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What Google's Chromium OS Is Reaching For

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the chrome-detailing dept.

Google 216

MojoKid sends in a piece that takes a step back from Google's much-analyzed OS to look at what it is trying to accomplish. "Last week, Google open-sourced its Chromium OS project, more than a year before the operating system is scheduled for release. In doing so, Google hopes a variety of developers and companies will become involved in the project, and has pledged to release regular updates as well as a comprehensive log of bug reports and fixes. This article takes a look at Google's design vision for Chromium, the unique benefits it offers, and a bit of why Google is throwing its hat into this particular ring in the first place. Chromium, after all, is a Linux-based OS entering the smartbook/netbook market at a time when the product segment is already being well served by a variety of Linux distros, XP, and Windows 7. In the midst of all these options, do we need another operating system? We just might."

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The real reason (1, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289850)

Chromium OS is there so Google doesn't break GPL and other licenses. But it's also there to get some open source for their at no cost (*other than the maintenance cost inspecting patches and so on). Really, think about it. It's released full year before actually going out, giving the 'nice' image for open source developers and just waiting them to jump in. So that Google can cash in later (while still obviously keeping the Chromium OS open and free, because it doesn't hurt their bottom line and then they're compatible with GPL and so on)

It's quite common knowledge that Chrome OS will be locked down. There's even *already* been announcements that it will be the worst piece of *DRM* ever in front of security. If *anything* is changed in the system, the OS downloads it and replaces it again. The basic things you have running is basically Chrome OS, which nicely integrates you to Google services. And even before that, because in order to use the OS you will be required to sign-in with your Google Account. Yes, no local user accounts. Just your Google-wide account.

Re:The real reason (3, Interesting)

sabs (255763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289946)

Which from a Google standpoint makes perfect sense.
An OS that is basically one giant web browser, why would you need a local account.

I wouldn't run an Chromium machine, but I completely understand their design goals.

I also think that Cloud Computing is the worse idea in the world, but I seem to be getting shot down by the Myth-Makers. We'll have to see how it goes.

Re:The real reason (4, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290308)

I also think that Cloud Computing is the worse idea in the world, but I seem to be getting shot down by the Myth-Makers. We'll have to see how it goes.

In some ways I think cloud computing is the new 'outsourcing projects to India' -- both are/were good for some things, but were / will be applied to a bunch of business cases that they really don't make sense for. Both have/will resulted in a lot of failed projects, not because they're inherently bad ideas, but because of myopically focusing on their strengths and ignoring their drawbacks.

Some people, if given a hammer, quickly see everything as a nail. Instead of learning the right lesson from the failures of this strategy, they just try to find a better hammer.

Re:The real reason (2, Insightful)

blueskies (525815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290440)

I also think that Cloud Computing is the worse idea in the world

I think it depends on how you define cloud computing. If you keep it broad, it's like saying email is the worst thing in the world, because 90% of it is spam. 90% of cloud ideas are dumb are poorly implemented (or thought out), but it doesn't mean that there aren't uses for it to solve problems that are really hard any other way.

Do you think google should get rid of GFS and bigtable and move off their cloud to a more centralized datastore? I'm sure they can handle all of their data and computing needs without using a cloud....

Re:The real reason (1)

Alarash (746254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290636)

But what if I want to load my PC with videos and watch them offline? What if I want to type some code in *my* favorite IDE? To me this OS looks nice in concept, but is really more like a glorified smartphone. One that can make only VoIP calls, I might add; which is fine by me, but not with any Mobile Operators - all of them block VoIP protocols on their networks. So even if in a few years SPs start offering affordable subscriptions with acceptable monthly transfer volume (read: unlimited), they might still block VoIP protocols because they want you to use your phone and charge your extra for it. One can hope that this will be a game changer for the market, but I don't see this happening before at least 5 years. Hell, you guys in North America still sometimes have a monthly transfer volume cap on your freaking DSL or cable subscription plans.

Re:The real reason (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291046)

But what if I want to load my PC with videos and watch them offline?

HTML5 can be offline. The OS can take USB drives and you can browse to those drives from the browser, or from its own file manager.

What if I want to type some code in *my* favorite IDE?

It's the same issue with Windows vs OSX vs Gnome/KDE -- Some things aren't available and that's just how it is. There are prototype IDE's like Mozilla Bespin for the web but they're self-admittedly primitive. It will have Flash and there are based remote-desktop facilities for arbitrary desktop software on other machines, or perhaps people will be able to introduce native software to the desktop.

Re:The real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290874)

I don't see myself storing everything in the cloud, or using only web based apps but I would kind of like to see a kernel with less cruft. It looks like this is what Google is doing. Even though I won't be running their OS I look forward to what comes out of it. A leaner kernel seems like a good evolutionary step for Linux in the long run, especially as some of the older supported things get more and more obsolete, but still have to have to be maintained.

Re:The real reason (2, Insightful)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289958)

Obviously, Google is planning on copying Scientology and making all of us their slaves. We will all be forced to view advertisements on web pages without ever being paid for our work.

Re:The real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290912)

we are being paid exactly the price of one operating system

Re:The real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291104)

HOLY SHIT!

Have you patented this???

This is a brilliant scheme to get rich for all these years I've spent sitting on my ass idly surfing the net!

Re:The real reason (4, Insightful)

ITJC68 (1370229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290046)

For some people that use those services this will be good for them. If and when it gets installed as a default OS for a laptop or netbook remains to be seen. I have been looking at the netbooks but couldn't stomach getting one with XP. 7 might be ok if they tune down its resource requirements or turn some of the eye candy off. Competition is usually a good thing but this is more of Google trying to stomp on Microsoft some as they have been trying everything to get into search more with bing and making it default on their browsers. When a user doesn't have a choice of OS, browser and search engine then we can all scream that it is a conspiracy.

Re:The real reason (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290752)

The user will have the choice to reject Google just as the masses moved away from AOL.

Remember when AOL dialup was a Good Thing because of their fast connection speeds, and that at the time their software sucked much less than it does now?

Beware hubris, for it provokes smackdowns. :)

Re:The real reason (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290256)

If *anything* is changed in the system, the OS downloads it and replaces it again.

Chances are, with the project open sourced, this will be circumvented. Likewise, the restriction of no local users and no hard disks will most likely also be removed by the community.

That is, if the OS is worth running in the first place. I think I'll stick with my *nixes

Re:The real reason (4, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290684)

I think you have it backwards. We already are without those restrictions simply by using another distro. This is taking GNU/Linux to a new architecture, a new way of operating. If you don't like it, there's still only about 20,000 other distros to pick from, so go there instead.

More likely is that any advance seen here would be added to the other distros post-haste. And that already is happening with chromium - the JS, rendering, and security models are already available on other distros before Chrome OS was even opened up, let alone released.

This is just Google entering the Linux-distro market in an Apple-like way: bundling everything (hardware, software) as a unit to provide a better end-user experience to their target market. If you don't like Macs, don't buy one. If you don't like Chrome OS, don't buy one. I know some people for whom this would be awesome. Just not me.

Re:The real reason (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290294)

I wish people would.....know something......anything....about the subject before making such statements.

Yes, in normal operation the system will heal itself, that's the point and it's what i expect the OS to do. You forgot to mention that there is a developer mode. You can install your own kernel, do whatever you want, and at most you'll get a warning that the system is out of spec or modified. They aren't locking anyone out of their own system, there's no TPM, and Google specifically says that one is not required to do what they're doing in firmware. Besides that the only app is the browser, and unless they're planning to completely remove extensions from the Chrome OS version, those will be there, and you can do quite a bit with them.

And the picture you paint of Google dangling some code out in public to get the community to do their work for them, is absurd.

Re:The real reason (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290328)

There's even *already* been announcements that it will be the worst piece of *DRM* ever in front of security. If *anything* is changed in the system, the OS downloads it and replaces it again.

The core OS itself is being treated more like a piece of firmware than a traditional OS. You can update it. You can make changes to settings. You can install programs. But the core of the OS will repair itself if it thinks it is corrupted.

First off, Windows already does this. Secondly, this doesn't mean you can't intentionally change things. Lastly, since Chromium is completely open, you can remove this feature if you don't like it.

DRM stops you from making copies of material you own. This isn't DRM. It's a system recovery feature.

Re:The real reason (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290350)

Chromium OS is there so Google doesn't break GPL and other licenses.

Despite mostly being flamebait this part of your post raises the question of why there isn't an equivalent to GPL for web applications. Don't tell me Affereo GPL because the AGPL only varies from the GPL by section 13 [fsf.org] which says that if webapps include a method of retrieving source code it can't be removed, but it doesn't say that users of the software get the right to the source code like the GPL does, and it doesn't say that applications that build upon webapps have any obligations.

So the AGPL is really like the LGPL, not the GPL, and it should be renamed the ALGPL. It also means we don't have any equivalent to the GPL for web apps because the AGPL doesn't propagate across networks and it can be easily subverted by adding proprietary code to a network library.

Copyright-wise even Microsoft understand that there's no difference between the local PC bus and the network by saying the Microsoft Office (and most of their applications) can't be made available to the public internet. You can't sell a remote desktop version of Microsoft Office because they propagate licensing conditions to the network. Copyright licenses can go whereever copyright goes, and copyright exists locally or across networks.

What we should have is a genuine GPL across the network, not the AGPL. If people do make network software they need to be able to provide GPL-style freedoms across the network but right now there is no license for this.

More, more! (2, Interesting)

indre1 (1422435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289884)

The more the merrier!

Re:More, more! (-1, Redundant)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290466)

It's an OS that is pointless. For $300, you can already get a Windows 7 laptop that will run all the web apps this OS will run on top of popular native apps. The only reason this is getting any media play is that it's from Google. The media LOVES Google and pretends everything they do is new, exciting, and innovative. Google is releasing a crippled Linux distro that can only run a web browser, and it's being treated like something amazing.

Apple already tried the web app thing with the iPhone, and people demanded a native SDK. This is doomed to suck.

Diversity is good. (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289888)

Regardless of how many existing approaches there might be to a given problem, another "hat in the ring" is a good thing. Things change fast in tech, and who knows where Chromium might go in the future? Diversity fosters competition and improvements.

Re:Diversity is good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30289992)

Google can suck the chromium off of a trailer hitch

Fuck those datamining bitches!

Re:Diversity is good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290146)

Settle down, Lahey. Have another drink. Randy ain't home yet.

Re:Diversity is good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290284)

I agree. Bitches need to be slapped.

Re:Diversity is good. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290000)

I actually disagree, not because of a dislike of google but because while diversity is good, fragmentation is bad. There is not an unlimited supply of skilled OS developers despite what people may think and even less of a supply of those willing to freely contribute to projects. Fragmentation means all projects suffer just a little more of not being able to put the much needed cut and polish in or those extra needed features. from what I can see the chromium OS brings little more than extra fragmentation to an ecosystem already suffering from fragmentation.

Re:Diversity is good. (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290160)

There is not an unlimited supply of skilled OS developers despite what people may think and even less of a supply of those willing to freely contribute to projects.

I really can't agree with that. As Google is paying good salaries for developers to work on Chromium, the situation is quite different from the traditional open source labor contribution model.

Re:Diversity is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290266)

Don't worry about fragmentation. No good developer would waste their time with Chromium OS.

The only developers they're attracting are those fools who fall for every single new development, but never actually produce anything useful.

Re:Diversity is good. (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290290)

Fragmentation means all projects suffer just a little more of not being able to put the much needed cut and polish in or those extra needed features.

Classic authoritarian mistake of thinking, if I just kill off some dudes pet project, then he will do exactly what I want.

Re:Diversity is good. (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290304)

The rest of the fragmentation is made up of nearly identical clones of Debian and Redhat. This is, out of the box, substantially different.

Re:Diversity is good. (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290464)

Because if there is anything OS developers really want to work on, it is cut and polish.

Wait A Minute?! You're Praising 'Choice'!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290178)

Way to put your karma on the line and really add something to the conversation.

Re:Diversity is good. (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290368)

I for one would wish that a fork would come into existence that would:
-Let it run on all Linux supported HW and not just Google approved HW
-Use the full potentional of a cloud OS but used local storage first and upload later
-Has a one-click-USB-storage-backup-solution-X(tm)

Re:Diversity is good. (2, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290400)

"I for one would wish that a fork would come into existence that would:
-Let it run on all Linux supported HW and not just Google approved HW
-Use the full potentional of a cloud OS but used local storage first and upload later
-Has a one-click-USB-storage-backup-solution-X(tm)"

PS: and removes phoning home too...

Re:Diversity is good. (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290444)

PS2: and abused the phoning home features as online backup storage with encryption :')

Re:Diversity is good. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290686)

PS3: At least it's better than XBOX.

RTFA (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289896)

I wonder who will notice that the link doesn't work at all? Oh, wait... This is slashdot. Never mind. :)

Re:RTFA (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289932)

Well, it didnt work in Chrome. The irony? My cursor doesnt change to a hand.

Re:RTFA (1)

holloway (46404) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291078)

It was an <a> empty a tag </a> without a href attribute. It wouldn't work in any browser.

Re:RTFA (1)

Trev311 (1161835) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289960)

I wonder who will notice that the link doesn't work at all? Oh, wait... This is slashdot. Never mind. :)

I can't read you insensitive clod!

Re:RTFA (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290024)

If you look at the original submission (which is what I did), you can find the link there [hothardware.com] . That said, somebody really ought to fix it in the summary.

Re:RTFA (0, Offtopic)

Barryke (772876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290498)

I don't get it. Thats exactly what i posted on the same parent, 5 minutes before you. I see my post as modded 1, while yours is at 4. I can't imagine how this could be..

Re:RTFA (1)

thickdiick (1663057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290824)

Why would you read a link for a story whose title ends in a preposition?

Google Is Reaching (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30289928)

for Bill Gates' ass.

or more specifically Microsoft's ass.

Yours In Yasnogorsk,
Kilgore Trout

A bad trade off. (0, Troll)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289988)

It is going in a more Apple way than Apple. Google is going to try to make something that will just work. That isn't a bad thing but they are doing it by limiting what you can do with it.
As far as features go what can you do with with this OS you can not do with with Linux, OS/X, or WIndows7 with Chrome installed?
Nothing that I can see so far.
What can you do with those other OS's? Simple you can write code and run software native. I can install apps! Better yet I can sell apps.
I see this a Google's big flop. I could be wrong but I think they blew this one.
Now if they just made a good Netbook version of Linux and installed an App store I think it could have been a killer. Maybe Android with an apps store if they would give me a c++ compiler for there java vm ISA and ported QT and GTK.

Re:A bad trade off. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290110)

I think this is what the masses (but not slashdot readers) want: appliance computing. A computer where thinking, decision making, or user competence are not required. It explains the success of the iPhone: a smartphone dumbed down so you cant put anything bad on it.

Re:A bad trade off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290382)

Didn't someone, somewhere, out in the universe, but an important person, say that someday there may be some sort of merging between chrome and android?

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290416)

It's a computer where you don't have to think, make decisions, or be competent on the subject of the computer itself. I know what I know as a result of years of formal education, independent reading, and experience. Lots of people don't want to do that; they'd rather learn and do different things. There's nothing wrong with that. Similarly, I'm happy to have a car that's designed to get me places comfortably without me having to learn the internals (which have changed dramatically since I came of driving age) or make many car-specific decisions.

The success of the iPhone is not from what it doesn't so, but what it does. Very few people insist on being able to program their own phone (and a whole lot of them are on Slashdot). It does a whole lot of useful and fun things very well, and that's why it's a success.

Appliance computing would be very popular if it actually worked, if people could buy an appliance that would do what they need to do (mostly web surfing, email, light word processing, and games) without having to worry about all the problems of a general-purpose computer.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290652)

You sort of got it.
The iPhone's success is from what does which is run a lot of apps.
The iPhone's success is because it is easy to write and better yet to sell apps.
On other platforms it is easy to put apps up for sale but it is very hard to sell them.
I agree the key is what the device can do and not what it can not. Chrome OS can not do a lot of things other platforms can and those platforms can do what Chrome OS can.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

molecular (311632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291158)

mod parent up!

but let me disagree with the last argument.

Appliance computing would be very popular if it actually worked, if people could buy an appliance that would do what they need to do (mostly web surfing, email, light word processing, and games) without having to worry about all the problems of a general-purpose computer.

It _did_ work 8 years ago (sorry to reference my own post about the eVilla)

I think that did "actually work", but didn't become popular, which must've had some other reason,...

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290162)

Googles approach here has been tried many times in the past and I am betting this attempt will end like all the others in complete failure. It is not that they are doing anything wrong, it is simply they are a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist, i.e. there is no mass market desire out there for a limited machine that you MUST be connected to the web to work and cannot install applications on or store your data on.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290494)

That's the same reason Apple failed to crack the cell phone market. Their iphone experience is ending in complete failure...

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

sago007 (857444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290610)

Even if all previous tries have failed is not a guarantee that it will fail again. Even if the technology is the same times change.

However Google might be out a little early. The question is of course if the Internet is ready to handle a secondary device? I have worked in some companies and the question being asked then moving things out of the house is: Is the Internet stable enough. Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it is no.

The biggest problem is of course that even if the Internet is 90% of all needed functionality we still have the critical 10% that is different for all users and therefore cannot be moved to the cloud.

Google admit that the new device can only be used as a secondary device because it lacks important functionality but one wonders if that is enough. The mobile technology suggests that people might want fewer devices not an extra.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

molecular (311632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291174)

Googles approach here has been tried many times in the past and I am betting this attempt will end like all the others in complete failure.

I bet 10 euros against that.

Re:A bad trade off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290264)

There is one thing you can do with Chromium that you can't do elsewhere - not have to actually deal with things like programs, files, etc. (A second thing might be boot time, if that's actually any better.) From experience with recently setting up computers for some... unskilled folks, I can say that there is a very large market for computers that /do/ go out of their way to remove things. The fewer options you have, the less you can do wrong. And a lot of people don't get a lot out of their computer because they fear doing something wrong with all that freedom.

I think the bet that Google is making is that enough people will want to make that sacrifice - privacy, security, reliability - in exchange for having the computer act like a more limited appliance. You or I might think "not being able to write programs or manage our own data" is a bad thing, but a fair number of people will see that as "not be confused with a bunch of programs, and have someone more competent than I manage my data."

I wouldn't use it, but I'm sure folks like my parents and grandparents would prefer it.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290296)

That isn't a bad thing but they are doing it by limiting what you can do with it.

In most circles, limiting functionality to what the majority of targeted customers need, rather than trying to satisfy the needs of any and all potential customers is seen as economical engineering design. Tell me why every Windows user needs administrative tools allowing them to add users to their system. Or why I need an event viewer, even if I have no idea what a system event is or how to deal with it.

The bottom line is that most computer systems are over-featured and under-designed for most users. In fact, one might see most of the superfluous features creating more potential security, misconfiguration, and difficulty of use issues than their (supposedly inherent) usefulness provides.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290582)

I agree with a lot of what you say except that I want to run apps on my computer and not on the web. Just like I can do on my iPod Touch and my Android phone.
I feel this is going too far the other way. However computers are NOT over engineered. They are way under engineered. It takes great engineering to make a complex device simple.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290346)

You don't seem to understand chromeOS at all like most here on slashdot. This isn't supposed to ever be your only computer/OS. The hardware and OS for this is based on the fac tthat you already have two or three "desktop" style computers and want something that is easy to use.

While cooking isn't a slashdotter trait, Say you come across a really great recipe at your desk, but now you want to go make it? well since it is online you could transfer it to your smart phone and squint at the screen as you try to make it. You could take your expensive laptop into the kitchen but if that is stupid as kitchens have all sorts of nasty liquids and powders in them that can cause harm. You might be willing to risk your hardware, but how about the data on the hard drive that just got trashed?

So now you can take a cheap(~$200 netbook maybe) computer there access that data remotely(run your own webserver if you want). and if you do destroy it only the hardware has to be dealt with.

personally the PC needs a major redesign anyways. Every computer should have two HD's one for the OS and one for the user files and applications. The OS system should always be mounted read only. While not eliminating attacks it would help slow the spread of malware if a reboot would undo most of them.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290888)

While cooking isn't a slashdotter trait, Say you come across a really great recipe at your desk, but now you want to go make it? well since it is online you could transfer it to your smart phone and squint at the screen as you try to make it. You could take your expensive laptop into the kitchen but if that is stupid as kitchens have all sorts of nasty liquids and powders in them that can cause harm. You might be willing to risk your hardware, but how about the data on the hard drive that just got trashed?

You should probably stick to take out if you really think your cooking skills involve maneuvers that will kill a laptop. And, no, I don't want to know what recipes you were thinking about when you wrote that post.

Re:A bad trade off. (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290934)

Or you could just print it for the cost of about 2 cents and have a hard copy which you really don't care if it gets splattered with tomato sauce. ChromeOS is a cloud solution in search of a problem. Thing is, cloud capabilities are a small proper subset of general purpose laptop/netbook capabilities, so why chain yourself to a crippled platform?

I get it that such limitations might work for the extremely light usage crowd (grandma and people who like to pretend to be working adults by using social media sites, etc.) but for real working adults, the cloud (sans local data retention under user control) is a catastrophic, organization-wide, data loss incident waiting to happen. But adding local data stores to the cloud just makes it a regular old OS with lame web apps and online backup, something which is already available in the current crop of mature, polished, debugged, mainstream OSes like Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Re:A bad trade off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290980)

Or you press "Print".

And if you really like the recipe, you three hole punch it, and put it into a binder for future use.

Because a piece of paper is WAY cheaper than a $200 netbook.

Yeesh.

Here's the link (5, Informative)

ZaSz-RH (923115) | more than 4 years ago | (#30289998)

Re:Here's the link (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290596)

A year from now, a lot of Chromium's appeal could be riding on what users can do with one when they aren't connected to the Internet or want to save content locally. There are occasions, after all, where 'the cloud' is the very last place you want certain information to reside.

Google has come up with a variation on a thin client and plans to deploy it on laptops. If this OS really is a pure thin client then google is going have their work cut out for them selling these devices because eventually people are going to want want to be able to work offline. There must be some sort of offline capability built into Chrome wich makes it more of a hybrid than a pure thin client/Web OS and it will be interesting to see what the final product look like. Then there is the expense, Wifi isn't universally available where I live, even remaining connected over mobile networks is problematic outside urban areas and also extremely expensive.

One final bit of irony. Over ten years ago, Microsoft was sued for bundling a browser with Windows 98. Does it amuse anyone else that Google is bundling an operating system along with their browser?

Oh Yes.

Re:Here's the link (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291200)

There must be some sort of offline capability built into Chrome wich makes it more of a hybrid than a pure thin client/Web OS and it will be interesting to see what the final product look like.

You're forgetting about Google Gears [google.com] . I think they've been planning their approach for a while now, with Gears-enabled web apps you wouldn't even notice being offline (that is, until you want to access a document that wasn't cached).

Why Chromium? (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290018)

In the midst of all these options, do we need another operating system? We just might. If nothing else, it really pisses off Microsoft! In and of itself, doesn't that make it well worth it?

Re:Why Chromium? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290236)

Thank God there are people in computing who can look beyond dumb bullshit like this.

It's a howl that you slag MS at every chance but you still use it. Why don't you just go back to Digg?

Re:Why Chromium? (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290520)

I pirate it, that's just like not using it. (Not aiming for insightful here :P)

Re:Why Chromium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290706)

Keep thinking that. You're just as guilty. (I don't need people to mod me insightful to know I'm right :p)

Re:Why Chromium? (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290756)

I envy your ego T_T (Offtopic: today I told 2 guys and a girl I have a small penis)

Re:Why Chromium? (2, Interesting)

wile_e8 (958263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290556)

As a Ubuntu user, I'd just be happy if it force a version of Silverlight for Linux that actually works (Yes, I've tried Moonlight. No, it doesn't work for any of the streaming sports broadcasts I'd like to watch). If making it pisses off Microsoft, everybody wins.

Re:Why Chromium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291000)

I, for one, welcome the our future Microsoft Labs Chair Overlords.

Link doesn't work (0, Redundant)

David Lazaro (152076) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290050)

The link doesn't work.

Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sense. (1, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290130)

Why not just bundle Chrome with any Linux distro. That way Google can make Chrome the default web browser for Linux by making it open sourced (I think it already is) and bundled with as many Linux distros as possible.

Why should I use Chromium OS when I can download any Linux distro and install Chrome on it.

What makes Chrome better than say Firefox? When I did web site testing I didn't see a speed difference between Firefox and Chrome. Chrome doesn't have as many plug-ins as Firefox has, no easy way to block advertising (you have to right click on each ad and choose "block" instead of using Adblock Plus and subscribe to a list that automatically blocks ads for you) and having to right click on every ad that pops up is tiresome work and gets really annoying.

All of Google's web services work in Firefox just as well as they work in Chrome. So why is there a need for Chrome or even Chromium OS? What benefits and features can Chrome and Chromium OS give me that Linux and Firefox cannot?

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290220)

I agree with what you are saying, but do you really think Google would like everyone blocking their adsense placements and undermining their adwords program?

What business do you think Google is *really* in?

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (0, Troll)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290242)

Then why does Chrome block Adsense ads when the user right clicks and choose block on them?

I think Ad blocking programs for other web browsers have cut into Google Adsense profits. Google is going to have to find a new way to earn money besides advertising. Ad blocking is teh futar!

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290430)

The ability to block an ad one at a time they can prolly handle. An addon that completely prevents their profit, easily enabled for the masses? Another matter.

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290238)

Why not just bundle Chrome with any Linux distro. That way Google can make Chrome the default web browser for Linux by making it open sourced (I think it already is) and bundled with as many Linux distros as possible.

Because that doesn't allow them to restrict the machine to your Google account and only allow you to use Google services?

Chrome's killer app (2, Interesting)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290338)

...is convenience. I would say RTFA, but you actually have to watch the video to get it...Chrome OS will boot into the browser in a few seconds, compared to XP taking about a minute to boot and then another 30 seconds of housekeeping before Firefox launches (YMMV). That's a game changer. And before people start whining about how it won't slice bread and do everything else they want a computer to do, it doesn't have to. I would guess at least half of home users just do web browsing, email, light word processing, iTunes and photo management. All easy to do in a browser, and that's a pretty big market to go after.

No, it's not a gaming rig. And most people don't care, or they wouldn't be buying PCs with Intel video chips in them.

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (1)

KarlHammar (1687564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290508)

Before stating that Chromium OS does not make sense and cannot be motivated, it would be fitting if you at least read up on what the goals of the project are. My understanding of it is that Chromium OS is intended for netbooks with an extremely fast boot time and a new take on system security (using mirrored system partitions that are updated one at a time, and so on). You may want to look through the Chromium OS web site (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os), especially the videos related to security and boot speed. In short: Chromium OS might not be a better replacement for your current Linux/Firefox environment, but it may be a fitting solution for a different type of need. I can certainly imagine a ChromeOS-based laptop as a second computer, to bring on the road with me. Especially if it has some sort of 3G broadband built in.

How Can Someone Possibly Be That Stupid? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290644)

"Why not just bundle Chrome with any Linux distro"

My god, it's late 2009. I can see your average dumbass teenage Slashdot poster asking something that stupid back in 1999. But today???

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (3, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290736)

I find Chrome to be twice as fast as Firefox in terms of startup time (both first time (from HD) and subsequent (from RAM)). Chrome OS, in its finished form, will have a similar advantage (3 sec bootup vs. 10-100). Also, I find the Chrome browser's UI better - it doesn't waste 6 lines of screen space like Firefox.

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290928)

no easy way to block advertising

There's an ad-blocking extension [qux.us] for Chrome that uses the same filter list as AdBlock Plus usually does.

Re:Que? No comprede! Chromium OS doesn't make sens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291034)

Why not just bundle Chrome with any Linux distro. That way Google can make Chrome the default web browser for Linux by making it open sourced (I think it already is) and bundled with as many Linux distros as possible.

Please google "chrome os", or read the article, or watch the video in the article, any of which would answer this question. How on earth do comments which ask questions that are so easy to answer get modded "insightful"?

Why should I use Chromium OS when I can download any Linux distro and install Chrome on it.

Linux is my OS of choice, but I understand why a company looking to make a product for people who are not hard-core geeks would not choose it. The video in the middle of the linked article mentions several features and capabilities aimed at users who put ease of use in front of flexibility. For example, all system files live on a partition that is wiped and re-imaged on boot if it has been modified (unless a user disables this feature). This way malware and bugs that corrupt the system will be fixed by a reboot. I don't want this, but it is a good idea for users who don't read slashdot and want their computer to Just Work.

What makes Chrome better than say Firefox? When I did web site testing I didn't see a speed difference between Firefox and Chrome.

I find that hard to believe. Have you noticed the speed difference between Firefox 2.0 and 3.0? And the huge speedup from 3.0 to 3.5? Competition is a wonderful thing for users.

Chrome doesn't have as many plug-ins as Firefox has,

True. Firefox's design allows virtually anything to be changed by an extension. CHrome's extension model is far more limited, but extensions do not slow the browser down nearly as much. If you prefer a browser that is more customizable, no sane person would suggest that you not use one. By the same token, stop whining that someone with different preferences and goals than you would choose speed and UI consistency.

no easy way to block advertising (you have to right click on each ad and choose "block" instead of using Adblock Plus and subscribe to a list that automatically blocks ads for you) and having to right click on every ad that pops up is tiresome work and gets really annoying.

If you don't like the ad blockers for chrome, write a better one, or suggest new features to the authors of the half dozen ad blockers already written.

All of Google's web services work in Firefox just as well as they work in Chrome. So why is there a need for Chrome or even Chromium OS? What benefits and features can Chrome and Chromium OS give me that Linux and Firefox cannot?

I know this is slashdot, but it just blows my mind that you are smart enough to use linux and too dumb to read the article before asking the question that the article intends to answer.

Niche Product (5, Insightful)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290276)

I can seriously see the advantages of Chrome OS in an ultra-portable device. . . netbook, smartbook, Crunchpad-like gadget. . . Simplicity and efficiency and speed are needed there, and it could have a real advantage.

NO WAY can I see it replacing my OS on my primary desktop computer (currently an iMac BTW). I can't see web apps replacing: Second Life, iTunes, Aperture, GIMP, my word processors and text editors, games, and a number of other programs.

Re:Niche Product (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290386)

Chrome OS comes with a web-based media player. I think Last.fm claims to have streamed the equivalent of 2000 years of music. Web based media players might be the future.

GIMP is such a pain that Ubuntu is dropping it. My wife uses web-based image editting tools exclusively these days.

There has been work on an OpenGL ES framework for full 3D accelerated programing inside the web browser. So there can be a Second Life client that runs natively fully in your browser in the future. It isn't unfeasible.

Re:Niche Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290878)

People don't just use iTunes to listen to music though, they use it to manage their iPods and iPhones. They also use it to manage and listen to THEIR music collection, and most people I know have content on their iPods and in their collections that doesn't exist on Last.fm, or similar streaming services, because it's small, independent, and local. Not the majority of their collection, but at least one or two albums.

Televisions, the next frontier! (4, Interesting)

hemp (36945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290336)

I am convinced that Google will work make Chrome in the TV market. Quick boot time and lack of local apps all point to a non-traditional platform.

Throw in Youtube and Hulu and you have why Comcast is buying NBC. Cable providers will quickly become irrelevant in a few years.

Re:Televisions, the next frontier! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291058)

Like Appletv? Or a hacked appletv :)

The Network is the Computer (1, Flamebait)

russlar (1122455) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290360)

Sun called, they want their concept back.

Remember when Google became a search engine? (5, Insightful)

fmerenda (78242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290438)

"Chromium, after all, is a Linux-based OS entering the smartbook/netbook market at a time when the product segment is already being well served by a variety of Linux distros, XP, and Windows 7."

Remember when Google entered the search engine space? It was being well served by Yahoo, Dogpile, MSN, Excite and a bunch of other search engine vendors... I mean really, how could they improve internet searching?

Re:Remember when Google became a search engine? (2, Insightful)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291082)

I do remember when Google entered the internet search market. Google gained search share precisely because that market was not being well served by the existing search engines. Google's results were better (thanks to PageRank [wikipedia.org] ) which is why more and more users switched to Google as their primary search engine.

In the case of notebook/netbook OSes, the current crop of mainstream contenders (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) has more functionality than ChromeOS, which makes it very unlikely to displace the current mature offerings. This strategy, of providing a more poorly functioning offering, is exactly the opposite of how Google came to dominate Web search.

ChromeOS appears to be motivated entirely by wishful thinking. "We (Google) wish that the only thing users wanted to do is use web apps cause then we could sell more ads, so lets make an OS that only does the cloud!" It's a lame attempt at vendor lock-in in the guise of convenience.

Unfortunately for Google, in the case of ChromeOS, less is less.

Don't like some "features" (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290490)

From the article:

To summarize the sales pitch: Chromium gets rid of all the crusty old legacy garbage, moves storage online where it's both universally available and backed up, provides a platform that finally integrates browser and OS, all while providing a fabulous, multimedia-rich online experience. Everything you currently do offline will be available online, seamlessly provided by a content platform that presents a universal, standards-based framework rather than a hodgepodge of browsers, security bugs, and broken standards support. (Emphasis mine)

I'm not sure I like the idea of having no harddrives on my next computer and having everything I write stored off-site in someone's data center, but then again my daily fashion includes a hat made wholly out of tinfoil, as do most of the users here.

This may be good for public terminals and older-type folk, but certainly not for us nerds.

I want it - not for me, but... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290502)

I want Chromium OS to come out NOW*, if not sooner. Not for me -- I can install Puppy Linux and play around with dependencies and the like, learning from my mistakes. Heck, I can even run Windows without getting more than a virus or two per decade.

No, I want it for the sweet little old lady who lived a few doors down in my old apartment complex. She doesn't know the first thing about computers. She sends email like a whirling dervish of glurge -- I had to set up my Gmail to filter messages from her into a special folder, which gets several messages a day of "inspirational" forwards (half of which actually end up in the spam folder), her original poetry (kinda sweet, actually), and bizarre, rabid anti-Obama hate messages (massive pile of WTF).

Even after several rounds of explanation, she doesn't know the difference between "a computer" and "the internet". The concept of an "operating system" is absolutely impossible to comprehend -- it has no meaning. She doesn't *need* desktop applications -- she doesn't even know that they *are* desktop applications.

I set her up with a Puppy Linux installation, but that computer died and her family bought her a $40 box with some old, unpatched version of Windows on it. It met the expected fate, and she called me to ask what to do next. I recommended a $99 XP box from Micro Center, and set it up for her with "her" login lacking Admin rights (no installing software without going to the password-protected "Admin" login!). And because she really doesn't do anything but play online games, check the lottery, and send massive volumes of email, I put Google Chrome in her Startup folder -- maximized.

But I still got a call over the holiday... from her daughter, asking about anti-virus software. A good investment, but this sweet lady is on a fixed income, and I doubt she'll be able to come up with $40 a year for F-Secure Antivirus [f-secure.com] . More likely, she would buy it but never renew it, so she'd just be delaying the inevitable.

Please, Google... give me Chromium OS, for the sweet lady in the downstairs apartment. She needs it. And I need it, so that I can go back to deleting the latest "news" about the coming Obamapocalypse.

* Yes, I know it's Open Source, I could compile my own. With the time I have available for such a project (none), the chances of me doing it right are about as high as getting that sweet lady to quit worrying about Obama's birth certificate.

Re:I want it - not for me, but... (1)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291092)

I read what you said, and I thought about it, and I realised that my mother needs Chromium OS. You're right. No sarcasm, no jerking about - you are right. Chromium OS isn't really aimed at us, it's aimed at our mothers.

My mum's gonna love it. I'm gonna love it, too, because she can log on to familytree.net or whatever the hell else it is she does, and the cursor won't magically (I haven't installed anything I swear) change into a butterfly, or any of the many hundred million toolbar-related problems won't occur.

Roll it on. And thank you for the epiphany.

Downside of clouds (1)

imunfair (877689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290676)

Conceptually I don't mind the idea of cloud computing - but it does have one huge issue - it raises the bar for market entry. If it was to become 'the' way to use computers then instead of just needing the resources to serve up an installer for your application you need the resources to allow the masses to run your application.

The only way I see to avoid this is if the cloud the user belongs to somehow downloads your application and runs it in their user space, charging them for resources rather than putting that burden on the developer. In the long run I don't see that benefiting the user though, they'd get a cheap 'computer' but probably end up paying more in (most likely inflated e.g. text messages) fees over time than the actual cost of a computer.

Either way I don't really see the benefit, except to the providers. Either you hurt the developers or the users - you know the providers are going to get their pound of flesh somewhere.

Wrong sort of comparison... (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290794)

I can see the benefits, they're apparent; but basically what you've got is a dumb terminal....Zobeid is right, it's a niche product...but I would add that it's for a large niche. This will appeal to corporate users and people who don't like computers....

For some people and certain applications (particularly corporate applications) this may make a lot of sense....but I see fallacy in their comparisons to the standard PC, because this device wont be able to do 80% of the things a multipurpose PC can do. It may do the most common 20% faster, and with the benefits (and limitations) of "cloud computing" but it's not the same class of device...at least not as described...

The thing I love about my computers is that I can do so much with them, and they can do all of those things extremely well....

It ay make a lot of sense for certain things, and I like the concept, but it's not competing with a windows/mac/linux PC...it's not the same thing.

One, Two Punch... (4, Interesting)

killfixx (148785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290798)

One of the big problems people have with cloud computing isn't the computing, it's the storage. I'm sure I speak for a significant percentage of /.s demographic when I say, I don't want other people scrutinizing my private information.

If Chromium were to be companioned with a personal server app/OS (similar to Opera's Unite initiative), this could be game changing.

Require the server and client to use IPv6 and you have built-in security and dynamic publicly route-able addresses.

The potential for Chromium is staggering. Imagine the convergence of Android and Chromium with the aforementioned server component and El Goog won't have enough room for the money.

I wonder if Google has a branch office near me...

B*iTch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30290944)

operating systems fun to be agaIn. though I have never Charnel house. The need to scream that but suffice it a neeFd to play into a sling unless

Sony eVilla and BeOS (1)

molecular (311632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30290992)

reminds me of eVilla [wikipedia.org] and BeIA [wikipedia.org] /BeOS [wikipedia.org] .

If it's based on Linux . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291118)

It's not another operating system. It lacks a lot of the GNU tools and no Xwindows. That would make it, um . . ., Linux.

Just dump the the Chrome browser and use Firefox (for all the useful extensions as well as Adblock) and then we might have something useful.

Just as (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291164)

"Cloud computing" is a very very bad idea! Once your data/documents are on someone else's computer or network, you loose all control over it, and over who has access to it. As Google's new OS is aimed at creating a netbook that relies entirely on "cloud computing", it is not only un-necessary, but also a very bad idea!!

Sorry Google, my data will NOT be assimilated! It will stay on my own computer, where it belongs!!!

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