back to article Google polishes Chrome into netbook OS

Google is releasing an operating system for laptops and desktops, in a direct challenge to Microsoft's money-making core business. The company will also encourage developers to get on board by allowing them to use ordinary web development tools with the OS rather than a specialised development kit. Much of the success of the …

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@ChrisInBelgium

I've been really happy with my Dell Mini 9 which came with Ubuntu.

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Gold badge

Am I the only one to remember Netscape?

OK, it adds a local linux kernel to it, but the original Netscape idea was too to live "inside" the browser, which is why Billy Boy had to nuke Netscape ASAP (now he no longer needs that, he just withholds some charity by the Gates Foundation instead).

So, nothing changes other than that we have to find new and innovative ways to stop us benefiting from the fantastic increase in computing power over the last few years. If I could run the setup I had on W98 on a modern box (assuming drivers available) it ought to positively fly. Maybe I ought to see what OS/2 does, as long as I can find SATA drivers. Just out of curiosity..

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by 'windowing system'

Do they mean they're going to continue using X11 and just write another window manager (a la metacity etc), or are they going to replace X11 too?

I hope they're forced to call it google linux. If not, well, at least we'll know when uname -a says it!!

And is anyone else a bit suspicious that their guy is called linus too?

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@Frank Rysanek

Yeassshhh so you are complaining an almost decade old system doesn't come preinstalled with drivers for all the latest devices, but your Linux does.....

So try sticking a 8 year old cop of linux on it . Lets see what takes longer to get up and running....

Sighhhhhh

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Go

looking good!

Chrome OS

potential 100%

risk factors 25%?

observations:

To get it right takes time and evolution = it is good to start now, get it in place and when immediacy of bankers folly effects are a bit reduced no doubt google, Chrome OS and hardware will have sufficient experience to take market initiatives.

Look out for over compromised hardware specs

Look for cross device content related integration (eg user files)

It will be good to see google stuff on the market but who will sell it?

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Paris Hilton

Development

So you make the point that developers will be able to use "ordinary web development tools with the OS rather than a specialised development kit", and then draw a comparison with the success of apps developed for the iPhone.

But guys, the iPhone development model is not "ordinary web development tools", it is "specialised development kit".

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Anonymous Coward

@Peter Day

Asus EEEPC? That'll be Xandros then. Not Debian, as stated.

http://www.business-solutions.epson.co.uk/Compatible.htm#Linux - I found this by googling epson postscript drivers linux. Networking doesn't work in the same way in linux as it does with Windows. Well, that not exactly true, it works the way that work groups are supposed to work - in effect you don't *need* to 'remember' the shares. You can of course set the share to automount, but that does require a little bit of CLI jiggery pokery. Herein lies the beauty of OSS in that if this is mentioned enough, someone will address it.

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@Fred Flintstone

"OK, it adds a local linux kernel to it, but the original Netscape idea was too to live "inside" the browser, which is why Billy Boy had to nuke Netscape ASAP"

Didn't Opera think of that first? Anyway didn't netscape simply morph into Mozilla?

Anyway to answer your question sensibly. No this isn't just a case of starting with a Linux kernel, a windowing system and then bunging on a browser with everything built in. Google's argument is that everything should be on the web, so you don't need a browser with things like built in email all the apps will actually reside on the web. This differs greatly from Netscape's ethos that everything should be built into the browser.

Google's idea gives you a very small software footprint, Netscape's idea would ultimately give you as big a software footprint as, say, Windows since every application would still have to sit locally.

My only real argument with Google's model is that Google seem to want you to store your documents "in the cloud" (I hate that terminology) I want all my data locally. I don't want to trust any of it to the fog^H^H^Hcloud. I know that Google (and others) would argue that storing my stuff in the cloud means I can access it from anywhere, but I don't want to access it from anywhere. I want to access it from my devices.

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if you could game onit !

trust me if you can game on another system then people would switch ..

And no i dont mean just getting peggle etc for the mac !!!

I mean play all directX games on another system

I would at least try the other to see if its any good !!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

A little bit of history

Back in the late 1990s most companies dumped 'nix systems because all their business apps: wordprocessors, databases, accounts, etc were on PCs. They wanted one platform from which to run all their computing needs. At the time we produced a number of 'nix versions of our software products and a NT version. In 1998 we sold zero 'nix versions, most of our customers had migrated to the NT version, 'nix was dead and linux has always remained a niche system with a band of hobbyists.

I don't think things are any different today. It remains the main problem that MS has getting people to move to their latest OS, peopel do not want the upheaval of learning a new system, new software, or having to support multiple platforms. Unless you can get businesses to migrate their systems they'll stick with what they have.

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Stop

@Alan Bourke

"For the same reason that Linux and Mac OSX are still not Windows-killers, and the reason is that all the applications that SMEs use to conduct their business, namely payroll and accounting applications, just don't exist on these platforms."

Whilst technically correct, it's not entirely true. Until people realise that Sage isn't the only option for accounting and payroll, or that AutoCAD isn't the only CAD app, then Windows will continue to dominate. There are certainly cheaper options for SME's out there.

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Joke

@Def

"And there the whole 'linux is great' thing falls horribly flat on its pointy little bill. There are *no* decent development tools for linux. And until there are, you will never persuade developers to leave Windows."

Maybe no development tools which get windows developers to believe they are writing good code...

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@Bod

"Surely Google won't be allowed to get away with bundling their browser with the OS, and not to mention all the Google Apps? ;)

Oh, but they're not Microsoft, so that's okay (see Apple)."

FFS how many times do you people need to have this explained? The EU's beef with MS and bundling IE with Windows is that they are using their dominant position in the OS market to artificially enhance their postion in the browser market.* Apple and Google do not have a dominant position in the OS market to abuse in the first place.

It's very, very simple to understand therefore I can only assume you are deliberately misundersanding the situation in order to support your prejudice.

*The big picture is more complex than that and I can see the EU going after MS's server again tech soon. So many of their server apps will only work properly if you access them using IE. This means that they are using their server tech to enhance their position in the desktop OS market since IE will only run on Windows. You will note that Google do not tie you into Chrome to use Google Apps.

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Linux

@/dev/null

Remember Linux is just the kernel - so if it using a Linux kernel it is based on Linux...

It remains unclear if they are just creating a DE (i.e gnome/KDE) or are creating an alternative to xorg (i hope they are!)

Ultimately this is a good thing for these main resaons

1) They are using Linux

2) They WILL make deals with computer manufacturers to get the OS preinstalled.

3) They will opensource the code so the community 'should; benefit

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Happy

@ cookieMonster too right

You little kids run along, if you dont see past your hatred of Google you will never understand how good this is for Windows, OSX and more than that Linux!

Chrome OS will be open sourced this year, imagine if MS did that, we could actually fix it.

I for one welcome our fast-booting overlords!!! Woo hoo!

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Troll

Maybe...

XP is dominant because it's not all that bad? Just a thought.

Developers will have fun having to program for a million different OSs.

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Gates Horns

Most news correspondents...

...have NO idea what an operating system really does, let alone what Linux is. Some of the coverage of this Google love-in is sickening.

I have a Dell Mini 9 netbook running Ubuntu 9.04 UNR, and it's great, doing what this new Google OS promises and more. The computer takes less than 10 seconds to boot from Grub to Done, and has the Google Chrome (okay, Chromium) browser AND Firefox.

My netbook is great for trips where I don't need the full power of my MacBook Pro.

/been Microsoft-free for years!

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SEG
Grenade

The end for Ubuntu?

At the moment if the average user is looking for a decent alternative to Windows they jump ship and opt for Linux, normally Ubuntu. If Chrome OS takes off then the Windows jumpers will jump to it rather than Ubuntu. If I was Mr Shuttleworth I would be worried!!

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FAIL

Actually development environment are important

I'm actually going to argue that the quality of development environments like the early Visual Basics, Borland environments (Delphi etc.) and then Visual Studio is a big reason that Windows maintains it's dominance. Users want easy to use and visually consistent apps. Windows has always tried to make it easy to create those; whereas Linux has struggled. For example, the fact that you have multiple types of scroll bars on Unix in general just doesn't help.

Regarding the quality of the development environments, Visual Studio is actually pretty good, although as a C++ programmer it isn't the best. For visual development, I have yet to find anything better than Visual Studio; but for general development Sun's Studio is far better. Tools like DTrace and Collector/Analyser in DBX are so far ahead of the competition. The biggest problem for developing C++ on Linux is that GDB sucks. Really badly. Anyone who has done any serious C++ programming on Linux will have discovered that GDB crashes regularly, has problems stepping into various types of functions (like certain constructors). Worst of all, gcc has an ABI bug that means that any debugger on Linux (including GDB and for example TotalView) will hang under certain circumstances in an unrecoverable state. Try using that on mission critical applications.

Going onto Google Chrome. It will fail in just the same way that Linux has failed on netbooks. People don't see netbooks as just being a way to get Internet and e-mail on the move. They see them as a small PC (check recent surveys on this). It's why people are buying more hard-drive based netbooks instead of SSD netbooks. I bought a netbook for my non-tech savvy girlfriend recently and her requirement was internet and MSOffice. I couldn't even persuade her to try OpenOffice (which I personally use on 2 out of my 4 windows boxes at home). Also she got MSOffice for $20 through Microsoft's home-use license arrangement.

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Unhappy

App drought

@Simon Banyard

OK, point me at the open-source Linux-compatible equivalent of Sage/Dynamics/Opera/whatever, or the equivalent of AutoCAD or PhotoShop.

Just not there, sadly.

One way to get Linux in the door would be to serve all the above via thin client sessions - so all the desktops are Linux/Mac and there's a big old Windows server with the vital Windows-only apps.

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Grenade

So, am I the only one...?

...Who's assuming that, a few months after this hits the street, doing a Google search for "hot steaming monkey love" will return entries like "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/JoeSmith'sLaptop/private/HotSteamingMonkeyLove.jpg"?

Because I just can't see the Googlies passing up the chance to index and serve up anything from any system running GoogleOS™.

Paranoid? Not me!

(Hand grenade because it's the closest thing to a time bomb.)

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@Ben Holmes

Yes RISC OS is still being developed. It's up to v6.18 now, and there's open source development on what was RISC OS 5 on Iyonix. Then there's Virtual Acorn which runs under Windows and MacOS. The NetSurf browser is also under development but doesn't yet support Javascript, which is a bit of a limitation.

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@ ChrisInBelgium

Here ya go...

http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcomet/product/507903/TOSHIBA-NB100-11R/tab/reviews

[realisation]

Doh! he's in Belgium. Oh well posted just in case anyone else is looking.

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Megaphone

Oh well

Whatever they bring out as the 'final product' will be good for the whole industry in that space (of

OS - systems) as it increases competition, triggers creativity and will allow for additional

offerings to chose from, simply that is good (enough) by itself I'd say.

Adds colour to the market, good.

Data privacy could become an issue (agree) but that bridge is to be walked when reached (the product is available at least in 'beta').

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Anonymous Coward

meh

So it's another Linux distro with a different or custom windowing system. Sorry but unless Google manages to do something spectacular with the whole package then I fail to see where it will so much more successful than say Ubuntu. I'd like to see the other OSs put MS in it's place but the hurdles that will have to be over come to do that are quite large. Large enough that I dare say even the mighty Google might have difficulty with them. I'm not saying it's impossible but some how I don't know that yet another Linux distro is going to be the one that will do it. That's not to say that I wont give it a shot when it comes out, I certainly will just to see what it's capable of.

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B 9

@ChrisInBelgium

"(and no, I don't want to order one online from some other country)"

So you are only willing to buy Linux based netbooks that have been manufactured in Belgium? Good luck with that.

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Happy

@Alan Bourke

Sage = phpOrganisation

Dynamics= SugarCRM

Opera=Opera

Autocad= QCad, Archimedes 0.52.0, BRL-CAD 7.10

Photoshop= Gimp, Pixel, Krita

Linux has equivalents to most Win32 Programs, except for games. And there are tonnes of webapps out there to replace both windows and linux desktop programs. Aviary.com has some amazing stuff available for free online.

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Happy

not linux

There might be a big difference between a Google OS and the existing Linux distributions. Namely, the presence of some responsible adults who provide a single point of contact where users can get updates and support.

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DJ
Linux

Meet the new boss...

"Google is releasing an operating system for laptops and desktops..."

Wouldn't it be more accurate to state Google has announced plans to release an operating system?

As in future tense.

As in vaporware.

See also FUD.

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Linux

@jim 45

> There might be a big difference between a Google OS and the existing Linux distributions.

> Namely, the presence of some responsible adults who provide a single point of contact where

> users can get updates and support.

You mean when I get Mandriva Linux and it comes from a company, and I can get updates and support from them ? and this is different ? Duhhh

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Anonymous Coward

More competition

Competition is always good. MSFT will have to get focused and deliver. People may not like MSFT. But Google is becoming as pervasive as "MSFT".

Can Apple's OSX survive with the increased competition? Obviously, Apple's iPhone, etc.. will do fine. But what's the purpose of OSX then? If one wants application, MSFT satisfies that. If one wants robustness, Chrome (being a cloud computing interface) satisfies that. Then what's OSX for?

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Black Helicopters

@ Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection! r.e. open source Windows

You might want to be careful what you wish for ...

Having worked with the voles, I suspect you'd find the code "a dog's breakfast".

You could just face that eternal dilemma, "Do I patch this mess, or rewrite it?" "If I rewrite it, just where do I stop?".

Then there's the question of how to propagate your fixes to others (should you wish to).

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It's not really Linux in that sense.

It's not really Linux though is it, it's a Linux kernel with Chrome for everything else. Significant difference. It's been a no-brainer Google might do this ever since Chrome got released, although a lot of people said it was nonsense. Online Ajax apps are at the point now where they're practically as responsive as native ones other than the Internet connection, when this comes out it will probably have a snappier javascript engine, and Gears will mean the webapps you use will be stored locally and available wether you have a connection or not and with no waiting for downloads. Data that needs to be transferred back to the "cloud" can simply be stored in a temporary cache and synced back up later automatically.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, the world needs another OS.........

I bought a netbook, used Ubuntu for a while, but although the OS is great, the apps are not. And its apps that is the point of a 'puter.

Only skype had video conferencing, and everyone I know has yahoo and messenger (sad, but thats the facts), so I had to put on XP. (Don't get me started on the Pidgin is great, and skype is fab debate - if you can't see your mates, or there's no one on the other end, then it's not great. Full stop.)

When I bought a second netbook (a linux version, 'cause it had better stats), XP was on before the day was out.

We don't a new OS, we need useful apps for the existing OSs.

Chrome OS - will run DVD burning software, be compatable with major messengers, have a useful office suite (not just Google Office), be able to run games....... no......... thought not.

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Jobs Horns

@ChrisInBelgium

Plenty of cheap Dell Mini 9s on the Dell Outlet with Ubuntu preloaded.

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openSUSE 11.1

Apart from gaming - everything I need this has! Can even run Office 2003/07 via wine and other apps I need.

And have VMWare should I ever need crappy windows.

Linux is more for a power user/developer certainly not for the average user - thats until all the software makers make apps for Linux aswell.

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Pint

the sound of one hand clapping

True enough that this is a threat to Apple as well as M$. Who wins? *We* do, as competition will only improve the offerings and drive down prices. There is a limit to the number of market players for applications ecosystems like MacOS/iPhone/iTunes or Windows/Win Mobile of maybe 3 or 4 major players. With Goog's customer base, they can certainly be one of them. Can't wait to see the fireworks..

If a chair is thrown in the jungle and no one gives a shit, does it really matter?

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Bod
FAIL

@Grease Monkey

"FFS how many times do you people need to have this explained? The EU's beef with MS and bundling IE with Windows is that they are using their dominant position in the OS market to artificially enhance their postion in the browser market.* Apple and Google do not have a dominant position in the OS market to abuse in the first place.

It's very, very simple to understand therefore I can only assume you are deliberately misundersanding the situation in order to support your prejudice."

So if by some miracle Apple or Google became dominant then it's perfectly okay they have a bundled browser because they weren't dominant at the time ;)

p.s. no prejudice. Win, OSX, any flavour of *nix, all have their place in my home if they do the job. It's just the hypocrisy of those who sought to hit MS that I find laughable, especially as it really was just a jealousy thing. And besides, what does a maker of a free open source browser have to lose financially by IE being shipped with Windows? The "Browser Market" is nothing more than an ego trip here.

Reality is, MS had a shit load of cash, and sufficient lawyers in US and EU worked out they could get their hands on it.

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@Bod@Grease Monkey

"So if by some miracle Apple or Google became dominant then it's perfectly okay they have a bundled browser because they weren't dominant at the time ;)"

Of course it is OK. Until they abuse their dominant market position they are not doing anything wrong. Notice the word 'abuse'. Look it up, remember it. It is not because Microsoft have a near monopoly that are penalised, it is because they have been convicted of abuse of that position.

You are attempting to use a your own flawed hypothesis to prove yourself right.

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@Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 9th July 2009 11:25 GMT

I just went to the Dell website for Belgium. I have 3 choices my friend: windows XP Home in French, Dutch or English. No Ubuntu.

@B 9:

No, you plonker, I do not want a netbook 'manufactured' in Belgium - I want to BUY it in Belgium. I don't want to order it abroad, pay immediately, wait six weeks and then get it delivered broken.

@Outcast:

Thanks for the tip. Indeed, apart from that small detail of where I live, perfect suggestion ;-))

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