Google have given some more details about their new operating system Chromium. It seems to be a very cutdown Linux running Chrome and is tightly locked down and Google say it will only run web based applications which given its Open source roots is kind of interesting I cant see RMS being to happy about this. Nor will the FLOSS/Linux community in general be to happy about this.
The Google team that build are pitching this as a second computer – but i don’t think the average user wants to have to learn a second GUI and the associated foibles of another operating system.
This seems to be yet another attempt to make the network computer work. I was a trialist in BT for network computers – at that time it was an interesting toy but was slow and relied on remote servers to run applications. Google seem to think that a limited computer that requires a high speed reliable connection to the Internet will work.
Hmm so Goggles home market is the USA which has difficulty with basic stuff like you know getting a mobile phone network to work (in the middle of San Francesco for example) – having spent a number of years inside the wire in BT and the view there was that Americas mobile network was considered “in need in some improvement” to use BT speak – on the intranet I can remember some very cruel (but funny) jokes about how ATT was going to break into the European market with their new Strowger technology.
So Google thinks that using 802.11n is going to be a solution, even if you have a wide spread wifi network. wifi has problems connecting more than a few devices to an access point CISCO quote 10 per AP in their design guides. So I doubt that a chromium net book in a crowded city is going to be that functional.
The actual launch is around a year away and it will be interesting to see how it turns out, I suspect that Eric Schmitt who used to be CEO of SUN (one of the original backers of the network computer) has managed to persuade Google to have another try at network computing – and given the number of times this return to a dumb terminal model has failed in the past I suspect it is a quixotic titling at windmills exercise.
You can look at a summary of the launch event here.