Re: A Ubiquitous Weapon for Mass Distraction and Destruction and Disruptive Creation?
The modern day OS, to all intents and purposes, is the traffic cop between CPU, memory & I/O and applications. An easier way of looking at it is that the OS is in charge of the hardware's on/off switch. The OS can contain code to turn the machine off, user-space can't. Browsers run in user space q.e.d.
Note that it doesn't matter one whit what the guest OS or application "thinks", what matters is the reality of hardware ownership.
An operating system living in a virtual machine is just that, virtual, not a real machine. It is not in actual control of the hardware that it is running on, therefore it is not a full OS, it's just a virtual OS. Note that browsers run on virtual OSes, not in lieu of them.
And yes, I am aware of Intel's Management Engine and AMD's Platform Security Processor, but unlike the OS vs. Application dividing line, the OS vs. ME/PSP is dancing on the head of a pin territory. Besides, both of those technically have their own CPU core that they are in charge of, with hooks onto the main system bus of the host computer. I look at them as parasites more than anything else.
 Indeed, the point of good virtualization is ensuring that the OS+Application doesn't even notice that is, in fact, virtualized ... to the point of the OS thinking it is capable of turning off it's virtualized hardware. It's still just a virtual OS when running on that machine, in that manner. Without specifying context, these conversations are meaningless. The devil is truly in the details.