Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What's New In Google OS?

Well, when I'm using the Chrome browser on Ubuntu, as I do these days, I've got this stack:

  1. Linux kernel
  2. X Windows
  3. GNOME Desktop
  4. Whatever they call the default GNOME window manager now
  5. Chrome Browser

The Google Chrome OS, will be like this:

  1. Linux kernel
  2. "a new windowing system"
  3. Chrome Browser

Whether or not there would be significant performance increases to be had replacing X Windows is an interesting question. I'm going to bet that they keep X. They'll definitely ditch the overhead of a full desktop environment (e.g., GNOME or KDE), and as it stands now, Chrome is practically its own window manager. It should be fast, secure, and a nice clean implementation for netbooks, but overall, this doesn't sound very ambitious. You're taking out a few middle layers most people don't give much thought to.

It does strike me as a more plausible plan than moving Android to netbooks, however. Word processing and spreadsheets are still cornerstones of laptop or desktop computing -- what kind of word processor are you going to use on Android? You're not going to write a native Android/Java app are you? No, you're just going to use Google Docs. So what is Android getting you on a netbook? A bunch of cool little apps that make a lot more sense when you're pulling a little phone out of your pocket, not unfolding a small laptop.

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