Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First look at Google Chromium - the shape of personal computing to come?

Chromium logo
Last week on Google's official Blog was the open source launch of Chromium OS, Google's operating system.

Like many Google announcements it's been lept on by some industry speculators and is being touted as a future Microsoft "killer" - despite this being a very early version that won't be properly available to consumers for another year.

So what's it really like?

Over on Computer Weekly there's a good photo review of Chromium OS which takes you through the main features of the forthcoming operating system. In essence it's a locked-down linux-like operating system that appears to the user as just a web browser so you can "only" browse websites and run web apps (such as Google Mail, Google Docs). In a nod to other dominant internet standards a Flash player is bundled in, but you won't be able to install any of your own apps at all.

In use there's clearly a long way to go before Google perfect the user interface but judging by other Google endeavours this'll only be a matter of time, but the reviewers at CW commented on the lightning fast (20 second) startup time and responsiveness. Designed for the next generation of internet-connected devices I was a bit disappointed to learn that Google plan to only make it available on new devices so it won't be a PC or Mac replacement Operating System .... but given that it's all going to be open source'd then maybe this'll change?

For more details see the home of the Chromium projects where you can subscribe to email updates, or read the Chromium Blog, or you can even download and build your own copy of Chromium OS and buy the developer hardware.

What do you think? An Internet flash-in-the-pan or the next-big-thing? Personally I think with Google's backing it should do well, but big companies (like Microsoft) have gone awry on the Internet before so who knows for sure?



  • This is only a development version, no where near the finished article. So it is going to be difficult to say just how successful this is going to be but do remember it's Google behind this so it is going to do well. Also, when this eventually becomes a shipping product, Google will have hardware manufacturers behind them - that will be when it really takes off.

    I have tried to test out the new OS by downloading the boot image for Sun Virtual Box. It booted fine but could not get past the login screen. Said it was not connected to the network. Even got myself a Gmail account to make sure I had the correct login details but still did not work.

    Next time perhaps.

    By Anonymous Bob Toovey, at November 25, 2009  

  • Thanks for the feedback Bob. I might have guessed you'd already tried to take Chromium for a spin.

    The Computer Weekly photo review also reported problems with random "not connected to network" errors, and as you say this is a very early (not even alpha) development version.


    By Blogger Geoffrey, at November 25, 2009  

  • Sorry to say that I didn't understand any of that and shall have to wait until:-
    a) The bugs are ironned out.
    b) My live-in computor advisor says we need it.
    c) What is working now doesn't.
    d) The price is drastically slashed as the next new system supersedes it.
    e) The £:€ rate gets better.

    By Anonymous Lesley, at November 25, 2009  

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