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Rory Cellan-Jones

Chrome - living in a Google world?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 8 Jul 09, 15:36 GMT

It's a few hours since Google used its company blog to announce its entry into the operating systems market, and already opinion is strongly divided.

Chrome logoOn the one side, there are commentators claiming that this is an earthquake in the software world - "Google Drops a Nuclear Bomb on Microsoft" read the headline on one technology blog.

On the other, the Linux community - if there is such a thing - was quick to dismiss the Chrome OS as a me-too product that might turn out to be vapourware.

When I asked for opinions on a well-known social network about the significance of Google's move, there was a sceptical response from some. One message read:

"I'd rather leave it to Linux. It's already there - and it's getting better all the time. This can only be a brain-drain".

Another said:

"So GOS is...a browser and a stripped down Linux Kernel? Like every other netbook? Lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

You won't be surprised to hear that my totally impartial BBC view of this announcement falls somewhere between the two extremes of nuclear explosion and vapourware.

First, it's clear that the Chrome OS is still at a very early stage of development, and Google is making this announcement partly to encourage the open-source community to get involved, and partly to land a punch on Microsoft as it prepares for the launch of Windows 7.

But it seems to me that this is another quite significant event in the gradual migration of millions of ordinary computer users - people who wouldn't know a Linux kernel from a hole in the head - out of the Windows world.

If, like me, your first experience of computing was through a desktop machine in the office - or a classroom computer - then you are very likely to be living in that world.

You will have learned to use products like Microsoft Office, you will probably have started sending e-mails using Outlook - or maybe Hotmail - and you will have taken your first faltering steps onto the world wide web using Internet Explorer.

Yes, a defiant and growing minority of users have preferred to live in Macworld, but Microsoft and Windows have been synonymous with computing for most people.

But just in the last couple of years the scenery has begun to change. Google is probably the brand most familiar to the new generation of computer users.

Now they're discovering that, as well as searching with Google, they can use its software to send e-mails, to write documents and spreadsheets using Google Apps, to take a journey down their neighbour's street with Street View, or to browse the web using Chrome.

Then there's the fact that a mobile phone is becoming the way millions of people now get much of their access to the internet and, in some cases, their first introduction to computing.

In the mobile world, Windows is just one of a number of operating systems - including Google's Android - jostling for users' attention.

And soon those people who are spending more of their time in the company of Google rather than Microsoft will have the opportunity to use the Chrome OS for all their computing needs. If, that is, they don't want to edit video or play online games or do any of the more complex tasks that this new operating system may struggle to handle.

And, yes, you can already live in a Linux world if you are really determined and quite sophisticated in your computer use - but that is always likely to be a minority pursuit.

So Microsoft won't exactly be running up the white flag at Redmond after reading the Google blog. But there may be some furrowed brows in the marketing team as they try to work out how many people will now choose to wait for Chrome rather than upgrade to the latest version of the Windows world.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Whilst I am a Linux techy, so biased, I have heard plenty of stories about Ubuntu being usable enough as a competitor to windows and mac. (This comment comes thanks to a computer running Ubuntu. And it really wasn't hard to setup)

    The main problem we have, is people just not willing to put their toes in the water. The largest software companies won't release games for linux without a sufficient market share, but we are finding a catch-22 over that one. Mainly, the way we've found around it, is to replace them. With open-source, free versions. (GIMP / photoshop, etc)

    Trust me, it is not hard to live in a linux world, and you really *don't* have to be determined and sophisticated in computer usage.

  • Comment number 2.

    Some extracts from the Google blog:

    ". . . Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. . . Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web . . . of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux . . . They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files."
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

    This appears to be a Google offering a basic OS only powerful enough to launch a browser interface; everything else (applications and storage) will be in the Google cloud.
    It doesnt appear to be a standard OS as we know it; if it offers enough for most people to do basic tasks, and if it is free, it will certainly gain customers. But how easy will it be to open and work on files and save if not connected to the Interent and can we choose not to store them in the Google cloud?

    But if Google wanted an open-source OS powerful enough to run a stand-alone PC why not co-opt an existing Linux one? Or have Google taken on the MS mindset? Will Google be the new Borg?

  • Comment number 3.

    Hopefully this will encourage Microsoft to price Windows 7 more realistically. I'm sure many new computers will come with W7 installed but the price is likely to discourage people from upgrading. It is certainly an improvement on Vista but then XP works perfectly well already. Google may compete more in the netbook arena and I wonder if that will actually affect Apple more who are likely to enter this market at some point with a larger ipod type device.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is hardly something for Microsoft to worry about right. They know it takes a long time to develop a productive operating system, its not something done over a few months - or a year. Anyone with half a brain should be able to realize ChromeOS is not something to warrant waiting for and definitely not something to consider over Win7.

    If you read between the lines it doesn't even look like it will be a fully fledged operating system, just a front end (in browser form) that will enable online access and to content and applications. For really cheap PC's come to mind.

    Take a look at some of the current open source operating systems (not Linux) a lot of them have been in development for years but are now getting close to reaching critical milestones (ReactOS, AROS, etc.) If Google really wanted to compete with Microsoft in a fully fledged OS market I personally think they would be better taking on one of these projects and pushing it forward.

    Don't get excited just yet, it is a very long road to develop a fully fledged working desktop operating system.

  • Comment number 5.

    Google have the hype and the money, but they lack years of experience with OS, they lack the developers community, they lack the distribution channels which are unscalable in the short term.

    Linux is well developed with an original look of UNIX which has been around for many years, Windows 7 is near to release. Google's core earnings are advertising, Microsoft is selling to end users a big difference. Is it Google who are nervous not Microsoft, over the past few months their has been a large increase in opensource activity for Microsoft products and this has to be of concern for Google. Remember most commercial websites are now using Microsoft development tools (dot net) then php, java and ColdFusion being the other dependable technologies. Google's offerings to date for developers may I say are 'dark age'. Not many Google developed websites are their?

    They have announced this now, today. Are Google so naive to think they can build an OS from scratch in one year, beta testing alone can take over a year, then seriously compete with the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Linux. I think not.


  • Comment number 6.

    Chrome OS .. hmm, I don't think I'll be running it, I've just reluctantly wiped one of my Linux machines in favour of Win XP to play the games I've missed out on in the year or so I've been using it.

    I suppose if you don't want to play games then COS (or GOS?) would be another choice you have. Problem is, there are already well established and very polished Linux desktops out there now so COS it isn't just competing with Windows and I think it would be harder to convert the Linux users as this is very much an OS of choice (ie it's hardly pre-installed, the user goes out of their way to get it and install it).

    One step to stop the monopoly that Windows has would be to provide more PCs with no OS.

    On a slightly related topic, I find it very annoying that Vista's "success" was counted on "number of licenses sold" .. you buy a new PC, it comes with a Vista license, doesn't matter if you keep the OS or not, MS count it as a sale and that's all they care about.

  • Comment number 7.

    Goos post, but I would argue that Chrome and Windows 7 arent really direct competitors, at least not yet.

    ChromeOS is a netbook flavour of what will do doubt be Debian or Fedora, and appears to be targetting the cut down netbook sector. I think it will be extremely difficult for them to compete with Linpus and Ubuntu's Netbook Remix (which is impressive I might add!). I assume it will also be free.

    Windows 7 is a desktop OS and is paid software, which something like 60% of users get OEM when they buy a branded computer, i.e. the have no real choice. The rest are corporates on Volume licences, and they get pretty much whatever they want with downgrade rights and such. Netbooks and Desktops are a different part of the computer users world so you cant really compare apples with apples here.

    I don't believe MS will ever make a netbook OS that people will want to use, and Chrome at least appears so far to not target the desktop arena, so Chrome probably doesnt really worry MS right now. That said, the nerdy image and operational issues that used to exist with Linux are fading away, leaving an opportunity for people to make the migration to Linux on desktop easier, and probably more desirable.

    That said, if Apple were to make OSX legitimately available to non-Mac hardware, then I would suggest the tide would certainly start to turn away from MS, and the they would start to shake in their boots!

  • Comment number 8.

    Mac at home for heavy lifting. Netbook with Chrome/Gears/GMail/GoogleApps/HTML5 for portable and iPhone/Android for walking about

  • Comment number 9.

    One word Rory. Netbooks.

    Google's move into OS territory seems designed to capture a signifcant share of mobile devices. Apple aren't really there yet, though the noises about an apple tablet/mobile device aren't going away, and while Micrsoft are promising great things for Windows 7 on ultra-portable devices this is just par for the course. Windows XP is Microsoft's primary netbook offering but this can't go on forever.

    Google come into this space looking to pinch share from MS and the variants of Linux sitting there too, like Ubuntu' variants. Chrome OS is not likely to make major inroads on the desktop. Google, I think, know that. After all, Apple are only hitting around 10% market share with the resources available to them (and I'm writing this in Mac OS X myself).

    There are warning noise for MS to listen to though. Both Apple and Google are heavily involved in Open source tools and projects (Apache, Samba, Firefox et al). This amount of developer and financial muscle could mean that Linux might become a viable mass-market product with work done on the user experience.

  • Comment number 10.

    Having read the TechCrunch article suggesting that all applications for COS will be written in HTML5 and thus compatible with standards compliance browsers - this may work for some applications, but not for a great deal of others. Computer code runs most efficiently as machine code compilation. High-level languages such as HTML are translated on the fly, and are thus by definition, less efficient. We won't see Photoshop or complex 3D games on COS. We might not even see GIMP or its other open source siblings, as any program of sophistication and complexity simply won't run on the average PC if written in HTML5. Yes, we have a growing number of web applications, but would any designer or photographer seriously consider Aviary as a replacement for Photoshop, or even GIMP, etc? Or Google Docs as a replacement for MS Office, or OpenOffice.org? Look at what happened when Apple launched the original iPhone with web-apps capability only - the phone sold, but there was widespread derision. When the opened up the AppStore to allow native applications, that was when the iPhone REALLY took off. Native apps have native access to system resources and are able to run at maximal speed. Microsoft and Apple, I think you're safe for a few years yet!

  • Comment number 11.

    As a starter, I run linux on all my PCs and I agree with the first comment: it is easier than ever. I do not use Ubuntu, I use Pardus, but it is the same.
    In relation to this "new" OS, it is not a new OS, it is a new windowing system (i.e. not Gnome, not KDE, not xfce, etc...) on top of a linux kernel. Hardly revolutionary: have you seen Moblin? Moblin is an Intel linux operating system which also has a new windowing system (which is awesome by the way). Intel is not a small company now is it?
    But Google releasing a new OS is a very good thing: it creates competition, makes people aware that they have a choice, and eventually people will start realising that using another OS is just as simple than using MS products.

  • Comment number 12.

    I take the view that a PC running a browser is just a VT100 on steroids.

    So for those at the low end of the market current Microsoft, Mac, Ubuntu type offerings are pure overkill.

  • Comment number 13.

    It was amusing reading the usual risible nonsense from the anti-MS hounds at Tech Crunch and others but they all seem to be missing one point - Apple are going to be heavily impacted by this.

    You see, Google are promising a low cost, safe and secure OS that'll be fine for most consumer needs and will run on pretty much any hardware configuration that you want. In fact they say 'it should just work'.

    Who do you think stands to lose out if someone can buy a virus free, safe, OS on a machine for a few hundred pounds, Rory? The company that makes the majority of its sales from enterprise business or the one which is virtually all consumer?

  • Comment number 14.

    More competition for MS has to be a good thing, but it is a shame more people haven't switched to ubuntu. They really are getting it right now. I have a stable, powerful, free OS that works and does everything I want, without having to pay for expensive hardware (Mac) or software (MS). Most people still seem to think you have to be a Linux enthusiast to use it. But you don't. Good luck to Google, but I don't need it !

  • Comment number 15.

    My Mum uses her PC solely for the internet. She didn't think it was worth forking out several hundred pounds for a PC she only uses twice a week so she got a very basic second-hand one. It's very big (it has a CRT), takes up a lot of room and is very slow.

    If Google can make this OS fast and very easy to use (and I mean idiot-proof), a Chrome OS netbook would be the perfect match for her.

  • Comment number 16.

    If it is USB / CD based to quickly boot into something web-capable without having to modify existing system, that would be good. Existing users can try it without any downsides, would be great for Netbooks. Linux Ubuntu (and others) already do this, but Google would give it more PR & profile.

    Not sure where the line between Chrome OS and Android is though.

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't care about operating systems, I just want to run apps. I actually do run Linux on systems that mostly just need to run Firefox, but for my home needs its Windows all the way because Linux doesn't have the same rich choice of professional, polished, high quality applications.

    I think one of the reasons for the lack of compelling Linux applications is the free software ethos, which means that developers can't make money selling applications the way they can for Windows or Mac OS. If Chrome OS offers a way for third party application vendors to make money developing products that run on it, then it could become a serious challenge to Microsoft. If it's just going to be a platform that allows a web browser to run, then it's of not very much interest.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Rory Cellan-Jones

    Mr. Jones, based on your comments here today, I must really say that I believe you to be quite ignorant when it comes to the computer industry. I amazes me that with such comments you are a technology correspondent with a large media organisation such as the BBC. Allow me to elaborate:

    1. "the Linux community - if there is such a thing" - You can't be serious with such a comment, can you? Have you been living under a rock or something? That's not just ignorant, but plain idiocy. Just look at how many web sites there are on the Internet dedicated to Linux, or general technical web sites that talk about Linux. Websites that "you" could draw information from and perhaps learn something about Linux. Not to mention thousands of companies around the world that use some form of Linux, mostly on servers. Hmmmm, let's see.... oh yeah, Google uses it... and, hmmmm... yes, Wikipedia does too.

    2. "Yes, a defiant and growing minority of users have preferred to live in Macworld" - Defiant? How is it that someone is "defiant" because they have made a conscious decision to use one product over another? You actually want to imply that using something other than Windows represents some type of rebellious behaviour? Again, you display ignorance and idiocy sir. From a technical standpoint, the MAC-OS is vastly superior to anything Microsoft has. As is Linux.

    3. "If, that is, they don't want to edit video or play online games or do any of the more complex tasks that this new operating system may struggle to handle." - You really have no clue what's out there, do you Mr. Jones? For your information, there do exist programs on the Linux platform that allow video and sound editing (i.e. Audacity). Furthermore, many online james are Java-based. Since Java is available on Linux, most Java games should work fine (as long as the website script is compatible with Firefox, Opera, or any other browser that runs on Linux.

    4. "And, yes, you can already live in a Linux world if you are really determined and quite sophisticated in your computer use - but that is always likely to be a minority pursuit." - The vast majority of users do not understand how computers and software actually work, nor can they install and configure an operating system, let alone install additional software properly. They always have somebody else do it for them. All they really know how to do is point and click, and type (somewhat). People don't even run the security updates in Windows for heaven's sake. They also don't know how to save or load files to/from their internal hard drive, or external media sources. Taking this into consideration, the Graphic User Interfaces (GUI's) that exist on Linux are just as sophisticated (to a certain degree, more sophisticated) than anything Microsoft has in their Windows product lines. The basics are the same; point, click, type, learn how to use an application that you need (email program, browser, word processor, etc.). If I know how to drive a car, then I can get used to driving any car. Cosmetically there are differences, but the basic principles are the same. I'm not trying to learn how to repair the car or perform upgrades, just operate it (from the average driver's viewpoint).

    5. ".....how many people will now choose to wait for Chrome rather than upgrade to the latest version of the Windows world." - What the hell are you talking about? Google hasn't given any information as to what their Chrome OS will be capable of. You are creating artificial hype for nothing. The only thing we can ascertain from their press release is that Chrome OS will be a Linux-based OS designed to run on Netbooks. This obviously means that it will have a GUI, but we don't know which one it will be. Usually lighter GUI's are used for such computers. The real question is, can we run many of the popular applications that now exist on the Linux platform, or will separate "Chrome OS" versions have to be created. The bottom line really, is that we have no idea what the final product will be capable of or how it will be configured. To make the statement, that people might wait for a product of unknown capabilities instead of using a product they can actually get their hands on an try out, is again simple idiocy. You can try Windows 7 RC right now for free, and there are numerous reviews about it to give people who haven't tried it an idea about the product. Chrome OS only exists as a project! Where in the world do you get your logic from? You're touting something as if it's one of the greatest things to come around in the computer industry, yet it doesn't even exist yet. Sounds more like Google is paying you to do promotional work.

    You mentioned in the 5th paragraph of your article that you are impartial. Well, it's a bit hard to believe considering what you wrote. You act as if Linux is almost non-existant, yet you tout a non-existant (project only) operating system as being the next big thing. From a technical standpoint, my preferences are Linux (mainly Ubuntu) and MAC-OSX. I only use Windows if I have to, mainly to run programs that don't exist on the other platforms, or for which there are no equal replacements. My preferences are based on actually using and understanding the product. You on the hand seem to make comments about things you haven't even tried (in this case don't even exist yet), however use language assumes experience with the product. I am appalled by this article, and I question how the BBC would allow someone such as yourself to work for them and write such non-sense. It's really mind-boggling.

  • Comment number 19.

    Long, long ago, in the deep, dark mists of time there was an operating system called CPM (Control System for Microcomputers). Then, along came MS-DOS (MicroSoft Disc Operating System). No contest, Microsoft won that little competition hands down. But then winning went to their heads. Several ice ages later Microsoft introduced a workable version of its GUI-based operating system, Windows. Lo and behold, previously competent software writers suddenly started writing unusually buggy software. How strange!

    'Bout time Microsoft had a taste of its own medicine.

  • Comment number 20.

    It may not win over the majority of users' hearts: but this looks to me to be very similar to what Palm's Web OS is doing for the smartphone/PDA market. How many people out there simply use their computers for web-oriented tasks; and how long before others move to cloud-oriented models of behaviour? I don't think Apple have anything to worry about whatsoever (Tim Cook's scathing comment about netbooks shows that they're either not interested in this space; or that they will continue to revolutionize it, as they have done with the iPhone 3GS and the iPod touch); but, sooner or later, the business world has to see that the ball chained around their ankle labelled Micro$oft isn't necessarily the only way to limp forward.

    I'm not saying that Google's OS is the only alternative: but that it may be the idea that's got the marketing oomph behind it that finally wakes people up to the alternatives....

  • Comment number 21.

    @ ForMySins

    Actually, MS-DOS was created by a company called Seattle Computer Products. The original version was named QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) and first presented in 1979. It was actually based off of CPM. A bit like Linux is based off of Unix, in that you create something that works like the original, is compatible to it (or at least to a certain degree), yet uses different programming code so as not to infringe on the copyright of the original product. It's somewhat of a reverse engineering strategy. Microsoft later bought the product, made some modifications and presented it to IBM as a solution for their IBM-PC. The irony in all of this, is that the company that created CPM (DEC) originally wanted to provide IBM with a trimmed down version of CPM for the IBM-PC, as CPM was already used on certain IBM mainframes. Unfortunately they got into a bit of a spat regarding licensing issues. DEC wanted royalties, but IBM wanted to buy the product outright and pay no royalties. They instead went with Microsoft, who actually provided them with a knock-off version of CPM, but agreed to take a one time fee. The IBM version was called PC-DOS. The further irony in the story, is that the IBM-PC was reverse engineered by other companies who made clones (i.e. Compaq). Microsoft asked IBM if they would have any problem with Microsoft marketing DOS to other computer manufacturers as MS-DOS. IBM let them do it, Microsoft set up a royalty system (pay a license per computer), and that's how Microsoft made it's money. First IBM doesn't want to allow a royalty based system, they Microsoft is allowed to do what DEC wanted in the first place. It ended up back at square one anyway, and Microsoft was the one to benefit, not DEC.

  • Comment number 22.

    In both BBC articles there is not a word about the news that Chrome OS will run on ARM CPU's too. Strange as it is something Brits should be proud about. Important because it gives ARM a stimules in its competition with Intel CPU's beyond PDA's and mobile phones. The same market sector where Microsoft leaves a gap between Windows 7 and CE. Seven not running on ARM CPUs so not mobile enough, CE too limited in its features. Texas instruments OMAP, Qualcomm's Snapdragon, both leaning heavily on ARM technology, will drive a wedge into that gap running Google's Chrome OS, other Linux derivatives and possibly a revival of Risc Os. There's a rumor that Windows 7 may be ported to ARM CPUs. Quite logical in view of the recent developments.

  • Comment number 23.

    From Tim Weber`s article

    Quote" Microsoft earns money by charging customers a one-off fee for its operating system, probably $20 for its old Windows XP software, and a rumoured $150 for Windows Vista and the forthcoming Windows 7" Unquote.

    Tim please do some research before quoting figures that are hideously inaccurate.

    Microsoft by all accounts seem to have a road map that leads to all applications being leased over the internet, all you`d need is a very basic Operating system to get you online. I`d say this is one of the ways Companies intend to thwart piracy and get a continued return on their product. All computers then would become simple workstations with everything accessed from a main server, Microsoft`s if they have their way. Google have obviously done their homework and intend to get there first but I`m not sure industry will go for the concept.

    Will the service be secure enough ? Can Companies rely on someone elses servers ? We`ve all seen in the past Microsoft`s soft underside that has had to be patched time and again, released too early with very large security holes. We`ve also seen MS come under attack from denial of service attacks and the like. Companies will, in my opinion be totally averse to this type of future computing as much as Companies such as Microsoft would love us to be on 25 year mortgage payments for our software I can`t see it happening.

    That`s not to say it won`t happen to a degree, we`ve already got two generations that are hooked on Messenger, MySpace,Facebook and the like and I don`t suppose it will be long before companies realise they could charge a small monthly fee rather like some of the dating agencies do.

    As for a Linux based Operating System, it`ll only ever exist for the geeks....like me. People don`t like change, nor do they like coding except for the kids who HAVE to recode their MySpace page to get that "SICK" look.

    The google OS will fail unless they`re planning to give away machines to everyone who already know how to press "start".

  • Comment number 24.

    Google already has its Android OS for mobile phones, and they also have their own Filesystem used by their servers - along with countless other bespoke technologies - many of which we'll never know about. With over half of their staff being Ph.D's, and seeing the success of Google Chrome which arrived completely under the radar, I doubt that this announcement comes after just a brainstorming session - my money is that the OS is well under development.
    As for it not being much of a player - Microsoft's price tag, and Linux's sheer complexity and level of fragmentation (no pun intended) will make Google's offering fit snuggly in the middle.
    With Google's nice-guy image (compared to MS) and its sheer presence on the web, I personally think that Chrome OS will be a huge success - particularly where netbooks are concerned, and I can see a huge market opening up in businesses like Contact Centres where Thin Clients are popular - Google, "The Cloud", Thin Clients - it all seems to make sense for the new way of doing things.

  • Comment number 25.

    i use linux and windows and there are some things that one does better than the other. But most people just want to check their email, post on facebook and print photos all of which any OS will do.

    But i have found that most people insist on using MS office even though open office is free and has enough features for most home users. The problem is the " I use MS office at work and want to use the same at home" mentality.

    i tried moblin alpha awhile ago and having a OS that boots in 5 secs is awesome. If chrome OS boots in that sort of time frame i will probably end up rebuilding my netbook again.

    Not quite sure why this is now news though when the GOS site has had screens shots of a chrome based (cloud) OS for ages.

  • Comment number 26.


    @ tecworx

    Thats a bit harsh on Rory - he's the non geeks geek and provides hours of enlightenment in the Apple Vs the rest of the world arena. You clearly know your Linux's from your terminals to the factor of UberGeek, but clearly we can't all be as well read. Never forget rudeness is an arrogance and not at all clever.........

    Regarding Chrome? Two's company, three is a crowd and Google are in no way different from the enemy nor the fruit. I wonder how many of the big PC box shifters are shuffling in the wings to throw serious weight behind this after the enemy's utter failure with Vista....

    A watched space indeed...............

  • Comment number 27.

    Rory, your expertise on the usability of Linux and monolithic nature of the Linux community (should it exist), is truly astounding.

  • Comment number 28.

    The typical responses of the mac user, the windows user and the linux user to any article with the letters OS in it.

    "xxx is rubbish we should all be using yyy"!

    Well I've news for the lot of you, they are all rubbish; 19th century software in a 21st century world. They are all designed by idiots, written by morons.

    We should all be welcoming the news of launch of a new operating system with open-arms; It will probably be rubbish too, but until we escape from the MS monoculture, we will never have option of a modern, secure OS. Competition is the tool by which this may be achieved, frankly neither linux nor MAC OS have the 'edge' required.

    I say welcome to Chrome, the more the merrier!

  • Comment number 29.



    @halfamo

    When we will we see your effort then as they all seem to be "rubbish"...........?

    "designed by idiots, written by morons" ..... but you seem to be using "them" without a problem...

    Interesting......

  • Comment number 30.

    @tecworx

    Um Audacity right.. compared to Cubase Protools, Sonar, Live et al its a toy Audio programming is NOT! Just hacking a bit of php together if it was id have my open source directX plugin for skype by now!

    And try using Gimp for serious work the font handling alone is rubbish and there is nothing in the video world if you just shot on a cheapo camera like the RED (and by cheap I mean under $20k for the basic camera) your still going to use final cut on the biggest badest PC or MAC you can buy

    A lot of civilians and newbies like Stephen Fry think they are leet because they have a shiny toy and mange to install a linux distribution but could write a simple 3 line bash program to save their life.

    If Google had done the other thing and brought out Beos and announced a real new OS that would be Mega dont forget Linux at its core predates XP 70s vs 80s XP is descended from work done at DEC on the VAX Os

    theres also teh security question of having everything in the browser th peice of software that 95% of the trojans target.

  • Comment number 31.

    @RealNeuromancer

    Linux shares DNA with earlier Unix versions (Sys V and BSD). Unlike Windows, networked services were at its core. Windows was designed for one user on one desktop. Networking is a thing that was bolted on as an adjunct. And Mac OS X shares some of Unix's BSD DNA (Mach is effecively a BSD kernel). This is why both the Linux distros and Mac OS X win out over Windows in this important respect. It's also why Chrome's heart will beat pure Linux. The linux kernel is a tried and very reliable piece of code.

    For years now Linux has been touted as a putative Windows killer, but it's never happened. Why? Because the application level sucks for end users who just want a tool that work and don't want to fiddle under the hood. Geeks like me love Mac OS and Linux becasue most of the low level tools, toolkits and dvelopement environments are there already (gcc, XCode, eclipse, need I go on). Think of cars. Most people just want to drive them without hving a low-level appreciation of their workings, while others like the tinkering under the hood too.

    There are some things that Open source struggles to do. So, the examples of Final Cut and Cubase and the Adobe CS Suite are good ones. OSS just doesn't do the job here. But at the same time, most users neither want nor need these professional production tools. For many, Picassa, Audacity and even GIMP are enough. The key is to make these tools like the software equivalent of white goods.

    If Google can get the netbook experience working well with ChromeOS (Intel's moblin project is a good guide to how a good system could look) then Microsoft may have to look over its shoulder. Apple are not really interested in the mass market at this point. If they were to enter the ultra portable market, it's likely to be with a well-designed niche product that will sell at higher margins than some of the vendors are managing now. In market share terms, the iPhone doesn't sell huge numbers, but its market is rock solid. Apple could easily repeat this with a good netbook.

    @21 tecworx
    Some of this this is factually correct. But then, the history of the industry could have been so diferent. If Gary Kildall's Digital Research (not DEC) had wanted to negotiate more with IBM, then MS would never have managed to get QDOS/MSDOS onto machines; DR-DOS would have been the OS of choice and PC's now could have all been running some descendent of DR's GEM as well. But it didn't happen. Microsoft pulled their fast one and here we are. Whichever way things went, the OS core of the PC was one per desk and not the shared resource model that Unix embraced.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to disagree with the comments that claim linux is polished and now a viable alternative user experience to Windows. Sure it's getting there and getting better all of the time. But I tried reinstalling ubuntu last month and after a few minuets of installing my ATI graphics driver and playing around with the resolution I had managed to crash it and was not able to get back into the gui, leaving me to try and fix things from the terminal.

    I can't see why everyone is so surprised about Chrome OS, we all knew that google was eventually going to go into the OS arena, they are probably the only ones who realistically have a shot of bringing down the dinosaur of microsoft. What is surprising is the type of OS they are going for which is basically a glorified browser and nothing else. I would have thought that they would throw their weight behind Ubuntu or something like that.

  • Comment number 33.

    ringsting-iom

    You cannot seriously be claiming that problems with graphics drivers are Operating System specific. I've had endless BSODs from graphics drivers. There's been two iMacs in the past two years alone which have been practically crippled by graphics driver issues. Even Apple, with the control they possess over the hardware, cannot claim to have conquered this problem.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ neilephipps
    'enemy's utter failure with Vista....'

    I thought you said you were over the 'us and them' moons ago...

  • Comment number 35.

    I recently (couple weeks back) installed Fedora 9 on a friend's 7 year old PC, and had Fedora 6 running just fine on a Pentium I PC. If that is easily doable, a notebook is a picnic. Oh...these were complete (user) installs, including all programming languages and dependencies, full range of graphic apps...the whole kit and caboodle. Not pat of a system, or just a kernel that relies on servers out of my control.

    They're both fighting to get a system to operate within the limitations of a netbook, when I've poured an entire system into far less. I'm stuck using Windows for some things that others use Windows-only apps to do.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I use Windows for windows only applications (with which its developers give no other option). Even then, my system is gutted of all "came with" security, browser, office and email garbage, and replaced with open source that does a better job.

    When Windows can do what I get Linux, I'll be the first to no longer cringe at the added expense of a system I'm only forced to use in a monopolized computer universe. When Google makes a complete system that is superior, and doesn't require I use their apps on their servers (since I may want to, oh, work offline), I'll consider it.

  • Comment number 36.

    Oh Rory,

    You have got the OS troops on all sides of the camp fired up with this one. Having had a VERY long career in the Software and Telecommunications industry I can liken this to the day that 3Com and Intel went to war over NIC cards. Today we take an Ethernet port in our computers for granted , however in the mid to late 90's companies and the well heeled public had to go out and buy one.

    In reality, active competition drives innovation and this should be good for the market as a whole. The Linux team are right in that it is a stable and highly efficient OS well liked by it's followers. The MAC OS crew (and I include myself in that group) have made a conscious choice that life without Windows is a viable option. One could argue that the rest of humanity are Windows people through ignorance but that would be unfair. After all Microsoft has the lions share of the corporate market globally and whoever can take that from them will be a global leader.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that Chrome OS is designed for a life with fast access to the Net. We in Britain through regulation and a lack of vision from government are still waiting for such a wonder. The Steven Carter report (Digital Britain) was a damp squib by miles and without REAL high speed Internet, on line apps supplied by organisations such as Google will struggle to compete with local apps. Google lives in an online world we are yet to aspire to.

    The only thing that does bother me with this progress is the tendency for OS vendors to try and lock in users. Linux is the only real Open Source OS commercial on the market, all others either have a hardware lock such as Apple or a software lock such as Microsoft. I wonder which way Chrome will go?

  • Comment number 37.

    ringsting-iom #32.

    "I have to disagree with the comments that claim linux is polished and now a viable alternative user experience to Windows."

    try, for example, CentOS. others (above) recommend Fedora; Ubuntu, by most accounts, is very good too.

  • Comment number 38.

    18. - What's Linux? - and I thought Fedora was a hat, and Ubuntu some minor West African state or other

    Sir Henry

  • Comment number 39.


    An OS isn't a monolithic entity - this comment was brought to you by a combination of:

    GRUB Linux GNU Xorg Qt Openbox and Firefox

    installed and configured using ArchLinux, with its excellent package manager, pacman.

  • Comment number 40.

    @tecworx (#18)

    "You act as if Linux is almost non-existant"

    Well... on the desktop, that's exactly what it is.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh Rory, get some perspective. The IT industry is good at this. Old wine in shiny new bottles. Warmed over versions of failed past concepts.

    The concept of a simple lightweight operating system, with applications actually hosted on a remote computer is not a new one. It was first pioneered by MIT, DEC and others in the 1980s as the "diskless workstation", and it's been periodically tried in various flavours ever since. The bad news is, it delivers a significantly inferior user experience, and it's very simple to see why.

    The way current PCs work is that most people have all their software (programs) and documents, spreadsheets music etc all resident on a local hard drive. That hard drive is connected to the PC (effectively the big board inside the computer) by a cable that is - perhaps - one foot long. What the remote computing model says is that we replace that 12 inches of cable with a broadband modem, a mile or so of wire back to the local exchange, a whole heap of equipment in that local exchange, an average of 15 more miles of wire back to the area network switching centre and another set of equipment, a hop onto the Internet backbone, a transit across the Internet backbone, off into your ISP's centre, through all their equipment, then off onto the internet again to find the application server centre... etc - you get the idea.

    Now, of course, networks and equipment are more reliable now (generally) than they've ever been. Even so, it's simply never going to be possible to make all that long and complex data pathway anything like as reliable as that one foot of cable you are currently using. Anyone who tells you that it can be, is trying to sell you something (if they mention wireless networks and reliability in the same breath - doubly so!).

    Think about how many times you've been unable to get to your email or your favourite Internet sites. It may not happen very often, but imagine if each time that had happened you had been unable to use your word processor, your spreadsheet, your photo processing application as well as your email and Internet browser. That would be the user experience with something like Google (seems) to be envisaging.

    Of course the single advantage of this approach is that users are relieved of any duty for application management on their local machines which can be a chore now. But centralising application environments tends to enforce rigid requirements on users which may not meet their needs ("No, sorry, our centralised infrastructure only supports this years version of that word processing software, you can't carry on using that old version, you'll have to learn the new version and pay rental of it").

    The remote computing model is designed specifically to appeal to accountants (and the technically naive). For a lower cost of purchase you get a computer that is totally (and not partially) network dependent. Accountants love it, but I can tell you, from being involved in supporting such environments in the past, users come to loath it.

    Alan T

  • Comment number 42.

    When the Asus Eee came out with a Linux OS pre-installed as one of the early Netbooks, I spent a lot of time installing Windows XP on them for customers. Most of these customers were techs from banks etc., who worked in a Unix environment day in day out.They knew how to use linux but didn`t want to spend the time, installing XP was easier and allowed access to all the common applications that joe public uses.

    Go back some years and the guys who now run Linux would have been bending over backwards to show people how to do everything. Then money and profit arrived along with the masses who wanted one key to press, a whole community was lost or went underground to sites dedicated to coding which the masses couldn`t and didn`t want to understand. Commercialism killed off a lot of the good things about computing in my opinion and divided computer users into three distinct ethnic groups. The scientist/geek/programmer Linux users, the Graphic/Print using or now fashion accessory Apple users and the common person Windows users.

    Have we room for another Religion ? Can we stop the racism ? They`ve all got something good about them but none is perfect for everyone. As for the Google OS I can`t see me putting it on many teenagers laptops....What I can see is if Google brings out a cheap Netbook that appeals is me putting on Windows which someone will adapt for them.

    Mainstream is Windows, kids learn from their peers, parents know little if any. That is experience talking.

    Cloud OS bring it on...I could do with the extra Windows install work ! ;-)

  • Comment number 43.

    I welcome the idea but I am afraid that, if the quality & reliability of the Chrome browser is anything to go by, this will not be very successful.

  • Comment number 44.

    @neilephipps

    Since when do I have to be an OS provider in order to criticise current offerings? I don't grow vegetables, but I can't stand cabbage.

    "but you seem to be using "them" without a problem...". What gave you the impression I didn't have problems. Does my post really suggest to you that I use any current OS without problem?

    I was trying, in vain, to make this a discussion about what future operating systems might provide rather than a flame war. You know stuff like application portability, security, usability, the ability of novice, and not so novice users to configure it correctly; About removing the need to spend half my life keeping AV and firewall software up to date, about cross system hardware support; The ability to support open document formats, not just on Office applications, but on ALL applications; eMail systems which are designed to prevent SPAM. Increased software reliability and hardware availability, about an OS that will run on any type of hardware; 1001 others.

    When I buy a PC I want to be able to choose not just from different processors and hard drives and motherboards, but I want a range of OS to choose from too. With every new OS launched, maybe that day comes a little closer.

    Unfortunately I don't have the hundreds of thousands of man-hours available to do this myself, perhaps next week!

    Interesting indeed.

  • Comment number 45.

    >> The scientist/geek/programmer Linux users, the Graphic/Print using or now fashion accessory Apple users and the common person Windows users

    Carl,

    You've described the commoditisation of an industry. Your description would be equally valid for the car, telecomms or whatever industry - just change the brand and product names. I have a book from the late 1930s in which the author laments the loss of the "spirit" of motoring in somewhat the same terms.

    I agree that many things that were good about the early computer industry have been all but lost, but I think that making computers a commodity that any intelligent person can use for their work has resulted in a net gain for humanity. Most of the comments posted in public forums about MS and their dominance show profound ignorance of what MS displaced - although I agree their dominance is now very unhealthy.

    The young industry was riven with deliberate incompatibilities. for example, in the mid 1980s, I was paid several days work to write some code to move three files from one computer to another, identical machines, different operating systems! Most of that nonsense was simply blown away in the 1990s - principally by Microsoft's dominance but also by the UNIX movement of which Linux is now the most visible and vibrant expression.

    As you say, the vast majority of computers users don't even realise there is anything other than Windows. Changing that is going to be tricky - for Google or anyone else.

  • Comment number 46.


    @Lem007

    Fair point - though I use the phrase enemy specifically within this blog as is clear that's is how Google view Microsoft's OS domination.

    Vista was rush released due to pressure from PC vendors. They where desperate for a new Windows version to drive sluggish PC sales. It failed. Vista on my MBPro runs OK but terrible on my PC. Windows 7 is much better.

    How Microsoft market W7 will be interesting and the very fact the current RC is available shows they know they have some serious work to do to restore user confidence after the PR mess of Vista.

    Us and them? Swings and roundabouts really - Apple are starting to show consumer arrogance again, but that's another story, Rory......

  • Comment number 47.

    Be interesting to see if anyone attempts a cheeky civil action anti-competitive lawsuit against Google as they did in the US with Microsoft in 1998.

    After all... the supposed problem with Windows was that it came bundled with IE which was supposedly anti-competitive as it stifled competition. If COS is essentially just a bootable browser, then isn't this just the same thing? Unless during installation COS gives you the option to choose the browser (unlikely I would imagine - given that the OS is apparently just an extension of Chrome) then in my eyes it is no different.

    The real test of this new OS will be whether they can find any OEM partners. The target market for this appears to be the computing novice who just wants their PC "to work". However, it is highly unlikely these people will really want to (or be able to) backup their documents, format their hard disk and install a new OS. Even less likely they would partition and create a dual-boot... (I suspect this is what I would do; I like the idea of certain times just powering on and being online within seconds, but I suspect at other times I would bemoan the lack of functionality).
    Unless Google produce a completely idiot-proof installer, or manages to distribute this via OEM, I suspect it may take pride of place in the graveyard of "Google Pipe Dreams".

  • Comment number 48.

    When I use Chrome the browser, it is noticeable how it does not use PC processing power as the number of tabs increase compared to Firefox or Internet Explorer.

    If that is a strong sign that Chrome the operating system is more efficent and effective than Windows, roll on the next computing commercial war for global supremacy - consumers might be winners!

    mark.

  • Comment number 49.

    @Trevonnor

    Absolutely agree that it has been seen with many products but please allow me my few moments melancholia where I miss people as yourself giving me a helping hand for free ! ;-)

    @neilephipps

    Remember Millenium Edition ? We still bought XP. (After a reasonable amount of time for everyone else to test and a few ??minor?? updates).

  • Comment number 50.

    As this blog is supposed to be giving a "totally impartial BBC view" I would assume it to be a serious technical appraisal from "the BBC's technology correspondent". Wrong! This blog is full of contradictions, inaccuracies and omissions. For example, the author is willing to accept the existence of "the open-source community", but not "the Linux community". Rory, no Linux community = no Linux development = No Chrome OS. The author is churning out the same old, discredited Linux lies and myths. I recently installed Fedora 11 and straight away I could browse, email, word process, etc. I wasn't "really determined and quite sophisticated", I didn't have to be. The glaring omission is that Chrome OS is a thin client, meant to be used in conjunction with Google servers, which hold and control your data and the applications to process your data. So, that's a network of Linux clients and Linux servers, hardly "a minority pursuit". Besides, Google are doing nothing new, gOS (Good OS) has been around for at least 18 months, already doing what Chrome OS intends to do. Rory, if you want to be taken seriously, do some research before you blog.

  • Comment number 51.

  • Comment number 52.

    A side issue, but Rory, how old do you think your readers are?
    I would bet that a large number of people had their "first computing experience" with a BBC Micro if they were at school, or C64, Vic 20, Amiga, Atari or Archimedes.
    None of which ran Windows, because it barely existed during the period I'm talking about.

  • Comment number 53.

    Obviously we are all very interested in the announcement of a new Operating System. As with Windows 7, Snow Leopard or any of the exciting Linux disto's its always fascinating to see what different approaches the developers take.
    Unfortunately if you want honest and impartial information on the current goings on in the technology world, it would appear that the BBC and Rory in particular are not the best place to look.
    While Googles new Chrome OS is interesting, Rory needs to remember that it is only a project, Vapourware if you like. It does not exist in any usable form and there is no specific information available which could be used to draw comparisons against any other operating systems.
    The idea of using a thin client in a net book, which is how I understand Chrome OS will run is entering uncharted territory. This, to my knowledge has never really been done before so its going to be interesting to see if they pull it off.
    In my opinion, Rory and the BBC have missed a story here. This is not about Google going head to head with Microsoft, Google are not intending to attack the desktop PC market, and you will never be able to run Chrome OS on your PC at home. To me this is about the changing ways in which we access our information. This is about ubiquitous computing and the increasing interest in mobile internet access.
    The net book market is the fastest growing sector in terms of hardware sales at the moment and everyone, Microsoft included is keen to get a slice of the pie. Microsoft is doing very well with XP and is sure to force Windows 7 in this direction too. Linux already have a strong footing and Apple are yet to reveal their hand.
    I think the fundamental thing that Rory seems to forget, is that people are no longer forced to choose Microsoft, Apple or Linux. People can use all 3 quite easily. The old issues of compatibility are being eroded with open formats and data in the cloud. Software is no longer sold in boxes, its moving to Software as a service. I think Chrome, if it ships will do very well if it fits your requirements. You wont be playing games on it, but then you cant play games on net books anyway, certainly not to any reasonable standards.
    I work as a technical writer and write collateral for Microsoft and many other companies. One benefit of this is that I have access to technology typically from Alpha release, often being involved in software projects that never even get released. In my experience it is pointless to speculate on software until you actually manage to get your hands on it!
    But we cant blame Rory entirely for this he is after all only trying to pay the mortgage. So in light of this I would like to make him an offer. Id like to offer him my services as an industry insider, free of charge. Im happy to review, advise or act in any way he feels most appropriate.

  • Comment number 54.

    Yet again the the BBC is completely unbiased with its Tech news.

    NOT!!!

    When will the BBC recognise Linux REALLY DOES EXIST! Its not just for uber geeks, even my Mum uses it.

    (Maybe one day the iplayer will work on Linux...)

  • Comment number 55.

    Remember that it wasn't so long ago that the BBC claimed only 400-600 Linux users visited the BBC website...

  • Comment number 56.

    Although Google's attempt is promising, eventually it is going to be a wasteful exercise. Many Linux vendors and Apple have been trying to capture Windows market for a very long time. The problem stems from the fact that catching up with an already advanced technology which is available now in Windows 7 and the interdependencies Microsoft carefully crafted with various office environments, hardware and software manufactures, gaming, etc.

    Prsonally, I am tired of seeing different types of incompatible software and devices. Who needs another operating system when there are already nice ones out there. This is not an innovation. Since I can search on Google and run a number of applications, sold by others, on Windows, I would prefer staying with that operating system. However as a consumer, I can foresee a great opportunity: I anticipate that Microsoft will soon greatly reduce the price of Windows operating systems to expand their hold on the personal and corporate desktop/server environments.

  • Comment number 57.

    Its all about the right tool for the job. Using the right
    hardware and software for whatever your trying to do.

    Right now i'm in the pub so posting this from my
    iPhone yet earlier I was writing code for windows azure.

    I bet the BBC use windows Linux mac and a lot more besides

    maybe some internal training is required for our impartial reporters!

  • Comment number 58.

    Well I for one will be switching to Google Chrome - in fact I'm writing this on my android mobile! One thing concerns me though - it took 5 minutes to scroll down the page to comment! Anyways - this will certainly hit MS where it hurts - but Bing is becoming quite successful - in the end the consumer wins.

    I wonder how long it will be before Google make video games!

  • Comment number 59.

    The way I see it is that schools need to move away from teaching kids the 'Microsoft Way'. This way we'll have people who know how to use software rather than Microsoft software.

    Once people realise that office software, for instance, works the same way using Openoffice on Linux,windows or a Mac as Microsoft office on windows or mac then we'll have some real freedom to choose the best platform and this kind of debate will not happen.

    BTW my missus has Ubuntu netbook remix on an eeepc and loves it. My kids use windows, mac and linux and don't think anything of it.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm relieved later commenters here have started mentioning Linux distros other than Ubuntu - some early responses were almost implying that Ubuntu was the only flavour of Linux available!

    I suppose the wide number of distros can confuse newbies:
    Ubuntu (and varients), openSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Slackware, Gentoo, CentOS - and that's just the 10 most popular distros!

    However, despite each having a slightly different look'n'feel, once you get under the hood you've generally got a choice of two main desktop environments (KDE / GNOME - and many distros allow you to choose either - or indeed a minor alternative!) - other differences such as package manager probably won't be noticed by inexperienced users.

    Installation of Linux is increasingly easy, and many distros come as a "Live CD", so you can try out the distro and see if it'll recognise your peripherals before you commit to repartitioning your hard drive. Most of the applications you're likely to use regularly are included, and in most cases are equivalent to or superior to their Windoze equivalents (although OOo still lags slightly behind MS Office in terms of features).

    There's also Wine, an API which allows you to run many Windoze programs 'natively' in Linux (although sadly not those using recent versions of the .NET framework) - including Internet Explorer.

    Admittedly there can be configuration issues with some hardware combinations, and it can take a while for bleeding edge hardware to get supported, but increasing numbers of manufacturers are starting to take Linux seriously and provide multi-distro binaries as well as the source.

    As for the accusation that Linux is only for geeks...

    "November 20th, 2007: The Republic of Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science will deploy more than 180,000 workstations running Canonicals Edubuntu 7.04 as part of its "Computer for Every Child" project.

    The Republic of Macedonia "Computer for Every Child" project is one of the largest known thin client and desktop Linux deployments ever undertaken. Half of elementary and secondary Republic of Macedonia students attend school in the morning, and half attend in the afternoon, so 180,000 workstations will allow for one classroom computing device per student for the entire Republic's public school population."

    Source: http://www.ubuntu.com/news/macedonia-school-computers

    And the French Parliament have apparently switched to Kubuntu.

    As for lack of community, where exactly have you looked? Many distros have both an official and an unofficial support forum, there's also linuxquestions.org, Linux User Groups (local groups where the community get to meet each other in person), and numerous online locations for developers to hang out.

    -oOo-

    But from what I've read, most of the functionality of Google's OS will be built into the browser, so in effect it will be thinnish client (not strictly true thin client, but not far off). Android's more likely to evolve into a fully fledged OS - and not just one limited to smartphones.

    Let's be clear - Windoze is under no immediate threat. But slowly, over time, Apple and Linux will start to chip away at its dominance, just as in the browser world MSIE is down to under 80% market share, and Microsoft have abandoned their ideas to discontinue development of IE as a standalone download (they're already having to play catch-up to the other browsers, and combined with IE 8 defaulting to 'standards' mode, websites will increasingly be written to conform to standards [therefore accessible by all browsers] rather than IE's unique 'quirks'). You might need to wait a decade for Linux to take a significant chunk of market share, but from the bullish press releases put out by Microsoft, they're already getting worried. Perhaps it's due to the unique nature of Linux - as it's free and community owned, they cannot use their usual strategies to eliminate it.

  • Comment number 61.

    mittfh wrote

    Quote "As for the accusation that Linux is only for geeks..."

    Please go out to Tesco`s and use the language you just used for that post...Some may understand "Wine" but not in the manner you`re meaning. Unless of course you`re in Macedonia ;-)

    I think you`re in denial !

    I`m not knocking Linux, I use Suse on one machine...but I am howether a bonifide geek, ie., not the average computer user. I deal with the average day in day out it`s hard enough at times getting them to the Control Panel in Windoze.

    The lack of community wasn`t directed at the Linux community, which is abundant as you say. It was a generalisation that referred to the amount of help a "beginner" could get now compared to a few years ago and remember these beginners are using MS. It`s of no use staying in your Linux forum, you`re preaching to the converted and that`s the problem. The good guys who gave untold hours of help to people are mostly in those forums, the rest are making money from their knowledge..Include me in the latter to an extent.

    If you don`t have a knowledge of Linux and everyone else you know uses Windoze where do you turn ? This is not you or I, I speak of, but the beginner. They use and do as their peers do which includes downloading music and films etc.

    If you have a "Ferrari" and everyone else around you has a "Ford" I don`t think you`ll get much help when you need it. As much as you may know it`s better and quicker your peers can`t help you with it.

    People are far too lazy/busy to learn something nowadays, they want to press a button and it`s done. How many times do I get a laptop that no longer has wireless simply because the user accidently switched it off but didn`t realise the button was there ! :-o

    You can slate MS all you want in the same way we slate our so called democracies, true communism maybe great, it`s not going to happen though.MS may not be perfect but for the average person it works...And yes I thought Betamax was far superior

  • Comment number 62.

    @54 Tomcat-50

    "Maybe one day the iplayer will work on Linux..."

    err, it already does...
    I don't -think- I did anything special

    Oh, and XBMC has an iplayer plugin too

  • Comment number 63.

    *laughs* You used "impartial" and "BBC" in the same sentence.

    Good joke.

  • Comment number 64.

    i may be a linux fanboy but im not technical with it. i've been using ubuntu for the last year, previous to that, all i knew was windows. i think that people get confused by linux due to there being so many distributions. there are many that are suitable for an average home user. i have also found that less computer savvy peers actually prefer ubuntu over windows due to its ease of use. my concern for gos is not for the netbook market where simple interfaces and functionality is necessary but if google offer gos as a full spec os. my fear would be that the rest of the linux community would be overlooked and that peoples' perception of linux would only ever be what google wanted it to be, creating a similar situation as we are in with windows.i.e. a pc runs windows and we are led to believe there is no viable alternative. also if gos doesn't harness the full potential of the linux kernal people may continue to judge linux as a second rate os in comparison to win or mac.

  • Comment number 65.

    I doubt that Google OS will have much software support, at least in the first few years. Remember all the problems people have with finding new drivers for their printers etc. every time there's a new OS launched?
    Google OS would probably be a good to initially boot up into in order to get onto the web, or read emails, use facebook etc.
    But for those of us that want to use a computer "properly" we would still need to load up Windows so we can use Word and Excel or play decent games.
    So I think I'll soon be reconfiguring my laptop as a dual boot system.

 

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