In a sudden, if not unexpected, announcement this morning, Google said it would release an open-source operating system based on its Chrome browser. The OS will be free, geared (at first) toward netbooks, and focused on “speed, simplicity, and security.”
Google executives told the New York Times that Google Chrome OS would be available online “later this year” as a free, open-source download, while specially tailored netbooks running the operating system are targeted for the second half of 2010. The release will not be a remixed version of the Android phone platform, but a “minimalist user interface,” with more screen space and computer power given over to web applications.
Google’s official blog post lays out some basic but intriguing details on Chrome OS’ goals:
We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.
More specifically, Chrome OS is planned to run on x86 and ARM-based processors, and its architecture is described as “Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.” Developers looking to specifically target the Chrome OS need not apply, as Google says “the web is the platform”—the system will, in other words, run web applications online and offline, and those applications should also work on any standards-based browser on any system (read: most anything, except Internet Explorer, sometimes).
Many who closely watch the search company have predicted a similar move for some time now. To say the Chrome OS will face stiff competition is quite an understatement, with Intel developing its own lightweight, Linux-based netbook platform, Windows XP emerging as a force in netbook OS share, and Microsoft itself likely to fight tooth and nail to keep yet another upstart from encroaching on the one area of PC sales that is still seeing significant growth.
It’s easy to assume Chrome OS is a strong push to get users familiar with using Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other web suites, both online and off. It’s harder to figure out the specifics of how Google’s platform will overcome the deeply entrenched Windows familiarity that has kept other Linux-based netbook upstarts mostly in check, and how it will accommodate the vast array of x86 hardware compatibility quirks that plagues Linux distributions to this day. More details and discussions to come, certainly.
Source Via : Lifehacker