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Google Announces Chrome OS, For Release Mid-2010 1089

Posted by timothy
from the bring-on-the-shiny dept.
Zaiff Urgulbunger writes "After years of speculation, Google has announced Google Chrome OS, which should be available mid-2010. Initially targeting netbooks, its main selling points are speed, simplicity and security — which kind of implies that the current No.1 OS doesn't deliver in these areas! The Chrome OS will run on both x86 and ARM architectures, uses a Linux kernel with a new windowing system. According to Google, 'For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.' Google says that this new OS is separate from Android, as the latter was designed for mobile phones and set-top boxes, whereas Chrome OS is designed 'for people who spend most of their time on the web.'" The New York Times' coverage is worth reading, and there are stories popping up all over the web.
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Google Announces Chrome OS, For Release Mid-2010

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  • Uh huh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#28619927)
    That's GNU/Chrome, thanks.
  • by bheer (633842) <rbheer AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#28619929)

    This is excellent news, because a commercial vendor with *lots* of clout will - finally! - push Linux to OEMs. Like Android, they really want to go after the OEM market with this one. Don't be fooled by the "it's mainly for web browsing" spin - You might not run AutoCAD or Photoshop yet (or ever) on it, but apps (especially HTML5 enabled apps) for home users will follow, targeting the XP/Vista Home Edition user types. And this would be sweet for corporate desktop deployments -- no virus hassles, little to update, most stuff stored on the server (assuming they get offline support sorted out well, of course).

    Fingers crossed that Google's "Linux" will have more polish than what's there in distros so far. Microsoft "love our licensing or leave" and Linux distros "we're open source so live with the flaws" will then both be on notice.

    Interestingly, Chrome OS is apparently a bare-bones Linux + a "new windowing system" + the Chrome browser.

    I can't wait to see what the new windowing system is. I'd really like to see some innovation there, much like OSX created an amazing GUI layer on top what is essentially Mach/BSD. The challenge to Microsoft aside, this will be a wake-up call to Gnome/KDE. The good news is, because this ought to be open source, the OSS community can really get behind this and improve other products.

    And oh, anyone else notice the irony that the Chrome _browser_ for Linux seems largely like an afterthought right now? Still, way to go, Google.

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:38AM (#28620183)

      I can't wait to see what the new windowing system is.

      You and me both, but I'm a little confused. What do they mean by "windowing system"? Are they doing a rewrite of X11, or do they mean they are designing new window decorations and widgets (e.g. gtk or qt), or do they mean the whole desktop environment (e.g., kde, gnome)?

      If it's a replacement for X11, why are they doing that? I could see that maybe X11 has too much legacy code and really isn't designed to be the most efficient for a single screen laptop where you don't need an X windows server per se, but on the other hand, I can't imagine that they are going to need something that can outperform X11 for gpu intensive applications like gaming development. I'd love to be wrong about that last bit though. Whatever they mean by it though, it'll be nice to see.

      • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:00AM (#28620477)
        I really don't think they will replace X11. It's a stable and effective windowing system, and it also consumes low amount of resources (my N800 also runs one perfectly fine, and that's a 400MHz ARM with no GPU). It is also really powerful on appropriate hardware (with wine I can perfectly well play games of the newest generation without speed penalties). X11 is also quite uniform between Linux platforms. It also just provides the bare minimum to communicate with the hardware and display graphic primitives on the screen. The problem with X11 is that it is a very old design and an extreme pain to develop with directly because of the API 'aesthetics'.. but it would be much much harder to replace it with something from scratch. My guess is that Google will go on top of X11 and write a window manager (program that manages running windows, adds decorations, bars, icons etc..). Then tightly integrates this with their browser. Well, let's see what happens.
      • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @10:01AM (#28621505)

        Well, these are myths about X. First X does not have "Legacy" code. Code is not like milk where it goes sour after a certain amount of time. Code that is decades can still be perfectly good and in fact newer attempts to implement the same things implementing by older code can actually result in buggier code of poorer quality. X is actually pretty efficient and does not use a lot of memory compared to other GUIs. The core X engines probably use somewhere in the area of a few megabytes.

        X also has an extension mechanism where the protocol can be extended to keep up with new features and developments. X is a pretty capable system, and keeps up with all of the most recent needs of GUIs. It also has assured backwards compatability and has become sort of an API standard, so you could always count on an X application running on any X server without having to worry about compatability issues. The network transparent design allows for things that are unthinkable on windows, like running programs on one computer and displaying to another, and displaying programs from several user to one X server, etc.

    • by wisty (1335733) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:38AM (#28620191)

      Doesn't this sound a lot like iPhone 1.0, when SJ told developers to use "Safari" as the app framework?

      Still, I guess nobody does web dev like google.

    • by jipn4 (1367823) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:47AM (#28620315)

      I'd really like to see some innovation there, much like OSX created an amazing GUI layer on top what is essentially Mach/BSD

      The OS X GUI layer is essentially NeXTStep on a revised Display Postscript. It's slower and more resource intensive than X11, its graphics is targeted primarily at desktop usage. Where is the innovation?

      X11 has been innovative from its inception, and it continues to be amazingly innovative today. For example, the kinds of visual effects Compiz delivers effortlessly and cleanly are much harder to achieve in OS X.

      this will be a wake-up call to Gnome/KDE

      What exactly do you think will be the "wake-up call"? Both Gnome and KDE have non-X11 backends, but people don't use them because there really is no benefit associated with getting rid of X11.

      A non-X11 backend may make sense for Chrome OS because Chrome OS probably needs less functionality than X11 provides and it makes writing drivers easier. But in terms of innovation and functionality, X11 is second to none.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by agentultra (1090039)

        But in terms of innovation and functionality, X11 is second to none.

        Amen.

        It does have it's own challenges (being somewhat difficult to configure on its own for non-technical users), but the flexibility it affords is awesome.

        ... and it's a server too! Maybe if we'd spent the last 15 years working on a standard X11-like network protocol instead of hacking stateless application GUIs out of scripted marked-up text, we'd have a more useful Internet than we do now. But I digress.

        Loves me X, I do! :)

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:23AM (#28620837) Homepage

      If Chrome OS is essentially a thin client OS build around a webbrowser... how is it any better than any other operating system?
      Does it offer anything to make the web experience better than using Firefox on Linux or the Chrome browser on WinXP?

    • by rho (6063) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:34AM (#28621017) Homepage Journal

      Interestingly, Chrome OS is apparently a bare-bones Linux + a "new windowing system" + the Chrome browser.

      The only thing that interests me is how ebullient people are about something that they know nothing about, simply because it's got Google's name on it.

      As Ted Dziuba put it, Google's very good at selling ads. Supporting actual customers? Not so much.

    • by gentlemen_loser (817960) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:48AM (#28621303) Homepage
      Don't be fooled by the "it's mainly for web browsing spin"? It seemed pretty clear to me. Google's direction all along has been to move applications from the desktop to the web (which in many cases, in my opinion, is a stupid idea).

      Google actually states: 'For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.'

      Their comments about giving developers the largest user base of any platform are complete bullshit. Web developers already have that user base and not every application should be ported to run in a browser. At first, I cringed a little when I heard that they were getting pulled into an anti-trust investigation. Now I feel better about it. I have always had an uneasy feeling about an advertising company being able to gather and broker as much information about someone as they do. For Christ's sake, they archive, search, and use your EMAIL to develop more targeted ads. The idea that my entire OS could/would gather everything it could on me scares the crap out of me.

      I realize I am sort of rambling, but I have two main points:
      1) Not every app belongs on the web. In fact, most do not.
      2) I am not comfortable with an advertising company being so in control of all of our private data. An earlier commenter pointed out what a big "win" this would be for corporations looking to deploy thin clients. How much of a "win" will it be to have Google searching, indexing, and archiving all of your company's sensitive documentation, all in the name of building better advertisements?
  • by A12m0v (1315511) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:17AM (#28619941) Journal

    There is no mention of X anywhere, and hopefully there will be no X.

    *fingers crossed*

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SpooForBrains (771537)

      Re Ken Thompson's quote ... I'd LOVE to see what KDE and GNOME could give me without X present. It's very strange, I removed them from my machine, and none of my desktop environments would run! What's up with that?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mad Merlin (837387)

      You seem to be one of those people that irrationally hate X without any good reason. Care to elaborate?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:07AM (#28620569) Journal

      How to spot the people who have never done any graphics programming below the level of a high-level widget toolkit: They complain about X11 yet, somehow, never specify what is wrong with it, or if they do then it's with quotes from The UNIX Haters' Handbook which haven't been relevant for 15 years, or by citing a post by the author of Quartz, which hasn't been relevant for 5-10 years. A modern X11 implementation gives you:

      • OS-independent remote display (e.g. show a GUI on a Windows machine or a Mac from your *NIX netbook).
      • Backwards compatibility with apps written in the '80s.
      • Off-screen rendering and caching.
      • Accelerated compositing (e.g. for fast antialiased text drawing and for translucency effects).
      • Fast partial-redraws of windows (very important when compositing over a network).
      • Good OpenGL integration (including network transparency).
      • A standard mechanism for adding extensions, so new features can be added without breaking backwards compatibility (most of the features of X11 that you use today are implemented as extensions).

      The only serious improvement I've seen suggested over the X model is to provide a vector scene-graph API so that you can store the entire sequence of drawing commands in things like OpenGL vertex arrays in the GPU's memory. While this is a nice idea, it would require a radical redesign of all existing GUI toolkits and applications to be used to its full capability.

      • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:19PM (#28626931) Journal

        Oh my god, dude. Do not read the documentation on the modern WDDM... it will break your heart. You're like a child whose puppy died at the vet and no one has broken the news to you... you're still.. just thinking that he lives on a farm somewhere.

        I can't believe you think these features are advanced enough to brag about.

        Do yourself a favor and boot up Windows on your box and watch a video... enjoy the effortless sound support, and smooth video acceleration. Or activate DWM and move your windows around, watch them not tear... watch the compositing layer not crash. Start up a game and be entranced by what modern graphics hardware is capable of!

        Why, you've just listed off a bunch of really basic implementations of hardware acceleration, really life support for X to make it not seem ancient, and yet they're just words. When it all comes down to it, it underperforms in almost any metric of display performance... you can't port games to it, you can't easily accelerate flash on it. It's the reason JavaFX came out on Windows and Mac first, despite the fact that Sun is a major UNIX vendor.

        What else is there to say that hasn't been said? It's still constrained through the filesystem socket layer... so you'll always be making more syscalls when performing basic drawing commands. DRI is not broad or extensible enough to take advantage of advanced features on modern graphics hardware, and DRM is fundamentally flawed. It will have to be redesigned if you are ever to get the entirety of OpenGL working.

        If you think X is "impressive" because you are able to fire cryptic commands into the CLI and get windows to pop up on different machines, then you need to stay away from discussions on linux for the destkop and restrain yourself. Your corner case is irrelevant on modern hardware, it's difficult to use, and it's people like you who are keeping UNIX from ever having modern display capabilities with your antiquarian usage habits and loud activism thereof. Just keep using X and let regular users have an at least comparable or competitive display system on the linux platform. Let go!

  • Native Client (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fzz (153115) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:19AM (#28619951)
    I wonder if they have Google Native Client [google.com] in mind when they say they're going to re-engineer security from the ground up? Very cool technology.
  • by mc moss (1163007) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:19AM (#28619957)

    Buying stocks in companies that make chairs.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:20AM (#28619965)

    its main selling points are speed, simplicity and security -- which kind of implies that the current No.1 OS doesn't deliver in these areas!

    Chrome OS focusing on speed, simplicity and security does not imply Windows cannot deliver in these areas. It's just an alternative operating system, and has yet to prove itself. The summary sound rather, well, dumb.

    • Chrome OS focusing on speed, simplicity and security does not imply Windows cannot deliver in these areas. It's just a still non existent operating system, and has yet to show anything other than a blog post [blogspot.com] about its future. The summary sound rather, well, dumb.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@ ... Dl.com minus bsd> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:33AM (#28620123) Homepage Journal

      Chrome OS focusing on speed, simplicity and security does not imply Windows cannot deliver in these areas. It's just an alternative operating system, and has yet to prove itself. The summary sound rather, well, dumb.

      Oh, don't beat around the bush. I'll come right out and say it. I think Windows 7 is fast, safe, and simple to use. I have Vista, Win7 and Ubuntu 8 on my machine, each with its own drive, and while Vista is a tad bit better than Ubuntu, Win7 runs rings around both, and is easier to use than either. I do not think I have enjoyed using Windows this much since NT first got the Win95 shell.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fred_A (10934) <fredNO@SPAMfredshome.org> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:37AM (#28621059) Homepage

      its main selling points are speed, simplicity and security

      - Our chief selling point is speed... speed and security. Our two selling points are speed and security. And simplicity. Our *three* selling points are speed, simplicity and security... and openness...
      Our *four*, no, *Amongst* our selling points are such diverse elements as, speed, simplicity...
      Wait, I'll do this again. (exits)

      - I didn't expect yet another Google Beta

  • Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chord.wav (599850) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:22AM (#28619981) Journal
    I wouldn't run an OS from a company who's business is knowing your consumer preferences, but suit for yourself. I'm sure there's a positive side of this story too, but I let that to another user.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm sure there's a positive side of this story too, but I let that to another user.

      I'm looking forward to leaked Microsoft emails about deliveries of fresh pants to Ballmer's office.

  • by deadbeefcafe (1371017) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:22AM (#28619995)
    Chrome is a nice operating system, but it could do with a decent web browser.
  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:26AM (#28620039) Journal

    The web is not the OS. The web is...the web. I do NOT want everything to be a goddamn web app. Web apps work very well for certain applications, and Google has shown that they can push the limits with dynamic content, but that does not mean the web application is an appropriate model for every damned application. I don't like the Chrome browser and I don't need an OS named Chrome that is actually Linux with a lame web browser bolted on as the front end. Google does search very well, but I've hated most of their other stuff. (Google Earth is one exception) I expect no different from this.

    • by bgarcia (33222) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:32AM (#28620107) Homepage Journal
      You forgot to tell us to "get off your lawn".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VJ42 (860241) *

      I don't like the Chrome browser and I don't need an OS named Chrome that is actually Linux with a lame web browser bolted on as the front end.

      So then don't use it.

    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:04AM (#28620521)

      The web is not the OS. The web is...the web.

      The web isn't what it used to be. The days when the web was mostly a collection of static pages are long gone. The web is dynamic, interactive, and user-driven. The web is email, ftp, live video, instant messaging, word processing, photo galleries, forums, flash, games, television... You get the idea.

      I do NOT want everything to be a goddamn web app.

      I'm not certain that's really something you get a choice in.

      Web apps work very well for certain applications, and Google has shown that they can push the limits with dynamic content, but that does not mean the web application is an appropriate model for every damned application.

      Technology grows, changes, advances - this is especially true in IT. If you go back a dozen years or so there was no way in hell you'd be able to run a word processor through a web page. Just plain was not going to happen. Now we've got Google Docs, which has some issues, but mostly works.

      These days it seems absurd to talk about running Photoshop or AutoCAD through a web browser... But in another dozen years it may make perfect sense.

      I don't like the Chrome browser and I don't need an OS named Chrome that is actually Linux with a lame web browser bolted on as the front end.

      Would you feel better if it was Apple announcing the Safari OS? Or Mozilla announcing the Firefox OS? Or Microsoft announcing the Internet Explorer OS?

      Google does search very well, but I've hated most of their other stuff. (Google Earth is one exception) I expect no different from this.

      Other people, obviously, disagree.

      I'm not a big fan of Google Earth. It doesn't seem to have much of a point to me. I do enjoy Gmail though, and I make use Google Docs from time to time. Enough people out there are unimpressed with Google's search to keep folks like Yahoo and Ask in business.

      The fact of the matter is that an awful lot of work is done through a web UI these days. And if you can replace a full-blown computer with some kind of thin client you can, potentially, save a lot of time and money on maintenance. This is just a web-based thin client, nothing more or less.

      And if Google sees success with its Chrome OS you can certainly expect to see competition appear. There's nothing preventing you from rolling out your own Linux+Firefox/Opera/whatever thin client.

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:17AM (#28620749)

      The web is not the OS, but for a product aimed first at netbooks, the web is more important than for a product aimed at stand alone PCs.

      The web is not the OS. but the less a person plans on running workware, bulk data storage, or games, the more the web apps are all that they need.

    • by agentultra (1090039) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:24AM (#28620857)

      The web is not the OS. The web is...the web. I do NOT want everything to be a goddamn web app. Web apps work very well for certain applications, and Google has shown that they can push the limits with dynamic content, but that does not mean the web application is an appropriate model for every damned application. I don't like the Chrome browser and I don't need an OS named Chrome that is actually Linux with a lame web browser bolted on as the front end. Google does search very well, but I've hated most of their other stuff. (Google Earth is one exception) I expect no different from this.

      But.. but... I don't know how to program anything else! The web is the future! FUTURE!

      In all seriousness, I basically feel exactly the same way. I've been building 'web applications' for companies for years because that's all they're hiring people for. It sometimes surprises me that it ever works at all. The sheer number of brittle components all hobbled together... there are so many weak points where something can go wrong. It just makes for one big headache after another. X11 is a server and has been delivering stateful GUIs across the network since the early nineties at least! It amazes me, the amount of technology we have today, and what we've chosen to do with it. It could have been so much more, but instead the worst possible solution won out the day... and now a whole generation of developers have no exposure to anything else.

      Is everyone seriously impressed that we're creating stateless GUIs to remote applications by scripting marked-up text inside increasingly bloated and resource-hogging third-party applications? Is this the future? Really?

      I'm with you on this one.

      • by Geof (153857) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:35PM (#28624051) Homepage

        Back when telephones were new, no-one quite knew what they were for. One company came up with a music service. This was before radio, so the idea of piping music to your home was radical. This may seem absurd to us now, but it isn't: radio went the other way. It is entirely possible that we could have built a world where we listened to high-fidelity music by phone, and spoke to our friends by radio. Even in the early 20th century the phone companies didn't get it: they ran campaigns trying dissuade housewives from chatting over the phone, believing that the technology was for Important business use (a few brief, high-cost calls instead of lots of cheap long ones).

        I remember when people though computers were giant calculators. Then the computer became personal: it could do your books, teach the kids arithmetic, and keep track of your recipes. (Though why anyone you would want to keep their recipes in a computer was never clear). The hardware companies tried to sell to everyone, but they weren't quite sure how to do it: the truth is, most people had no real need for a computer.

        Computer technology isn't personal anymore. It's social. The PC is a phone, not a calculator. That's why everyone needs one. That's what driving development of the technology. Ours is not the only possible path: computers could have remained high-cost devices for use by individuals to produce things or do business. But that was the path not taken. This changes what computers are.

        To you, desktop applications may seem superior on the basis of their technical merits. Fair enough. Hollywood seems to see computers and the net as a new broadcast medium, like television, for which the current infrastructure has significant technical failings (privacy, QoS). In their case I hope their vision is never realized. But for many people, these visions are irrelevant. No matter the quality or polish of the applications, no matter the convenience of video-on-demand, for them the technology is technically inferior if it does not fully support communication and social activity. For them - and for me - the cobbled together infrastructure of the Web is far superior - technically superior - because for us it is above all a medium for communication.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:26AM (#28620045) Journal

    "All Web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite Web technologies," the company said.

    Depends on your definition of "automatically". From what I hear, there is this little prerequisite called "internet access".

     
    Also, while it appears that many are finding the news of the new Google Chrome Linux OS a cause to celebrate, I would advise quiet optimism at best.
    They are yet to release Chrome for anything other than Windows.

    A complete Chrome OS may still be somewhere in the (rather) far future.

  • I wonder if Google will allow native development on Chrome OS? It should be easier to write for than Linux itself is. First off, they have their own windowing system, and that probably means they have done something with sound as well. I wonder if the windowing system is based on a drawing stack that is hardware accelerated? I wonder if you will be able to print?

    I really hope they don't force you into writing in Java for it.

    And I wonder if they will offer Chrome OS as a VM type of solution that you can buy for Windows?

  • by KE1LR (206175) <ken.hoover@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:35AM (#28620139) Homepage
    How is this going to be different from other Linux distros and associated GUI revamp projects that have sprung up promising "we're going to be better than Windows! Really!" over the years?
  • by thijsh (910751) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:35AM (#28620149) Journal

    Computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them.

    They are trying to fill a niche of an OS that boots fast and is basically just a browser. This OS will have a desktop with some online favourites... and that might be just what you need on a NETbook..!
    Gmail already looks like a standalone app on Windows with Google Chrome and Offline enabled, you get a nice icon on the desktop. And when you click it it loads in a second, instead of the several minutes my Outlook used to take to even be barely useable. The choice is clear, sluggish native apps are becoming obsolete, and lightweight online apps are becoming more and more reliable. And when you only use these kind of netapps, why bother installing a bloated OS. This might just be the next revolution in the netbook industry.

    On a side note: I can't wait until a new OS finally achieves the startup times of the good old trusy Commodore 64. :-)

  • by MarkEst1973 (769601) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:39AM (#28620199)

    Deep pockets versus deeper pockets. Google's market cap is $125b and Microsoft's is $200b. Not long ago, the gap was larger. Falling PC sales have taken a bite out of Microsoft's revenue. They recently had their first down quarter in their history.

    Microsoft still makes 4X the money Google does, though. In 2008, Microsoft earned $17b in net income compared to Google's $4b. Now, $4b is nothing to dismiss, especially when you're using and writing entirely free and open source software, but still, if Google has deep pockets, Microsoft's are even deeper.

    See: MSFT [google.com] and GOOG [google.com]

    .

    Google is probably the only company in the world that can generate excitement about a new OS, and making an open platform will encourage software developers to write apps for it. Hasn't that been one of the big complaints, the lack of software for Linux?

    Many have tried taking down Microsoft. All have failed. Perhaps Google is finally the David to slay Microsoft's Goliath. Perhaps not. Exciting times, these are.

  • by yossarianuk (1402187) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:42AM (#28620225)
    I'm amazed at the amount of negative responses from Linux fans... This is what we have all been waiting for - isn't it ??

    No matter how scary google's power is the main things are that:-

    1) They are using Linux
    2) They WILL make deals with computer manufacturers to get the OS preinstalled.
    3) They will opensource the code

    The only people who should fear this O.S is MS and existing Linux distros - although the competation and the opensourcing of the code will benifit the entire community.

    I'm sure MS will still be the best at saying 'Have a nice day' and flipping CD's.
  • by jabjoe (1042100) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:52AM (#28620375)
    This is a Linux distro that can't run any non-google-SDK software. No X server wipes out being able to run most of the GUI software in the ecosystem. You locked to google. Why would I want this? Technical Linux people aren't going to want it. Normal users won't dare install any thing called an operating system. And everyone, will want to be able to run the apps they want, not only google approved ones. All this pain just for browser? This seems to be built on the dream of a thin client that runs nothing but a browser and all software is web software. It's an old dream, the world only needs five real computers, etc etc. Thing is, we don't want to be controlled, never have. I want to run what I want, how I want thank you very much Mr mainframe. If I'm right about the web app stance, this is a stupid idea come up with by people who think they can see the future but aren't looking at the past. The best google could have done is done yet another standard Linux distro, with X in some form, so they can tap into the existing software ecosystem. They can quality control the software with a repository. That way they can take advantage of much of the existing Unix software. Then they can use their brand, and Linux speed, security, software base, etc etc, to make it big in the OS world.
    • by nloop (665733) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:55AM (#28621431)
      I think making Yet Another Linux Distro would be a death sentence for it. Who was the first to try that? Corel? Many have, all have failed. It would be relegated to the niche Ubuntu already has.

      The one company to really take a unixish kernel and succeed with it? Apple. Many of your arguments could have been made about OS X and the BSD kernel it is based on. I suspect this will be similarly non recognizable to the other OS's using its kernel, and probably have a similar port ability. Taking all the obvious unix-like parts out of it really is required to get your grandmother to use it on her netbook. Think about explaining /usr /lib /etc to grandma. It requires a complete rewrite.

      I also think this is going to take the concept of an "app store" to the desktop, which you could certainly argue against, but google is not going to pigeonhole the OS into only web apps. I'd bet body parts this will support Java and some form of native code.

      I think it will be an interesting blur between smartphone and laptop functionality, for netbooks. Them saying it is for netbooks is admitting it will not replace a full fledged OS, don't be afraid, other options will always be there. They aren't even aiming at replacing them.
    • No vision (Score:5, Interesting)

      by copponex (13876) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @10:09AM (#28621601) Homepage

      If it's open source and has a unified API, you're overlooking the fact that this is now real competition to Windows. Brand name? Check. R&D budget? Check. Third party support? Check. Linux kernel? Check. Imagine Canonical with billions of dollars.

      Hell, if it's actually a brand new WM this will probably take the top distro spot the day after release. Just providing developers with a consistent platform that requires the investment of one working computer and an internet connection is pretty appealing. Even if it sucks for Linux diehards, the competition will change the landscape for Microsoft and perhaps even Apple.

      Imagine an advertising campaign: "Is your computer broken? Just stop by your local Starbucks or Staples and pick up your free copy of Google OS. After making room on your hard drive, it will load a new and secure operating system that will allow you to browse the internet, play Solitaire, and write letters with it's included office suite. Once it's loaded, you'll have the option of recovering data and backing it up online for free so you'll never have to worry about data loss again."

      Yeah. Some eyebrows were just raised in Redmond and Cupertino.

  • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:07AM (#28620579)
    Speaking as a web developer, I think it sucks as a platform. HTML is not a very efficient way to generate output, supporting various DOM and Javascript implementations is a real pain and there are so many cases where a web application is not the best tool for the job.

    That being said, I certainly do believe it's the best way to deliver information and applications to our customers, but most of our internal business processes and applications would be better to do without.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:24AM (#28620861)
    Will it support Internet Explorer? Seriously this could be a propaganda coup for Microsoft. The layman who does not understand open source or the fact that Microsoft would be free to produce a version for explorer for any open OS . I can imagine some M$ lawyer saying "why do you complain about Windows coming bundled with explorer and not Chrome when you can't even run explorer in the Chrome OS".
  • OS == Browser (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:49AM (#28621325) Homepage

    For years, we have been hearing about how you don't even need an OS any longer, and how a browser is enough. There is a queue of usual objections to this idea:

    • Where are my files stored?
    • How do I edit documents
    • What if I don't have internet access where I am?
    • Web mail clients just aren't as good

    Well, for the first time, I believe that an internet-only OS is now possible. Most of these objections are dwindling. Peopel backup their files online anyway, so the fear of having someone else in control is going away. How many people have all their bills, passwords, etc. stored on a gmail server somewhere? 3G has made internet access almost ubiquitous, and web apps are getting a lot more sophisticated - enough that webmail is powerful enough for almost the most hard-core email users.

    This may actually work now, whereas, even 2 years ago this would have seemed absurd.

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