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Google Releases Source To Chromium OS 664

Posted by timothy
from the it-dons-the-thick-skin dept.
Kelson writes "Google has released the source to what will eventually become Chrome OS, and will begin developing it as an open source project like Chromium. The OS differs from the usual computing model by (1) making all apps web apps (2) sandboxing everything and (3) removing anything unnecessary, to focus on speed." Reader Barence adds "Google said consumers won't be able to download the operating system — it will only be available on hardware that meets Google's specifications. Hard disks are banned, for instance, while Google said it will also specify factors such as screen sizes and display resolutions. Google said it plans to officially launch Chrome OS by the end of next year."
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Google Releases Source To Chromium OS

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  • Looks pretty shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:05PM (#30162218)
    I think most people will stick with Windows and proper GNU/Linux netbooks.
    • by awitod (453754) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:09PM (#30162300)

      Whoever modded you offtopic must really like Google.
      I have to agree.
      It seems they are getting a lot of press for a pretty underwhelming idea - a browser with direct access to the underlying hardware. wow

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:19PM (#30162462)
      But this will be useful in some cases (3rd world education, your grandparents, etc) where all your need are webapps, like Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Not everyone needs a full blown OS and the hardware costs associated with it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by godrik (1287354)

        I think I had a knoppix which did exactly : "boot and launch firefox". I don't see the point of developping an full OS when configuring a linux distributin might be enough.

      • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:32PM (#30162724) Homepage Journal

        A hardware vendor can already put a tiny installation of Linux + X11 + Firefox or Chrome on small flash drive. Why make a new OS?

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:41PM (#30162850)

        Does the 3rd world really have always-on mobile internet with unlimited data, such that all apps being webapps is a good idea?

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:43PM (#30162896) Journal

        But this will be useful in some cases (3rd world education, your grandparents, etc) where all your need are webapps, like Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Not everyone needs a full blown OS and the hardware costs associated with it.

        Which 3rd world country has the internet infrastructure to support web apps?
        Most of the time they're lucky to have text books, much less computers.

      • Hardware for a ~40-80GB disk is cheap. Not being able to access you music collection or photos or important documents when your ISP or the server is down is a royal pain in the arse. I'm all for this new fangled "cloud" thingy, but where possible I make sure I have a local copy - even on my android phone.

        Do not want

    • by should_be_linear (779431) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:21PM (#30162502)
      Yeah, because what Joe Sixpack needs is Antivirus, endless straem of updates, burning backups of mail and documents and restoring it later, and rest of that shit.
    • Re:Looks pretty shit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ChatHuant (801522) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:15PM (#30164736)

      I think most people will stick with Windows and proper GNU/Linux netbooks

      Yeah, this sounds to me like just another try at the failed Internet appliance [wikipedia.org] idea. Didn't work then, and I doubt it'll work now. With a netbook you should be able to run everything Chrome has (as long as you have a browser and a network connection), plus a huge variety of other stuff. For example, on planes I carry a netbook with a few movies and a lot of music; will I be able to use a Chrome device for that?

      Maybe if the price were significantly better, I might consider one of those things, but again I don't see how. Netbooks are cheap enough as is, and I don't believe manufacturers will be able to save much on Chrome OS devices.

  • ... to divers attention away from their Androids platform. When google merging voice, blog, mail, video, and talk all into wave, it will become the real OS.
  • Okay.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) *

    Hard disks are banned

    So what, does my computer boot up to magic, or are they building a BIOS or LiveCD specific to Chrome?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by windex82 (696915)

      Something solid state would be my guess. It makes sense to refer to the new solid state drives as a "hard drive" since that is what its replacing but I feel the term "hard drive" is being used to refer to the drives that use platters and other mechanics.

      Hard Disk Drive = HDD = Platters
      Solid State Drive = SDD = Not mechanical.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mea37 (1201159)

        I suppose "they're being word-weasles" is one guess.

        Combining the "no hard drives" rule with the "every app is a web app" rule, I'm more inclined to think they really do mean "no local random-access persistant mass storage devices"; they want this to be a client for their cloud services.

    • Re:Okay.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dark_requiem (806308) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:21PM (#30162498)

      So what, does my computer boot up to magic, or are they building a BIOS or LiveCD specific to Chrome?

      FTFA:

      All applications will be web apps, all data will be stored in the cloud and the operating system will be booted from Flash - no hard disks will be supported.

      Boots from flash, be it built-in or external (think SD card), presumably. I'm sure someone will come up with a live CD/PXE boot eventually, though. Plus, it's an open source OS, so someone will eventually hack in standard SATA drivers and the like, if Google refuses to provide them.

  • Sounds dumb to me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:07PM (#30162264)

    So basically it sounds like everything will be stored on Google's servers in some way to me. So everything I do they will know.

    I don't like it I like to control things that are mine!

  • Um, Thanks But No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lenwood (930461) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:07PM (#30162272) Homepage
    Everything runs in the cloud? Hard disks are banned? Wow, they are aggressively pursuing their thirst for all of the world's data. No thank you.
  • Of course, if they keep releasing the source it may not stay limited.
    I wonder if this is going to stay a genuine Open Source OS or if Google will pull an Apple and gradually go back on the openness.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:08PM (#30162280) Homepage

    it will only be available on hardware that meets Google's specifications. Hard disks are banned, for instance, while Google said it will also specify factors such as screen sizes and display resolutions

    How do we reconcile this with slamming Apple for trying to maintain 100% control over the OS/hardware combo?

    Norman ... coordinate.

    Cheers

    • by chill (34294) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:31PM (#30162698) Journal

      Help me out. Where can I download the source code to OS X and all the software components for a working Mac? Sure, I can buy Apple's official version of the OS on their official hardware, but where can I install it on my OWN hardware because I have the source?

      Apple is a bunch of tight assed control freaks. They build good stuff, but you must run it THEIR way on THEIR systems.

      Google builds good stuff, and they sell it on their systems or partners' systems, and you can STILL run in on anything you can make it work on, since they provide the source code.

      So, yes -- Google good, Apple bad.

      • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:26PM (#30163788)

        Not precisely. By their deeds you shall know them.

        So far Google has usually been fair, and often good. Apple has usually had quality hardware, and often quality software.

        But please remember that Google has wrangled a monopoly on the scanning and supplying of out of print books. It's got a few limitations, but it's basically a monopoly. This is evil in and of itself, and contains the potential for a lot more evil.

        So you can't count on Google to "Do no evil". A slogan isn't a business plan, and Google is a corporation. Also remember that even if you trust today's management (and they appear almost trustworthy), you don't know who their successors will be.

        I think I'll give Chromium a skip for now, until things clarify. That's a pretty strange mixture of Open and Closed they're offering, and I'm just going to keep my distance until matters clarify. (I'd say it again a different way, but the redundancy might start getting too repetitious.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Help me out. Where can I download the source code to OS X and all the software components for a working Mac?

        Here [apple.com] you go. There used to be a buch of people who built a full functioning OS [huihoo.com] out of the source but they had little success because whingers like you don't really care about the source, only about bashing Apple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        http://www.opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

        I think you can download the core of their operating system. Google has said released under opensource. It has said nothing about using the GPL. They could use Apache or some derivative there of and still be "opensource", but it won't be ChromeOS unless on their approved hardware.

        We have a client that was using a web based POS and moving back to one that runs on their local lan. Why? If they lost their internet for any reason, they're business is dead in the water. The

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wile_e8 (958263)

      How do we reconcile this with slamming Apple for trying to maintain 100% control over the OS/hardware combo?

      Easily. These are just hardware requirements, no one is trying force you to run it on an approved version of the hardware. If you can build hardware that fits the requirements, you can run it.

  • restrictions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric Smith (4379) <eric@brouTWAINhaha.com minus author> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:08PM (#30162282) Homepage Journal
    If it's open source, the only enforcement they'll have over things like hard drives being banned, screen size restrictions, only web apps, etc. will be control of their trademarks. If Chrome offers something sufficiently compelling that people want to run it on "noncompliant" hardware, or run non-web-apps, they will fork it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff (120817)

      They mention to keep it secure, every part of the OS, from the firmware, to the kernel, to the apps will be signed. (to make it impossible to inject code or modules) They can keep their own keys, and just open source the code. Then, you could fork, and make a Firefox OS or whatever, but you will not have the keys to change the official ChromeOS.

      But the key will be the custom firmware, that can be signed, and required to boot the signed kernel. That would give them a secure way of ensuring that only certain

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aggrajag (716041)

      I watched the webcast and they (Google dudes) were actually encouraging forking and
      gave some Chrome fork as an example.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:08PM (#30162286)

    The OS differs from the usual computing model by (1) making all apps web apps [...]

    Well, I guess we were overdue for another well-funded attempt to flog the dead horse of thin clients again. I'd read the press release to see how many lines I have to scan before the first appearance of the word "convergence", but I feel too overwhelmed by indifference...

    • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:39PM (#30162840)

      It's going to be a synergenic revitalization of the optimum dynastic capitalization for interconnected dynamics in the convergent subsidiaries of virtual datacenter alligories.

    • by 222 (551054) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {rekeesmrots}> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:46PM (#30162948) Homepage
      Thin clients are fantastic. I run Citrix across 5 sites and it's godsend. They rarely fail and everything being centralized makes my job a lot easier.
      • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:53PM (#30163086)

        Yes, but your users probably hate them if they have to do any kind of real work on them. That is, anything that can't be done in a web browser at least.

        Go out and take a walk and ask people if they miss having a real PC. I bet they do. If they don't now, they will when the capacity for your servers approaches 80%, and then management will be unwilling to invest in more infrastructure. Then it will all fall apart when you exceed capacity and the number of complaints by users forces management to reinvest... in new desktop PCs.

  • I wonder if this is doomed to become a niche operating system that doesn't even scratch the surface of the market. Preventing your most enthusiastic linux base from trying out your software unless they purchase a new computer will prevent a large majority of people from playing with Chrome. The main thing I'm afraid of is that we're brewing a new Apple. At least they're not going for the single mouse button (yet).

    • Re:That's weird (Score:4, Insightful)

      by not already in use (972294) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:17PM (#30162438)

      enthusiastic linux base

      Something tells me that's the exact opposite of what they're going for. You're delusional in thinking that Linux users have that much weight to throw around in the netbook market. This is the type of thing Jane doe will buy and enjoy it because it runs facebook just fine on cheap, energy efficient, small form factor hardware.

  • This looks a bit like the OS used on the litl webbooks [ometer.com]. It's an interesting idea, to choose a specific niche with specific constraints, and really target it. I'm still unsure whether this precise niche (almost-always online, only apps that can be delivered via the browser) is a large enough niche to be useful.

  • by loftwyr (36717) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:13PM (#30162372)

    This is the infamous network appliance made real. The OS is a simplified kernel with a specific set of supported hardware with a simple interface and no on-system storage for data. All apps and settings are "in the cloud" i.e., on google's servers.

    For likely 90% of home users, this will be perfect. A relatively dumb device that only runs a web browser to use web apps (googles or anyone else's provided their signed by google) to do their work.

    It takes user-friendly to an extreme and makes everything just part of the web browser experience.

    The root OS partition is read only and the selection of hardware is prescribed by google. You can download the source to hack it, but you can't make an installable image as you can't cryptographically sign it for their okay. They're only planning this to be a bought with hardware purchase.

    Sound familiar? It should, it's basically the Apple experience made into a net appliance.

    • A relatively dumb device that only runs a web browser to use web apps (googles or anyone else's provided their signed by google) to do their work.

      It sounds like a television, with more interactivity. Hook the appliance into a screen, connect to the broadband service and you'll have a functioning computer.

    • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:45PM (#30162906) Homepage Journal

      For likely 90% of home users, this will be perfect.

      No way. A very large segment of home users need iTunes to sync with their iPod and iPhone, play video games, take photos off their cameras, work from home, etc.

      I'd say this is perfect for no more than 50% of home users. Of course that's still a big market, but not the vast majority.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ajs (35943)

        No way. A very large segment of home users need iTunes to sync with their iPod and iPhone

        If Chrome OS is successful enough, Apple will port iTunes just as they have to Windows, but of course, Android devices will be able to talk to Chrome OS because they already use this model.

        play video games

        Games will come. Obviously, there are a ton of Web games already, but they don't yet have a browser that exposes accelerated graphics out of the box. Chrome will have to provide that under Chrome OS, but I don't believe they've talked about that yet.

        take photos off their cameras

        Chrome OS won't stop you from doing so, and will talk to your Picasa or F

  • by NapalmScatterBrain (1288748) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:22PM (#30162532)
    This is being targeted at netbooks and ONLY netbooks. They are expecting customers to be folks who already own a main computer for dedicated application needs.
  • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:25PM (#30162586) Journal

    Hard disks are banned

    But not floppies!!
    I new sticking with the Amiga all these years would pay off!! I finally have a use for all these "Floppy" disks!!

  • My Guess on Cost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clinko (232501) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:25PM (#30162588) Homepage Journal

    If the OS can't be downloaded, it's attached to the hardware 1-to-1.

    The hardware can't cost a penny more than a netbook ($250-300) or we'd just get a netbook.

    Removing the harddrive, or putting a small 4gb SD drive, will put it around $200.

    $200: Meh.

    $150: I'd rush the doors like a Walmart on Black Friday.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:27PM (#30162642)

    But only Google's cloud.

    Say what you will about Windows, but I can install Chrome, Gears, and bam -- I can use Google's 'cloud' infrastructure.

    ChromeOS? I can only use Google.

    I'll stick with Windows for now.

    On a related note, this is one of the most underwhelming releases I've ever seen. Way to blow the hype.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:36PM (#30162794)
    FTOB (from the official blog):

    Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code.

    The developers barely trust themselves to write secure code so they decided code will not be writen at all. Not trusting themselves with this even they have scrambled their passwords and erased their door access cards. Security has been further enhanced by all staffers being locked up in the basement behind a externally locked door. 6 weeks later the only issue is now is the smell.

  • by Nobo (606465) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:43PM (#30162900)

    Gmail wins mail.
    Google docs provides a position in the office market.
    Google Wave provides a shared, collaborative team synchronization system.
    Google Voice provides a complete solution replacement for all phones.
    Android positions Google in the handheld market.
    Cell providers cut Google a sweet deal for ad revenue sharing (well documented already)
    Cell providers cut Google a deal to resell wireless at their whim. (well documented)
    Chromium OS excludes local storage, relies on cloud computing, ties to ubiquitous wireless data access resold by Google.

    Screw the future. It's not "still coming." With Chromium OS, Google just implemented ubiquitous, disposable, always-on, wireless computing, collaborating, and calling for the masses, who need never again fear their computer breaking, their hard drive eating their data, or nearly anything else.
    ...and from this future there will be no escape.

  • by Giuseppe (ot) (1682134) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:51PM (#30163038)
    "[Netscape will soon reduce Windows to] a poorly debugged set of device drivers." 1995, Marc Andreessen
    • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:17PM (#30163596) Journal

      Exactly.

      And that sounds great if you're a programmer right out of college, but Win32 tie-in, specifically with MS Office is still a huge factor in the real world. A big problem here is that the hardware they're targeting will be able to run fullbore Windows 7 just fine.

      We've had web-based word processors for fifteen years but Google's web-based word processor is different because it's from Google?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by icepick72 (834363)
        Web-based word processors have failed to rise above. So have many other kinds of web-based apps that mimic commonly used standalone apps like spreadsheets, presentation software, development studios - IDEs, paint programs, etc. etc. Most web versions of applications are a poor man's user experience. I know people can come up with exceptions but these are not the norm and likely won't be for a long time. Microsoft is certainly not going out of business because of web-based apps anytime in this dimension.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hazydave (96747)

        Google's web-based word processor is different because it already has 2 million customers. Not as big as MS-Office, certainly, but that does suggest that it has past a certainly usability level. Most web-based tools of the past simply failed because they sucked.

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