back to article TechCrunch dubs Linux a 'big ol’ bag of drivers'

Google has announced the Google Chrome Operating System, which is the Chrome browser bundled with a Linux kernel and a handful of hardware drivers, targeted at netbooks. Yes, this time it's actually an operating system, but don't cream yourself. Yet again, there is a severe case of the media not knowing what the fuck it's …


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  1. Michael Xion

    no comment

    better to be a 'big ol bag of drivers' (linux), than a 'big ol bag of shit" (windows)

  2. Cy STarkman

    Love it

    You had me laughing. Love the Horse comment.

    Indeed. We have been waiting for the non event of the browser OS ever since Netscape launched Navigator.

  3. SuperSooty
    Thumb Down


    That stupid "big ol bag of drivers" is not big enough. It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done.

  4. talkToTheHat

    drivers are not the OS

    If the web browser is going to be the only part of the user interface bundled with the OS, is this not Google pointing out the sheer lunacy of the EU verses MS?

    Just wait for the EU to mandate MS ship windows 8 without drivers... just like they did with NT4

    Mine's the one stuffed with driver floppies.

  5. MichaelAnckaert
    Thumb Up

    I agree with just about everything

    you say, but not most :-)

    While it's true that web applications aren't a perfect replacement (atm) for the current generation of business software, you have got to admit that the progress is remarkable.

    I currently view web based applications as an important complement to traditional software with the potential (as technology progresses) to one day replace the current 'software running on a pc' paradigm.

    What is also important to keep in mind is that applications running a browser, aka 'web applications' don't necessarily run on the web. There are a ton of 'web applications' that are run over a corporate network, delivering quasi flawless performance.

    Love the sarcasm btw :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    What is the point?

    Modern "netbooks" are perfectly capable of running a full fledged operating system, why cripple the thing by installing an OS that can only run one program? Chrome reduces the functionality of perfectly serviceable, relatively modern hardware to something a little more than Web TV but less than a 386DX running Windows 3.1 for no real reason. Not to mention the massive security risk of letting something made by Google on to your computer, Google being a company that makes its living collecting massive amounts information on every fucking thing you do online. Massive fail.

    Also, cue the nerd rage of the legion freetards: "I are better than u cuz u use winbloze!!!111!!!"

  7. OzBob

    Lets see if I get this right,....

    While not actually controlling the hardware, ancilliaries etc, it will sit on top and provide an environment to work in with rules different to the underlying OS, but interfacing with the underlying OS.

    Don't we call that "Virtualisation"?

  8. SuperTim


    I am tired of the whole scramble. "Your browser is shite, upgrade to X-browser for a better experiece". No....fuck off. i use the same browser as 90% of people out there. How's about you design your site with that in mind?

    Also, since when are these people so effin' clever anyway? Youtube (owned by Google, the makers of this so-called operating system) currently displays a message saying it will stop supporting my browser unless i upgrade to IE8. Problem is, I am now running IE8, so it seems their fantastic website with its modernness has no idea what I am viewing it with. Fuckin' retards..... I hate coders.....

    I long for the good ol' days when the only upgrade option was whether my ZX80 had a green piece of plastic over the telly to make it easier on the eye!

  9. Chris Beach


    Drivers are actually the biggest issue.

    Ok so chrome os works on the standard intel atom...ok wonderful...doesn't allow me to browse the net though, as I've got a 3g dongle which needs drivers.

    So if Google realise this, and work with Huwaei (is there *any* other manufacture of 3g dongles???) and make sure that all of their dongles work without issue. Then Google might just be on to something.

    As although I've got more than just a browser loaded, 95% of my use is web, and another 3% msn and other chat progs.

  10. Bruce Leyden
    Thumb Up


    "Much in the way that everybody who saw Sideways is now an expert on wine, the tragedy of blogging is that anybody with a laptop and a Gmail account is an expert on technology."

    Hear f*cking hear!

  11. Ru

    "It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done"

    If Mac users can control the urge to whine about the slightly slimmer range of hardware available to them as compared to windows users, I'd like to think that linux users could too. If you're not prepared to check hardware compatibility, then don't try linux.

    I'm sure there will be cries of 'OMG elitist!' and similar OS-nerd bashing comments from non-linux users. But you know what? Windows isn't that hot either. If I want to reinstall XP on my current desktop, I need to slipstream in some extra drive controller drivers into an XP install CD. Either that, or go out and buy some stoneage floppy disk drive and spend a few hours rooting around on the net for the correct drivers I need. Or use whatever latest abortion of an OS microsoft wish me to buy.

    Since you mention it, WiFi support isn't awesome. I much prefer, say OpenBSD for that sort of thing (shame about the lack of update support in the rest of the OS). Still, it isn't much worse than, say, Vista.

    But printer drivers; outside of the realm of serious office printers, I've found linux printer support to be far better than windows. Just look at the steaming piles of crapplets printer vendors expect you to install alongside drivers. Thanks, HP, et al.

  12. jake Silver badge


    You think you have a registered trademark on "Oh, wait."?


    Ted, wake up, pound some water & have a bacon sarnie. Marketing departments and manglement will continue to babble about whatever they think they need to babble about regardless of reality. Most of us ignore them ... it's kind of what being a techie is all about.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the narrow-mindedness that I find astonishing

    The Task At Hand Is Everything. What you use to accomplish it is merely a tool, and any headlong desire to bolt the Internet onto absolutely everything immediately ignores the very existence of other tools that are more efficient at completing the task.

    When Internet-based tools surpass the abilities of traditional tools to achieve the same results, that's the time to start bolting it onto everything. Not before.

  14. JohnG

    Support and linux

    It will be interesting to see how Google approaches support of their OS. If it is going to be linux underneath, it probably won't be long before people starting hacking it with other stuff from the world of linux and open source. I wonder if Google will go along with this or whether they'll try to keep their users on a strictly "Google build". Wither way, it introduce more people to linux who might not have otherwise tried it.

    Microsoft don't have to worry at all as long as mobile phones, cameras, printers, navigators and the like all come with CDs/DVDs that are printed with "For Windows XP/Vista" or maybe "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac". If/when they see such CDs/DVDs printed with "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac or Google" or "For Windows XP/Vista or Mac or linux", then they'll have cause for concern.

  15. Thomas 4

    Not bad... unusually well thought-out and reasoned article from TD. Unfortunately, its not just tech writers such as the one the article mentions that will be hailing Chrome as the next coming of Jesus. Once the mainstream media gets a whiff of a real challenger to the Microsoft crown, they will be Googasming everywhere as well.

    Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against any form of operating system - I'll try any OS once to see how well it works. However, unless Google can persuade the big hardware manufacturers like Nvidia and the like to write easily installable, effective and compatible drivers for Chrome then this exercise will get as far as the netbook market and little further.

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Assault and battery on TechCrutch

    That was like extracting the money from a panhandler in a wheelchair. Not nice, Ted.

  17. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Thumb Up

    right on the mark

    potty mouth, but more on the money than techcrunch ever was

  18. A. F. Fero

    wrong focus, stunted analysis

    first off -does anyone have a full specification for 'chrome the os'? it might not come with the 5,000 applications few people use, a la openSUSE, but I'll bet it will come with more than a browser.

    secondly, it's generating a lot of publicity and attaching new credibility aka marketing to Linux based systems.

    it's revving up something that Canonical started

    I wish them well, because if it's good for them it's also good for us, as we all reap the benefits of competition in mass market computing.

  19. John Square
    Thumb Up


    You did a good job here. Well done.

  20. doctorflam
    Thumb Up


    Thank god for Ted and El Reg :)

  21. david bates

    Its not for us...

    ...its for the grannies, the facebookers and all the other people who want to be able to email, update their profile, maybe occasionally write a letter and look at photos of cats.

    For the bottom feeders (that sounds pejorative, but you know what I mean) a £100 pc that connects to Googles offerings, presumably with an 'Appstore' like ecosystem will pretty much do all they need.

    Its not a netbook panacea, because, for example, most of the time my netbook is offline, so I need proper apps.

  22. Geoff Mackenzie

    In fairness ...

    ... about 50% of the Linux kernel source is device drivers, or so I read.

    @SuperSooty: Tried Linux again recently? I've had virtually no hardware support issues with WiFi (including USB WiFi dongles of the namelessly cheap variety) or printers for the past couple of years. Windows has always had horrendous hardware support - it's just that device manufacturers bend over backwards to support Windows. I'd rather have a good open source driver written by an expert in the OS than a flaky, unmaintained, proprietary piece of crap knocked together by the lowest bidder as an afterthought. In fact I'd rather have no driver for a particular peripheral than a crap one.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Why do I need title for comment again?

    This is just some pathetic journalism, crude and uncultured. Taking it personal against Arrington, are we? Anyway, the point is, with everything moving towards web based systems, it is only a matter of time before all kinds of desktop-type functionalities will be available over the web. Sure that is not going to happen immediately, Google is only taking one step with the chrome OS. It will be immature to think that Netbooks are the only thing they are targeting here. They have sent a clear message that they want to be in the OS market and they want to do so in a non-conservative fashion. Moreover, this is also a step towards gaining an edge in cloud computing where the real battle between Google and Microsoft is going to happen in the future.

  24. spodzone
    Thumb Down


    There are webby equivalents to many of the things proposed - for "Active Directory", might not FOAF+SSL be a step in the right direction? There's nothing to stop people implementing HTTP-based printing (deploy a server within your LAN, and make it interact with CUPS while you're at it); presumably playing of DVDs in a browser is just a matter of a plugin to put the video on the screen somewhere.

    I think the author fails to see how computing is turning inside-out, trasnitioning from local to cloud-based and it's not a wholly bad thing.

  25. copsewood
    Thumb Down

    misses the point

    It's trivially obvious that if you want to do the things you need a traditional PC for as described in the article, that you're likely to continue using a traditional PC. But you can't put one of these in a large coat pocket. Mobile phone apps are limited by the physical constraints of screen and keyboard. The potential market niche covered by the netbook concerns devices between these extremes, and this is probably a smaller niche than either PCs or mobile phones.

    Trying to do traditional PC things on these suffers from bad ergonomics, slow keyboards due to a higher error rate even if you are a touch typist and shoulder and eye strain coping with the smaller form factor if used for any length of time. So what are netbooks useful for ? The Chrome OS design is based on the assumption that web applications, where the data and profile are obtainable through multiple devices including netbooks where the client is mobile, are the primary reason why people will bother to buy and lug around the hardware. The reason I've never wanted a traditional laptop for these applications is because these are too big and heavy to be worth lugging around.

    My own experiments with an Acer Aspire One running Ubuntu Netbook Remix suggest web apps to be very useful when I'm on the move, though I have also used it to upload and display holiday snaps from my camera as well and to handle urgent email. So perhaps Google will be cutting their potential user base if standard USB devices (cameras, printers etc. ) already well supported by Linux are not included. But I'll never want to do traditional PC things on it because of the form factor - and this has nothing to do with the OS.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Pot, meet kettle ...

    "TechCrunch embodies all that is wrong with blogging as journalism: shoddy fact checking, writing that would fail a high school English class, and a pre-adolescent in-the-brain-out-the-mouth reporting style."

    'Nuff said ...

    Still. Never let facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    All it takes.. for microsoft to think it can sell a games console! then in order to promote said console they push back PC game releases - resulting in everyone owning a games console for playing whtevrstrike4 - so where does that leave the PC? well for web and work.. now the home user mainly wants web, so a browser based OS coupled with a games console will do just fine..

    so where is Microsofts future? the work market? as has been highlighted in another article today lots of companies use intranets and web based databse systems - now if these are built to standards it doesn't matter which browser is used or in any case OS.

    so what are MS left with? a few office users a few cad users and a server business...

  28. Anonymous Coward

    One other thing

    If I buy office, it my, forever, yes I know people running 95 still. Does the job.

    Now take Google Apps. Totally free a short time ago, then they reduced the number of free acounts you can have and they may do again, if they so choose. Otherwise it $50 a year, but next year $60 or $70. In 5 years?

    And what happens if they decide they don't like it and FORCE a change on you that F**ks up everything you've built around it, can you keep your old working version? Nope thought not.

    Don't worry about downtime, all maintenance will be done a 3am EST. What do you mean thats the middle of the working day somewhere else, not our problem.

    And what happens when they find it's not making enough cash and dump it altogether, it's happening all over the place at the moment (Lycos, Yahoo etc etc)

    Sorry but this web cloud shite is just a way of screwing you for cash and forcing you to pay year in year out, maybe not now, but sometime they sure will.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but don't cream yourself"

    Wow. I was transported back to the US in my teenage years in the '70s when I read that. Next you'll be "hosing".

  30. jamieriddell

    Ignore Google OS at your peril

    Your article makes interesting reading and I cannot really comment on the technical aspect of the operating system. However, I do think you are missing an almighty point about the future of Google OS.

    Yes they are currently rolling out on mobile [Android] and Netbook [Chrome OS] but a full desktop version cannot be ruled out. To do that they need to get the support of a major hardware manufacturer which is not out the realms of possibility. With major hardware suppliers struggling in this market, the potential opportunity to place an operating system on their machines in return for a slice of the related advertising income [I'm speculating slightly] vs. paying MS for the honour of installing their OS could be an attractive option with a new revenue stream. Google announces hardware partners this morning [] Or Google could just buy an ailing manufacturer - they have the financial muscle to do so.

    What we also need to pay attention to is the fact that Chrome OS is the culmination of many smaller but important Google milestones, from Gmail through to Writely, Apps and the browser itself. All tools that can be used independently but can be put together to form the basis of an operating system - or at least a basic infrastructure that will allow the average computer user to do what they need to do.

    Google is also heading along the same path in its social plans, again using Gmail, Picassa, Orkut, purchasing Jaiku - at some point these get stuck together to make one almighty 'beast' which will just beat the market.

    Whilst Google may not have the technical OS pedigree, never underestimate their ability to make money which can buy skills or companies to help in their masterplan.

  31. Herby

    Getting out of the way...

    Two weeks ago I was in a nice all inclusive resort in Hawaii (very nice by the way). They had two "public" machines that people used to surf the net (and print out boarding passes for their flight out). One was Ubuntu with Firefox, and another was a Mac "all in one" that people used Firefox, or Safari. No IE (sorry Orange) in sight. Both had a nice HP printer networked in as the preferred printer. Iw was weird, but all the time I was there (10 days, I would have liked more!) nobody complained ONE BIT. They just poked at the proper icon, and got on with their task.

    So, there are systems that do "get out of the way" and seem to be easy to operate. Neither one was named Windows.

    Oh, I didn't see a crash (forced reboot) while I was there either. Must be reliable. I did see some people connect cameras up and send pictures back home to show off their tans! I gotta go back someday!!

  32. Shadowfirebird

    This is not a title

    Well, Google are pretty serious about this, aren't they, because they've been ignoring Chrome for Windows and concentrating on making sure that the Linux users have the most up-to-date version of Chrome that they can.

    Wait, what?

  33. Anonymous Coward


    Cheers for that, a good read and for the mostly correct.

    The only thing I would say is that the best game in browser is Evony and not Tetris.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Two Teds in a week

    It's got to the point where I eagerly await large corporations releasing lame-arse half-baked shit products, just so I can scurry over to the Reg and read Ted laying into them.

    Fortunately, said large corporations can usually be relied upon to do so with hilarious regularity.

    And this week, even lamer than Google was Michael Arrington with his "computers only ever need to do what I want them to do" world view. That guy definitely put the "anal" into "analyst".

  35. Chris Morrison


    If google supply Chrome browser with this OS will they be subject to an anti trust suit like microsoft? We could have our first browserless browser based os!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Only thing that concerns me about the alleged Chrome OS is that it's likely to be highly dependant on being connected to the web (no one has stated otherwise, so it must be true). I was watching something on iPlayer the other night, and predictably my Virgin Media connection dropped. I was immensely pissed off that I couldn't finish watching my stories, imagine how pissed I'd have been if the entire PC had been rendered useless by a failed net connection...

  37. Lionel Baden

    i detest

    the idea of everything trying to get into the cloud !!

    The idea of cloud computing is ok for a backup nothing more

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Um, no.

    Ah, those cars. Clearly inferior to steam engines. Always breaking down, don't go very far or fast, desperately uncomfortable. Never be a need for them.

    Or, there is only a world market for 5 computers and 1000 copy machines.

    A PC running Windows, Linux or OS X is a dreadful thing needing constant maintenance, always going wrong, and basically like the early cars of the 20th century. I, for one, will welcome a world where the majority of people don't use general purpose PCs - leave that to the developers and experts. All most people want is to be able to communicate and find things. Oh, and 'programmed' spreadsheets are horrible things, bug ridden, difficult to maintain, etc., etc. Did kick-start the PC revolution though. To see the back of them will be a good thing.

  39. glennog 1

    I DO agree with everything...

    but I completely FAIL to understand how somebody (yes Michael, I'm looking at you) can agree with 'just about everything' while simultaneously not agreeing with 'most'. FAILure to grasp the English language I think.

    Web Apps are certainly not a perfect replacement (atm) for the current generation of business software. No, progress has FAILed to be remarkable. What, do you think MS are not going to add more bloat in the guise of features to their business apps while webapps catch up? FAILure to grasp basic business sense, too.

    Web apps are an important compliment to 'traditional' software, but there's no way they're ever going to replace the "'software running on a pc' paradigm". WTF? Come on dude, 'software running on a PC paradigm'? You should lay off the acid - what do you expect apps to run on, whether they're web apps or real apps? Your dishwasher? FAILuer to understand, well, just about everything about technology really.

    And finally... "applications running in a browser, aka 'web applications'" Of course they're fucking web applications... That's why it's called a fucking Web Browser. And no, not all of them run "on the web", but you're FAILing to distinguish between internal web services and the world-wide-web. They're all 'web's, just not all of them are publicly accessible. That's why the software that serves them are called Web Servers, or Web Application Servers, and half of the web apps that run have the suffix 'war' for 'Web ARchive'. Total FAILure to understand the web, web servers, web apps, web app servers, the whole fuckin shebang.

    Now how d'ya like THAT for sarcasm.


    (And I count 8 FAILs - and I'm only just getting started... My colleagues are gonna hate me by the end of the day)

  40. paul 97
    IT Angle

    Browser Only

    It isn't because net books lack the hardware to run a 'full OS' - its more the complex , unreliable , unsecure , not easilty updateable bits that go with it.

    Think thin client with off line capabilities and then you get the right idea. Oh and why should a $100 netbook have a $150 OS when all the user wants to do is check myspace / facebook / google docs?

  41. Ozwadi Ogolugi

    F'ing Gordon Ramsey

    I didn't know Gordon Ramsey had started writting for the site...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    "No, Chrome will not replace Windows in the years to come."

    Yeah? "Years" is a mighty long time. Apparently, Ted, you think that things never change. Can you say "non-linear dynamics"?

    "That stupid "big ol bag of drivers" is not big enough. It never has the WiFi, printer or USB coffee warmer drivers I need to get my work done."

    Hey, FUDster! It has more than Windows. Or are you going to pretend that you don't have to pump CD after CD into Windows to get hardware working? I can get an entire environment up and running and in use in the time it takes you to get past step one of the windows install-o-yawn.

    Windows only works with any hardware at all because of its market position. It's a function of economics not code. If there ever is a point where Windows' market share dips below 50%, it's going to sink from there very rapidly into the abyss it deserves.

  43. The BigYin


    I agree with Ted! I need help!

    GOS is interesting, I don't think it will cause a revolution but is may make MS up their game. Google has the money and bargaining power to actually rival them (unlike the Linux distributors, barring certain niche markets) if they stick to their mays (and a serious competitor like Google could solve quite a few "competition" questions for MS).

    I am surprised that Asus is being talked to - I thought they had agreed to drop Linux and go totally MS? Hey ho.

  44. Anonymous Coward


    "But printer drivers; outside of the realm of serious office printers, I've found linux printer support to be far better than windows."

    I'm still struggling with printers on linux (admittedly *buntu) boxes. Can you give me any tips or pointers? Or am I just an idiot?

    "Just look at the steaming piles of crapplets printer vendors expect you to install alongside drivers. Thanks, HP, et al."

    Yeah, the sort of shit I have to uninstall from friends' machines every few months because it's broken something.

  45. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge


    No, not unless/until Google uses it's dominance of one industry to skew another. That's what MS is guilty of, not 'shipping a web browser with an operating system'. Getting bored of pointing this out to people

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You really are full of shit Ted

    "Yes, Chrome OS will be competing with Windows in the netbook market, which is the a tiny sliver of the PC market. No, Chrome will not replace Windows in the years to come. Let's all just calm down."

    It's a tiny sliver at the moment, which is getting bigger all the time. Didn't notice MS panicking about Netbooks a lot recently?

    "Ah, yes. Corporate IT workers everywhere have to port decades of esoteric business logic codified into Excel macros to Google Spreadsheets, but the real problem is, what are they going to do after lunch? Have you ever tried to use Google Docs for any serious task? In the words of a true hacker, it's like trying to build a bookcase out of mashed potatoes. The Microsoft Office institution will not easily be overthrown by a bunch of jokers writing JavaScript."

    Google apps is fine for most business needs and almost all SOHO needs. The actual amount of people doing macros in Excel is far overstated.

    "Can you replace Active Directory with a web app?"

    Why does anyone at home need Active Directory? In fact, when you're using Gmail to provide everything Exchange does, using Google apps and online storage why does anyone need AD?

    You don't honestly think this is an attempt at taking MS out of the Enterprise do you?

    "Is there a site I can visit to connect to my office's shared printer?"

    I always thought browsers could print to locally attached or network printers. Mine sure does. Why would I need to visit a site to connect to it? Chrome OS isn't trying to replace the LAN too you know.

    "What do you mean World of Warcraft doesn't run in the browser? How do I play a DVD in Google Chrome?""

    Again because you play WoW and play DVD's on your computer you think everyone else does too. Newsflash - Hardly anyone plays games on PC's. Even less watch DVD's on PC's.

    "Keep whackin' away on that Pareto Principle and let us all know how it turns out. In the meantime, I'm going to go play a few rounds of Counterstrike on my Windows-based PC"

    Then I feel for you. I play CS on my Linux-based PC. But I understand I'm in the small minority that play games on PC's. Everyone else uses consoles.

    "Run business apps over a faulty network instead of from your hard disk? What could possibly go wrong?"

    Again your own experience is the only correct one, right? I've had more storage failures than WAN failures. Seriously. Others may be different, but I can accept that.

    "Indeed. That's probably why desktop Linux machines with Firefox have already taken such a foothold in the consumer market.

    Oh, wait."

    Fabulous endearing sarcasm. You know why desktop Linux hasn't taken off on the desktop. If you don't then you aren't qualified to comment on this kind of thing. 90% of computer users won't notice if their new shiny came with Ubuntu or Vista as long as both had a blue E or red fox icon. The crowd doesn't really make any conscious choice.

    Oops I've fed the troll.

  47. TT2K
    Thumb Up


    Great article, I especially agree with your sentiments regarding business users. However no one ever seems to mention the security implications with storing sensitive personal and business data not just on a website, but on a website that harvests data so intrusively. I'll be stickk to windows home server for my personal usage and citrix/hyper-v for my business, i'll be leaving it to the MySpace generation to store text files full of password for paypal, naked pictures of their partners and gigabytes of illegal MP3s to there portion of the cloud, i'm sure all of us who are "stuck in the past" as it was put to me today will onday be doomed...

  48. Doug Jenkins

    Follow the $$ or the Easy Way Out


    I really will get to "Google OS" eventually...

    I think most people make choices in life with two reasons in mind...

    what's the cost?

    what is easiest?

    In my computing world, at my workplace and among my friends, 55% of the computers run Windows, 40% run Linux, 5% run Mac. Some find it easier to run Windows (even with the cost of purchase of apps/games and on-going AV activity.) Some find it costs to learn a new way of doing things, (but it is easier, safer in the long run and fewer $ to do other things.)

    The "official" Linux stance is - "use what you want or gets your work/play done." Linux isn't in competition with any other OS, even though some try to make it so (including the Linux fanboys.)

    I agree with you that "Google OS"* will not fill the bill for everyone, in cost or ease of use (or for some activities, be useful at all!) But in some markets, for some activities, even for some equipment "Google OS" will make sense and be attractive.


    *assuming that "Google OS" becomes real

  49. DrewHew
    Thumb Up

    Thank goodness!!

    Someone else has seen TechCrunch for what they are (or are NOT)!!!!

    I do believe eventually we'll get there (most or all applications will be in the cloud or IP based, and our PC requirement will chiefly be to connect to the Internet/network), but that is a looong way away, and yes, ChromeOS is being over-hyped right now.

    But back to TechCrunch :) I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who noticed the barbaric assault on journalism (and the English language) by those huckleberries! Not to mention their arrogance while making some completely asinine assertions.

    Nice article.

  50. nichomach

    Actually brilliant, Ted.

    @Destroy All Monsters: Yes, true, indubitably, but STILL funny as %@#$.

    @Bruce Leyden: And another couple of "hear"s from me too.

    I simply don't see why everyone's creaming themselves over a ****-ed up version of Ubuntu with the useful stuff chopped out and a minority interest browser plumbed in.

  51. disgruntled yank


    "TechCrunch embodies all that is wrong with blogging as journalism: shoddy fact checking, writing that would fail a high school English class, and a pre-adolescent in-the-brain-out-the-mouth reporting style."

    Isn't this a bit like Marcel Proust complaining that Thomas Mann writes long books? Larry Wall complaining about somebody inventing a write-only language?

  52. Simon Booth


    Please let Chrome OS fail miserably.

    Sadly I'm sure it'll gain significant market share - that's a BAD thing...

    I use both Windows (desktops) and Linux (servers - one with a desktop)

    I'm paranoid about Windows owing to the multitude of security vulnerabilities that unethical people are only too happy to exploit to line their own pockets. I've never been infected as a result.

    Taking my favourite 'bag of drivers' and giving it a wider audience will mean that eventually the miscreants will start seeing Linux as a viable 'market' to enter.

    I'd far prefer Linux be _perceived_ as a niche market so that the criminals pay us little interest as we're "not really worth the time / investment to make any serious profit".

    There are Linux viruses etc out there, but they're few and far between.

    If Chrome OS takes off and gains enough market penetration then the InterMafia will want to hussle in on my nice little 'bag of drivers'

    I don't want my Linux servers being targeted as a by-product of Google's plans for world domination

    While, I know, this is a rather selfish outlook I hope it prevails

  53. Eddy Ito

    netbooks now, real computers later

    I think the whole purpose is to toss it against the netbook market wall and see what sticks. If it looks firm and googooey [or is that googui?], clings well and doesn't drip too fast then some money might be thrown into real PC class machines and applications.

    Then again what would it take to go full bore, really? Hmm, lets embed an X server in Chrome! Viola! The cheeky cellos at "The GOOG" now have the whole stinking pile of X apps ready to run, including Firefox oddly enough. I wouldn't go so far as to call it Chrome OS but perhaps more along the lines of ChromeX or X-Chrome or iChrome-X or Xhrome or a panoply of happy shiny X-names... pity they won't all be shown on ESPN.

    Besides, who in their right mind is going to play Crysis on a 9" screen at 4 frames per minute?

    Dear GOOG, since the whole X in a browser thing was my idea, can I have a corner office with a six figure salary? Ok, how about just a barrel of cash? A small bucket? A cup of $100's? Cab fare home? A penny for my thoughts?

  54. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


    "The Internet Is Everything. All the OS has to do is boot the damn computer, get me to DALARAN as fast as possible and then stay the hell out of the way."

  55. henry74

    Cutting through the BS

    @Readers - try reading between the lines and understand what TD is getting at here. STOP diverging off topic. This is not a LINUX vs WINDOWS discussion. This is discussion about everything that's wrong with media today using TechCrunch + Chrome as an example. The way TD presents it is entertaining compared to the usually dry stuff you get from tech people who have spent their entire life using only the part of their brain which codes.

    You can tell from the way Mike A. posts, he is not a technology guy who can get under the hood and understand things from that point of view. He's an ivory tower technology generalist. Ivory tower technologists have their place in the world, but it's not in discussions on whether a browser is an operating system. In this type of discussion TD >> Mike A.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Win and Ted Dziuba

    Hahahahhaaaaaa all past gripes are forgiven. This was a great article and thanks for pointing me at the truely hilarious techcrunch website, which I never would have bothered to explore and laugh at if you hadn't told me about it.

  57. Simon R. Bone

    netbook linux is bad enough

    isn't a fact that a large proportion of people in the US who have bought one of the cheaper netbooks with Linux on have subsequently returned them as they didn't realise they can't run their windows software??

    In which case what will happen when they try and run ANYTHING other than the web browser on this new Chrome OS?????

  58. addmoreice

    'no WoW in the browser"

    that is funny, i could have SWORN i watched this video of WoW playing in the browser:

    i agree with the brunt of your post (a bag o' drivers? UGG!!) though you may want to watch specific claims...

  59. Greg K Nicholson


    “That's probably why desktop Linux machines with Firefox have already taken such a foothold in the consumer market.”

    The reason that happened was that Firefox and Gnome didn't have crap, bloated, unintuitive, crufty, me-too UI.

    Oh, wait.

  60. SilverWave

    Linux and Windows have similar return rates

    ASUS CEO Reveals Eee PC Sales Numbers, Plans for Touch Eee PCs and More Eee Family Products:

    "I think the return rate for the Eee PCs are low but I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates. We really separate the products into different user groups. A lot of users like the Windows XP, but in Europe a lot of people want the Linux option"


    Return rates on Linux - Separating fact from FUD

    "The really big news for the industry is that well-engineered Linux netbooks have similar return rates to XP. What makes a real difference to return rates is not whether it’s Linux or not, but the quality of the device’s hardware and the ability to fully partake in web and media experiences..."

  61. SilverWave

    Another Look At Linux Netbook Return Statistics

    Another Look At Linux Netbook Return Statistics

    "According to Lai, MSI's numbers weren't based on the company's actual netbook return rates. In fact, at the time, MSI wasn't even shipping a Linux-powered netbook model.

    So, where did MSI get its information? From third-party market research."

    Oh yeah and who paid for that eh?


    Are Linux netbooks really returned more often than Windows models?

    "But Philip Solis, an analyst at ABI Research, questions the "reliability" of this evidence. Solis said in a March research note that Taiwan's MSI had not yet shipped a Linux-based Wind at the time of the comment to the magazine."

  62. Paul RND*1000

    Still not an OS

    Would someone please take Techcrunch out behind the woodpile and shoot it?

    Chrome wasn't an OS when you had to install it on an existing OS. It still isn't an OS when it comes pre-bolted to a stripped-out OS.

    To paraphrase Mike A and come up with some high-minded illogical nonsense of my own, ChromeOS is a big old bag of drivers tied to a cloud by a rope that isn't even available for the bag they're using yet, with frayed, unreliable knots holding all the shit together. What could possibly go wrong?

    Then again, if it gives Microsoft even one sleepless night I'm all for it!

  63. multipharious

    Hilarious Article

    Nicely done. I remember the article you wrote, so this was a pleasant late evening chuckle before shuffling off to bed with a big smile. Purists. Ha! Excellent.

  64. GrantB

    Ted got a few things wrong

    A anon coward replied to most of the points about, but does Ted bother to consider how much he gets wrong?

    "Corporate IT workers everywhere have to port decades of esoteric business logic codified into Excel macros to Google Spreadsheets"

    Just how out of date are you? Having business logic embedded in spreadsheets was never a good idea, and Excel macro's have been a security risk for about 15 years since people started to email them around. These days business logic is held in RDB's accessed via the Intranet. Even MS will tell you to use Sharepoint and their custom solutions - not Excel.

    "Have you ever tried to use Google Docs for any serious task?"

    No; but I certainly use websites for serious tasks. Given that your job is publishing on line rather than on dead trees, don't you?

    "The Microsoft Office institution will not easily be overthrown by a bunch of jokers writing JavaScript"

    You better tell MS about this; they are offering Office Live.. on the web. You will be able to use the 'Microsoft Office institution' on Chrome OS. In fact I already have run Office via a Linux desktop with Citrix.

    "Can you replace Active Directory with a web app?" Why yes actually; (try FreeNas sometime), though you seem to be confused about what a 'web' app is. If you mean a IP based service, then very much so. Not that I think the target platform (a netbook) will be used as a corporate server, but you could run Samba (remember AD is based on open source protocols that MS borrowed).

    "Is there a site I can visit to connect to my office's shared printer?" Printing. Yeah, I remember that; not that people do a lot of printing from netbooks or iPhones, but our office HP printer seems to work fine from Linux and OSX boxes so I assume. You might also want to check out online printing services; for photo's they can be better than via your office printer.

    "What do you mean World of Warcraft doesn't run in the browser?"

    It can - Blizzard can and probably will make this happen. My kids play Runescape (and a surprising amount of other games) in the browser.

    "How do I play a DVD in Google Chrome?". Same way you play DVD'd in any netbook!. I have a full sized notebook & have use the DVD drive about 3-4 times per year - mainly to back up files for somebody. 8GB USB sticks are now cheaper than a stack of DVD's; software is installed via the web, and music & video is downloaded.

    "Keep whackin' away on that Pareto Principle and let us all know how it turns out"

    Power laws work pretty well; classic case is that while mainly web-apps are not as good as desktop software, they are cheaper and 'good enough' for 90% of people; case in point MS having to abandon Money, Encarta and the like. Also, in case you haven't noticed, Netbooks are a fast growing market segment, and appliance devices like the iPod and iPhone seem to be pretty popular.

    "In the meantime, I'm going to go play a few rounds of Counterstrike on my Windows-based PC, because the best that my browser can do is Tetris. I'm sure that HTML5 will bridge that gap any day now"

    What, you are posting from the 1990? Guess you haven't got the message that PC gaming is dead. Killed by complexity, hardware cost and piracy that is the flip side of the Pareto equation. I have XP & Vista machines but like the vast majority of people, play games on console, mobiles and in browsers. Even if you stick Win7 on a netbook, Crysis is not going to run well on an Atom powered platform.

    "The notion that Google Chrome OS is going to take any serious market share away from Windows is a product of the pathological Silicon Valley attitude that newer is always better"

    That's exactly the attitude that hit MS; given that MS own the desktop, you think that everybody would use IE, Live/Bing, or Windows Mobile devices. They don't. If competitor comes along with a device that 'just works' then it can change the market. See iPhone, iPod, Asus 701 etc.

    "In terms of functionality, web apps have been a regression from their desktop counterparts. Run business apps over a faulty network instead of from your hard disk? What could possibly go wrong? Can I buy an extended warranty with that?"

    Yet I do all my banking on the net, replying to your post on the net, about to buy a new car on the net, sell software on the net... MS are pushing there key apps onto the net.

    Its not like you local hard-disk won't fail. People have tried things like Gmail and found over the last 5 years that it is not perfect; but cheaper and more reliable than a local Exchange server. Good enough for most.

    "Indeed. That's probably why desktop Linux machines with Firefox have already taken such a foothold in the consumer market"

    Well Firefox has taken more than a foothold - about 50% of the market on my logs. Given that XP is 'free' with machines, why would a consumer need Linux just to fire up a browser?. Windows XP & Win7 are perfectly reasonable free OS's, even if they mostly do not come with FF and Open Office built in (but do come with the blue 'E' which I tell people is there to make downloading FF easy). Maybe in 2010 I would like to see a straight choice between a cheap Asus netbook running ChromeOS (booting and being ready in seconds with software all ready to go) and the same netbook but loaded with Win7 and Office (live?) for another $100. Question will be; will people pay the difference for Windows? What if they are buying 100 at a time for libraries, terminals in call centres, cafes etc?

    And the consumer market is not Linux vs Windows; its people buying iPhones, Palm Pre (whoich people have overlooked as the prototype Browser as OS) and OSX as well.

  65. nomdetard

    Okay, I read the Arringtard Diaper Load

    ... and now I understand. How does he do it? Does he get all Michelin Man on painkillers and then apply a Taser to each temple? I expected him to announce "I'm going to wedge it onto my Chumby and hump it! I'm going to tether my ChromeOS netbook with my Android smart phone and work on spreadsheets in my hammock!" Sure, Chrome sounds kind of neat for recreational net enabled gizmos, but Microsoft has nothing to fear. Chrome is not even going to be available for another year, by which time MS could cobble together a similarly hobbled configuration around IE if they felt the need. The hype is as out of control as MJ's endless death.

  66. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    The point

    The point of Google being a threat to Microsoft is a simple one to miss if you are tech obsessed rather than real world focussed, so I can almost forgive the author. Did you not live in such a narrow little world you may be unable to see the big picture.

    Remember when IBM dominated the computer market and eveybody thought it would never change. Why should Microsoft's dominance last forever? To assume it will marks you out as a true conservative.

    Firsltly lets not pretend that earlier attempts at network computing were in any way similar to netbooks from a consumer point of view.

    Secondly when the netbook first hit the market it was almost exclusively Linux based, but Microsoft expended considerable effort in getting XP out there and attaining a position of market dominance. So lets not pretend that the netbook market is not important to Microsoft. Microsoft are well aware that the netbook market is a growing one. Not only that but they must be aware that low spec hardware is all that is needed to use the web and this is all the casual home and mobile user really wants to do. So the market in netbooks and other low spec laptops and desktop machines is likely to grow, especially in the current economic climate. Then there is the possibility of net functionality built into other devices like PCs and set top boxes. The market in a simple net OS for lower spec hardware is potentially a big one. So trust me, it matters a lot to Microsoft and they will spend a lot of money countering the Google threat.

    Finally don't forget that Google are extremely good at marketing and that really matters. It's not the best product that sells the best. They've moved into lines of business before that have lead pundits to predict failure, only to dominate the market or at least have a significant market share in a very short time. Not because their products are necessarilly the best, but because they market well and people know and trust them name Google (whether you should trust Google is another matter altogether). If Google get a toe hold in the netbook market then the Google machine will shift up a gear. It won't be enough that you have ChromeOS on your netbook and Chrome browser on your PC. They'll release a desktop OS. By the time the anti-trust actions start coming in it could well be too late.

  67. Niall 5

    Welcome to the 80s

    Anyone on hear remember the eighties ? Client / Server anyone ? Dumb terminals running apps on a central server ?

    This is just that, except you don't own the server, have no control over it's availability, the data on it and are at the mercy of your benevelent ISP to continue to provide your ( up to ) 8MB link to enable you to abso-fucking-lutely anything.

    If I were Google's investment arm, I'd be throwing everything at the major ISPs. When you need to be connected as much as you need electricity in order to use your work / play tool of choice, it's going to be a gold rush !

    Utter, utter tosh.

  68. NeoAmsterdam
    Thumb Up


    Oh! The gratitude I have to see not only well-placed vulgarities in an article, but to see that I am not the only one having a conniption over the obscenity of "ChomeOS"! Googlists, high on hype, needed to be slapped upside the head with a herring or two and brought back to Earth (the real one - not La Goog's virtual one).

    As more and more computing resources and users' trust are being channeled further and further into the seemingly omnipotent clouds of the cybersphere, it is relief to see El Reg remind the world that a browser does not an OS make nor does a blog a journalist.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    @Niall 5

    Yes I do remember the 80's, but like a lot of things nowadays people are fresh out of original ideas so they keep rehashing the mistakes of the past and I'm not just talking about IT now.

    I think the main problem is people are still trying to squeeze a revenue out of the internet, Google isn't exactly truthful or open about it's revenue generation so is this latest move their attempt to garner more cash for something that is on the face of it a good idea but unfortunately prone to many outside influences that Google doesn't control.

    As for Microsoft getting into the Netbook market meaning it must be significant is a load of old bull, MS is like a plague they get into every market so that doesn't really bear any sembalance.

  70. Rex Alfie Lee

    Not all of the big G's principles fail.

    "Run business apps over a faulty network instead of from your hard disk? What could possibly go wrong? Can I buy an extended warranty with that?" - Serious problems occur that create the constant fixing of desktop this, that & the other & M$ has made a life from it. They don't guarantee that any of it will work & guess what; they're right.

  71. Anonymous Coward


    Jeez, some of the comments are longer than the original article. If only they were half as entertaining.

    Chrome? meh. I put a new mobo in my wife's computer recently and discovered it will go on line straight from the BIOS. Browser in ROM, no Windows needed, no Linux, instant on. Most of the time that's all she uses.

  72. GroundRat117

    completely correct.

    thoroughly enjoyed this article.

  73. Anonymous Coward


    @GrantB: A couple of your arguments make sense, but the rest come across as (overly) trying to annoy the author rather than making much sense. What you succeed in doing is looking like you try too hard, as these remaining arguments are ill-informed indeed. Hence I can safely say that you are not very IT literate.

    So let me give you the low-down of what you did wrong:

    - Proclaimed Excel dead.

    - Assumed that Google Docs/Office Live being web-based will be better than Office.

    - Failed to comprehend the difficulties in replacing a working solution (AC) that is used for authenticating all kinds of apps with another.

    - Promoted distance printing (Post based?) over direct printing.

    - Missed the point that playing games in the browser deteriorates their performance.

    - Asserted that 8GB of storage is generally all that is needed.

    - Got Pareto's law wrong.

    - Declared PC gaming as dead.

    - Compared a blog statement of an unreleased product with established giants.

    and probably more but tl;dr

  74. AndrewOneDegree
    Thumb Up

    couldnt agree more

    I have to simply say i agree with pretty much everything written here. It is worrying that so many people post on subjects that they really dont understand. It makes it hard for people who are interested in the story to get the actual facts....

    I think the saying "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing" is so true with blog posts in many many cases.... a sad sign of the times really

  75. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12:34

    [citation needed]

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Title

    I bought a netbook for my girlfriend the other day, I told her it has Ubuntu and explained how it is different to Windows. She wants windows installed on it as she needs MS Word for uni etc. They only accept submissions in Word and it is what she is used to.

    So for office based apps, MS will keep the lead for a long time because Office is so well established and there is no way to change this.

    I think the Google Chrome OS could be useful, but not to myself. I am a coder and designer. I use Visual Studio for most of my coding, so I need windows really.

    Google could be the ones to push Linux based Operating Systems further into the public eye. Netbooks started to do this, but now MS have trodden all over that idea, as most seem to come with Windows, and staff in stores always try to sell you the Windows versions anyway.

    With the Google name, more of the general joe public may be interested, because they probably all use Google as their only search engine anyway.

    I personally think this will be useless to me, but I will be interested to try it out just to see what it is like. Win XP Pro or Win 7 are best for me on a Netbook personally

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