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Chrome OS: Please Don�t Open the Hood

Dec 14, 2010, 19:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

[ Thanks to James Maguire for this link. ]

"By now, you may have seen the latest promo for the upcoming Chrome notebook. Advocating the advantages of the cloud-based Chrome OS, the video is mildly amusing and largely irrelevant -- a case at least as strong could be made for preferring locally-installed applications, and I suspect that what people really want to see are close-ups of Chrome OS.

"However, those close-ups can be harder to see than you might expect. Since Google is not releasing any official downloads, you need to either compile your own code, or to sort through the unofficial releases until you find one that is not only reasonably current, but whose source also seems trustworthy. After struggling to determine if you have the latest version and learning how to convert it for a virtualization tool like VirtualBox, you might conclude that the easiest way to satisfy your curiosity about Chrome OS is to apply for the Chrome Netbook Pilot Program in the hopes of receiving a test machine.

"Even when you finally manage to install Chrome OS, you still won't see much. Remember Red Hat founder Bob Young and his tag line, "Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut?" He was talking about Windows, but the line seems almost as appropriate for Chrome OS.

"To be fair, the hood on Chrome OS is not actually welded shut. After all, unlike Window's, the source code of Chrome OS is freely available. But if you happen to believe that the same openness that applies to the source code should also be part of user control on the desktop, then you say that the hood in Chrome OS has a tricky catch that will discourage most users from trying to open it."

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