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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Yes it is a Linux distro
by nt_jerkface on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 01:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Who cares about boot times"
nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26


But it is NOT a browser only Linux distro... It is a browser that essentially runs on a firmware. Linux just happens to be the firmware for the time being. The browser IS the OS, no one is seeing the big picture because they are stuck on the whole "Linux Distro" bit - Linux is just a cog in the wheel that the user cannot interact with AT ALL. I expect Google to rapidly whittle down the kernel to only the absolutely bare minimum required to run the browser as efficiently as possible.


So if I slap a custom browser on top of X Windows and use the same libraries that exist in all the other distros I no longer have a Linux distro?

The browser is not the OS, it couldn't interact with the hardware if it didn't have the kernel and those standard distro libraries. The browser is just the only interface provided to the user.

I don't care if they lock you into a custom browser. A two-man distro could do the same thing.

Until they fork the kernel or use something other than X Windows I'm calling it a distro.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Yes it is a Linux distro
by galvanash on Sun 22nd Nov 2009 05:04 in reply to "Yes it is a Linux distro"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

So if I slap a custom browser on top of X Windows and use the same libraries that exist in all the other distros I no longer have a Linux distro?


Chrome OS WONT run user binaries... The point is it does NOT have an application binary interface at any level below the browser. It could run Windows 7 under the hood and it wouldn't make ANY difference to the user - they CANNOT run anything directly on it.

The browser is not the OS, it couldn't interact with the hardware if it didn't have the kernel and those standard distro libraries. The browser is just the only interface provided to the user.


I'm sorry but I just don't understand your point of view. I'm really not trying to minimize the importance of Linux here - it IS an important component of the OS, but I don't see how you can call it a distro when it by definition cant run a user binary...

I don't care if they lock you into a custom browser. A two-man distro could do the same thing.


True. I never said no one else could have done the same thing... What I said was no one else HAS done it before. Name a Linux distro that you cannot install a binary on? And I don't mean just by default - I mean it offers no mechanism to install one and actively protects itself against ANY modification. It may as well be a black box in my book - it isn't Linux anymore.

Until they fork the kernel or use something other than X Windows I'm calling it a distro.


I define a distro as a package of selected components for running binaries targeted at the underlying kernel's ABI... Whether it is Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows, whatever - they all share one thing in common - they are built to run software that adhere to the underlying ABI - and generally the kernel is what defines the ABI.

If you made system that used the linux kernel to bootstrap java - and the only thing it could run was java applications... Is Linux its defining characteristic anymore? I mean it just a JVM sitting on top of something, but that something is inconsequential to the user. It could be BSD or Windows or a custom firmware that does nothing but act as a hardware abstraction layer. The point is it no longer MATTERS.

Edited 2009-11-22 05:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I'm sorry but I just don't understand your point of view. I'm really not trying to minimize the importance of Linux here - it IS an important component of the OS, but I don't see how you can call it a distro when it by definition cant run a user binary...

So if I took Ubuntu, stripped it down to just a browser and prevented users from installing new software it would no longer be a distro?

Why wouldn't it be a distro with limited functionality?

Reply Parent Score: 2