Chrome OS: Please Don�t Open the Hood
Dec 14, 2010, 19:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)
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"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
"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."