Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Google Chrome OS

Yesterday Google announced it's Google Chrome OS, the keypoints were:

Fast + Lightweight; Boot to Web in a "few" seconds.
Minimal interface, Web based user experience.
Users won't deal with viruses, malware, security updates.
Google Chrome in a Windowing System sitting on the Linux Kernel (is this going to be X based, or something radically new?)
CPUs: x86, ARM

From the BBC news website:

"One of Google's major goals is to take Microsoft out, to systematically destroy their hold on the market," (Rob Enderle, industry watcher and president of the Enderle Group).

My gripe is that Google is able to make an announcement that gets reported by the media as "Google is making a new OS". It is a little disingenuous if Google states it is their new OS, when in fact it's just another Linux based product. Perhaps it's down to branding; mentioning its a Google OS aligns it withe the Google brand, where as saying it's Google Chrome running on Linux makes it only appealing to geeks. Whatever happens, Google needs to let the public know that Linux is core to their success, be it supporting Chrome or in their data centres.

As it is, Linux once again is being used to shake things up. Looks like it's going to be an interesting next 18 months.


  1. An operating system is more than the kernel. That's why some people insist on the term "GNU/Linux" rather than just "Linux".

    Seeing what Google have done with Android (their mobile OS with a Linux kernel) I expect the Chrome OS experience to be very un-Unixy for both users and developers.

  2. True that an OS is more than the kernel. But without the Linux kernel, Google OS will be just user mode apps that won't be going anywhere. I suspect the final outcome will be Google/GNU/Linux. Lets hope they may their code available under the GPL.