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Google finally ends long-term speculation, announcing a new Chrome OS

Google publicly announced it is working on a new Linux-based operating system aimed to compete against Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X.

Chrome OS is being designed by Google engineers for netbooks and is completely independent from its Android OS currently used on a growing number of smartphones.

"Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks," the company said in a blog post.  "Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010."

The OS itself is expected to make its debut sometime later this year.

Since Chrome OS will be available under an open source license, programmers can freely edit and modify the OS's code.  Furthermore, the OS will be designed for Intel and ARM processors, and could eventually transition away from netbooks to PCs and laptops.

The OS is specifically designed for users who use the internet heavily and won't be ideal for people who aren't connected to the internet often.  Google has said it would continue to launch new products and services in the cloud, including its own Gmail and Google Docs, but very few people expected an OS announcement.

Chrome OS will focus on speed, simplicity and security, and reportedly is a lightweight OS that will be able to boot up in just a few seconds.  Google hopes its interface will be simple enough for all users, with the GUI and user experience expected to be heavily Web-based.

Google is calling for help from the open source community to help work on the OS and iron out any bugs that may arise.

Many Google supporters said the company would eventually release a new OS -- wishful thinking, some analysts said -- but it appears to be a move that could move from netbooks to regular laptops.  Android, which is popular on smartphones, has led several manufacturers to begin using the OS on netbooks currently in development -- instead of porting Android over to netbooks immediately, it seems Chrome OS will help the void.

"We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear -- computers need to get better," the blog also reads.

Microsoft has long-ruled the OS market, but has faced increased pressure from Linux, and must now contend with yet another competitor.  Google has eaten into Microsoft's control of internet offerings, with its Google search engine, Gmail e-mail service, and other cloud-based services.

"We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision," the Google blog ends.

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RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Belard on 7/8/2009 8:10:13 AM , Rating: 5
But until someone at IBM gets a clue, as well as other "big" players figure this simple solution out...

Pay Adobe, Intuit and a couple of other companies to PORT the software to LINUX... duh. But the general issue with Linux is the support night mare for the flavors. KDE vs Gnome. ubuntu vs. redhat vs Google... and with MS helping to KILL the PC-Gaming market so they can sell Xboxes, then who NEEDS a "windows" computer anymore?

- Most people do work/play on the web.
- Open Office is free (yeah, I know - its NOT MS-Office 03/07)
- Game companies are ditching PCs for PS3s and Xbox360.
(seriously, want to hurt MS for hurting PC Gaming? Buy a PS3 instead)
- IE has lost enough market share that very few websites DEMAND IE.

An OS should be light, fast and simple. Windows7 is quite nice, its fast... and it maybe their last chance. If anyone used an Amiga, Version 3.0 was easily faster than 2.0 or 1.3. While it grew drivers and features, its memory management was improved.

Or how about the new OLPC? Their new 2.0 hardware design looks amazing. And its a simple interface, it too can be ported for adults, in a sense.

The true function of an OS is to launch applications and manage your data. Other than that, stay out of the way.

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Jimbo1234 on 7/8/2009 11:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ahh, the Amiga. I had an A500 with an AdSpeed and later a GVP 68030 accelerator / HD / RAM combo addon. I am still amazed by its OS simplicity. Granted it was not designed for networks, etc., but I pretty much knew what every file on the boot partition was for, and what was necessary to get Workbench up in its bare essential form. I think you could make it work with only about 300K from a 880K floppy. Given that there was a 512K ROM, that's still tiny.

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Belard on 7/8/2009 2:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
I still have my A1000 (with 2MB of RAM - $800 in 1987), I had added a De-interlacer (allows the use of VGA monitors) and a 14Mhz CPU with 40mb HD. And my A3000 still works with a 100mb HD.

Remember, the Mac Emulator (not including the OS)was about 80k. Think of how much space (on floppy/HD) to make a GUI OS!

Remember AmigaDOS 2~3.0? Its boot menu, and HD setup? It was GUI to create and manage partitions. Also, if you wanted to be ODD, you can name your HDs anything. HD0: or POS1: etc. ;) Yeah, Windows, especially todays is cryptic, does things in the background to "improve" performance and require Gigs of cheap memory.

Well... 20 years after ADOS 2.x GUI setup... Microsoft has finally done it with Windows7. (Maybe Vista too - but I've never installed Vista from scratch)

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By MrPoletski on 7/9/2009 5:37:08 AM , Rating: 2
ATARI TOS 1.4 FTW!!!!!!1one

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Belard on 7/8/2009 2:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
Strange that this double-posted. Sorry.

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Alexvrb on 7/8/2009 2:49:04 PM , Rating: 1
MS helping to KILL the PC-Gaming market so they can sell Xboxes, then who NEEDS a "windows" computer anymore?
Yeah, the guys who outpaced OpenGL and are on the verge of delivering a next-gen DirectX that has many enhancements, and they're the ones who are killing PC gaming? They're practically the only ones still driving PC gaming. OpenGL development seems to constantly stall in committee, they've fallen behind. Not to mention that DirectX 11 will also help standardize GPGPU programming, enabling more developers to tap into GPUs regardless of vendor, as long as they are DirectX 11 capable.

I'd like to see both Havok and PhysX running on DX11 for both AMD and Nvidia chips, for example (although in the case of PhysX that's up to Nvidia, so I'm not holding my breath).

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By PrezWeezy on 7/8/2009 5:42:53 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree that Microsoft is "killing" PC gaming. True less games that appeal to you may be available; however, that is not the result of Microsoft. That is a result of development cost. The truth is that XboX/PS3/Wii are standard platforms. You don't need to make the shading adjustable for different video cards. No tweaks to make sure it runs equally well on a $1,000 PC as a $5,000 PC. It's just cheaper to make a game for the XboX. That's not MS's doing, that's just economics.

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By tviceman on 7/9/2009 12:55:51 PM , Rating: 1
You're wrong here.

For every single game that sells on the 360, Microsoft gets a royalty fee. These same games net Microsoft ZERO dollars when sold on PC. So lets say you have both a 360 and a great gaming PC. Elder Scrolls IV comes out. With mods, better graphics, and mouse/kb control scheme you will likely buy it on PC.

But lets say this game comes out on the 360 4 months in advance of the PC release. Your likelihood of purchasing it on PC just went down the tubes. And if this is a game you really, really want but don't have a 360, the chances of you buying a 360 just skyrocketed.

On the PC, Microsoft gets ZERO royalty dollars for software you buy (unless microsoft made or published it). On the 360, they get your money with every purchase you make.

RE: Why Linux and not BSD?
By Sazar on 7/9/2009 2:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying the FACT that you need a MICROSOFT Operating system to play the WINDOWS based games doesn't net Microsoft money?

Also, the video cards that we buy to play these games on our PC's typically run WHQL drivers which also net Microsoft money from licensing/testing costs.

Sure, the 360 probably makes more money per unit, but it is a complete solution. Microsoft's Windows platform is still THE cash-cow for the company however.

I don't think I am alone in waiting for cross-platform games such as FPS's and other games to come out on the PC because we know the experience will be better, the content richer and the MP superior in every way.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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