Chrome OS – not the next big thing

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According to a post on the official Google blog – Google will be launching Google Chrome OS to consumers in H2 2010. Reading through the post I saw a few interesting  points that got me thinking:

Functionality trumps startup speed

We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. As a natural extension of the Chrome browser for people who live on the web – this is a development that a lot of people would like to see.    But – isn’t this what the old Java stations were about – and look what happened to them.  Granted – we have a lot more bandwidth to the Net now but hardware is a) a lot cheaper and powerful and b) Linux in it’s various flavors is much more mature – and I think that Microsoft has proven that the rich functionality of Windows and Windows applications is worthing waiting for – even if it takes a minute or 2 to boot up your machine.

interoperability is not as easy as it looks

All web-based applications will automatically work. Of course they will work – to the extent that all applications work on Google Chrome right now – which is not 100 percent functional nor 100 percent stable in all applications – especially Flash-based Web-conferencing – which is the wave of the future – why install a proprietary ActiveX or Java applet to run Web conferencing from Webex or GotoMeeting when you can use DimDim? And what about support for all those applications that only work in IE?

Truth in packaging

They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. This is a little misleading – and I would be careful about placing it in the “truth in advertising” department.    A Windows XP SP3 machine on a 512MB configuration runs faster not slower than SP1. And – let’s face it – machines slow down – not because of the operating system – but because of all the crap you put on the machine.   For sure the later versions of Ubuntu are slower but – I have a commdity x86 machine – running a web server, 3 database servers (Postgres, Mysql and Oracle 11 Express) and Tomcat – I listen to music – develop software, write documents and surf the Web. Startup time is less than 1′ – and that’s a small price to pay for what I get.  So – I do not necassarily buy into this revival of the thin PC/net PC/Java Station when hardware is so cheap and applications are so great.

A huge threat to data security

completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. Now that sounds interesting – except for one thing – I run Ubuntu – and I don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates.   I think the underlying security architecture is exceedingly important but when it comes to data security – having a machine that is always-on the net with data and applications that are always on the net with users that are always on the net – that is a nightmare for any organization with sensitive digital assets.

IT might play at home.  But I doubt it will play in Poughkeepsie.

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