased special application package in the data processor before use.
  • Normally, the purchase of an application package means the purchase of a license which allows a user to use that application package on a single machine with an unlimited time period. However, the purchase of such a license may be very costly. Accordingly, many other types of licenses have been developed recently.
  • Among the recently developed licenses, an on-demand license has attracted much attention. The on-demand license allows the user to pay a fee only when the licensed application package is subscribed and/or used. The user will not need to pay anything if the application package is unsubscribed and/or not in use.
  • Currently, the on-demand license type is applicable mostly to web applications. However, running a web application, i.e., under a web browser, may be several times slower than running the application directly under an OS. Accordingly, there is a need to develop a method and a system that can more efficiently deliver application packages based on user demands.
  • SUMMARY
  • In light of the above, there is provided a method and a system for delivering application packages based on user demands.
  • In one embodiment, the method includes subscribing services of a service provider operating a server, the server including an operating system and a plurality of application packages installed therein, initiating a client terminal by performing a network booting process using the operating system installed in the server, and executing in the client terminal a subscribed application package installed in the server using resources of the operating system resident in the client terminal.
  • In another embodiment, the method includes initiating a client terminal using an operating system installed in a server situated in a communication network, the client terminal accessing the server via a service provider, providing, to the user, a list of application packages subscribed by the user, the application packages being installed in the server, selecting an application package from the list, running the selected application package on the client terminal using resources of the operating system, and charging the user a fee by the service provider according to the list of subscribed application packages.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a system for delivering application packages according to an embodiment consistent with the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a system for delivering application packages according to another embodiment consistent with the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a method for delivering application packages according to an embodiment consistent with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Hereinafter, embodiments consistent with the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like elements.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a system for delivering application packages according to an embodiment consistent with the present invention.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, a server 100, which may be operated and maintained by a service provider, is connected to a wide area network (WAN) 10. In one embodiment, server 100 may include an operating system (OS) server 110, an application package (AP) server 120, and a user data (UD) server 130. Although three different servers 110, 120, and 130 have been shown and described, it is to be understood that servers 110, 120, and 130 may be realized as one server, two servers, or three different servers. Further, server 100 may include a billing module 140 and an output unit 150.
  • OS server 110 may include one or more operating systems installed therein. In one embodiment, the installed operation systems may be open source operating systems, such as Linux, BSD, and the like, or proprietary operating systems, such as Windows® of Microsoft Corp., “Mac OS X” of Apple Inc., and the like.
  • AP server 120 may include a plurality of application packages installed therein. The application packages may be open source software packages, such as “OpenOffice.org,” or proprietary software packages, such as “Office 2007” of Microsoft Corp.
  • UD server 130 may include a plurality of storage units. Each storage unit may correspond to a user account for storing data of the user. Each storage unit has a capacity quota. For example, the capacity quota may be 100 GB. In one embodiment, UD server 130 may include a plurality of hard disks, thereby forming a file system under Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) architecture. Accordingly, storing user data in UD server 130 may be better secured than saving them in mass storage device 260, which does not normally employ a RAID architecture. In addition, to protect privacy of the user, the user data stored in UD server 130 may be encrypted.
  • A user may subscribe services provided by the service provider. The services may include licenses to use one or more of the operating systems and/or one or more application packages installed in server 100. The services may further include rights to use the storage unit of a certain capacity quota. Further, the services may include output services. The user who has subscribed the output services may utilize output unit 150 to output, for example, documents, pictures, and the like, or to prepare a recording medium, such as a CD, a DVD, and the like. In one embodiment, the output services for preparing the recording medium may be used to backup data files of the user. The service provider may then ship the documents, pictures, data CDs, data DVDs, and the like, to the user via courier. Billing module 140 may issue a bill to charge the user for the services the user subscribed and/or used.
  • Referring again to FIG. 1, a client terminal 200 may be connected to WAN 10 via an access point 20. In one embodiment, client terminal 200 may be a data processor, such as a personal computer, a personal digital assistant, and the like, a communication apparatus, such as a cell phone, a smart phone, and the like, or a consumer electronic product, such as a television set, a game box, and the like.
  • Client terminal 200 may include a central processing unit (CPU) 210, a random access memory (RAM) 220, a read only memory (ROM) 230, an input/output (I/O) unit 240, an extension port (EP) 250 (for example, a universal serial bus (USB) port, or a card reader), a mass storage device 260 (for example, a hard disk), and a network interface (NI) 270. In one embodiment, client terminal 200 may not require mass storage device 260. Client terminal 200 may be operated using UD server 130 as a substitute mass storage device, with or without mass storage device 260 in client terminal 200.
  • Access point 20 may be a wireless access point (for example, a wireless router, a base station, and the like), or a wired access point (for example, a cable/DSL modem, an optical modem, and the like). Client terminal 200 uses NI 270 to gain access to WAN 10 via access point 20, so as to communicate with server 100. In one embodiment, NI 270 may be a wired network card, such as an Ethernet card, or a wireless network card, such as a WiMAX or WiFi interface device, depending on the type of access point 20 used.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, there is illustrated a system for delivering application packages according to another embodiment consistent with the present invention. As shown, a server 100 is connected to a local area network (LAN) 12. As discussed above, server 100 may include an operating system (OS) server 110, an application package (AP) server 120, and a user data (UD) server 130. In one embodiment, server 100 may be managed by the service provider. However, it is appreciated that server 100, which is connected to LAN 12, may be managed by the administrator of LAN 12, such as a corporate information technology (IT) department. The service provider provides licenses for a client terminal 200 to use the operating systems installed in OS server 110 and the application packages installed in AP server 120.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, client terminal 200 is connected to LAN 12. Client terminal 200 may use NI 270 to access server 100 via LAN 12. In one embodiment, LAN 12 may comprise Ethernet, and NI 270 may comprise an Ethernet card. However, it is to be understood that LAN 12 may comprise an Intranet, which may connect client terminal 200 and server 100 under the same domain but located at different geographical locations. Further, LAN 12 may be connected to WAN 10 via an access point 20.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, there is illustrated a method for delivering application packages according to an embodiment consistent with the present invention. Hereinafter, the method consistent with the present invention will be described in detail with reference to FIG. 3 as well as to FIGS. 1 and/or 2.
  • First, the user needs to obtain a client terminal and subscribe the services of the service provider. In one example, the user may already have a client terminal. Accordingly, the user only needs to subscribe the services without acquiring a new client terminal. In another example, the user may not already have a client terminal. Accordingly, the user needs to obtain a client terminal first. In certain cases, however, the service provide may provide a client terminal to the user when the user subscribes their services.
  • If the user does not yet have a client terminal and desires to subscribe the services, the user may visit a vendor store of the service provider located at, for example, a shopping center close to the user's neighborhood. The user may then subscribe the services using a client terminal of the vendor store. On the other hand, if the user already have a client terminal, the user may then visit a web store of the service provider, and subscribe the services of the service provider through the web store.
  • After the user subscribes the services, the service provider may then issue a user identification device, such as a SIM card, an IC card, a flash memory drive, a memory card, a CD-ROM, and the like, which may record subscription information of the user. The user identification device may be connected with client terminal 200 via EP 250. The subscription information may include user information, pass code, account information, subscription details, and/or system configurations of client terminal 200. In one embodiment, the user identification device may be integrated with ROM 230 of client terminal 200. For example, the subscription information may be recorded in ROM 230 of client terminal 200, if client terminal 200 is provided to the user by the service provider.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, in Step 300, the user powers on client terminal 200. Immediately after powering on client terminal 200, client terminal 200 may begin performing a network booting process.
  • In Step 310, client terminal 200 attempts to associate with a communication network 14 (for example, WAN 10 or LAN 12) by sending out a request to communication network 14. In one embodiment, communication network 14 may include a wireless communication network, which is accessible to client terminal 200 via a wireless access point, such as a base station. Once client terminal 200 is associated with communication network 14, client terminal 200 may have access to server 200. In one embodiment, client terminal 200 may be assigned a network address upon association with communication network 14. Alternatively, client terminal 200 may use a predetermined network address included in the subscription details recorded in the user identification device.
  • In Step 320, after client terminal 200 is associated with communication network 14, client terminal 200 may broadcast a request for finding server 100 that includes an operating system installed therein. In one embodiment, a server address of server 100 may be included in the subscription details recorded in the user identification device. In this case, client terminal 200 may find server 100 within a short time period. Once server 100 is found, client terminal 200 may begin a booting process (or initiating process) based on the subscription information by transferring from server 100 the operating system subscribed by the user. Before the booting process, however, server 100 may need to authenticate the user. In one embodiment, server 100 may authenticate the user by requesting, for example, the subscription information from client terminal 200. Because the operating system is installed in server 100, client terminal 200 does not require the operating system be installed in mass storage device 260 of client terminal 200. If client terminal 200 includes mass storage device 260, the user may then use the entire capacity of mass storage device 260 to store user data, without sacrificing storage space for the operating system.
  • The network booting process described above may be time consuming, especially when the bandwidth of communication network 14 is narrow. Accordingly, in one embodiment, client terminal 200 may further include a non-volatile memory module (not shown) having a storage capacity substantially the same as that of RAM 220. If the user wants to power off client terminal 200 to save energy, but does not want to spend time on the network booting process when powering on client terminal 200 again, dynamic data in RAM 220 of client terminal 200 may be transferred to the non-volatile memory when powering off, so as to allow client terminal 200 to enter a hibernation mode. When the user powers on client terminal 200 again, the dynamic data stored in the non-volatile memory module may be loaded back to RAM 220. In this manner, client terminal 200 may return to its original state of operation at the time the power is turned off. Accordingly, no reboot of client terminal 200 may be necessary. Essentially, client terminal 200 may need to go through this network booting process only when client terminal 200 is powered on for the first time. Nevertheless, client terminal 200 may still need to reboot when certain portions of the operating system go crashed and are unrecoverable.
  • In Step 330, after performing the network booting process, client terminal 200 may request server 100 to send a list of application packages installed in AP server 120. Server 100 may then provide the list of application packages to client terminal 200. According to the subscription information recorded in the user identification device, the user is licensed to use one or more application packages in the list. For those application packages not subscribed by the user, the user is not licensed to use them. Because the subscribed application packages are installed in server 100, client terminal 200 does not require the application packages be installed in mass storage device 260 of client terminal 200. Accordingly, if client terminal 200 includes mass storage device 260, the user may use the entire capacity of mass storage device 260 to store user data.
  • In Step S340, in order to execute or run a subscribed application package on client terminal 200, the user may select the subscribed application package from the list of application packages, and send a request for the selected application package to server 100. In one embodiment, server 100 may need to verify the user's subscription of the selected application package before activating the selected application package. Once the user's subscription is verified, client terminal 200 then begin transferring the selected application package and execute the selected application package on client terminal 200, using resources of the operating system resident in RAM 220 of client terminal 200.
  • While running the selected application package on client terminal 200, client terminal 200 may communicate with server 100, and vice versa, to obtain component parts or add-on modules of the selected application package from AP server of server 100, and/or to store temporary data into U D server 130 of server 100, for example. Further, while running the selected application package, the user of client terminal 200 may store a newly created data file into server 100 and/or retrieve a previously created data file from server 100. Moreover, the user may output a data file through output unit 150 of server 100. The service provider may then ship the output material, such as document papers, to the user via courier.
  • In Step S350, when the user is to terminate the execution of the selected application package, client terminal 200 may inform server 100 that the selected application package is to be terminated. Client terminal 200 may then release the running application package from RAM 220 of client terminal 200.
  • In Step S360, when the user wants to change his subscription of services, the user may use client terminal 200 to send a request for subscription update to server 100. In response, server 100 may send a list of application packages including currently subscribed application packages and available application packages not currently subscribed.
  • If the user wants to subscribe a new application package, the user may search for the new application package from the available application packages. The user may then select the new application package found from the available application packages. Further, the user may subscribe the new application package by updating the list of application packages, that is, by adding the new application package to the subscribed application packages.
  • If the user wants to unsubscribe a currently subscribed application package, the user may select the application package to be unsubscribed from the currently subscribed application packages. Further, the user may unsubscribe the selected application package by updating the list of application packages, that is, by removing the selected application package from the subscribed application packages.
  • Accordingly, application packages can be delivered to the user according to the user's demands. When the user demands an application package, the user may simply subscribe it from the service provider. On the other hand, when the user no longer demands a certain application package, the user may simply unsubscribe it. In one embodiment, the user may subscribe or unsubscribe the license of the application package on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, and the like. In this manner, the user only pays for the license of an application package when he subscribes and/or uses the application package. Thus, the user does not need to pay the large fee for purchasing the license of an application package as in the related art.
  • In Step S370, the service provider may charge the user a fee for the services that are subscribed. More specifically, billing module 140 of server 100 may issue a bill according to the user's subscription of the services of the service provider. In one embodiment, billing module 140 may issue a bill to the user periodically, such as monthly, weekly, and the like. In one embodiment, the bill may be sent to the user via an electronic mail.
  • In view of the above, the present invention may provide a system and a method for delivering application packages based on user demands. Unlike the delivery method of application packages in the related art, the present invention does not require the application packages be executed on top of a web browser. Rather, the application packages may be executed directly on a client terminal using resources of an operating system resident in the RAM of the client terminal. Accordingly, the performance of the application packages may be several times better than running the application packages over a web browser.
  • Further, because application packages may be executed directly on the client terminal, not on the server, the minimum system requirement of the server may be largely reduced. The server may fully dedicate to the management of the application packages and/or the operating systems without sharing computing time for execution of those application packages. Accordingly, the same server may support much more client terminals under the architecture of the present invention than under the architecture of the related art.
  • While embodiments consistent with the present invention have been described in detail, it is to be understood by those skilled in the art that various modifications and/or alterations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the present invention be defined in the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims (19)

1. A method, comprising:
subscribing services of a service provider operating a server, the server including an operating system and a plurality of application packages installed therein;
initiating a client terminal by performing a network booting process using the operating system installed in the server; and
executing in the client terminal a subscribed application package installed in the server using resources of the operating system resident in the client terminal.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the services comprise licenses to use the operating system and the application packages installed in the server.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the services comprise rights to use a storage unit of the server for storing user data in the storage unit.
4. The method of claim 3, further comprising saving, into the storage unit, a data file generated from executing the subscribed application package.
5. The method of claim 3, further comprising retrieving, from the storage unit, a data file previously generated in the executed subscribed application package.
6. The method of claim 3, wherein the services comprise output services.
7. The method of claim 6, further comprising outputting the data file through an output unit of the server.
8. The method of claim 6, further comprising backing up the storage unit by storing the user data into a recording medium.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the network booting process comprises:
associating the client terminal with a communication network via an access point to communicate with the server of the service provider; and
initiating the client terminal using the operating system installed in the server, the operating system being subscribed by a user of the client terminal.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the access point comprises a wireless access point.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the communication network comprises a wireless communication network or an intranet.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
providing to the client terminal a list of application packages installed in the server, the list including application packages subscribed by a user; and
selecting from the list an application package to be executed on the client terminal.
13. The method of claim 12, further comprising updating the list of application packages by subscribing an additional application package or by unsubscribing a currently subscribed application package.
14. The method of claim 12, further comprising charging the user a fee according to the list of application packages the user subscribed and according to the operating system the user subscribed.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein charging the user comprises periodically billing the user.
16. A method, comprising:
initiating a client terminal using an operating system installed in a server, the client terminal accessing the server through a communication network via an access point;
providing to the client terminal a list of subscribed application packages, the subscribed application packages being installed in the server;
selecting an application package from the list;
executing the selected application package on the client terminal using resources of the operating system resident in the client terminal; and
charging the user of the client terminal a fee by the service provider according to the list of application packages the user subscribed.
17. The method of claim 16, further comprising updating the list of application packages by subscribing an additional application package or by unsubscribing a currently subscribed application package.
18. A system, comprising:
means for initiating a client terminal using an operating system installed in a server, the client terminal accessing the server through a communication network via an access point;
means for providing to the client terminal a list of subscribed application packages, the subscribed application packages being installed in the server;
means for selecting an application package from the list;
means for executing the selected application package on the client terminal using resources of the operating system resident in the client terminal; and
means for charging the user of the client terminal a fee by the service provider according to the list of application packages the user subscribed.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising means for updating the list of application packages by subscribing an additional application package or by unsubscribing a currently subscribed application package.
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