What Chrome OS really is

There has been a lot of hoopla lately about Google’s announcment of Chrome OS. It’s the Windows killer; it redefines computing and what OS shall be; it’s a revolution; and so on.

What amazes me most is that most people overlook a statement made in the announcement that clarifies the nature of Chrome OS: “the software architecture is simple — Google Chrome (the browser: my note) running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel“. So Chrome OS really is just a new flavour of Linux with yet another windowing system. This is what I call good marketing :-) .

Make no mistake, a stripped down and fast Linux working on both Intel’s and ARM’s cores is a huge threat: it may blur the HW differences and may give a fighting chance for ARM against Intel – but it’s a threat for Intel, as a hardware vendor. But will it bring Microsoft down?! Only to the extent that it will be able to give the same feel as people are accustomed to with good old Windows. Simply, because most people want something they already know and don’t care much about how good or ethical this or that really is – if the pricing is right, the familiar will win. In many ways, Google’s efforts with applications are very similar to Apple’s trials with the Macs and iPhone: these appeal to a loyal set of followers but fail to gain traction beyond that; Apple still has a long way to go until it can really take on Microsoft or Nokia for that matter.

And so is Google, with its new windowing software for Linux, called Chrome OS.

Update: It just struck me…

Do you remember all the bashing and legal punishment Microsoft received for claiming that Internet Explorer is an integral part of Windows and cannot be stripped out (don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree that it should be considered part of the OS)? Well, what goes around, comes around: Chrome OS is a browser running in a windowing system over a Linux kernel. So, is the browser ‘an integral part’ of the OS? If it cannot legally be, then, again, what really is the Chrome OS?!

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