Smoothwall Firewall project

Thursday 19 November 2009

Google Chrome OS is alive and open to the community to develop

I sat and watched the webinar this evening that launched Google Chrome OS into the wild at Google's headquarters in California.The news about their new web centric operating system is very good indeed, and they truly have thought the concept through.

Now, I'm sure the open source community will take this rough diamond and turn it into a beautiful gem, but what has already been shown is interesting enough. The system is building upon the great work of many very successful open source projects like the Linux kernel, Ubuntu, Moblin, Webkit and of course Chromium. Once the system is booted and running, you wouldn't notice a difference between running the Chromium browser in full screen mode, which I'm doing now to type this. It is this envelope use of the browser to drive the whole experience which is new and cutting edge.

The new system will be free to download and install on any system, but is being aimed at a set of reference hardware that will have 100% compatibility out of the box , and is going to be offered by several major hardware manufacturers at launch.
This bringing together of the hardware and software offers major advantages, as Apple have found, so that the whole experience just works. They have also written there own BIOS, which again will work well with the other components.

Google have also thought long and hard about security which is designed into the system from the ground floor, with multiple layers of sandbox, to protect running applications, and the fact the OS checks for updates at boot. The speed to get to the browser has also been addressed and is a matter of seconds, so the whole suspend/hibernate cludge disappears in a cloud of blistering fast bits.

The number of applications with the new native client - think of Google gears on steroids - will be virtually infinite, and the ability of Google to create and grow a web store has already been proven with the fly away success of Android. If I were a web based developer, I know where I would be investing my energies over the next twelve months, as this could be a gold mine.

I have loved the Chromium browser since it arrived, warts and all, and I have no doubt that this new OS will find a place on my netbook. I agree with the usage profile discussed at the launch, and it is unlikely to replace Ubuntu on my laptop anytime soon, but my netbook is crying out for this.

To use a phrase that this launch fits well, the operating system has just evolved.

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