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Director, OpenShift Strategy at Red Hat. Founder of Rishidot Research, a research community focused on services world. His focus is on Platform Services, Infrastructure and the role of Open Source in the services era. Krish has been writing @ CloudAve from its inception and had also been part of GigaOm Pro Analyst Group. The opinions expressed here are his own and are neither representative of his employer, Red Hat, nor CloudAve, nor its sponsors.

27 responses to “Google Chrome OS: Why? Why? Why?”

  1. Devan

    Krishnan, I gather from what I have seen so far that this OS is NOT going to be based on the Linux kernel at all? Perhaps it will more closely resemble Palm’s WebOS in that it will essentially be just an extendable web browser?

    I am guessing that we will not be seeing device drivers, file systems and other things that we expect from a traditional OS?

  2. NPS

    Why Why Why??? You have to ask; Linux has terrible take up outside of the techy community… The return rates of Asus Netbooks with Linux is high; the ones that aren’t returned are true Linux users or sideloaded Windows…

    An alternative to Windows is needed so far NONE of the linux distro’s have met this easily; easy enough for the netbook ODM’s to ship it widely.

  3. Krish


    The Google’s post said it is based on Linux kernel but with their own windowing system based on Google Chrome on top of it. Where did you see it?

    This is what Google told in that post.

    The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform.

  4. A_SN

    1) Because Microsoft’s desktop OS market share is just asking to be taken over, because Microsoft since Vista is stuck in bad PR and general suckage, and Apple cannot take over because they require you to buy a new expensive machine, and no current Linux distro out there is good enough, nor even has the means to eat more than 1% of marketshare to the declining giant. It takes a giant like Google to do that. Linux and its distros are more like a swarm of little guys who can’t even afford to build their own desktop environment, all they can do is put a bunch of pre-existing pieces together, that’s not good enough.

    2) No, they couldn’t have rallied behind an already existing distros. For one thing, the distros out there are nothing to Google, they could fart a Ubuntu-like distro out with so little effort it wouldn’t be funny. Google wants and can afford to have control over everything, cause they’re fucking giants, they don’t need to think twice about the other distros, or even Gnome or KDE, they don’t care cause they can make something better and more coherent with there vision much more easily.

    3) For Android, time will tell, but most likely it’ll stay the smartphone OS, while Chrome OS will be the netbook/desktop OS. Because you don’t want a smartphone OS on your desktop, and you don’t want a desktop OS on your telephone.

  5. mabsj2

    Good Move by Google. I totally support this idea.

  6. Devan

    Krish, I stand corrected! I missed that critical line upon first reading the article. In which case I agree with you in that another distro like DSL which weighs in at a mere 50MB would have been a better bet for them…

  7. Frank Cseh

    Chrome OS will take market shares of Netbook’s OS market.
    I don’t believe it is a competition to Windows OS at all. ( Look how far Linux get during the years) As well, Windows 7 is not the last OS from MS.

  8. Krish

    @A_SN, you expose yourself as a blind Google fanboy. If you understood Google’s vision for this OS, they want to keep the user experience on the web. It means that all they want is a barebones OS with their browser on top of it. It doesn’t matter if Linux is ugly. So, all your ramblings against Linux falls flat with respect to Google’s vision.

  9. Errant

    > Instead of doing their own OS, they could have rallied behind one of the Linux distros, say Damn Small Linux

    Because it is only the anti-M$ craze that interprets Google’s announcements as targeting Windows. As I read they think *every* operating system is unsuitable (I happen to agree). Hence not getting behind a distro: they have a vision, good for them. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with 😀

  10. Jayadeep

    I think it is a good idea – operating systems have been traditionally designed for multipurpose workloads and the weight of being generic shows on all the major operating systems. In fact Microsoft rode on their apps(windowing to boot) though the OS may have been inferior to the other ones(or less general purpose) emphasizing the fact that apps are the ones that drives people to it. So fast forward to now, it is the browser that is running most of the apps except off course the MS office, it is fair for Google to take this approach to make an OS that can make it simple enough to run a browser efficiently without the baggage of a general purpose OS. And if they(or someone else) can wean people from the standalone MS office apps, then we really have an alternative in this space. So I see this as a good development from a consumer perspective who doesn’t have much of an alternative other than windows OS and MS office apps.

    Personally, I would love this instead of the pathetically slow Vista OS(on my 1GB laptop) that I use just to use the browser(predominantly). In fact it can only run one app right now – if I open another app, the response time goes out of the window.

    So I would wholeheartedly support Google if they can make my browsing experience better as they promise.

  11. Deon Kok

    Even at home I cannot replace my MS Windows boxes
    due to software and hardware with Linux. Anyone
    who thinks more than single figure percentages
    can be taken over from MS better start recoding
    all those industrial and specialsed software the
    real world runs on.

  12. votetheday

    We invite everybody to speculate on the outcome of the battle ‘Google Chrome OS-Windows’. Is Google going to knock Microsoft down? Or Windows will never be defeated as the most popular OS? Tell us –

  13. Krish

    All of you who rally behind Google blindly on this topic need to realize that Google wants the entire user experience to be on the web. Under such a scenario, OS becomes totally redundant. Spending too much resources on something that plays no role in their vision is plain stupid. Hence, my suggestion about supporting an already existing distro, however lame the distro is.

  14. Jayadeep

    Krish – I don’t believe it is a blind faith in Google. Existing OSes(especially of the MS variety) are an inhibitor to a seamless web experience IMO. These were designed when nobody even imagined about the web becoming so big and they were too general purpose to support all kinds of OS. And OS is not totally redundant, you still need an OS to manage the hardware and an OS that is optimal for browsing has significant value IMO.

  15. Dreyer Smit

    Imagine all the nightmares IT specialists will have to deal with an open source OS like this. And ontop of that will you like to see ads everywhere, as this is what Google is trying to do, break into your personal life so it can sell more ads. Google is a online ad giant and that is it’s main objective.
    If they are serious about breaking into the OS market MS dominates they will have to make it operational offline as well. Not everyone in the world has permanent internet access, and that is why MS will keep it’s stranglehold. I will stay with MS because I do not like “Google Politically Correct Spyware”.

  16. Krish

    @Jayadeep, I agree with your argument about MS OSes. But, Google could have rallied behind a Linux distro much like how they did with Firefox initially. Well, in that case, they cannot push their browser and services to people. It makes a perfect business sense. If we take out the business decision part, I am still not convinced that we need another OS to solve the problem we are facing.

  17. johnjgoddard

    I wish that the dorks of the Google camp would take their Adderall and fix the browser before they go fucking around in the lilies with operating systems.

  18. Gary Roberts

    I couldn’t agree more. The Chrome OS Google is developing is designed to take OS control away from the individual user. I think that is a terrible concept. Why, Why, why, indeed.

    Gary Roberts

  19. Junaid Khan

    I am a final year student of computer system engineering, and am supposed to prepare a CHROME OS presentation, which should cover the following topics;
    – How PCB is maintained in Chrome OS?
    -What type of scheduler is used ?
    – What scheduling techniques are used ?
    – How processes are created?
    – What are its process states ?
    – How inter process communication takes place ?
    – Process control (pipes , msg passing , share memory or etc ? )

    Any help will be really appreciated