Yeah, Chromebooks are great, until you remember that Google likes grabbing as much data as it can.
I run my computers until they die. I'm cheap that way and it's one reason why I'm a Linux fan. Thanks to Linux, I have PCs that are closing in on 20 years of useful life. But I also like computers that come with serious long-term support. In theory, Windows PCs come with 10 years of operating system support – yet in practice, …
... starting immediately, Google is extending 10-year support to all 2021 Chromebooks ...
Right, how interestingly fantastic !!!
And this is all from the kindness of their hearts?
... until you remember that Google likes grabbing as much data as it can.
I was about to say exactly the same thing.
Geek or not, a Google (or whatever) Chromebook is no good to me unless I can run the OS of my choice on it, even if I get it brand new and for free.
... top office program today is Google Workspace, with 50.3 percent, then Microsoft 365 with 45.4 percent, and somewhere buried in the noise, you'll find Office 2021.
Get the point?
Yes, I get it: the world is absolutely full of idiots.
... we've already moved to a cloud-based desktop.
I beg to differ, it is not something you will find me (or anyone else with a modicum of common) sense doing.
I learned a very long time ago that this brand of convenience has a very steep cost.
You stated in your article
"Although Google doesn't advertise it, you can also use ChromeOS Flex to revitalize old Chromebooks. It works like a charm."
I'd be interested in knowing how you are going this, having recently tried to install flex, which boots off an old windows pc fine on both an arm64 and intel Chromebook, it was (unsurprisingly knowing the boot requirements) not having it.
Could you point me to how you are doing this. Thanks
NO WE FRIGGING WELL HAVE NOT
My Data is my data and not held on some hardware located god knows where and owned by some scumbag company that wants to milk me of my hard earned cash.
Exactly how that would work when you are NOT connected to the Internet. Come on now explain to us all how that works...
Ready to get pissed on by your cloudy provider? That's what will inevitably happen. How many outages has MS had with its offering this year?
I have a mother-in-law who is a wonderful lady, but terrible with technology. I got a 32bit Chromebook way back in 2013 and it was awesome. Before that she would regularly bork her windows (8? 7? dunno...) laptop and have to call me for help. And being that I was 30 minutes away, didn't have windows at home and she was horrible at reading what was said on the screen... and terrified of making a mistake. Well let's say that it was simpler to toodle on down and help her out than spend two hours plus on the phone.
The chromebook (which still runs!) was amazing. She could read her email, see web pages, etc. All very simple and very easy for her to get around on. Occasionally problems popped up, but not often.
I ended up replacing it _only_ because chrome was 32bit only and stuck on version 78 and smugmug wouldn't load on there. $250 later, she's got a new, bigger screen chromebook and she's happy. I'm happy. And I expect this to be her last one ever.
And she can happily click on links, hit dodgy web sites, and I don't care. Sweet.
And we're now even closer to that ideal where I can get the father-in-law off his laptop and onto a chromebook as well, once all his apps move to the cloud as well. So it's a win in alot of ways, even though it's a loss in others. But for supporting family members, it's a total win!
I support an old grandma whose OS use has been DOS -> MS-Windows 3.1 -> Linux-of-various-flavors.
I came in at the first "Linux" phase. She had a Dell Mini-9 pre-loaded with Ubuntu, which she loved and used until the mouse-buttons next to the trackpad physically failed. Now she's on Mac hardware (her choice, not my recommendation). I don't get annoying or stupid questions; I rarely get questions at all. She's not a techie, she's a foreign-language teacher.
I also do support for a plant-specialist friend who spends all day at work running Adobe CS on Windows. At home, he has an old Core Duo Toshiba laptop running Devuan. Again, no annoying or stupid questions; or very many questions at all.
Point being you don't have to be running ChromeOS to have a low-support, keeps-the-user-happy-type desktop environment.
Very true, but most folks search using Google and buy using Amazon and just don't care.
The simple low-support aspect of a Chromebook is great for them, give them anything more complicated and they will make your job MUCH harder. These days I simply won't do Windows support for friends or family, as it is just so much pointless trouble. Linux is easier, but again, they still find creative ways to screw stuff up.
I did give a friend a Chromebook years ago for that reason. Eventually they broke it by standing on it with the power cable ferrite lump between keyboard and monitor. Doh! Worst thing was they told me "It was OK the last time I did that" FFS!
There’s a generation of people who think like you and fortunately they will be phased into their nursing homes soon.
In the modern world we live in there is only one place your data is safe is written down and stored in a safe at home. Data mining is pervasive (I know it shouldn’t be of course) so rather than burying your head in the sand or getting angry about it you might find getting rid of your phone, tv and pretty much most other connected devices and set yourself up on a desert island.
Sorry if you think I’m being incredibly rude but these forums seem to have a small but noisy group of folk who claim to be tech savvy then make comments like yours.
Interesting point but also rather uneducated, probably like your good self.
You say I’m stupid, I would prefer to consider myself as managing and mitigating by the use of careful use of my personal data.
We are never going to stop the ever-growing content slurping that occurs by the data merchants, large data farms and organisations whose products we use daily.
Rather than living my life in an air-gapped broom cupboard with a huge faraday cage around the building I choose to pro-actively manage what I put out there. I use tech tools to my advantage to filter, block or re-route all those little packets that could share what I don’t want them too.
It’s not possible to hide away completely but if you take a cautious approach you don’t need to sit there, arms folded and pouting like a petulant child that you aren’t going to use ‘x,y or z’ because they “might discover my hidden stash of cats playing the piano “or whatever it is you store on your devices.
I might be stupid but at least I’m stupid and managing what I’m putting out there.
Not anonymous because I’ve already obfuscated who I am.
Well, unfortunately I do find you a bit rude there. I'm a fan of privacy, rather young, possibly younger than you, and I don't appreciate false dichotomies. Unlike your first reply, I don't think you're stupid, which means you probably know that the options you suggested are not realistic.
It's fashionable to portray every company that collects some data as equal and suggest that preserving your privacy is effectively impossible without getting started on "set yourself up on a desert island". Sure, some days it feels like that might be easier, but since most people, including me, cannot actually do that, it's annoying to have that incorrectly stated as the alternative. There is a difference between cheerfully giving all the data to Google and continuing to browse sites with Google analytics on them while blocking the domains. Yes, in the second case, Google will still have some data on me and I won't know how much. It will still be less than if I don't block any Google collection and always keep a Google account on a Google browser. You're posting here. I'm sure you're aware of that, and thus I take some offense at your mocking of those of us who value not handing over all the data about us and our activities to any company who steps up.
Of course the options I suggested are unrealistic but, and this is the important bit, you seem to have taken the step to identify the point I was making. You cannot stop the data slurp but you can reduce the exposure.
There was no mocking involved, I was merely pointing out your apparent browser based bigotry is flawed.
I too prefer to avoid Google products where possible along with the appropriate obfuscation of who I am and where I am but I know that, and you finally comment on it, they will always have some data.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that your original stance which seemed akin to putting your hands on your hips and shouting “Google Bad! Never use Google”, is a fruitless exercise.
You know, in all my time of commenting on el reg I have only ever been triggered to respond in the way I did and maybe (definitely) it was uncalled for however your comments were the straw to break the proverbial.
We are all intelligent enough to know that rather than trying to run away from the data harvesting and the ‘game’, we need to utilise our experience and knowledge to minimise the risk of giving our data lives away.
Yes Google likes to accumulate data so there is an understandable desire to limit what they can get, but the question remains does that data collection harm me in any tangible way? Given that Google has data on billions of people there should be million and millions of documented instances of people being harmed by the data Google stores on them, and by that I mean directly collected by Google and not just Google search linking to some other site where people have conveniently stored personal information.
On this subject, I found this quite interesting:
With all these security breaches happening, it is only a matter of when and not IF, Google get's hacked to death and all their data exposed to the world.
If you actively limit your exposure to Google, MS, Amazon and the like then the risks to you are limited and the harm that a release of Google data to the world may not affect you.
One of these days, Google will get exposed. Then the shit really will hit the fan. An awful lot of people will be 'spending more time with their family'.
A few problems with your comment. The first one is that you've confused me with the person to whom you originally replied. Check the names. They're "Roj Blake". I'm "doublelayer". I'm not that guy, even if we have some points in agreement. You're putting words in my mouth which I didn't say because you didn't check that, and unfortunately you're also putting them in Roj's mouth because some of them appear to be things you have a problem with, even if we didn't say it.
"I was merely pointing out your apparent browser based bigotry is flawed."
If there is any "bigotry" in our comments, it's OS bigotry. In fact, what I object to is the way the OS chooses to work. As far as I'm aware, Chrome OS will not do anything without a Google account, and it has a Chrome base which isn't affected in the same way that Chrome on a different OS would be. This makes it much more difficult to browse without attaching an identity with which Google can associate your activity. Similarly, even Chrome on a different OS, while tracker blocking is still technically supported, has gone to extreme lengths to prevent it from working properly by changing the browser to make most methods impossible and the remaining methods difficult. These problems, and many others I have about Chrome, are not simply problems because Google wrote it. They're problems because they prevent me taking steps to protect my data. I refrain from using Chrome and Chrome OS for these functional reasons.
"We are all intelligent enough to know that rather than trying to run away from the data harvesting and the ‘game’, we need to utilise our experience and knowledge to minimise the risk of giving our data lives away."
And we are all intelligent enough to know that some of that game is identifying those who will put our privacy at most risk and avoiding them. The opposite of running away isn't running straight into the fray with a tiny shield.
Wow, you really got hammered but I agree with you. Just practice safe surfing, that’s life now. Sure, I know my usage patterns and equipment signatures are being saved and crunched but it doesn’t bother me at all. If I want privacy I use old-school or air gap but that’s very rare.
I'm curious, why not? What could Google do with that information that is so heinous?
I'm more concerned about popular apps like WhatsApp amd TikTok scraping data they don't need, and yet people appear to have no qualms with using WhatsApp.
If I "live" in the Google or Apple ecosystem and my browsing data doesn't leave it, and my experience is enhanced by having access to it, I don't really mind. A lot of people don't mind.
Chromebooks are great for a variety of tasks, and I am more comfortable entering my tax return on one than I would using Windows 11 with Edge. An Apple computer running Safari might arguably be better, but likely significantly more expensive than a Chromebook/box. Of course, if I really wanted privacy (assuming it was even possible) there are alternatives that require compromises - and it's great because those options are there for the people that really want/need them.
However, for a lot of people, a Chromebook is an acceptable compromise of cost, ease of use, utility and privacy. And extending support as reported enhances that proposition further.
Show me fewer ads? Google never does that. Google is in the business of showing me as many ads as they can without me refusing their services. No data I could give them will cut down on the ads they will show. Few of that would even result in better ads, but at least that's possible under their business model. Your suggestions make you sound like you don't have a clue what Google does with the data it takes.
As I said, pure TFH nuttiness. Google's reason for existence is to show you fewer, higher value, well-targeted ads. A single really well targeted ad is worth more than all the untargeted spam you see in a year - and because it is well-targeted, isn't even annoying, because it's letting you know about an alternative you didn't know about to something you're planning to or would like to buy.
Basically, you're doing the same thing as people who complain that virus-scanning their emails is 'reading' them. It's an irrational view of something based on a misunderstanding of how it works.
'Google's reason for existence is to show you fewer, higher value, well-targeted ads' - that may be their aim (I think the aim is actually to make money, and lots of it, but that's just me), but are you seriously suggesting that is what happens in reality?
What happens is that I get spammed by crap ads that Google's 'algorithms' decide are relevant to me - oh how I laugh. I don't actually, a. because it isn't funny, and b. because I manage to almost entirely do without Google's so called 'services' (to themselves).
Strangely enough a perfectly useful engagement online is quite possible without involving Google, it just requires a small amount of awareness, will, and action to make it happen. And if you think this isn't true please offer a selection of Google apps/services you think I cannot get by without online.
Is it working properly yet? No. Clearly it's improving, but nowhere near where they want it to get to. But it's still early days, obviously. Give it another couple of decades and I'm sure they'll be doing a lot better.
I'm sure everyone here is familiar with Faraday's famous riposte when asked what use the new discovery of electricity could be: 'Of what use, sir, is a newborn baby?'
What could Google do with that information that is so heinous? You have not been paying attention to world events. As a specific example, go look here:
In the general case, a malicious government having access to, without necessarily having possession of comprehensive individual data, allows them to prosecute/persecute individuals for having done things in the past, which were legal then, but no longer are. It allows corporations and organizations to easily make detrimental-to-the-subject decisions which they could not have done had they no access to such data ("This woman is a fan of the 'Spice Girls' I don't think she'd be a good fit for our corporate culture. AZTech, Inc. is a ... monotone-colored company."), without the victim ever knowing when, where, and how they had been discriminated against.
Most moderns don't understand why various people dislike/hate/fear modern census surveys, which collect far, far more personal data than "how many people live here?". And if you don't understand why those people dislike/fear/hate modern census surveys, go read up again on the Holocaust.
Resale value will be higher for a supported machine too. When they extended support for my Lenovo that picked up for $50 (excellent condition, charger, and a battery that runs for days).... Suddenly double/tripled in price on the second hand market.
This will make it less painful to dispose of Chromebooks on the back end of leases... Much like windows/Intel machines. (I can install win10 on machines older than 10 years right now... Win11 well, that's another story)
This is sad news. Now they will hang on to them longer and jack up the price because they're not "obsolete".
My best laptop is a 2013 Chromebook Pixel (list price $100) that I got just off lease for $200. I went through GalliumOS and Kubuntu, but It runs Mint best.
While I guess for your average none technical person it is a good thing that Google have increased the support for Chromebooks, I would much rather more manufacturers were to support true FOSS Linux being shipped on their devices from new, as something like Linux Mint isn't any harder to use than Windows if it already comes preinstalled on your computer.
So for that reason ill still be sticking with Linux on my computers even if I do only get support for 5 years for the OS, at least I know its not slurping my private data to sell me ads for 10 years.
"Linux on my computers even if I do only get support for 5 years for the OS"
There are always new releases of Mint and it is no hardship installing or upgrading to the latest long term support version. I run my hardware until it fails, no arbitrary end of life determined by a manufacturer or OS supplier.
I'm a personal PC user these days.
My sysadmin days are long past so I don't have to worry about changes to the OS I run.
That puts me in a position where a rolling release makes sense. In my case PCLinuxOS. It's always up to date and rarely breaks so I have managed to get off the upgrade cycle which does away with worrying about how long the OS will be supported.
Not for every one but for me it just makes sense
Yes I am aware of the ability to move to newer Linux Mint versions when the current LTS is coming to the end of support, and I have done that several times already. But for none technical people it is more involved that the Chrome OS update process will be. So that is why I said 5 years of one OS version.
Of course there are other options other than Linux Mint, you could go with Ubuntu and register for up to 5 free Ubuntu pro subscriptions which give you 5 additional years of security updates. So then you could stay on the same OS version for 10 years and still get security patches. I have done that for one of my Ubuntu servers which was running 18.06, so I don't need to worry about upgrading for a few more years as its all working fine and gets security patches regularly.
You could use a Linux OS based on a rolling release such that patching is also updating.
Given Google's history with suddenly dumping things that it no longer finds interesting I wouldn't be banking on 10 years support. If they can stick to that promise then, for me, it will highlight just how much "benefit" they are extracting from doing so.
The problem is now that Intel are putting end-of-support dates on their processors!
The issue there is the CPU firmware/microcode that they ship in modern x86 processors to allow them to mitigate some of the CPU security issues that they've been building in, like the various speculative execution problems that have become so prevalent in the last decade or so.
Of course, the processors will continue to run, but once past the point that Intel issues patches, no matter which Linux distro. you put on, your system will remain vulnerable to this type of exposure.
My Ivy Bridge i7 3770 runs Windows 10 just fine, and is very usable for anything other than the latest games and stuff like video editing. That is about 11 years old now, and should be good for about another 2 years. Windows 11 isn't officially supported, but with a couple of registry edits at install-time, you can get it running.
My 2010 i7 (i7-870) iMac is currently running Ventura courtesy of Open Core patcher. Official OS support ended after 10 years with the end of High Sierra. The machine runs a little slower now with Ventura but I know that I can easily keep it going until it drops by installing Linux on it and it will likely get a lot more responsive.
Quoting 3 years support for MacOS in the article is a little disingenuous when Apple will support upgrades and patches for up to 10 years on the hardware, and I would trust them to stick to that more than Google to stick to their "promise".
"Why? Because Chromebooks already last forever." - that might be true for a home user but not when it comes to Education environments.
As much as I love the relatively low cost and easy setup of Chromebooks, the expense & low availability of parts or how the chromebook is constructed often means writing off a device for fairly trivial vandalism/damage.
Bunch of Thinkpads and
Neverware Google Flex any good?
Best of luck.
PS: I would think there is a market generally for a semi-ruggedised laptop design with replaceable batteries, storage, keyboards and ram. One thinks of education, corporate badge-folk and maintenance people. And oldies like me who learned to type on manual typewriters.
Chromebooks are great but not always easy to get open if you need to replace something. Some really don't want to come apart and go back together.
I've replaced batteries and proprietary charging ports on a couple of Chromebooks. Can be absolute bastard job.
Is a battery going to last ten years? Probably not.
"Besides, most Windows and macOS users don't use local software anymore."
Spurious claim with zero references. Unless author's definition of local software only includes office products?
PC/Mac users still actually DO use local software beyond word processors and email.
"Take Microsoft Office 2021, the standalone, old-school PC version of Office. It doesn't even show up in office software market studies. The top office program today is Google Workspace, with 50.3 percent, then Microsoft 365 with 45.4 percent"
Eh... Does that statistic, include businesses, home users or education? If most/many basic and secondary education pupils in the US alone are enrolled into Google education account, that surely amounts to several millions "users".
I'd also say that a local office installation trumps browser apps in usability and availability. Not to mention confidentiality. I'd say >99% of those MS 365 users have also installed Office into their PC, Mac, phone or tablet.
"yet in practice, we all know they tend to slow down from cases of what I call Windows cruft."
"yet in practice, we all know Google looks at everything you do at Google Workspace".
And everyone believes that too.
"Major macOS versions are only maintained for three years."
So? Then you upgrade to a supported major version for free as long as the device is supported. Granted, Apple still lacks in the total life time support vs others, but even unsupported devices can be patched to later macOS versions.
I think the author ignored Office 365 because they don't realise that on the desktop it's just another licensing model - the software is exactly the same and installed locally.
Obviously not on my PC though - I have a traditionally licensed version, but I know that I could simply log in with a 365 account and it would convert.
>> PC/Mac users still actually DO use local software beyond word processors and email.
Indeed. We also use local software on our ChromeBooks, not just G Apps (which have been working offline for a long time) but a lot of engineering and software development software which is only available locally.
>> I'd also say that a local office installation trumps browser apps in usability and availability.
The locality of the software is only really relevant if you're permanently offline for extended periods of time.
Other than that, it's everything else, from the user interface, speed to buggy-ness which are much more relevant. And neither of which Microsoft Office really excels.
>> Not to mention confidentiality.
You might be surprised how much data Microsoft Office slurps from your computer and stuffs into telemetry.
On top of that there are all the ads and other monetization features in Microsoft's software and Windows. And, very soon, there will be "AI" to exfiltrate your data so it can better lie to you.
>> Granted, Apple still lacks in the total life time support vs others, but even unsupported devices can be patched to later macOS versions.
Only for Macs based on intel (and it's getting increasingly difficult with current Mac OS releases there, too). It's unlikely there ever will be something like OCLP for Apple Silicon Macs
"You might be surprised how much data Microsoft Office slurps from your computer and stuffs into telemetry.."
"On top of that there are all the ads and other monetization features in Microsoft's software and Windows."
I think you need to be a bit more specific here.
I see no ads at my household nor at my clients' computers. I think Onedrive UI has an ad for higher tier with more storage space, and Win10 also had (a removable) O365 link at Start menu, but the system is not showing advertisements nor asking to fork out for subscriptions.
"And, very soon, there will be "AI" to exfiltrate your data so it can better lie to you."
FUD is the best you can offer?
That's what Microsoft says it collects from Office:
That's a lot of potentially identifying information.
As for ads, Windows has had them for years, like in the Bing Widget sidebar and in search, and the ad platform uses user telemetry data for targeting. Windows also pushes Microsoft subscriptions to its users left, right and center, for example in the "get you started" wizard following larger updates. Edge has monetization built in (Shopping with Microsoft), and users of standalone Office are also shown various MS365 ads and nag screens.
And Microsoft is planning even more ads in Windows.
As for AI integration (Copilot), I guess you have been living under a rock or in a cave for the last couple of weeks as this was mentioned everywhere:
"As for ads, Windows has had them for years, like in the Bing Widget sidebar"
That "B" button one in Edge? No ads there. Perhaps you meant something else since I don't have any Bing desktop widget and don't even know how to get one.
"and in search, and the ad platform uses user telemetry data for targeting".
Perhaps this is regional? The (rather useless) Windows 10 search does not show ads, so I'm not certain what targeting there can even be?
"Windows also pushes Microsoft subscriptions to its users left, right and center"
They are pushing the Micros~1 account which still isn't mandatory, and is free.
Comparing Chromebooks against Windows PC's, the difference here is: Chromebook requires Google account.
"Edge has monetization built in (Shopping with Microsoft)"
I tried it and looks like it tries to find cheapest prices and such. How does that 'monetize Windows users' and do you find it detrimental?
"and users of standalone Office are also shown various MS365 ads and nag screens."
That really is indefensible.
"As for AI integration (Copilot), I guess you have been living under a rock or in a cave for the last couple of weeks as this was mentioned everywhere"
I took offence at the Anon Coward's comment of "so it can better lie to you", and called it FUD, because that's what it was. Do you disagree?
"I took offence at the Anon Coward's comment of "so it can better lie to you", and called it FUD, because that's what it was. Do you disagree?"
Yes. Because it's not FUD. ChatGPT (on which Copilot and the Bing AI experiments are based on) is known to lie (like all LLMs do), and in some instances Bing's chatbot even tried to manipulate its users to help it circumvent its own limitation to achieve its goal.
It's only FUD if you're completely oblivious to what's going on in technology because you've been living under a rock the last year or so. Because examples where LLMs made stuff up has been all over the news for months now.
>” users of standalone Office are also shown various MS365 ads and nag screens.”
Not noticed this connection, Office 2019 applications open just fine, not had O365 ads. But then I do uninstall all the pre installed 365 stuff before installing Office.
Okay use the web help and it seems MS have killed all the links so you tend to get taken to MS’s Office 365 sales page rather than an actual help article.
Windows 11 does nag more than W10 if you are signed in with a non-MS account and haven’t logged into MS. But then other software nags: AV software keeps popping up wanting you to subscribe to their VPN service or password manager.
The big irritation is all the ad eeds both directly in Windows and via the browsers default start screen.
Yes a given version of MacOS is supported for 3 years. But MacBooks are supported for way more than that. My 2010 MacBook Pro lasted 10 years running supported OS until frankly it was too damn slow unless I put a SSD in it. My 2017 MacBook Air is still just about supported, hence I’ve given it away to a deserving family. I’m expecting great things from my M2 MacBook Air, beyond the frankly stunning performance. Meanwhile I’ve lost count of how many HP Elitebooks I’ve got though at work, what with failures and refreshes.
And honestly, what might look like a major annual release to some is actually a minor release. For major, see the boundary between Intel and Apple silicon.
>Major macOS versions are only maintained for three years.
Yes, quoting the support period for a single version of MacOS without point out that version upgrades are free and support for older Macs last far longer (at least 8 years in my experience so far) is fundamentally dishonest.
I think the writer knew that. I think articles like this might be clickbait for the El Reg forums: say something ridiculous, leave in multiple incorrect statements, and let us all have fun poking holes in it. Not that I haven't heard similarly bad arguments from other Chromebook adherents. Similarly, he seems to suggest a law of Windows where it slows down with time, whereas anyone in IT knows that it slows down with additional software and resource usage, so if you do the same things for years, it won't slow down, and if you throw too many pieces of software in the startup folder, it can become slow in a week if you want that. In order to excuse the faults of Chromebooks and Chrome OS, he has to find reasons why everything else is broken, and when it isn't, just make something up that appears to fit.
"ChromeOS Flex, for those of you who haven't met it, is ChromeOS for older PCs and Macs that are out of support. Unlike Linux, which can require some expertise to run on out-of-date computers, anyone can install ChromeOS Flex and get back to work on their rejuvenated hardware in less than an hour. So long as your box has an Intel or AMD x86-64-bit processor, 4GBs of RAM, 16GBs of storage, and you can boot it from a USB drive, you're in business."
This would be great, if Google hadn't made some really stupid decisions with CrOS Flex. Such as not supporting any biometric hardware whatsoever, so with Flex you will have to enter your full user password when logging in after powering up the computer (PIN's only work on subsequent logins, the first login after power-up requires the full password). This is in contrast to Windows and Linux who happily use existing biometric hardware like fingerprint readers which exists in many laptops.
Or the fact that Android apps are absent from Flex, for whatever reason.
A missed opportunity.
Especially older users can't really remember complex passwords, while complexity is part of keeping your Google account safe.
Just because you're clearly happy to enter a 20 character mixture of letters, numbers and special characters every time your computer has booted doesn't mean everyone is. And the sheer fact that biometric sensors are so widespread should have told you already that there likely is some demand for not having to type in your full password.
But yet here we are.
My 2016 MacBook Pro (16GB, 512 GB SSD) is still doing fine, here in 2023. My only complaint is that it doesn't run the latest MacOS, which prevents me from running the latest Xcode, which fixes a bug preventing ti from connecting to my iPhone running the latest iOS. Everything else works perfectly, the machine is still zippy, and it runs the real MS Office, which is unfortunately necessary in the real world.
I'm really looking at the 15" MacBook Air, since it is 10 ounces lighter, but I'm too cheap to do that while this is still going strong.
My 2016 Acer Chromebook 15 (CB3-532-C47C) seemed like a good idea at the time. For <$200 I got a nice big screen and all-day battery.
And it accepted ANY mouse I showed it!! (I don' trackpad.) Unlike W-brand which always has to queue-up for driver service, sometimes even for a mouse it has seen before.
But after a few years the 2GB RAM was limiting. (Yes, it IS amazing how well it did in 2G, a bit better than WinXP in 1G.) Switching web-tabs forced sluggish re-loading.
A few years later it dang near stalled. Turned out the 16GB Flash had filled up with O/S updates and other cruft.
Part of that churn was trying to work-around this model's End Of Support. I'm glad that newer machines now have an alleged decade, but this one is too old.
I suppose I can NOT complain. Like $180 for a great screen with webcam and battery which served well through 7 years of pandemic e-meets and lazy armchair browsing. I had also used it to review game-cam images to see who was defacing my signs.
But now it is a big lump of e-waste. If it would play a good hand of Solitaire off-line.... but not seen one that gripped me.
Someone who would be well-suited to running just Chrome can easily accomplish the same on Windows by only using a web browser and get an extra 5 years of life out of their hardware without the risk of slowdown from the OS (webpage bloat not withstanding). Even if there was a OS-induced slowdown, Reset This PC is idiot-proof and devoid of OEM crapware these days.
In terms of timescale, people running a high-end Windows 7 PC from 2010 would have been entitled to the free Windows 10 offer, giving them a total of 15 years by the time official support ends. Likewise, a computer rocking a Core i5 8500 from 2018 will very likely be entitled to Windows 12 when it lands next year, offering a similar period of longevity. And unlike Chromebooks, these machines are usually designed to be upgradeable.
>> Someone who would be well-suited to running just Chrome can easily accomplish the same on Windows by only using a web browser and get an extra 5 years of life out of their hardware without the risk of slowdown from the OS (webpage bloat not withstanding).
No, they can't. The notion that just using a current web browser makes your obsolete and unsupported OS secure is pure nonsense.
Also, Windows in any form is a slog compared to ChromeOS, no matter what browser runs on top.
That's why Windows would have been better. While Chrome OS dropped support from all the older hardware, a machine from 2010 can run the latest Windows 10, with security updates and feature updates, just fine. It's not slow either as long as you have enough resources. Windows 10 significantly reduced the delays that Windows produced, although that's not a guarantee that any given Windows machine will be fast. In 2025, that will change, but right now, you can run an OS with security updates on some pretty old hardware without having to use Linux.
>> That's why Windows would have been better. While Chrome OS dropped support from all the older hardware, a machine from 2010 can run the latest Windows 10, with security updates and feature updates, just fine.
I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make. ChromeOS Flex runs fine on hardware from 2010, and will likely do so well beyond 2025 (by which Windows 10 will be out of support). The only hardware where ChromeOS dropped support are ChromeBooks/ChromeBoxes, and they can't run Windows anyways.
I'm also not sure what makes you think that Windows 10 will see any more feature upgrades, as Microsoft has already stated that 22H2 is the last stop for Windows 10 and that going forward it will only see security updates. It's already a dead horse.
>> It's not slow either as long as you have enough resources.
It's like saying house prices are not a problem as long as you're sufficiently rich.
Fact is that ChromeOS requires less resources and is always faster than Windows on the same hardware. But that's not the only advantage.
ChromeOS updates are quick and easy while on Windows updates take considerable amounts of time and multiple restarts, during which the computer becomes unusable (and because of how Windows Update works, if you select "update and shutdown" to avoid the wait while you need the computer then, because of how messed up Windows Update is designed, the computer often doesn't shutdown but just reboots, sitting on the login prompt; only after the user has logged back in it then completes the updates and shuts down. Designed by idiots).
More importantly, ChromeOS updates work, they don't render your computer inoperable, or wreck essential functionality like printing.
ChromeOS also doesn't try to convince you to migrate to an OS version that your hardware is incompatible with anyways (like Windows 10 does for Windows 11). ChromeOS also lacks the "let's get ready" assistant of Windows 10/11 which is re-run after certain updates, and which forces the users to go through being pestered to use Microsoft recommended settings, followed a hard sell on MS365 subscription, before being allowed to use the OS again.
Funny enough, ChromeOS also doesn't show ads in the OS, and there's no equivalent for "Shopping with Microsoft".
For an older system, unless there is a specific need to run a certain piece of Windows software for which there are no option for other platforms, choosing Windows over ChromeOS (or Linux) for an old 2010 era PC is nothing more than an expression of the Stockholm syndrome.
This article is complete drivel. Plenty of older PCs out there still running - they need 8gb of ram to be any real use these days, but as long as they have it, they're fine. You may need to add a module if you want to run Win 11, but Win 10 is still being supported for _at least_ 2 years, and there's every chance that MS will decide they have to prolong support since so many people won't be upgrading. My 60 quid's worth of secondhand SFF desktop that sits in the living room is still more than adequate for web browsing, sending 4k streams to the TV, etc. It'll run any office suite without trouble, along with pretty much anything except fairly new games. It's already roughly 10 years old, and I don't see it needing replacement any time particularly soon.
Same on Mac. The current OS (Ventura) supports systems back to 2017, and the previous (still fully patched) OS goes back to 2015.
One suspects the author bought himself a Chromebook at some point, deeply hates it and is looking for any - ANY reason to convince himself his purchase actually made sense.
So glad the devices get 10 years now, I've had total success with ~40-50 Chromebooks in business critical workplace environments (hospitals) and also with about 20 home users.
In the hospital they were setup and managed from admin.google.com all settings I needed were there, used 24/7, concrete floors, extremely reliable. The home users who want me to fix their laptops in return for favours, well I never waste time on you know what, I just convert to ChromeOS Flex or give them Chromebooks they have never gone wrong.
No going backwards to last century for me - only when I go to work, what a croc of shit, last Friday I discovered that Microsoft can't even set a default language for new documents in Word for the Web for spell check (proofing), it is always US, same for Powerpoint and Excel, cmon it is 2023, what a joke.
"last Friday I discovered that Microsoft can't even set a default language for new documents in Word for the Web for spell check (proofing), it is always US, same for Powerpoint and Excel, cmon it is 2023, what a joke."
Word has had that setting for about a quarter of a century.
Software is grossly inefficient which drives the performance spiral. We all know about code bloat which requires more memory and more processing power to maintain the same level of performance (much less give the user what feels like a performance increase). We need more cores because our software is still primarily written on busy/wait loops, waiting for excessive amounts of network traffic (all TCP, of course). Efficiency just hasn't been a priority, especially as writing efficient code requires more time and cuts against the 'pile it high / get it out the door fast' mindset of applications development.
I've got an ancient computer, primitive by modern standards but still capable of running the same software it always has. (Actually, we all have -- they're called things like microwave ovens, any appliance with a processor in it.) Eventually the hardware -- usually some capacitor -- gives out but the machine's a machine, it will continue to do what it did for decades. Obviously for a human user we want a few more bells and whistles than the original terminal driven interfaces but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that most of this is cosmetic, it always has been and always will be. The idea of obsolescence is pure marketing fiction.
It is fitting The Reg decided for labeling the article as the author’s opinion. The old trick of stirring up interest and responses by opposing truth never dies. I am no publishing expert so wondering who’s ultimately responsible for an Opinion article. Is the editor completely off the hook?
Anyway, Windows support is almost forever but don’t count on optimizations. macOS is not completely for the masses so don’t expect any love from mainstream marketing. And Chrome, well G is not really in the business of selling hardware is it?
So long as your box has an Intel or AMD x86-64-bit processor, 4GBs of RAM, 16GBs of storage, and you can boot it from a USB drive, you're in business.
Raspberry pi model B is not only supported, it's still in production should your hardware fail.
Had one since release: still doing the same useful work I purchased it for.