Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Taking a Second Look at Google Chrome OS

At first I utterly dismissed Google Chrome OS as nothing compared to Windows 7 or Mac OS X, or even Ubuntu. From a first view, and as someone who uses a number of Linux OSs, Google Chrome looks like a diminished version of SUSE Linux. Which is for the user all it is. You have a word processor and an email client and Chrome. So it is ideal if you use Cloud service for the just about everything. I have been reading more about Chrome OS and I have learned that it is a very secure OS. So for a future table iPad like computer or note book it might be a good idea. It is fast and easy to use.

But the problem is that it is just a window on the Cloud. 4 years ago I built a Linux machine on an old LapTop which could no longer handle even Windows XP and I did an experiment of "living on the Cloud". So I speak from 4 years of trying out being a Cloud user. Now I didn't just test it a few hours a year and think about this. With that Linux box I wrote all my papers for my Masters degree in Google Docs, I joined facebook on it and use it watch YouTube. So I can say I have already been where Chrome OS is trying to take us.

There is no question that going Cloud reduces the demands for a OS. When you are Cloud you no longer need all the features of an OS X or Windows 7. But I still find going utterly Cloud a bit minimal. Like the iPad it has its uses, but at some point you are probably going to want to get your hands on a powerful PC computer that you can install software on, play high end games on, and attach lots of devices to. And this is where Chrome OS, in my opinion, fails. You really just have a web browser. On the version I am running the security prevents me from installing new software. One of the great things about a Linux computer is you get tons of Software for free.

It seems to me that Google Chrome OS is more of how Google wants you to use your PC, not how you want to use your PC. Google has a stake in making everyone to use Google web sites for everything, cutting out Microsoft entirely from the picture. This OS seems to be more built upon the requirements of Google for how they want the OS to support their business model, rather than being a OS I would want to use.

And the close tie to Google sort of violates the entire idea of Linux. Linux is there to make you independent of any specific company. I have another Linux machines I use for PHP and 3D design. I can't see myself doing that with a Chrome OS.

So to sum up, if you only use your computer to go the the Internet and you only really use Google services, you might look in to getting a nice light net book or tablet with Google Chrome OS. But if you are a gamer, a developer, a graphic artists, a music downloader, or you really want to hold your digital assets on your own desktop I can't see using this OS.
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