back to article 10 years later, Chrome OS starts to look like a proper OS with hardware diagnostics and the ability to scan documents

Whether it's a chilling situation or a welcome one is up for debate, but what started as an attempt to pare down an operating system to just the browser has become something more fully fledged, as the latest update to 10-year-old* Chrome OS demonstrates. The newest version of the Linux-based operating system, Chrome OS 90, has …

  1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    Hmm. It's still Google, though, and I do everything I can to avoid their slurping. At least I can (mostly) turn it off in Windows.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Unfortunately we aren't the target market for ChromeOS

      Our children are. Time will tell whether kids exposed to ChromeOS in school will hate it with a passion because it reminds them of school, or want to continue using it when they can make their own purchasing decisions because it is what they're used to.

      1. Kiss

        Re: Unfortunately we aren't the target market for ChromeOS

        Kids will probably will grow up wondering why our generation persisted with an overly complex OS that required experts to maintain Vs just getting work done. They will see a desktop OS just like most of us see firmware and device drivers.

        If playing around with an OS is your thing then enjoy doing it, but most users dont care - they just want to open their laptops and start working and not worry about OS updates, malware protection, application updates getting priority before users' work/requests.

        1. martyn.hare

          Until someone wants to...

          * Draw, edit and retouch pictures without paying for third party services

          * Synchronise (not copy) music files to and from their music player

          * Play a CD, DVD, Blu-ray or rip/convert them to a suitable, playable format

          * Access network drives securely to open and save important files

          * Share files between computers directly without cables or dongles

          * Copy large amounts of data between run of the mill USB memory sticks

          There are tablets out there which can do all of the above. Even hobbyist systems like OpenBSD can do these thing A chrome book still can’t without adding Android apps or installing a Linux distro like Debian. Windows 7 SP1 and ChromeOS both came out in 2011 based upon decades of previous work and yet the latter still hasn’t caught up with the former many years later. I suspect it never will.

          If the next generation grows up dependent upon others to do their computing for them, then that’s me sorted for the rest of my life. I can enjoy a nice, easy ride!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      Thumb Up

      use Linux

      A "Linux based" OS - what's the use? You can employ Linux directly.

      If you avoid xUbuntu you have no slurping at all.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My better three quarters bought me a Chromebook as a gift. Not sure why, as I was quite happy with the laptop I already had. It sat barely used for months, as I found Chrome OS to be a poor excuse for an operating system - Firefox was only available in its mobile form, and doesn't have the greatest usability on a Chromebook, while there was no way in hell I was going to use Chrome.

    Then I discovered that I could install vanilla Debian on the machine, without even having to open it up and undo some screw as you need to on some Chromebooks. Now it's a decent machine for use as a "media" thingy, hooked up to a large LCD screen and with Bluetooth dongle for a keyboard/trackpad combo.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the ability to monitor battery health as well as CPU and memory usage"

    And you can bet your bottom dollar that that information will somehow find its way into Google Sandbox, and be used to track you.

  4. Rich 2

    “... ability to scan documents”

    How else is it going to pass on all your data to Googlies?

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Er, why?

    Due to the limited production run and overall scarcity, with many presumably trashed after they entered EOL in 2017, these have become sought after by collectors of vintage computers.

    Software updates for the first generation Chromebooks are already on life support, in five years max they won't connect to Google's services at all and will just be a decorative brick.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Er, why?

      Because collectors are weird. They will find something you can possess and that there aren't many of, and they will decide that it holds a ton of value. Because there are multiple people doing this, they end up looking sort of right as they exchange their useless items with each other and sometimes make money doing it. Meanwhile, I, and probably you, look at them and think their items are nearly worthless. Especially true when the items concerned have some purpose because the collectors will frequently not use them to preserve the condition.

      What we should do is look through our junk and see if there's anything in there which has now become rare. For example, I have a sort of PDA thing that's about twelve years old. It was pretty rare even when it was manufactured, the company made a small batch, they went out of business in 2012, and the internet doesn't even find anything about it unless you really know what to search for. Of course the device isn't very useful now--it's got an ancient Linux kernel and no package manager. The update server is long dead, and the OpenSSL library doesn't support very much so it can't do much with the browser or email client. That's a great thing--that means most of the people who bought one have probably thrown it away by now where I just put it in the closet. So all collectors, call out offers.

    2. martyn.hare
      Thumb Up

      SeaBIOS and/or Coreboot

      The original run are good for use as Linux laptops with good support for Free drivers and such. Just unscrew a screw from a particular place on the move and flash with a BIOS update.

      My old EOL ASUS Chromebox is now a multimedia box running a simple JeOS to keep my dad happy, since he still uses the Internet the way the 90s and 00s encouraged if you know what I mean! Much faster/better than a Raspberry Pi or modded Fire TV stick. ChromeOS didn’t pan out in the end but the hardware never went to waste,

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    Chromebooks by Fisher Price!

    We had two CBs for testing purposes, they sat for a while after the initial POC, now the batteries won't even hold a charge... My kid's class has them, last I was in the classroom, they were stacked in the corner, most of the power supplies looked like my cat had chewed on them!

  7. Tom Chiverton 1

    "the ability to scan documents from networked printers"

    Umm. How do you scan something using a printer ? Networked or USB connected isn't going to help much !

    1. Blane Bramble

      You reverse the polarity.

      1. pip25

        Do note, however, that with this method the printer will scrape off the ink from the page during the scanning process, thus you can only scan each page once. (Though then printing it and scanning it again is a possibility.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Install bash Google then get back to me

    Otherwise not interested. It would cost them nothing to do it and would probably increase market share, but they wont because... [reasons]

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Install bash Google then get back to me

      chronos@localhost / $ ls -lh /bin/bash

      -rwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 539K Apr 13 21:11 /bin/bash

      chronos@localhost / $ echo $BASH_VERSION


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Install bash Google then get back to me

        And you can access it out the box can you?


        1. AJ MacLeod

          Re: Install bash Google then get back to me

          If you want to, yes. I'm not really seeing your point here... I mean, this is something Google provide as part of ChromeOS, it's not something I've had to install from a third party source.

  9. sreynolds Silver badge

    Whats the point of memory testin?

    I thought that was only used by people that played around with timing information to get that 0.001% improvement with 50% less stability. I cannot see your average user benefiting from memory testing. Anyhow, how is the world going with ECC memory?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whats the point of memory testin?

      If you have a pile of DIMMs, the memory tester can tell you which one to replace/disable (ECC will raise an interrupt automatically, but otherwise is the same thing as "oh look, I read back the wrong data").

      As RAM gets larger, it's conceivable we'll end up with an equivalent of a "floppy bad sector"and the computer reports "16Tb RAM installed, 32Mb damaged" or something...

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