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back to article TechCrunch dubs Linux a 'big ol’ bag of drivers'

Google has announced the Google Chrome Operating System, which is the Chrome browser bundled with a Linux kernel and a handful of hardware drivers, targeted at netbooks. Yes, this time it's actually an operating system, but don't cream yourself. Yet again, there is a severe case of the media not knowing what the fuck it's …

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Joke

no comment

better to be a 'big ol bag of drivers' (linux), than a 'big ol bag of shit" (windows)

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Love it

You had me laughing. Love the Horse comment.

Indeed. We have been waiting for the non event of the browser OS ever since Netscape launched Navigator.

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Yeah

That stupid "big ol bag of drivers" is not big enough. It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done.

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Coat

drivers are not the OS

If the web browser is going to be the only part of the user interface bundled with the OS, is this not Google pointing out the sheer lunacy of the EU verses MS?

Just wait for the EU to mandate MS ship windows 8 without drivers... just like they did with NT4

Mine's the one stuffed with driver floppies.

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I agree with just about everything

you say, but not most :-)

While it's true that web applications aren't a perfect replacement (atm) for the current generation of business software, you have got to admit that the progress is remarkable.

I currently view web based applications as an important complement to traditional software with the potential (as technology progresses) to one day replace the current 'software running on a pc' paradigm.

What is also important to keep in mind is that applications running a browser, aka 'web applications' don't necessarily run on the web. There are a ton of 'web applications' that are run over a corporate network, delivering quasi flawless performance.

Love the sarcasm btw :-)

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FAIL

What is the point?

Modern "netbooks" are perfectly capable of running a full fledged operating system, why cripple the thing by installing an OS that can only run one program? Chrome reduces the functionality of perfectly serviceable, relatively modern hardware to something a little more than Web TV but less than a 386DX running Windows 3.1 for no real reason. Not to mention the massive security risk of letting something made by Google on to your computer, Google being a company that makes its living collecting massive amounts information on every fucking thing you do online. Massive fail.

Also, cue the nerd rage of the legion freetards: "I are better than u cuz u use winbloze!!!111!!!"

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Stop

Lets see if I get this right,....

While not actually controlling the hardware, ancilliaries etc, it will sit on top and provide an environment to work in with rules different to the underlying OS, but interfacing with the underlying OS.

Don't we call that "Virtualisation"?

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Half-baked

I am tired of the whole scramble. "Your browser is shite, upgrade to X-browser for a better experiece". No....fuck off. i use the same browser as 90% of people out there. How's about you design your site with that in mind?

Also, since when are these people so effin' clever anyway? Youtube (owned by Google, the makers of this so-called operating system) currently displays a message saying it will stop supporting my browser unless i upgrade to IE8. Problem is, I am now running IE8, so it seems their fantastic website with its modernness has no idea what I am viewing it with. Fuckin' retards..... I hate coders.....

I long for the good ol' days when the only upgrade option was whether my ZX80 had a green piece of plastic over the telly to make it easier on the eye!

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drivers

Drivers are actually the biggest issue.

Ok so chrome os works on the standard intel atom...ok wonderful...doesn't allow me to browse the net though, as I've got a 3g dongle which needs drivers.

So if Google realise this, and work with Huwaei (is there *any* other manufacture of 3g dongles???) and make sure that all of their dongles work without issue. Then Google might just be on to something.

As although I've got more than just a browser loaded, 95% of my use is web, and another 3% msn and other chat progs.

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Bloggers

"Much in the way that everybody who saw Sideways is now an expert on wine, the tragedy of blogging is that anybody with a laptop and a Gmail account is an expert on technology."

Hear f*cking hear!

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Ru
Flame

"It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done"

If Mac users can control the urge to whine about the slightly slimmer range of hardware available to them as compared to windows users, I'd like to think that linux users could too. If you're not prepared to check hardware compatibility, then don't try linux.

I'm sure there will be cries of 'OMG elitist!' and similar OS-nerd bashing comments from non-linux users. But you know what? Windows isn't that hot either. If I want to reinstall XP on my current desktop, I need to slipstream in some extra drive controller drivers into an XP install CD. Either that, or go out and buy some stoneage floppy disk drive and spend a few hours rooting around on the net for the correct drivers I need. Or use whatever latest abortion of an OS microsoft wish me to buy.

Since you mention it, WiFi support isn't awesome. I much prefer, say OpenBSD for that sort of thing (shame about the lack of update support in the rest of the OS). Still, it isn't much worse than, say, Vista.

But printer drivers; outside of the realm of serious office printers, I've found linux printer support to be far better than windows. Just look at the steaming piles of crapplets printer vendors expect you to install alongside drivers. Thanks, HP, et al.

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@Ted

You think you have a registered trademark on "Oh, wait."?

::giggle::

Ted, wake up, pound some water & have a bacon sarnie. Marketing departments and manglement will continue to babble about whatever they think they need to babble about regardless of reality. Most of us ignore them ... it's kind of what being a techie is all about.

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Anonymous Coward

It's the narrow-mindedness that I find astonishing

The Task At Hand Is Everything. What you use to accomplish it is merely a tool, and any headlong desire to bolt the Internet onto absolutely everything immediately ignores the very existence of other tools that are more efficient at completing the task.

When Internet-based tools surpass the abilities of traditional tools to achieve the same results, that's the time to start bolting it onto everything. Not before.

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Support and linux

It will be interesting to see how Google approaches support of their OS. If it is going to be linux underneath, it probably won't be long before people starting hacking it with other stuff from the world of linux and open source. I wonder if Google will go along with this or whether they'll try to keep their users on a strictly "Google build". Wither way, it introduce more people to linux who might not have otherwise tried it.

Microsoft don't have to worry at all as long as mobile phones, cameras, printers, navigators and the like all come with CDs/DVDs that are printed with "For Windows XP/Vista" or maybe "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac". If/when they see such CDs/DVDs printed with "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac or Google" or "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac or linux", then they'll have cause for concern.

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Linux

Not bad...

....an unusually well thought-out and reasoned article from TD. Unfortunately, its not just tech writers such as the one the article mentions that will be hailing Chrome as the next coming of Jesus. Once the mainstream media gets a whiff of a real challenger to the Microsoft crown, they will be Googasming everywhere as well.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against any form of operating system - I'll try any OS once to see how well it works. However, unless Google can persuade the big hardware manufacturers like Nvidia and the like to write easily installable, effective and compatible drivers for Chrome then this exercise will get as far as the netbook market and little further.

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Troll

Assault and battery on TechCrutch

That was like extracting the money from a panhandler in a wheelchair. Not nice, Ted.

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right on the mark

potty mouth, but more on the money than techcrunch ever was

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wrong focus, stunted analysis

first off -does anyone have a full specification for 'chrome the os'? it might not come with the 5,000 applications few people use, a la openSUSE, but I'll bet it will come with more than a browser.

secondly, it's generating a lot of publicity and attaching new credibility aka marketing to Linux based systems.

it's revving up something that Canonical started

I wish them well, because if it's good for them it's also good for us, as we all reap the benefits of competition in mass market computing.

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Ted...

You did a good job here. Well done.

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hurrah!

Thank god for Ted and El Reg :)

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Its not for us...

...its for the grannies, the facebookers and all the other people who want to be able to email, update their profile, maybe occasionally write a letter and look at photos of cats.

For the bottom feeders (that sounds pejorative, but you know what I mean) a £100 pc that connects to Googles offerings, presumably with an 'Appstore' like ecosystem will pretty much do all they need.

Its not a netbook panacea, because, for example, most of the time my netbook is offline, so I need proper apps.

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In fairness ...

... about 50% of the Linux kernel source is device drivers, or so I read.

@SuperSooty: Tried Linux again recently? I've had virtually no hardware support issues with WiFi (including USB WiFi dongles of the namelessly cheap variety) or printers for the past couple of years. Windows has always had horrendous hardware support - it's just that device manufacturers bend over backwards to support Windows. I'd rather have a good open source driver written by an expert in the OS than a flaky, unmaintained, proprietary piece of crap knocked together by the lowest bidder as an afterthought. In fact I'd rather have no driver for a particular peripheral than a crap one.

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WTF?

Why do I need title for comment again?

This is just some pathetic journalism, crude and uncultured. Taking it personal against Arrington, are we? Anyway, the point is, with everything moving towards web based systems, it is only a matter of time before all kinds of desktop-type functionalities will be available over the web. Sure that is not going to happen immediately, Google is only taking one step with the chrome OS. It will be immature to think that Netbooks are the only thing they are targeting here. They have sent a clear message that they want to be in the OS market and they want to do so in a non-conservative fashion. Moreover, this is also a step towards gaining an edge in cloud computing where the real battle between Google and Microsoft is going to happen in the future.

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Interestingly...

There are webby equivalents to many of the things proposed - for "Active Directory", might not FOAF+SSL be a step in the right direction? There's nothing to stop people implementing HTTP-based printing (deploy a server within your LAN, and make it interact with CUPS while you're at it); presumably playing of DVDs in a browser is just a matter of a plugin to put the video on the screen somewhere.

I think the author fails to see how computing is turning inside-out, trasnitioning from local to cloud-based and it's not a wholly bad thing.

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misses the point

It's trivially obvious that if you want to do the things you need a traditional PC for as described in the article, that you're likely to continue using a traditional PC. But you can't put one of these in a large coat pocket. Mobile phone apps are limited by the physical constraints of screen and keyboard. The potential market niche covered by the netbook concerns devices between these extremes, and this is probably a smaller niche than either PCs or mobile phones.

Trying to do traditional PC things on these suffers from bad ergonomics, slow keyboards due to a higher error rate even if you are a touch typist and shoulder and eye strain coping with the smaller form factor if used for any length of time. So what are netbooks useful for ? The Chrome OS design is based on the assumption that web applications, where the data and profile are obtainable through multiple devices including netbooks where the client is mobile, are the primary reason why people will bother to buy and lug around the hardware. The reason I've never wanted a traditional laptop for these applications is because these are too big and heavy to be worth lugging around.

My own experiments with an Acer Aspire One running Ubuntu Netbook Remix suggest web apps to be very useful when I'm on the move, though I have also used it to upload and display holiday snaps from my camera as well and to handle urgent email. So perhaps Google will be cutting their potential user base if standard USB devices (cameras, printers etc. ) already well supported by Linux are not included. But I'll never want to do traditional PC things on it because of the form factor - and this has nothing to do with the OS.

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FAIL

Pot, meet kettle ...

"TechCrunch embodies all that is wrong with blogging as journalism: shoddy fact checking, writing that would fail a high school English class, and a pre-adolescent in-the-brain-out-the-mouth reporting style."

'Nuff said ...

Still. Never let facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

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Badgers

All it takes..

...is for microsoft to think it can sell a games console! then in order to promote said console they push back PC game releases - resulting in everyone owning a games console for playing whtevrstrike4 - so where does that leave the PC? well for web and work.. now the home user mainly wants web, so a browser based OS coupled with a games console will do just fine..

so where is Microsofts future? the work market? as has been highlighted in another article today lots of companies use intranets and web based databse systems - now if these are built to standards it doesn't matter which browser is used or in any case OS.

so what are MS left with? a few office users a few cad users and a server business...

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Stop

One other thing

If I buy office, it my, forever, yes I know people running 95 still. Does the job.

Now take Google Apps. Totally free a short time ago, then they reduced the number of free acounts you can have and they may do again, if they so choose. Otherwise it $50 a year, but next year $60 or $70. In 5 years?

And what happens if they decide they don't like it and FORCE a change on you that F**ks up everything you've built around it, can you keep your old working version? Nope thought not.

Don't worry about downtime, all maintenance will be done a 3am EST. What do you mean thats the middle of the working day somewhere else, not our problem.

And what happens when they find it's not making enough cash and dump it altogether, it's happening all over the place at the moment (Lycos, Yahoo etc etc)

Sorry but this web cloud shite is just a way of screwing you for cash and forcing you to pay year in year out, maybe not now, but sometime they sure will.

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Anonymous Coward

"but don't cream yourself"

Wow. I was transported back to the US in my teenage years in the '70s when I read that. Next you'll be "hosing".

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WTF?

Ignore Google OS at your peril

Your article makes interesting reading and I cannot really comment on the technical aspect of the operating system. However, I do think you are missing an almighty point about the future of Google OS.

Yes they are currently rolling out on mobile [Android] and Netbook [Chrome OS] but a full desktop version cannot be ruled out. To do that they need to get the support of a major hardware manufacturer which is not out the realms of possibility. With major hardware suppliers struggling in this market, the potential opportunity to place an operating system on their machines in return for a slice of the related advertising income [I'm speculating slightly] vs. paying MS for the honour of installing their OS could be an attractive option with a new revenue stream. Google announces hardware partners this morning [http://thenextweb.com/2009/07/09/google-announces-partners-acer-hp-moreitwi/] Or Google could just buy an ailing manufacturer - they have the financial muscle to do so.

What we also need to pay attention to is the fact that Chrome OS is the culmination of many smaller but important Google milestones, from Gmail through to Writely, Apps and the browser itself. All tools that can be used independently but can be put together to form the basis of an operating system - or at least a basic infrastructure that will allow the average computer user to do what they need to do.

Google is also heading along the same path in its social plans, again using Gmail, Picassa, Orkut, purchasing Jaiku - at some point these get stuck together to make one almighty 'beast' which will just beat the market.

Whilst Google may not have the technical OS pedigree, never underestimate their ability to make money which can buy skills or companies to help in their masterplan.

http://www.jamieriddell.com/2009/07/google-operating-system-is-sign-of-future-intent/

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Getting out of the way...

Two weeks ago I was in a nice all inclusive resort in Hawaii (very nice by the way). They had two "public" machines that people used to surf the net (and print out boarding passes for their flight out). One was Ubuntu with Firefox, and another was a Mac "all in one" that people used Firefox, or Safari. No IE (sorry Orange) in sight. Both had a nice HP printer networked in as the preferred printer. Iw was weird, but all the time I was there (10 days, I would have liked more!) nobody complained ONE BIT. They just poked at the proper icon, and got on with their task.

So, there are systems that do "get out of the way" and seem to be easy to operate. Neither one was named Windows.

Oh, I didn't see a crash (forced reboot) while I was there either. Must be reliable. I did see some people connect cameras up and send pictures back home to show off their tans! I gotta go back someday!!

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Stop

This is not a title

Well, Google are pretty serious about this, aren't they, because they've been ignoring Chrome for Windows and concentrating on making sure that the Linux users have the most up-to-date version of Chrome that they can.

Wait, what?

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Go

Agreed

Cheers for that, a good read and for the mostly correct.

The only thing I would say is that the best game in browser is Evony and not Tetris.

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Happy

Two Teds in a week

It's got to the point where I eagerly await large corporations releasing lame-arse half-baked shit products, just so I can scurry over to the Reg and read Ted laying into them.

Fortunately, said large corporations can usually be relied upon to do so with hilarious regularity.

And this week, even lamer than Google was Michael Arrington with his "computers only ever need to do what I want them to do" world view. That guy definitely put the "anal" into "analyst".

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FAIL

Antitrust

If google supply Chrome browser with this OS will they be subject to an anti trust suit like microsoft? We could have our first browserless browser based os!

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Only thing that concerns me about the alleged Chrome OS is that it's likely to be highly dependant on being connected to the web (no one has stated otherwise, so it must be true). I was watching something on iPlayer the other night, and predictably my Virgin Media connection dropped. I was immensely pissed off that I couldn't finish watching my stories, imagine how pissed I'd have been if the entire PC had been rendered useless by a failed net connection...

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i detest

the idea of everything trying to get into the cloud !!

The idea of cloud computing is ok for a backup nothing more

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FAIL

Um, no.

Ah, those cars. Clearly inferior to steam engines. Always breaking down, don't go very far or fast, desperately uncomfortable. Never be a need for them.

Or, there is only a world market for 5 computers and 1000 copy machines.

A PC running Windows, Linux or OS X is a dreadful thing needing constant maintenance, always going wrong, and basically like the early cars of the 20th century. I, for one, will welcome a world where the majority of people don't use general purpose PCs - leave that to the developers and experts. All most people want is to be able to communicate and find things. Oh, and 'programmed' spreadsheets are horrible things, bug ridden, difficult to maintain, etc., etc. Did kick-start the PC revolution though. To see the back of them will be a good thing.

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Flame

I DO agree with everything...

but I completely FAIL to understand how somebody (yes Michael, I'm looking at you) can agree with 'just about everything' while simultaneously not agreeing with 'most'. FAILure to grasp the English language I think.

Web Apps are certainly not a perfect replacement (atm) for the current generation of business software. No, progress has FAILed to be remarkable. What, do you think MS are not going to add more bloat in the guise of features to their business apps while webapps catch up? FAILure to grasp basic business sense, too.

Web apps are an important compliment to 'traditional' software, but there's no way they're ever going to replace the "'software running on a pc' paradigm". WTF? Come on dude, 'software running on a PC paradigm'? You should lay off the acid - what do you expect apps to run on, whether they're web apps or real apps? Your dishwasher? FAILuer to understand, well, just about everything about technology really.

And finally... "applications running in a browser, aka 'web applications'" Of course they're fucking web applications... That's why it's called a fucking Web Browser. And no, not all of them run "on the web", but you're FAILing to distinguish between internal web services and the world-wide-web. They're all 'web's, just not all of them are publicly accessible. That's why the software that serves them are called Web Servers, or Web Application Servers, and half of the web apps that run have the suffix 'war' for 'Web ARchive'. Total FAILure to understand the web, web servers, web apps, web app servers, the whole fuckin shebang.

Now how d'ya like THAT for sarcasm.

EPIC FAIL

(And I count 8 FAILs - and I'm only just getting started... My colleagues are gonna hate me by the end of the day)

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IT Angle

Browser Only

It isn't because net books lack the hardware to run a 'full OS' - its more the complex , unreliable , unsecure , not easilty updateable bits that go with it.

Think thin client with off line capabilities and then you get the right idea. Oh and why should a $100 netbook have a $150 OS when all the user wants to do is check myspace / facebook / google docs?

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Megaphone

F'ing Gordon Ramsey

I didn't know Gordon Ramsey had started writting for the site...

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Gates Horns

Shmitle

"No, Chrome will not replace Windows in the years to come."

Yeah? "Years" is a mighty long time. Apparently, Ted, you think that things never change. Can you say "non-linear dynamics"?

"That stupid "big ol bag of drivers" is not big enough. It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done."

Hey, FUDster! It has more than Windows. Or are you going to pretend that you don't have to pump CD after CD into Windows to get hardware working? I can get an entire environment up and running and in use in the time it takes you to get past step one of the windows install-o-yawn.

Windows only works with any hardware at all because of its market position. It's a function of economics not code. If there ever is a point where Windows' market share dips below 50%, it's going to sink from there very rapidly into the abyss it deserves.

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Coffee/keyboard

Doctor!

I agree with Ted! I need help!

GOS is interesting, I don't think it will cause a revolution but is may make MS up their game. Google has the money and bargaining power to actually rival them (unlike the Linux distributors, barring certain niche markets) if they stick to their mays (and a serious competitor like Google could solve quite a few "competition" questions for MS).

I am surprised that Asus is being talked to - I thought they had agreed to drop Linux and go totally MS? Hey ho.

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Linux

@Ru

"But printer drivers; outside of the realm of serious office printers, I've found linux printer support to be far better than windows."

I'm still struggling with printers on linux (admittedly *buntu) boxes. Can you give me any tips or pointers? Or am I just an idiot?

"Just look at the steaming piles of crapplets printer vendors expect you to install alongside drivers. Thanks, HP, et al."

Yeah, the sort of shit I have to uninstall from friends' machines every few months because it's broken something.

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@talktothehat

No, not unless/until Google uses it's dominance of one industry to skew another. That's what MS is guilty of, not 'shipping a web browser with an operating system'. Getting bored of pointing this out to people

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You really are full of shit Ted

"Yes, Chrome OS will be competing with Windows in the netbook market, which is the a tiny sliver of the PC market. No, Chrome will not replace Windows in the years to come. Let's all just calm down."

It's a tiny sliver at the moment, which is getting bigger all the time. Didn't notice MS panicking about Netbooks a lot recently?

"Ah, yes. Corporate IT workers everywhere have to port decades of esoteric business logic codified into Excel macros to Google Spreadsheets, but the real problem is, what are they going to do after lunch? Have you ever tried to use Google Docs for any serious task? In the words of a true hacker, it's like trying to build a bookcase out of mashed potatoes. The Microsoft Office institution will not easily be overthrown by a bunch of jokers writing JavaScript."

Google apps is fine for most business needs and almost all SOHO needs. The actual amount of people doing macros in Excel is far overstated.

"Can you replace Active Directory with a web app?"

Why does anyone at home need Active Directory? In fact, when you're using Gmail to provide everything Exchange does, using Google apps and online storage why does anyone need AD?

You don't honestly think this is an attempt at taking MS out of the Enterprise do you?

"Is there a site I can visit to connect to my office's shared printer?"

I always thought browsers could print to locally attached or network printers. Mine sure does. Why would I need to visit a site to connect to it? Chrome OS isn't trying to replace the LAN too you know.

"What do you mean World of Warcraft doesn't run in the browser? How do I play a DVD in Google Chrome?""

Again because you play WoW and play DVD's on your computer you think everyone else does too. Newsflash - Hardly anyone plays games on PC's. Even less watch DVD's on PC's.

"Keep whackin' away on that Pareto Principle and let us all know how it turns out. In the meantime, I'm going to go play a few rounds of Counterstrike on my Windows-based PC"

Then I feel for you. I play CS on my Linux-based PC. But I understand I'm in the small minority that play games on PC's. Everyone else uses consoles.

"Run business apps over a faulty network instead of from your hard disk? What could possibly go wrong?"

Again your own experience is the only correct one, right? I've had more storage failures than WAN failures. Seriously. Others may be different, but I can accept that.

"Indeed. That's probably why desktop Linux machines with Firefox have already taken such a foothold in the consumer market.

Oh, wait."

Fabulous endearing sarcasm. You know why desktop Linux hasn't taken off on the desktop. If you don't then you aren't qualified to comment on this kind of thing. 90% of computer users won't notice if their new shiny came with Ubuntu or Vista as long as both had a blue E or red fox icon. The crowd doesn't really make any conscious choice.

Oops I've fed the troll.

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Brilliant...

Great article, I especially agree with your sentiments regarding business users. However no one ever seems to mention the security implications with storing sensitive personal and business data not just on a website, but on a website that harvests data so intrusively. I'll be stickk to windows home server for my personal usage and citrix/hyper-v for my business, i'll be leaving it to the MySpace generation to store text files full of password for paypal, naked pictures of their partners and gigabytes of illegal MP3s to there portion of the cloud, i'm sure all of us who are "stuck in the past" as it was put to me today will onday be doomed...

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Follow the $$ or the Easy Way Out

Ted

I really will get to "Google OS" eventually...

I think most people make choices in life with two reasons in mind...

what's the cost?

what is easiest?

In my computing world, at my workplace and among my friends, 55% of the computers run Windows, 40% run Linux, 5% run Mac. Some find it easier to run Windows (even with the cost of purchase of apps/games and on-going AV activity.) Some find it costs to learn a new way of doing things, (but it is easier, safer in the long run and fewer $ to do other things.)

The "official" Linux stance is - "use what you want or gets your work/play done." Linux isn't in competition with any other OS, even though some try to make it so (including the Linux fanboys.)

I agree with you that "Google OS"* will not fill the bill for everyone, in cost or ease of use (or for some activities, be useful at all!) But in some markets, for some activities, even for some equipment "Google OS" will make sense and be attractive.

revdjenk

*assuming that "Google OS" becomes real

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Thank goodness!!

Someone else has seen TechCrunch for what they are (or are NOT)!!!!

I do believe eventually we'll get there (most or all applications will be in the cloud or IP based, and our PC requirement will chiefly be to connect to the Internet/network), but that is a looong way away, and yes, ChromeOS is being over-hyped right now.

But back to TechCrunch :) I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who noticed the barbaric assault on journalism (and the English language) by those huckleberries! Not to mention their arrogance while making some completely asinine assertions.

Nice article.

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Coffee/keyboard

Actually brilliant, Ted.

@Destroy All Monsters: Yes, true, indubitably, but STILL funny as %@#$.

@Bruce Leyden: And another couple of "hear"s from me too.

I simply don't see why everyone's creaming themselves over a ****-ed up version of Ubuntu with the useful stuff chopped out and a minority interest browser plumbed in.

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