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back to article Google uncloaks Chrome OS hardware pals

Google has revealed at least some of the hardware manufacturers it's working with to design and build devices that run the much-discussed Google Chrome Operating System. With a post to the official Chrome blog Wednesday afternoon, the Mountain View Chocolate Factory said its hardware partners include Acer, Asus, Freescale, …

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Linux

I'm already starting to lose interest in Chrome OS

What? A Google version of Linux that is already preinstalled and where all the HW works? Sorry, I already have that in Netbook Remix. And with a huge selection of additional things I can install at the click of a mouse, not all of them carrying on line ads.

Thank you, Google, you're going to help legitimate the idea of running Linux, but at what cost. Presenting it as a crippled version of a super PDA? Why not just take an existing distro and making your own packages with all your beloved ads and sell that to the public?

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Megaphone

Google taking after M$

from google:

Google Chrome for Linux is in development* and a team of engineers is working hard to bring it to you as soon as possible.

* An early developer channel version is available, but whatever you do, please DON'T DOWNLOAD IT... unless you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable and potentially crashing software, and don't mind that it doesn't support Flash, YouTube, printing or some privacy options.

Sounds to me like M$ & Win7. Hey we haven't got the browser but you'll get the OS soon afterwards. But if you like a pile of dung ... go ahead.

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Go

Branding: Good news for linux

Alot of cynicism around this. But the remarkable thing is the hype value that Google will add to linux. Look at Apple to see how that works in personal computers/ music players etc. It means that the thousands of websites, call centres, network operators, hardware manufacturers etc etc, will be forced to accept Chrome/Linux. It will take a while of course - but what do you reckon 1 to 2 years?

I expect that chrome will be locked down in some way and may also be ad-infested and/or linked to paid add-ons and services. Some of us might not like that, but since it's linux and since it will be open source, it will bring benefits to user of Ubuntu OpenSuSE, PCLinuxOS, LinuxMint, Fedora etc etc. Just think hen ringing some helpdesk or whatever, rather than being resused help becuase we are not running windows we can just say it's Chrome (even if it's Ubuntu really!)

Rock on!

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Happy

I may be mistaken but ...

Aren't those assemblers rather than manufacturers?

I also hope that google's OS will accommodate multi-OS options easily.

It looks to be an interesting 2010.

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Adobe, huh?

Hoping this will lead to them releasing a Linux port for Creative Suite. It's the main thing preventing me from ditching Vista. Have given ubuntu a spin and wouldn't mind switching.

*AAC's hard disk thrases loudly and randomly in agreement*

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Happy

Photoshop on Linux

" But Google did add a well-known software outfit to the list: Adobe."

Photoshop on Linux???????????? Sadly I donbt it.

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Grenade

Freescale? Endgame?

Freescale? They make chips, of various flavours. Currently they do not, afaik, make anything with "x86 Inside". Which means that anything with "ARM Instead" (tm) doesn't run XP, Vista, or Windows 7. Whoops.

Hmmm.

If anyone has the market clout to make this project work, it's Google. The technology is largely irrelevant, Linux and Windows have been functionally comparable for ages. Not the same, but comparable. Diversity is good, monoculture is bad.

The reality has been that most of the other players on that vendor list haven't been able to afford to upset Microsoft for long, whatever they may say in public. If Google are going to underwrite the potential costs for vendors who dare to risk upsetting convicted monopolist and playground bully Microsoft, that can only be a good thing for everybody (maybe even Microsoft, eventually).

I think netbooks are a stalking horse. I could be wrong but if Google have any sense, any ambition, the real endgame here is bigger, much bigger, than that. It's the big ISPs (a free ISP-customised Windowless netbook with every ISP-customised wireless router, a free Gmail account with every user account); via the corporate outsourcers it's the 90%+ of vanilla business desktops that never need use anything outside of a browser, office documents, and email, etc. And so on. I'm not sure I like that concept, but that's where I think they're headed.

Microsoft. The next GM (or, for UK readers, the next GEC?). Discuss, but probably not here.

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"They did not mention all those ads the platform will carry."

Err it's gonna be open sourced, it won't be too hard to create a patch to remove any ads, for that reason alone I'm sure Google wouldn't be so dumb...

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Badgers

Do Google realise...

...that "Chrome" in the IT world generally means "shiny, unnecessary eyecandy used to disguise the fact that the underlying code is poorly thought out, spyware-ridden crap"?

Time will tell, I suppose.

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Gold badge

The Apple model

Google are following the Apple model, create an OS and then specify the hardware it will run on. That way you don't need to write thousands of drivers and get people complaining that XYZ doesn't work.

So all those who criticise Apple for doing the same should be critical of Google for doing the same.

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FAIL

Asus? Are they sure?

Do they think their bribes will work better than Microsoft's blackmail?

I can't see "It's Better With Google... familiar and trusted operating system..." working somehow.

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Thumb Up

so potentially......

... there might be a chance of a lenovo thinkpad with what's essentially a powerful linux OS on it?

Sweet!!!!

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Boffin

Antitrust Issues?

Given that the DoJ went after Microsoft on Antitrust grounds when it tied its browser to its OS, I'll be very curious to see what the DoJ does when Google comes out with an OS tied to its browser. Of course, given how many ex-Google executives are in the Obama Administration, even handedness may not be at the top of the DoJ's agenda.

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Let's see

Freescale, Qualcom and Texas are all makers of ARM SoCs suitable for netbooks, so their role is probably making sure the OS runs on their processors. Adobe is probably in it to make Flash run under the OS. That leaves Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba as potential netbook makers. But working with these companies to make hardware running the OS doesn't mean you will ever see any of it in shops. There are many horses in the netbook OS market, and I'm sure most netbook makers are betting on several horses to avoid being left out of the race. In the end, most will settle on one or two OSs, and I don't think this new Google OS has any better chances than Win7, Android, WinCE, Mac OS or various Linux distributions.

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Linux

Surely ChromeOS is a competitor to Splashtop?

From current information, doesn't ChromeOS look more like a competitor to instant-on Splashtop http://www.splashtop.com/ rather than Windows or Ubuntu NBR?

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Coat

Language Lawyer Ahoy

If you're using 'cloaking' in the trekkie sense, I'm pretty sure the sub-title should read "Google de-cloaks Chrome OS hardware pals".

I'll get my cloak.

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Silver badge

@Asus?

Asus launched cheaper netbooks with Linux and suddenly MS are prepared to keep selling them XP for another year. Asus announce an interest in Chrome and suddenly MS's price for Windows7 for netbooks drops.

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Go

Worthy?

I will only find the google chrome OS worthy if the OS takes FULL ADVANTAGE of a video cards 3D capabilities without being hampered down by copyrights being refused drivers.

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Big Brother

Google OS? Yawnnnnn....

I've been away from El Reg (or, more accurately, from Comments) for a few weeks - yeah, real life intervened - and what do I find?

A new set of icons for a start.

Which do I choose for Chrome OS? WTF? Fail? Big Brother? (I particularly like the "Suck on this" hand grenade but it's not really relevant to my comment).

To my mind, there's virtually nothing to choose in corporatism and ethos between Redmond and Mountain View. Google free? Yeah. Right.

If I want to use Linux (and, actually, I do) I can have one of half-a-hundred more viable distros, large or small, without Google's imprimatur on them.

On a slightly-related topic (OS), I wrote in comments some while ago that I wasn't initially impressed by Vista but qualified my opinion with the admission I had limited experience of using it. Well, now I have day-to-day Vista experience - several months' worth - and I can say from experience that Vista is a complete dog, a WinME pour nos jours.

Bah. Humbug. A curse on all their houses. Where's my abacus....

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Yes but....

This so called 'google chrome os' is all very well but can you install the usual linux version of firefox on it using an update manager/command line?

If so, I'm in!

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Silver badge

Bah!

Google's "browser" has already been faulted far and wide for gathering all sorts of information for reasons inadequately explained by Das Googleplex, and now people think their OS will be some sort of new frontier in freedom?

Look for a Linux that phones out anytime you ask it to do anything like (say) mount a CD or DVD.

Coming soon to a linux near you: Crippled DVD drives a-la Microsoft!

And as for displacing Microsoft in two years: I'd bet real money they don't (but I'd be happy to lose that bet). To do that they'll have to get ChromeOS installed on machines at point-of-sale, and have a fleet of applications (read: games) ported. And we are not talking freecell here, but the stuff people are actually buying.

Otherwise it's all just pissing in the wind. Without that, the real alternatives to ChromeOS will not be Windows, but other Linuxes and Apple.

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@Martin 6

Good point, well made. But what's in it for Google when Asus have committed to Microsoft now?

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Google do linux or linux derivative

Then surely having one of the few companies bigger and better than M$ on board can only be a good thing.

Lots of hardware and software developers don't do linux because it is only a minority. Google doing one means the worlds biggest online search engine is involved. And that means the cash and the market opens up. So surely that will mean the softare and hardware will begin to take notice,

Of course once google and it's OS which follow international standards starts to pick up, it will further alienate the redmond lackeys and their love in deals to start asking why they don't follow standards? Having hte market lead where the international standards bodies fall over and fail.

Personally I will stick with Ubuntu and Mandriva, but it should be a very nice 2010.

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Welcome

Free software from Lord Googlor ? Gimme MOAR !!!

Why Chrome OS has a (pretty good) chance ?

- FREE !!!!! Not paying for the OS means bigger profits in an industry with very low profit margins, thus more incentive for hardware makers to push said OS.

- Familiarity: Linux, though free, was not successful because most users would get lost on linux but they're already familiar with google's services

- Strategy/History: google is not the linux community and will not push linux (or chrome) for the sake of it. So far google seems to carefully plan its steps and choose its battles. They already managed to get some market share in already crowded markets (chrome, android) so they can do it.

- Financial: not only does google plan things pretty well, it also has the muscle to fight pretty much anyone.

- Better quality: they seem to hold their programmers to a certain standard of coding and make them respect some guidelines and use certain APIs and so on, instead of letting them run wild and write code however they feel like, using hacks and workarounds instead of doing things the right way. This results in code of much better quality thus better products, easier to maintain, debug and extend.

I actually don't see why people would complain (other than just being whiny little bitches) when a company plans on offering a free product while also trying to innovate. You don't like it ? Don't use it. For example, I still use Firefox much more than I use Chrome. But why the hell complain about being given a choice ?!

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Anonymous Coward

@Sceptical Bastard

A pedant writes: "..de nos jours"

i

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Go

look at Gmail

Once you get past the hype, Gmail is an incredibly clunky, cluttered, slow and incovenient email system. Try to use it with external accounts - like your office email for example. It's ridiculoous. Google doesn't 'get it' any more than MS does.

I'm not handing my machine over to Google, which is already doing plenty of "evil".

I don't want Linux. I don't have the time or interest in learning that dinosaur. ASCII configuration files? Give me a break.

What I want - and what 90% of the people in the world want - is a stripped-down version of Windows that boots in about 15 seconds and sells as an upgrade for $25. And without the patronizing cr@appiness of "Starter Edition", please.

Surely, by now, there are a lot of people at MS who understand this.

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Welcome

Hope it's called GCOS...

...as that will take me back to my Bull DPS7000 mainframe days where I first started in IT. What goes around comes around. The heady days of UFAS, GAC, JCL and TDS. Bring it on.

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Anonymous Coward

Make no mistake, there will be no Google OS!

All computer manufacturers will chicken out and apologize to Microsoft for the heresy of having non-Microsoft thoughts. And retailers are already preparing the statement that nobody wants Google OS, that customers are massively returning Google OS computers because they want a familiar interface.

Repeat after me, there is not and there never was a Google OS! OK now, everybody please get back in line for Windows 7.

Can we please have an image of Stalin as an icon for our postings ? Please !

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@jim 45

"ASCII" configuration files? Have I been sent back in time a few years? Whilst config data may be kept in text files you make the changes on a GUI for most things in most flavours of Linux.

Before you try to lambast Linux for having hidden text config files perhaps you should know that I'm currently elbow deep in text config of Backup Exec 11d running on (you guessed it) Windows Server 2003! (They're still there in the SBS2008 install I'm working on as well btw.)

So if you've got a point to make then make it, but don't rely on falsehood to get your point across.

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FAIL

sorry Alex, but...

I had the "Xandros experience" with my ASUS 900 for about 3 months before throwing in the towel. Please don't try to tell me how easy Linux is. Been there, done that. So have a lot of people.

I went in determined to like it. Spent about 3 days just trying to get FireFox3 installed. At some point, after 30 minutes of unsuccessfully hand-editing some weird text file to create a new desktop icon, I gave up.

You guys who know and use Linux have lost all track of how much time you spent learning its ins and outs. You can keep pitching it, but the crowd has moved on.

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Linux

@Jim 45

Hello Jim

Xandros !=Linux

Were you to have tried Ubuntu you would have not experienced any of the problems you mentioned.

Asus screwed the pooch by offering a poorly customised version of what is an already dodgy commerical distro that virtually nobody in the Linux community uses it's true.

But just because Asus/Xandros is crap doesn't mean all other Linux distros are equally flaky.

Personally, I have several friends and relatives who choose to use Ubuntu. Basically whenever they come to me with their malware infested XP PC's, I setup dual boot Ubuntu and tell them they can use whichever one they prefer. They aren't "text file hackers" for them they just want something that works, and doesn't run like a three legged mule due to all the malware and/or malware protection they are constantly fighting against.

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might well be the netbook OS of choice

A browser-based OS might offer the ease and familiarity of use netbook owners have been begging for, without the Windows millstone. Other kiosk-style consoles, such as EPOS, SCADA, industrial and medical applications, as well as consumer electronics, would also benefit from a browser-based UI framework, as it seems to me that that's all you're really getting, albeit the promise of a very polished one.

I'm not sure how much it would take market share away from Linux or Windows in the desktop, office, gamer or enthusiast's space, as it's not really adding much that these OSes already provide. And the margins in these spaces are a lot smaller, too. Enterprise might benefit from Google's datacenter expertise, but I'm not sure Chrome is pitched at this market.

The more competition the better, I say. Apple's iPhone has kickstarted innovation in the mobile space and made it better for everyone. And Apple had to make money out of its platform, Google doesn't have quite the same concerns :)

(would someone please stop me commenting? it's been four comments in two days now)

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I'm interested in the drivers

If this is a success then the general public won't really associate it with Linux. For example, most users of Android phones don't care or realise that the underlying code is Linux. But what I think this will do is encourage hardware manufacturers to release drivers for Chrome OS / Linux. For example, we could start to see more printer drivers released, and so on.

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