I am trying to understand SaaS (software as a service).

What are the different ways of delivering it? We all know using ssh -X $host we can run software on a remote computer.

Can this be considered SaaS?

  • 4
    SAAS is not a technical term, it's a marketing term. Don't look for a precise definition, because there isn't one. – Mike Baranczak Apr 7 '17 at 16:08
  • When you use your gmail account in a web browser, you're using SaaS. You didn't install gmail anywhere, you don't know which OS it needs to run, nor where are the servers or their capacity. It's all hidden from you, the user. You can install an email server at home, point a DNS server to your IP address, install patches, run security checks now and then, and finally send and receive some emails. Or you can log into your gmail account and just do it. – Machado Apr 7 '17 at 18:20
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    Some examples of SaaS: Gmail, SalesForce, Google Apps, MS Office 365, Adobe Creative Suite. Some of them are free, some of them are using a "rent as you use" model. The only question I have about this is if World of Warcraft can be considered SaaS. – Machado Apr 7 '17 at 18:25
  • @Machado so the point is everything about the software is abstracted(including installation,processing etc., only service is provided. This way we can say that ssh -X also belongs to SaaS? – SRIDHARAN Apr 8 '17 at 2:43
  • @Sridharan, I don't think so. Unless what you're selling is access to an SO. Usually SaaS is used in a higher level of abstraction than the SO, which means business applications, and not foundations ones. If you have access to the SO, than you can mess with the machine and not knowing anything about the machine or the SO your software is running is one of the key points of SaaS. So, to me, ssh -X cannot be considered SaaS. – Machado Apr 9 '17 at 11:32

Software as a service is a business model, not a technology.

From wikipedia:

'Software as a service' is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

The key point is that it is a way of selling the software. The technology used for actually providing the software remotely doesn't matter; it could be anything.

SSH -X could, in theory, be used to deliver the software in this model. It is a way of allowing software to be executed remotely. But this isn't typical. Most of the time SaaS refers to web applications.

  • Traditional hosting providers that sold shared hosting with a limited SSH access did a very similar thing. Various VCS providers, e.g. GitHub, also sell limited ssh access as a part of their offering; it's used to contact the VCS on their servers. X is just not a convenient application delivery protocol: it's from 1980s, and is now supplanted by HTML/JS for GUI applications. The ssh part is fine, though. – 9000 Apr 7 '17 at 17:15
  • You are saying it is not convenient!! but it can be considered as SaaS? – SRIDHARAN Apr 7 '17 at 18:39

SaaS is a business term for the delivery of software. "Service" here is being used in the business sense (plumbing service, roof repair service) rather than in the technical sense (HTTP service, SSH service).

To directly answer your question, you could charge a fee for someone to access an X11 host (to which someone could connect to via ssh -X). You could then say that you were running a SaaS business.

  • Which characteristic makes you to say that ssh -X can be considered as SaaS? – SRIDHARAN Apr 7 '17 at 16:22
  • @Sridharan As I explained, it would be the characteristic wherein you charge a fee for connecting to the host. ssh -X itself is a command, so your exact question does not compute. – DaveGauer Apr 10 '17 at 15:18

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