My approach was to combine webservices, including phidgets, at a higher level.
I think I just made a zeroconf (bonjour) browser into an operating system.
Video here not emphisizing phidgets but including them:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OICdhxCAvsY&feature=plcp
please excuse my stammering.
The key to making this work for anything but an http web site (which all the beaglebone single board computer people seem to be doing) is for OEMs to provide a phidget like library to link with. So you don't have to worry about all the various IP protocols. You work with APIs. Brilliant!
I have no idea if this is practical. Just solving a problem I'm having.