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Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-little-bit-optimistic dept.

Google 817

Al writes "Technology Review has a feature article that explores the business strategy underlying Google's decision to develop its Linux-based operating system, Chrome OS. Writer G. Pascal Zachary argues that Eric Schmidt has identified a sea-change in the software business, as signaled by Microsoft's recent problems and by the advancement of cloud computing. Zachary notes that Larry Page and Sergey Brin have pushed to develop a slick, open-source alternative to Windows for around six years (with the rationale that improving access to the Web would ultimately benefit Google), but that Schmidt has always refused. While developing Chrome OS is a significant gamble for Google, Zachary believe it will exploit Microsoft's historical weakness in terms of networking and internet functionality, forcing its rival to better serve Google's core business goals, whilst initiating its own steady, slow-motion decline."

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817 comments

Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011135)

Panties Stink!
They really, really stink!
Sometimes they're red, sometimes they're green,
Sometimes they're white or black or pink
Sometimes they're satin, sometimes they're lace
Sometimes they're cotton and soak up stains
But at the end of the day, it really makes you think
Wooooooo-wheeeee! Panties stink!

Sometimes they're on the bathroom floor
Your girlfriend- what a whore!
Sometimes they're warm and wet and raw
From beneath the skirt of your mother-in-law
Brownish stains from daily wear
A gusset full of pubic hair
Just make sure your nose is ready
For the tang of a sweat-soaked wedgie
In your hand a pair of drawers
With a funky feminine discharge
Give your nose a rest, fix yourself a drink
cause wooooooo-wheeeeeee! panties stink!

Re:Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011251)

I'm sorry but "drawers" and "discharge" do NOT rhyme.

Hogwash (5, Insightful)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011161)

Microsoft like SEGA will survive after it's core product ends. Microsoft makes a lot of tools, these will still be used and profitable once Windows is gone (the thought of now more windows makes me giddy though)

Re:Hogwash (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011265)

Microsoft has nearly missed the boat before. During Chicago's development, Microsoft all but dropped the ball on that whole Internet thing, at the last moment pasting in Windows for Workgroup's networking engine to support TCP/IP. The initial version of IE sucked, but, in the end, they beat the snot out of Netscape. They even retroactively threw in the Shiva PPP dialer and their own Winsock stack for Windows 3.1, thus pretty much killing Trumpet Winsock.

I won't believe Microsoft's going down the tubes until I actually see Microsoft down the tubes. They're the Energizer Bunny of the computer world, even if they have to steal or assassinate their competition to keep going.

Re:Hogwash (5, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011483)

They're the Energizer Bunny of the computer world, even if they have to steal or assassinate their competition to keep going.

This is just in: Energizer Bunny arrested, charged with battery.

Re:Hogwash (3, Insightful)

msormune (808119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011623)

To be fair, it's not like Microsoft beat Netscape with a superior product, but Netscape completely wasted their market share on bad business decisions.

Re:Hogwash (5, Interesting)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011679)

True, then they started buying any company that had anything related to the Internet. Remember Vermeer Technologies Inc.? They created FrontPage and MS snatched them up to compete with other editors out there like HotDog. There was another company I saw at Internet World at the same time. They had some easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Java applet creator. Was interesting. Two days after their press conference MS grabbed them, too.

Re:Hogwash (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011285)

Microsoft makes a lot of tools, these will still be used and profitable once Windows is gone

There's no need to offend Microsoft users like that. They would do better if they knew better.

Re:Hogwash (5, Interesting)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011321)

Yeah, I doubt tools like Visual Studio will go down easy. I do some of my work in Eclipse, but when I'm working with C++ on Win32, I want my VC++. As for Office... sorry MS, I switch to google docs a few weeks ago.

Re:Hogwash (4, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011417)

And not only that, but the entire Xbox 360 platform would have to die off with it, since all development is done in Windows and Visual Studio.

Re:Hogwash (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011599)

they have plenty of options to make that survive, even in the face of a total windows death. admitting the sudden death of windows as a possibility, they could just make the wine project work and maintain all their software stack running flawlessly on linux and google os in almost no time - most of it already works.

My Bet (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011173)

I will gladly bet that Microsoft will still be a highly profitable company in twenty years. The fallacy of this write as with many other prognosticators is that the game is zero-sum. This is false. IT is growing and will continue to grow as long as there is an economy to support.

Microsoft likely will need to reposition itself in the market as Google grows. However, Microsoft will be a big player for at least another generation and likely many more.

Re:My Bet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011279)

I will gladly bet that Microsoft will still be a highly profitable company in twenty years. The fallacy of this write as with many other prognosticators is that the game is zero-sum. This is false. IT is growing and will continue to grow as long as there is an economy to support.

So, to kill Microsoft we first have to kill the economy?

Best get started then.

Re:My Bet (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011405)

Barack Obama is way ahead of you.

Re:My Bet (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011307)

That's not true at all. IT will continue to grow until it fills the need, then it will stop growing. IT isn't magic, it can't continue to grow just because there's an economy to support. And when it hits that point, it definitely will be a zero sum game, it's just not cost effective or wise to continue to grow IT just because one can and at that point there definitely will be winners and losers.

Re:My Bet (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011441)

I will gladly bet that Microsoft will still be a highly profitable company in twenty years. The fallacy of this write as with many other prognosticators is that the game is zero-sum.

Much like what happened to IBM.

I wonder... (4, Funny)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011179)

In Australia, does the MS death spiral go counter-clockwise?

Entirely Net-Based? (5, Informative)

steve_thatguy (690298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011181)

I don't know the tech details of ChromeOS yet, but I get the impression it's mostly if not entirely net-based. I think that's going to leave Microsoft with a fairly comfortable marketshare even if it takes off because, to some extent, many people want *their* files and *their* processing to be solely under *their* control. There's something to be said for having your own house with your own yard and fence versus living in an apartment building with millions of other people. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (2, Insightful)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011319)

Yeah, that's why nobody uses gmail.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (5, Insightful)

steve_thatguy (690298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011393)

Apples and oranges. E-mail is an application that only makes sense if there's a network connection. Editing my home movies, not so much.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011425)

No, it's why not everyone uses g-mail (and similar), and why many companies ban its use.

What the GP tried to tell you, but I think you missed, is that there isn't an either/or situation, but room for many players with different types of solutions.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011433)

Which is amazing since email isn't net based in any way.

</rollseyes>

--
flag@whitehouse.gov

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011495)

you're right steve thatguy, except your right with the wrong solution in mind, people will want their own files & data & OS to really be their own including the OS, with microsoft you dont buy the OS from them you rent a EULA until microsoft decides to EOL the product or just change something significantly enough to force you to pay rent on the OS again. hopefully Linux will show people what really owning your software is all about...

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011545)

If people want *their* files and *their* processing to be solely under *their* control, no Microsoft product is going to get them what *they* want. Microsoft thinks *their* files and *their* processing should be under *Microsoft's* control.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (3, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011633)

I think you're right. People have touted the 'Net as the OS for years. The problem is you will have a hard time wrestling power from the user. Yes, novices will use whatever the masses are using. But geeks will want the computing power local and as users become more savvy they're not likely to be as turned on by the Net as the OS.

Re:Entirely Net-Based? (1)

wcoenen (1274706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011649)

many people want *their* files and *their* processing to be solely under *their* control

Reality check: most people don't know the meaning of concepts like "files", "hard-drive", "client", "server"... How are they going to tell the difference?

Re:Entirely Net-Based? Why not microkernel? (-1, Troll)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011659)

About the only things I've read is that ChromeOS will be based on the Linux kernel and will be especially apt for cloud computing and networking.

Google observes that Windows is too complicated, slow and bloated. But another big bloated monolithic solution such as the Linux kernel doesn't seem an answer. Why don't they go with a microkernel architecture based on something such as Minix 3? We've known for years the potential advantages of microkernels: smaller, simpler, more robust. And even the potential for formal verification to prove that it really is bug free, something that Windows and Linux are far too large to ever accomplish. The main disadvantage I've heard is a perception that a microkernel architecture by necessity imposes a performance penalty. The ability to survive buggy driver code has a flip side in the supposed overhead required to jump in and out of user space whenever the microkernel calls on these drivers.

" historical weakness in terms of networking" (1, Insightful)

Markvs (17298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011183)

Unless Chrome is going to take on Windows 3.0, I think that's stretching a wee bit...

Malodorous Headline (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011193)

Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral

Hopefully that's not their primary goal. Remember, if your primary goal isn't to do something positive for the customer then it ain't gonna work.

Luckily I know that there's a bit more to Chrome OS than Microsoft death threats. It's a nice thought but ... you've got a long way to go. You also need to consider that everyone is using something right now and you need to convince die hard Linux fans to leave their loyal distro of choice and follow you onward. That's just as important to success as targeting Windows, I would wager. Me, personally, would be impressed if you can get better hardware support and either work around Flash or pinch Adobe into supporting Flash on Linux. Those would be huge and I think would be highly decisive.

Also, I'm glad they didn't break this news six years ago when they started thinking about it ... nobody wants another Duke Nukem or Hurd [gnu.org] where we're perpetually waiting and cracking jokes about it.

Re:Malodorous Headline (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011259)

or pinch Adobe into supporting Flash on Linux

They've supported Flash on Linux for quite some time now since they started doing simultaneous OS releases. Linux was even the first to get experimental 64-bit support.

Re:Malodorous Headline (0)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011499)

And it's...still experimental. BRB, gotta restart all my gecko-based browsers so I can watch another Youtube video.

Re:Malodorous Headline (2, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011667)

Your doing it wrong, i have no such errors file a bug report if you want it fixed (thats why its alpha/beta software)

as for gp, just because to versions have the same number does not make them equal, flash on linux still sucks!

This is really becoming absurd (1, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011605)

Can you tell me what the hell is wrong with these people? I recently installed Windows 7 64bit and figured there is no 64bit flash for Windows. It makes IE 64bit pretty useless. Adobe gave up all things in hand to code a 64bit plugin on that anarchic compatibility hell (compare to OS X and Windows) and it somehow works and yet they manage to put Adobe to some unrelated discussion with falsified information.

Wonder if it has some deeper reason like some dirty PR campaign.

Re:Malodorous Headline (-1, Troll)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011391)

"Hopefully that's not their primary goal. Remember, if your primary goal isn't to do something positive for the customer then it ain't gonna work."

What planet did you crawl down here from?

Does one need a visa to get there?

Ever seen the Windows OS?

Re:Malodorous Headline (2, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011489)

Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral

Hopefully that's not their primary goal. Remember, if your primary goal isn't to do something positive for the customer then it ain't gonna work.

Um..so you believe that Windows dominance derives from the primary goal of "[doing] something positive for the customer"? Perhaps in a convoluted sense that's the case, but the primary goal of Windows 1.x was to prevent the Macintosh from luring away customers (and it wasn't under Windows 2.x until the promised "overlapping windows" was available), Windows 3.x was to prevent IBM OS/2 from surplanting MS-DOS, Windows 9x was to migrate the existing MS-DOS lock-in on the PC to a much more complex windowing system lock-in which companies like Digital Research couldn't readily copy, and Windows XP was chosen as the consumer line to cut down on handling duplicate code in two Windows code bases.

I'm certain that there were various people who worked on Windows who cared about the consumer, but along the way the driving force behind Windows has almost entire been about maintaining or growing a consistent revenue stream. Not pissing off the customers too much has been second place, at best.

Having said that, I don't think it's at all a good thing if Chrome OS was being created to destroy Microsoft. But, I think it's a fantasy to believe that people with an agenda can't succeed in their agenda even if it seems to violate a supposed core tenent of the free market. Perhaps if there were an infinite number of OS companies and they could create software that's 100% compatable with each other it'd hold, but Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux are in many ways their own market precisely because of incompatability; to that end, the many distros of Linux are probably the closest thing to the "infinite number of OS companies" with the *BSDs/Unixes being the next closest.

Re:Malodorous Headline (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011549)

Me, personally, would be impressed if you can get better hardware support and either work around Flash or pinch Adobe into supporting Flash on Linux. Those would be huge and I think would be highly decisive.

Well personally I'm kind of hoping that some of the work going into HTML5 and CSS3 will remove a lot of the need for flash. You can get some decent animations going with only HTML, CSS, and Javascript these days. A lot of people only use Flash for video, but now the "video" tag in HTML can provide a fair amount of the same control. With Google purchasing On2, maybe the Theora/h264 thing will get settled too.

Take away the video issue and provide better control with CSS, and the utility of Flash AFAICT is mostly in making casual games. That's not useless, but it's not quite something that most of us can't live without.

Re:Malodorous Headline (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011611)

ChomeOS is WebTV all over again. Google cannot make a vietually 100% secure OS like Apple, nor will their OS support any real gaming other than Flash junk on websites.

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011201)

Not that I'm a Apple advocate, but Apple has had a far superior OS to Windows for the last 8 years, and they've barely dented the PC market. If OS X can't change the Windows mindset, Chrome sure as hell can't.

Chrome is just a shiny object in Sergei's eye. It won't have an impact outside the geek arena.

Re:Good luck with that (1, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011283)

if apple would sell their OS separate from the hardware they'd be pummeling MS

or from translationparty.com:
ååäãã OS ãããffãf--ãfç¾ã®ãfãf¼ãfã¦ããã®è©å£ãä¾åã--ã¦ãããååããã®MSãã(TM)
back into English
In the morning, OS, if not dependent on hardware sales for Apple, MS is
back into Japanese
æoeããã OSã®ååãããffãf--ãfã®ãfãf¼ãfã¦ããè©å£ã®MSãä¾åããOEã¦ãã¾ãã"
back into English
In the morning, OS, if Apple's hardware sales are not dependent on MS

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011335)

Slashdot unicode FAIL!

Re:Good luck with that (4, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011291)

I wonder how different that picture would be if you could install and sell OSX, without any legal ambiguity, on any PC you want.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011297)

Not that I'm a Apple advocate, but Apple has had a far superior OS to Windows for the last 8 years, and they've barely dented the PC market. If OS X can't change the Windows mindset, Chrome sure as hell can't.

I really must object. This is a dangerous stance as I cannot say I've seen much more of Chrome OS than hype but let's imagine it's got really good hardware support and really good software support (tangible). Now let's also say that it's geared toward virtualization ... which this cloud article leads me to believe. Now let's also assume that it works (as a virtualized instance) on every other operating system. Okay, so my problem with OSX is that I can't just download it and run it legally on whatever the hell I want. That's overcome. The other thing is that people are going to go looking for solutions to problems. If Chrome OS is that solution, they will be able to virtualize it, see that it works and probably make the switch if they want to. The whole preview first thing would be benefit since it's going to be open source.

Also, everyone can be encouraged to try it virtualized like any other application and get rid of it if they don't like it with no change to their system. Very appealing trial marketing here. Also, it's open source, OSX isn't.

There's a lot of differences I could continue to cite but I think you're mistaken in comparing it to OSX's failed attempt at desktop domination. You'd do better to compare it to Linux's failed attempt at the desktop ... but then we're on to the corporate strong arm support Google is promising. Hardware and flash support would make a lot of people happy (as I posted earlier).

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011341)

Its because Apple doesn't want to make cheap computers that people want to spend money on. $999 for their cheapest laptop? The last three laptops I've bought have all been sub-$400. $599 for their cheapest desktop? The last desktop I bought was relatively high-end for no more than $450, plus its easily upgradable unlike the mini.

OS X isn't Apple's downfall, its the fact their computers are so annoyingly expensive that most people won't buy them. I know I don't have $1K to spend on a laptop, especially when I can buy a $300 laptop that meets all my needs, has a 15 inch screen and works decently with Linux. Macs are great if you have the money, but I don't have $600 I can just spend on a desktop that will quickly go obsolete, is a pain to upgrade and requires a converter to use my VGA monitor.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011465)

A laptop with a 15" screen for 300$US? What model and where? The cheapest 15" I can find at the moment in Canada is around 400$CAD, which is 370$US. Granted 70$US isn't much but relative to the price of the machine it's a huge difference.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011555)

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955, its got pretty pathetic specs, but is nice for watching DVDs, runs Vista not to terribly, and aside from some odd display problems (occasionally it refuses to go to its native resolution, but logging out and logging in works just fine) it works flawlessly in Ubuntu 9.04. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9368169&type=product&id=1218092959299 [bestbuy.com] is the link, apparently it increased in price $30 since I got it, but when I bought it it was $300.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011673)

try www.fatwallet.com in the hot deals forum. i'm always getting emails about $400 laptops with decent specs.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011557)

I can't speak for you, but I know that when I switched from PCs (running linux), the main reason was because I was tired of having to buy new components/new machines every year. It seemed like the hardware I bought just didn't last like machines used to. In the 90's and early naughts, you could rely on a laptop lasting for a few years. Now it seems like the components are so flimsy (especially on the cheaper ones) that under somewhat heavy usage they just fall apart.

Apple provides awesome support through apple care (well worth the investment if you are a heavy user of laptops, e.g. carting it around everywhere and actually using it). Sure, if all you do is take your laptop to work and back, any laptop would really suffice. It's not undergoing much wear and tear. But if you're traveling and putting a lot of strain on it, I find the policies Apple has are really good.

Granted, some of their laptops (esp the sub-1000 macbook with the plastic shell) had issues under heavy usage, but all the fixes were free under apple care...

That's probably not much different than other companies now, so maybe Dell or something might offer a better total package, but honestly I can't stand the sight of some of their machines.. they are so clunky looking.

Also, being on Mac OS X, I really appreciate not having to tinker constantly, or have to deal with broken packages, broken configs, hardware on newer machines not working properly with linux... ugh.

Mac OS X has it's fair share of issues but from my own personal experience, I have not had any problems. I kind of miss the power and customizability of linux, but NOT the endless fiddling!

Re:Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

sandbenders (301132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011665)

<quote>OS X isn't Apple's downfall, its the fact their computers are so annoyingly expensive that most people won't buy them. </quote>

Ugh. The expensive computers aren't their downfall, they are their business model. Say it with me, folks: "Apple is a HARDWARE company." OS X is a value-add, maybe the biggest one in history, to sell more hardware. They don't make cheaper hardware because enough people will buy their expensive hardware to keep them profitable. Apple doesn't make discount computers for the same reason you can't buy a Cadillac subcompact: they are a premium hardware company. Making cheap computers will cut into their profit (why make $50/computer when you can make $300/computer?) and turn out crappier 'value' Macs, further diluting the brand. For the same reason, they don't offer OS X for other platforms. It's designed to sell their hardware. Selling it for PC eats into their hardware sales while upping the numbers of people who install OS X inexpertly or on wacky hardware and then decide it's unreliable.

Rate this -1 or +1, but make sure it says 'Obvious'.

Not the cost of the computer (5, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011675)

Do you really expect anyone to believe that the cost of the computer is the cost of your computing?

Intelligent people who also factor in other costs often end up choosing Macs as the TOTAL low-cost alternative.

I bought a Mac for my wife, it is by far the cheapest solution because I spend zero time fixing it for her.

Re:Good luck with that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011367)

Apple is both constrained and enhanced by hardware. But you can't really make a true apples to apples comparison because of this. If google can pull off an OS approaching OS X's functionality/usability, and Linux's hardware/platform flexibility, they'll have something Apple doesn't. Google is also a "hip" name as well as a trusted name. People see Google as a technology leader and even non programmers see their developers as forward thinkers. This will all be a wildcard, but I think in favor of Google. I may not switch from my RHEL and CentOS installations, but others very well may. Penetrate the new netbook market, get businesses familiar with it, and expand. IBM and MS both started with businesses, the netbook is the foot in the door at least. Make netbooks a pleasure to manage as a fleet with Satellite/Spacewalk/RHN and Kickstart/FlashStart/Jumpstart/Roboinst type management tools and businesses may want to see that on their desktops as well. OpenOffice is rapidly becoming a fully functional replacement for MS Office, businesses stand to save a ton of money switching to it- and many already use Firefox. While those two alone won't a conversion make, they certainly are two major pieces of the puzzle. As Adobe and others get on board, Linux becomes a pretty viable solution.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011383)

Price could have something to do with this. Apple's goal was never to gain huge market share. They are perfectly happy with making huge margins on their products rather than power tripping on attempted world domination but making slim margins.

If I know Google I they will be following the world domination model and probably will be close to giving the OS in an attempt to gain a huge market share. ...Microsoft starts a search company, Google starts an OS company... Let the war begin.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011397)

Except no memory protection and no (pre emptive) multitasking, don`t forget the MacOS (pre X) too. If you boot something like MacOS 7.6, you end up wondering how come Windows 95 could beat it. Imagine, Quicktime was included in MacOS back in 1991.

I keep wondering the thing about Google, how come being a great, big search engine guarantee success in other areas? For example, if Apple started a search engine tomorrow powered by their own robots, I wouldn't use it.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011409)

The difference here is that any old computer on the shelves of Best Buy, no matter what it is running, is potentially a Chrome OS (or any other Linux OS) installation. Imagine that Google pushes their new system, and people can select between Chrome or Windows when they buy from Dell or whoever. That's huge.

The Mac ecosystem prides itself in its closed gated technology and hardware, and that's why it hasn't exploded in popularity. If you could pick between Windows Vista/7 and Mac OS X on any computer out there with negligible price impacts, Windows wouldn't have a chance. Apple's advertising campaigns made sure of that already.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011423)

OS X to Windows is not an easy comparison. Apple has a relatively limited range of machines that run OS X, so the integrated experience is pretty good. Whereas you can buy a random piece of shit that barely runs Windows, for a lot less money.

On the other hand, this article is about a Linux-based OS. Linux is arguably superior to Windows as well, and it hasn't changed the Windows mindset either, so it's hard to see why yet another distro would magically change it.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011637)

On the other hand, this article is about a Linux-based OS. Linux is arguably superior to Windows as well, and it hasn't changed the Windows mindset either, so it's hard to see why yet another distro would magically change it.

First of all, as you put it, ChromeOS is nothing more than a customized Linux distro (wow, never saw that before) with a bunch of cloud extensions (never saw that before either). So on that score you've got a point.

But the difference between Chrome OS and Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware, Mandriva or whatever is that it's going to be Google Chrome OS. The whole thing is a marketing game, and it's there that Google may be able to penetrate.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011471)

The only area where Chrome is likely to make any headway is in the netbook/mini computer area. They do more than smartphones but do not run a full implementation of Windows 7 as well as a desktop can. On these devices what do you need the OS for other than to launch a browser anyways and maybe run a few apps? You are not likely to be doing any heavy lifting.

Re:Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011519)

This "superior" line always bothers me a little. Anyone who reads my posts here knows I dislike Microsoft intensely, but is OSX really any better than Windows? It has a microkernel architecture, which tends to mean greater stability, but also means a hit to performance. Windows still runs on a larger variety of hardware. If you toss something like Cygwin in, you've pretty much got the equivalent of the BSD userland that ships with OSX. We could go on about interface, but to be honest, I think all GUIs kinda suck (I learned my trade on DOS and *nix machines, and still revert to the command line for all but the simpler file copy operations). OSX certainly is less "messy" than Windows, but judging by the number of people who prefer KDE over Gnome, I would suspect some people like busy desktops, and some people like all-but-empty desktops.

When I'm planning a new server, OSX never really crosses my mind. For 90% of the tasks, I'll pick a Linux or BSD box; no GUI, a quarter century worth the tried and tested tools (that kind of conservatism appeals to people like me, who don't want to have to rewrite shell scripts everytime the OS maker decides to shake things up), incredible support (I've gotten solutions to problems in an hour for problems I was having with Samba and ACLs) and, well, very low licensing costs. I'll use Windows for domain controllers and Exchange servers, and for the odd server app that requires Windows. As to the users on the network, well most of them would have seizures if Office 2003 didn't show up, and I can pick up a low-end Windows box for web browsing, word processing and spreadsheets (which encompasses about 95% of what my users do) for significantly less than anything Apple offers.

As to security, the only reason non-Windows machines sem more secure is because market share is too low for most malware writers to waste their time. But look at recent iPhone SMS attacks. Apple has no special magic security aura, and neither does Linux or BSD, though I will grant that because most things do not run as root, security flaws tend to be more limited.

So, to my mind, "superior" is wholly subjective. It depends entirely on the parameters.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011569)

Not that I'm a Apple advocate, but Apple has had a far superior OS to Windows for the last 8 years, and they've barely dented the PC market. If OS X can't change the Windows mindset, Chrome sure as hell can't.

Chrome is just a shiny object in Sergei's eye. It won't have an impact outside the geek arena.

Apple's OS has also had its fair share of bugs and security holes, but by and large it is certainly a lot more polished. Unfortunately there is no single cure for the "Windows Disease", as there are a lot of directions to approach it. First, most "affordable" (read: under $1k for a non-enthusiast machine) computers come with Windows pre-installed. A large portion of the population I'd argue don't particularly care about the OS, but they do see "big numbers" for the specs on the machine, and a relatively small price tag. I know dozens of people (family included) that just wanted a computer, and bought a windows machine "because it's cheaper, I can check email, and I can browse the web."
 
  As more applications move to the cloud, we may in fact see a transition in the OS's being offered. If people only really care about an Office-like application set, checking email and browsing the web, they may also be enticed by a computer that is $50-$100 cheaper by having a pre-installed free OS. RedHat, Sun, Canonical, and even Apple (not free, but still) have not really been able to compete on those terms. Google certainly has more financial backing than Redhat and Canonical, they also have enough popularity to create more of a push. If they play their cards right, they may open the door for Linux-based OS's on mainstream computer products. Who knows, we may one day see the same machine with OS options at the local Best Buy.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011577)

Price could be a factor. Google can afford to give Chrome away for free (in fact I think that's about their only effective option). PC prices are constantly falling. I don't know how much an OEM licence for Windows costs, but I expect it's at least 10% of the price of the cheapest Windows PC. That 10% difference is quite significant. Even 5% could matter if it means you can reduce the cost of the machine from $310 to $295, which means going under an important psychological threshold.

Apple could have been competing on price but that's not their strategy. They're in the business of selling premium equipment. The advantages of MacOS (Whether genuine or merely perceived) mean people will pay the extra for it. If Chrome can be seen to be as good as Windows, people will not pay the extra for Windows.

Re:Good luck with that (1, Informative)

msormune (808119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011603)

Does OS X support DirectX games? No? Goodbye.

signed: Every gamer who has a PC

Chrome OS + Cloud = New Google (5, Interesting)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011215)

Google: Buy our OS, it'll run on any computer and you can buy the speed you need.

It seems likely that this will be Google's new market once Chrome and the cloud are developed further. Microsoft and Apple will most likely follow suit.

Re:Chrome OS + Cloud = New Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011269)

I can't wait to dip my penis in chrome and run around Redmond nude with my google flailing about.

Anticompetative behaviour (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011217)

So will Chrome OS be required to support IE?

Re:Anticompetative behaviour (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011411)

Does Microsoft make an IE that can run on Linux without requiring compatibility layers? How this is modded interesting I'm not sure, because that would be the same thing as forcing the 360 and Wii to play Blu-Ray movies and PS3 games.

Windows will endure. (2, Insightful)

Kaleidoscopio (1271290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011221)

Truth is Windows will be around for a long long time, even if not on the home business, there is just too many corporations relying on windows for it to sink. I do believe the user base at home will decline heavily (Free Product vs Highly priced crap), but the corporate business wont trust a Google OS for many years to come. Big companies (Banks specially, I work at one) are very slow adopters.

Re:Windows will endure. (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011275)

I do believe the user base at home will decline heavily (Free Product vs Highly priced crap),

Yeah, cause such a thing has surely helped propel Linux to taking over the home desktop marketshare... Oh wait, that's only 2% at best.

Start the Microsoft death spiral? What again? (0, Troll)

freddled (544384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011241)

Microsoft has been in a death spiral for years. It is the corporate equivalent of the undead :) But seriously, Google are too big. Real paradigm shifts are brought about by small, agile organisations with a massive idea. Like mammals taking on the dinosaurs.

Re:Start the Microsoft death spiral? What again? (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011305)

Microsoft has been in a death spiral for years.

Huh? They've increased revenues for 5 straight years now at around 10%. And they're last year net income grew 25% over 2007. Yeah, that's a real death spiral. Gee, I wish I could run a company in a "death spiral" that generates 60 billion in revenue and almost 18 billion in net income.

Re:Start the Microsoft death spiral? What again? (0, Troll)

J4 (449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011615)

Yeah, Enron looked real good too

oh FFS slashdot (5, Insightful)

kuzb (724081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011255)

Have you not learned yet? You've been screaming doom and destruction at MS for years now and it still hasn't even made so much of a dent. I'm glad that Google is entering the OS market - having another competitor, and one with a history of excellence that google has is a good thing. However, this is not going to start the death spiral of any thing, just like the chrome browser isn't killing any of the major players off.

These sensationalist headlines do not belong here.

Re:oh FFS slashdot (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011351)

It's just like Linux on the desktop. Not going to happen for a long, long time.

Re:oh FFS slashdot (5, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011401)

These sensationalist headlines do not belong here.

Where do you think you are, exactly?

Re:oh FFS slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011487)

Digg?

Re:oh FFS slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011521)

These sensationalist headlines do not belong here.

You must be new here.

But... (0)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011271)

If MS starts making software for other OS-es than thier own, they can live happily ever after, can't they? Its one but biggest money maker is its Office suite. If they port that to other OSes than Windows and OSX they will stay in business, if they do it right.

Chrome isn't an OS (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011289)

It is geated for appliances, not general-purpose computers.

Now I will grant that most of what people do today would be easily fulfilled by an appliance. And we would all be far more secure with appliances that could not be subverted by botnets, viruses, trojans, etc. An email/web appliance would satisfy 99% of home users and probably could be slightly extended with web applications to work for 50-60% of business users as well.

So who is building the hot new appliance? Nobody. All previous email appliances have died, mostly from a lack of functionality. Today people see a very false progression from a full-function appliance to a "real ocmputer" as being a short leap, so why not take it? The reality is the appliance with limited (or zero) local storage and no ability to install software (or trojans, viruses, botnets, etc.) would be much, much better for everyone using the Internet.

Could you make an appliance immune to phishing? Probably.

OK, so Chrome OS would be great for an appliance... except nobody is even contemplating building an appliance today. With the thousands (millions?) of Windows-based x86 applications out there for our general-purpose computers, who is going to displace Microsoft? An OS with a rich API, multimedia capabilities and access to the full capabilities of a computer? Or an OS where the API is a browser and nothing else?

Sorry, but Chrome OS might be OK for a netbook. Maybe. It has no place on a desktop computer.

Older computers (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011561)

It's first place is on that older computer that you built from parts that you are going to put in your parent's home or kid's desk. It's an excellent OS for a machine that's locked down so the user doesn't install something bad, but needs basic access to the Internet.

Once all the parents and children are using the machine, they'll want newer machines with ChromeOS preinstalled instead of paying the Microsoft or Apple tax.

Nice article (3, Insightful)

Slothrup (73029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011343)

It's a good article, and well-worth reading. But it bears only a marginal resemblence to the teaser headline CmdrTaco has slapped on it...

Cloud Computing (5, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011407)

Is ultimately a fad. I do not see any real utility in giving control of my software and security to a third party company. In fact, just the opposite. Given Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo's dubious record for security, I and many other savvy computer users will not be welcoming our Cirrus overlords any time soon. It definitely holds little value to business and industry because they like to retain control over there information and rightly so. The disadvantage of going back to centralized computing is placing all your eggs in one basket: one intruder comprises a system and has gained, quite literally, the keys to the castle. It often shocks me to see how many people use twitter, facebook, and their ilk - just blindly eschewing their own privacy because something looks cool. This follow the crowd mentality, "sheeple," if you will is not a good a thing. It is amazing what information one can glean from these sites and if any become compromised, we open ourselves to identity theft on a scale unimagined.

Re:Cloud Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011619)

There's you answer: Every man and their dog moves to Cloud Computing, suffers some major crash-n-burn event and then can enlist the wonderful tools and consulting services of Microsoft to put them back on the 'proper' client/server track.

3. Profit. /Meh - CAPTCHA was 'optimism'

Good Luck With That (4, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011467)

I can't count the number of companies that have made the same claims only to be crushed by the Microsoft Juggernaut by simply having better PR and marketing. In fact the Bing marketing blitz over the last month has been very visible and well put together. Google search is remarkable but some of its functionality is not at all intuitive for the lay-searcher. Microsoft is trying to take advantage of that and if there's one thing Microsoft IS good at it's marketing.

Re:Good Luck With That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29011635)

Google isn't a tiny company, however. In fact they're big enough to give Microsoft's CEO nightmares and have him throw chairs around (or so I've heard).

I haven't seen a single Bing-related ad whatsoever, since day one.

I don't watch TV (no cable, no satellite, no free airwaves either). I don't read newspapers. I don't listen to the radio.

I use the Web for almost everything. I don't have ad blockers (though I do browse with plug-ins disabled). Bing is a search engine for the Web. If there's one place where Microsoft should be pushing Bing, it's on the Web. You see the ad, you click on it, you're on Bing.

But nope, nothing. Where the hell are those "marketing blitz" you're talking about? All I see is those Evony ads...

If you want to RTFA (2, Informative)

ghmh (73679) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011493)

Click here [technologyreview.com] to start on page 1. The link in the summary is for page 2?

yet Google and Apple are locked into Active Sync (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011533)

for their cloud and cell phone products

and Google's products are routinely left unpolished in the usability arena unlike Apple and MS. i gave up trying to scan my photos into Picasa and went back to one of Microsoft's free apps or one of the ones in MS Office. the google desktop has been banned in a lot of companies for its ability to kill MS Exchange and Blackberry Enterprise Server. Android is seen only on brand x cell phones where no one cares what the model is. iphone and pre seem to get the cool branding.

If Chrome OS is like any other Google product then Apple and MS have nothing to worry about.

Want me to run Chrome? (0, Offtopic)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011541)

I've been using Windows since DOS days in the early 80's.
I'd say I'm moderately skilled with Windows.
Nevertheless, I've tried a few different Linux distros - first Knoppix, then OpenSUSE, then Ubuntu G, then Ubuntu H.

Mainly I've quit bothering trying to use Linux, despite it running much faster than Win on any comparable hardware, and despite my personal PREFERENCE to move away from the ever-hungry machine of MS's licensing dept (oh, so I get to pay you every YEAR now?)...

Why?
1) simple laziness. Not really interested in climbing a learning curve at 41. Got better things to do with my time.
2) mimic Windows ease of use in terms of installs. If I want to install a program that's not on the "add application" list of programs that I get from whatever install server is my default, it should be no more complicated than downloading a file, and running it. If there are dependencies, add them to the damn install file.
3) much better automated hardware detection and support. I want to install a USB device? The OS needs to recognize the device and install drivers, or at least tell me where I need to go to get them. I was sick of DIP switch settings and dicking around with config files in DOS...I don't want to go back to that.
4) here's the killer: build in an invisible WINE-like function. Let me run native apps, and I'm sure they'll be faster. But if I want to run WoW and they don't have a linux client? Let me run it with the performance hit of some sort of shell, but let it RUN.

That said, the main hesitations for me are twofold:
- that installing Stepmania on a linux box for my kids to play on was absolutely AGONY. It wasn't just a matter of downloading, extracting, and double-clicking the Stepmania icon.
- I'm unwilling to adopt an OS that means that I can't play the entire bookshelf of computer games next to me without major screwing around. Yes, I do go back and play a fair number of Win95 games, as well as current cutting-edge ones.

So, I don't think my experience is that odd; if they want me to try ChromeOS, there's what I'd need to see.

If Google keeps current attitude, it will hurt (4, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011543)

If Google passes the line between privacy and convenience, we will read some horror stories about it and it can actually lead to some very interesting developments like FSF getting into the future drama as it will be based on Linux.

We may end up reading things like "World's first spyware OS" right here, on Slashdot. We may see FSF or Linus openly protest it.

Google thinks everyone buys their "not evil" kind of slogans and design software based on it. Someone should remind them that those times are over. Also, being open source won`t change a thing. If it gathers your location and posts it to Google servers, it won`t matter if it is open source or not. Even if they hire (!) rms to code it, it won`t matter.

Unfortunately Microsoft already in death spiral (-1, Flamebait)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011551)

With their changing focus mid way through XP from the end users of their products to a marketing strategy (crap ware for movie and music and everyone besides the person using the computer) they have alienated developers and people don't want to deal with their product. That has set them up for everyone to jump ship at the first chance they get and that is exactly what is happening. Google's strategy did not start this.

just marketing words (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011573)

Chrome OS is just Linux with Google's feature-lacking Chrome browser slapped on it. linux has made no real significant dent in the desktop or notebook space, why would anyone think a few marketing words added to that would make any real difference or be any real threat to Microsoft?

Hyperbole and rhetoric designed.... (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011607)

..to make Slashdot postings increasingly irrelevant. Can we ever get through a morning without another tired anti-MS post?

More reasonable reasons besides FUD (1)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011631)

They've been running their own flavour of Linux at Google internally for a few years now, so it only made sense they would release it as a packaged OS sooner or later.

I suppose that's just too mundane for news though.

Yawn (0)

greymond (539980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29011657)

Google OS, Defeat Windows? Sure, right up there with oh..you know..Linux defeating Windows too...

It'll happen as soon as RedHat or Suse become household names and Linux gains 40% of the everyday consumer market share with stores like Best Buy having half their software isles filled with software that runs from a command line or KDE/Gnome GUI.

Oh that's right, no one outside of slashdot, the silicon valley or the tech industry who is a joe average consumer has any interest in using anything other than Windows or Apple OS. The only way to defeat that would be to create an OS that could do everything that both Windows and Apple OS does as well as run everything that the both of them can run - NATIVELY, but you won't ever have a third party created that because both companies rely on too much proprietary garbage.

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