Google Chrome OS. Or, how KDE and GNOME managed to shoot each other dead

“So, let’s go back a little bit — not much: just a year or
so. You are Google and you want to provide the operating system for
the next generation of users, the ones who didn’t start with Excel
and Word, but with Facebook and Flickr. The obvious choice is
GNU/Linux for the kernel — Google knows it well, helps
improving it, and obviously likes it. Then, the next question: what
desktop environment would you feed those new users? KDE? GNOME?
Both? What about programs looking different? What about the broken
audio system? (Pulseaudio anybody?)

“The question was a tough one. The answer was simple and
painful: neither of them. Painful, because I am intimately sure
(although I can’t prove it) that if GNU/Linux had one set of
desktop libraries, one desktop environment, one set of standard for
playing audio and so on, we would have those libraries in Google
Chrome OS. Google would have released a set of tools to bundle
software in Chrome OS — something without the absurd current
problems of software installation in GNU/Linux.

“However, two different “everything” in the GNU/Linux desktop
world meant that the break from the past, in Google Chrome OS, had
to be more definite and definitely more radical. Google Chrome OS,
at least initially, will not allow third party software bundles.
Eventually, I am 95% sure they will have to give in — at that
point, they will have to deal with the KDE/GNOME split and the
result will be business as usual: messy.”

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