Instead of running all your web apps in the browser, Prism lets you run them in their own window just like normal applications. A single faulty app or web page can no longer take down everything you are working on.
Looks like it may soon be time to eat my hat...
After summarily dismissing Jolicloud for "bringing the stupidity of web apps to Linux netbooks", I've come to realize that there is, in fact, value in the technology behind said apps.
But I'm getting ahead of myself... Prism is a means by which browser bookmarks -- er, web applications can be run as separate, distraction-free instances of the Firefox browser, without any extra added nonsense like tabs, plug-ins or even an address bar.
In my first run-in with Prism I came down pretty hard on it -- mostly because without my favourite Firefox ad-blocking plug-in it revealed to me the web as most users see it, in all its tarted-up glory.
Because Prism bookmarks (sorry) apps strip away all the navigational elements required in your typical web browser, you have almost the entire height of your screen available for the content you want to see -- and on a 9-inch netbook screen that makes a big difference.
So to Jolicloud and Prism, my apologies... I get you now. There's still the matter of the Jolicloud Installer vs. the possibly redundant Synaptic Package Manager -- but I too often forget that this distro is an alpha release -- it's that slick...!