Linked by Kris Shaffer on Thu 24th Mar 2005 19:07 UTC
Editorial Wishful thinking? Yes, but let's consider the possibilities. The last couple years have seen significant advances in hardware production and design. One of the more interesting (and potentially revolutionary) developments to take place this past year is the announcement of a new CPU, the STI (Sony, Toshiba, IBM) Cell processor.
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A Ridiculous Pipe Dream
by KaS_m on Thu 24th Mar 2005 21:19 UTC

It will be decades until an infrastructure on the level of Internet2 becomes a significant part of the mainstream internet. And even that would not be fast enough for thin clients to deliver apparent performance equal to that of today's computers. If advances in computer hardware and in software demands between now and then are accounted for, the whole idea is demonstrated to be unfeasible.

Moreover, it is undesirable. Why would people want to give up computer games? Why would people want to use a system that would be legally required to be a thousand times more restrictive and invasive than Microsoft Windows threatens to become today? Why would people want to commit their the fruits of their creativity or hard work, or their sensitive personal or business data into the hands of a single company, no matter how much of a buzzword its name is.

This article essentially amounts to a proposal that everyone put their computer in a locked box on the side of the house, like a power meter, that is only disturbed when the technician comes by to check it. Sure, you can hook up a monitor and use it, but it is no longer under your control. Computing has the value it does today because computers are TOOLS that enable people to manage information in incredible ways, rather than SERVICES that people use in cute, prescribed ways. Yes, you have to learn how to use that tool yourself, rather than let the technician handle it, but that is the price you pay for flexibility and control, and it is a price that seems less steep all the time, as each successive younger generation becomes more computer literate than the last.

My final objection to the premise of the article is that it demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of what makes Google great. The author seems to have the attitude that Google is a one-in-a-million company that knows how to do things right, and so they should do everything. This makes no sense - Google is master of only one field (web-based services, and NO general computing tasks have no value as web-based services) and has produced only a handful of great technologies (Google Search, and the distributed filesystem that underlies all its applications). They excel at these things, but were they to attempt to develop an OS right now, they would fail miserably. They have few, if any employees qualified to design software of that nature, and are no better a candidate for hiring a new OS development team en masse than anyone else. They know this, and have never suggested an intention to move into other fields.

I may not post much, but I've been reading OSNews for some time, and this is one of the sillier articles I've seen here.