Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Nov 2009 20:01 UTC
Google Google has just unveiled its Chrome OS operating system during a press event at the company's headquarters, and it's pretty much exactly what we expected it to be: a streamlined Linux kernel booting straight into the Chrome web browser. The code is available starting today.
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Lots of people just dont get this...
by galvanash on Fri 20th Nov 2009 02:09 UTC
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I hate to go off on a rant, but here goes my Dennis Miller on this whole thing ;)

Chrome OS (and other systems to come that are modeled after it) WILL be the next big thing - it is virtually inevitable. It wont happen immediately or all at once, but it will happen. Heres why:

1. The rate that cloud based applications are being released is accelerating dramatically - and many of them are becoming as good or better than their desktop counterparts as time goes by.

2. Browser capabilities (with HTML 5 and modern JS engines) have reached the critical point that allows elegant, functional, and fast user interfaces to cloud services. See gWhatever,, workday, etc, etc, etc. And there is no reason to expect this trend is going to slow down.


The fact is it is EASIER to build BETTER applications as services over the long haul. If for no other reason than this: the implementer has complete control of the entire stack from the hardware up. This is not true of any other development paradigm. If you control EVERYTHING, including the hardware itself, the OS, the database, etc., you can replace anything in the stack with something better/cheaper/more efficient as needed. You also optimize your expenses because you can determine extactly how much hardware you need, how much memory you will need, etc. All the variables are under your control. And everything is STILL under your control AFTER deployment to customers. The better you get at it, the smarter you become, the more adept your engineers get, all of this allows you to work toward effectively reducing your cost - and anything and everything is a knob you can tweak if you choose to, there are no limits to the scope of changes you can make.

That is a HUGE competitive advantage when competing with conventional software. Think about your typical enterprise application (i.e. Exchange, or take your pick). Want your data to be truly secure? Extra Customer Expense. Want data replication? Extra hardware expense. Want to support more users? Extra hardware AND software expense. And as everything grows it goes LESS reliable and slower because it simply isn't built to truly be scalable... Of sure, it CAN scale, but as an install gets bigger is costs MORE per user to keep the same level of service, not less.

Are people REALLY paying attention to what Google actually does??? They build hardware and design software infrastructure for one and only one purpose - MASSIVE scale-out with MINIMAL expense. That is the key to their entire business. Sure, not all of their stuff starts off so hot from the user point of view, but it does start off as scalable and they can grow it with comparatively little expense...

This lets them do things people in the conventional software world CANNOT do - they can build applications that are truly appropriate for enterprise businesses AND individual consumers, because they are not deployed into a closed network on their customers hardware. Gmail is a perfect example. Gmail is single handedly retiring large enterprise installs of Exchange and other email systems because it is:

1. Cheap (really cheap compared to Exchange).
2. Capable - maybe not as good as Outlook in some areas, but it is actually better in others (search, tagging, etc.) and it is only getting better with time.
3. Requires no capital outlay.
4. IT staffing requirements are minimal.
5. No server-side hardware needed AT ALL.
6. Runs on anything with a decent browser.
7. The big one - storage limits so large they are virtually non-existent. And no charge for storage, its built in.
8. Optional long term archival of ALL email (up to 10 years)
9. ISO compliance already baked in.
10. I could go on... really...

And Google's expense to run the whole thing is amortized by all the people using it for free. People often think it is the other way around - i.e. the paying customers are carrying the free users. That is not true, it is the other way around. All those free users represent potential converts to paying customers, because most of them actually work for someone. It is self advertisement, and it pays off in the long run.

They use it, they learn to like it, it almost always works. And then they go to work and their Exchange server is down... Alot... ??? Hello Boss, get a clue? You can see where this is going I hope.

Anyway, getting back to Chrome OS. The point isnt to replace ALL conventional desktops - there is no need to do that. But creating a platform with _really_ minimal hardware needs will allow the creation of _really_ inexpensive devices that are just as capable of working with cloud apps as a desktop is. Chrome OS isnt for your home computer, at least not yet, but for the time being it WILL be attractive for many businesses. Yes BUSINESS - that is who is going to gobble these things up at first.

I think the perfect hardware for running Chrome OS will be very small and light netbook with essentially the equivalent of the iPhone SoC in it. 128MB of ram should be enough for it considering how much crud has been cut out of the OS. And it wont need nearly as much flash storage (if any at all) - local storage will only be needed for caching... Id be willing to bet that the first Chrome OS device will almost be EXACTLY this...

Anyway, the point of Chrome OS is not to compete with other Operating Systems... The point is to create a hardware/software stack that can run cloud applications using as little hardware as possible. It is getting users comfortable with running cloud apps that is truly the point - Chrome OS is a mechanism for creating hardware as a loss leader for cloud computing.

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