Google Announces Linux Kernel Based Chrome OS

by on July 8, 2009 · 41 comments· LAST UPDATED July 8, 2009

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Google has announced Google Chrome OS, which should be available mid-2010. This is a direct challenge to MS Windows operating systems. This is excellent news and it is going to tied tightly to its Chrome Web browser. Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS - said Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management, in a blog post.

From the Google blog post:

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Okai, I hope this is not going to be another Linux distribution along with Google browser and other tools including beefed up GUI. What about user privacy? Google is well known for its advertising based business, especially it depends upon user preferences to serve related ads. There is not much information available yet, but competition is good for consumers.

What do you thing? Would you go for such Chrome based netbook?

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mdm July 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Many have tried taking down Microsoft. And almost all have failed. May be Google can take down 800 pound gorilla.

Cheers

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2 brian July 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I wish they would put their weight behind some existing Linux distros, instead of coming up with yet another one. The Linux world doesn’t need more fragmentation, it needs strong leadership to unify evryone.

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3 Mike October 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The Linux world is also the last true P2P, non-corporate and quite frankly, free OS out there. “Strong leadership” as you put it, usually means commercialization, (i.e. Apple).

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4 Jonathan July 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm

@brian: I agree with you, but that attitude should go both ways. Sometimes, the person to support is the new guy on the field. Even though other distros have been out their longer, very few of them are as “in the mix” reputationally as Google is. I would wager that more people are familiar with “Google vs. Microsoft” than “Ubuntu” or “Suse”. I think that Google is the strategically stronger candidate, and that for it to support an existing distro would just weaken and diffuse that strength. Google knows what it’s doing.

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5 GeorgeUlyanov July 8, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Looks like another Linux clone…

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6 Metalx1000 July 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I think Google does a great Job in everything they do. I agree with Brian that it would be nice if they backed existing Linux distros instead. But, if they want to make there own Distro it may help give all Linux Distros a bust and help with support. If Google is involved hardware companies may make more drivers for it, and since it’s useing a Linux Kernel those drivers should work with other distros. I have also don’t have a problem with there being a new distro out there. One of the things that is great about Linux is the choices. And I won’t call it a “Linux clone”. If it is using the Linux Kernel it is Linux.

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7 Just a guy July 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Why do people want MS to be taken down? I just want them to make better products. No matter what you think of the company they are good at what they do. Innovate, steal, whatever. They are delivering something that is useful. Be very wary of Google’s intensions. It makes no business sense to me to add yet another Linux “desktop” not “OS distribution” to the every growing Linux market. How many are there today, a thousand? When will it ever end. Seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry believes their distribution of Linux is the best thing since slice bread. And let’s face it, it’s a desktop they’re promoting not an OS. Right there, Google is not telling the truth. One good thing about Linux is its performance in the enterprise server market. Red Hat and SUSE will do just fine if they stay the course there and drop the desktop nonsense.

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8 Yonitg July 9, 2009 at 10:26 am

I wonder if it will be just another Linux distro,
They cant do a whole new operating system from scratch as so many apps wont run on it, and it will take years to have all the applications support it, and users who are not technology savvy wont hurry to change to a linux OS.

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9 Dapxin July 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

I am sure my mom still doesnt know or care about yahoo / msn or windows….

tired ol arguement.

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10 ciacob July 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

If I get it right, this “OS” will only be a stripped, minimal Linux box, with Google’s Chrome browser running on top of it the moment it boots up. Everything then, is supposed to happen “in” the browser.

I have only one question popping up: have you seen the Martin Klasch’s cartoon: “There is no internet”? :))

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11 c31c July 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Hmm… to me it looks like google might want to strip the GNU (at least parts?) from GNU/Linux? And maybe an alternative to X? And a proprietary wm…?

The linux distros as we/I know and cherish them are more than just the kernel…
Although distributions are already diverse as it is right now, I can still feel somewhat “at home” in front of any GNU/Linux based system – more so than on some other *nix, let alone MacOSX.

I wonder to what degree one would be stripped of power and feel alienated by Google/Linux.

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12 George Kharmujai July 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I think i’d rather try compiling Google Chrome in Debian to see if it works or not if this new OS is gonna be just a stripped Linux distro with Chrome on it…

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13 rahmat July 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm

i waiting u google chrome OS… hehehehehe

Be Freedom to Open Source….

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14 Johan July 9, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I think Google should give Linux more credit instead of letting people have the idea of a whole Google OS, but on the other hand, maybe people will then give Linux less credit.

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15 tarun kumar July 9, 2009 at 7:04 pm

i am very excited to hear that news and can’t wait for that.

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16 Torkel July 9, 2009 at 11:59 pm

But what about the gamers? They still need Windows and DirectX.

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17 p-root July 10, 2009 at 1:38 am

Great news…………… :)

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18 Ibrahim July 10, 2009 at 5:28 am

I am backing brian and agree with et al’ .. it seems. Instead of building a new OS over a Linux kernel, why don’t Google take up an existing (freely available & open source GNU Linux distros like Ubuntu) kernel and enhance it to adopt its Chrome browser? it not only serves the community but also propels Google more in to open source. If Google’s intention is not of commercial OS, they would definitely look after an existing Linux !!!!

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19 Joe Baker July 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I think Google is the NSA. If they want Chrome to be trusted – OPEN SOURCE IT NOW! Not LATER.

I don’t run Chrome, because I’ve never heard that it was open sourced. Remember the theatrics about the government asking for search results and Google refusing like a good little privacy protector? Well Google hired the government ass-hole who made the request. Ladies and Gentlemen, wake up and reject everything from Google that isn’t open source from it’s inception. It’s corporate structure will entice it to do evil – sharks do what comes naturally, so do corporations. (he he unless you watch the movie “Finding Nemo” by Disney)

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20 VonSkippy July 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Big deal. It’s just another move by Google to force feed you more advertisements.

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21 Basant Sharma July 11, 2009 at 4:11 am

The Linux world doesn’t need more fragmentation, it needs strong leadership to unify evryone.i am very excited to hear that news and can’t wait for that.

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22 rkarim July 11, 2009 at 7:25 am

I am supporting Google and waiting for their OS (distro!), I personally use Ubuntu for my servers, laptop and desktop.

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23 sims July 12, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Google is just copying. Just like they did with Chrome. However, their intentions are to create a channel. Why would I want to use a Google terminal to access my information? Why would I want my information to be stored on someone else’s machine? Backup? Maybe. Encrypted? Yes. But not as the primary working copy. WTF is that? Cloud computing is webmail on steroids. I can remember the day when everyone loathed Hotmail because it gave no POP3 access. Yahoo was the champ, until they stopped POP3. Then a bunch of clueless people had computing marketed to them as sliced bread and now webmail is normal. Most people don’t even know what a mail client is. Now I’m supposed to store my spreadsheets online as well? Suck a duck.

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24 M.S. Babaei July 13, 2009 at 12:33 am

I think….
Google Chrome OS = GNU/Linux Kernel + a new X or WM under BSD License.
It’s not only against Windows but also Mac OS X. (for It’s simplicity and Nice GUI, compare gmail with yahoo)
however it’s not bad at all…
Google and thier partners supports GNU/Linux. another +1 for GNU/Linux.

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25 1fastbullet July 13, 2009 at 4:05 am

I doubt I’m going to sit around and hold my breath for a year while Goofle screws up yeet another clever idea. Especially after opting in on Goofle (no, that isn’t a typo…) labs to finally be able to insert images into an Email. Naturally, Goofle has yet to get that right, too.

The fact remains that the Windows version of Chrome already inccludes enough security problems to justify the release of the much more security conscious IRON browser. (Gee, what a surprise that goofle would own a browser that would SPY on its users. Duh).

Hide and watch while IRON releases it’s Linux version long before Goofle gets around to theirs. And note that IRON didn’t need an announcement such as this one about chrome’s Linux version. The people at Iron are too busy actually working on the release to bother with hype. Goofle, on the other hand, is all about the hype.

When something is good, it gets noticed. When in doubt, hype it and hope.

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26 dnu/linux fan July 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

@Just a guy #6

Well I think you are not quite right, because I use kubuntu (like millions linux users that use also other distros) for my desktop and it is way better than winslow (I have xp so I can compare). GNU/Linux is way more powerfull than Windows and gives you the freedom, that Windows takes away from you. So I am happy about another linux distro, because I have the right to choose the distro that is the best for me.

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27 gnu/linux fan July 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I can not undestand why so many people are swearing at google. I do not use chrome browser, because like you I also have doubts, but ask yourself which are the best free serveices – gmail (you can use POP/SMTP, not like yahoo mail), google maps (its great), which other company gives you the possibility to work on word or spreadsheet project with a group of people around the world? – google, best search engine, android and so on … The logs and spying thing, I think its everywhere (like someone said about corporations). But I think in this case google is the less evil, and makes my life easier.

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28 1fastbullet July 13, 2009 at 8:12 pm

@Just a Guy
I agree that folks should be wary of Goofle’s intentions. Anyone who uses Gmail and then a privacy program will quickly learn that Goofle will not allow you to log on while using their privacy protection. Goofle insists upon being able to get into and wandering around in your system. Obviously, there is an ulterior motive for this practice.

I disagree, however, regarding Linux and Microsoft, but don’t have any interest in starting or perpetuating a war of words as to which is better.
In my opinion, there was a time when MS was a valuable asset. That time was when it was the only game in town.
Linux came along (as did Mac) intending to offer an alternative to MS’s self-protecting greed and it’s “one size fits all” mentality.
There are numorous examples of MS’s outright refusal to alter course from it’s “ours is the correct way” attitude.

I’m sorry, but a new of different Linux is NOT “just another desktop”. Linux is a foundation from which many have created something that suits that person’s individual needs. The reason- no that’s not correct. ONE of the reasons there are so many flavors of Linux is because there have been at least that many individual needs and someone built something to address that particular need. If your flavor choice lf Linux turns out not to fit you, you may move on to another flavor or alter the core components to better suit you.
The cost for doing this? Only your time.

How many “distros” of MS Windows are there? Are you free to use one of MS’s distros and, if it doesn’t fit, change to another one at no additional cost?
Are you able to take the core components of any available MS “distro” and freely tweak them to suit your liking?

In Linux, this adaptability is a mixed blessing of sorts. There are so many flavors that, even within debian, GNU or what ever deviation, sometimes things don’t work exactly right from one to the next. Eventually, someone will probably fix it, but it may never be known that a fix has been made. How do you learn of these things? You PARTICIPATE.

The thing is, Windows still offers essentially a “set and forget” OS for those who have no desire to do the lot of the work that Linux requires in order to make it work for them. Heck, this is such a point of frustration for some Linux adoptors, they give up and return to a Windows OS. But like the difference between buying lunch at a carryout versus a sit-down resturaunt, you will be required to pay for the services and conveniences you get.
Just bear in mind that “set and forget” has it’s own set of limitations, in that you will still find things missing that you want and are paying a monetary price instead of investing your time.

@ gnu/linux fan

Goofle COULD be a lot better at the things they attempt to do it they only concentrated more effort on fewer attempts. It doesn’t need to buy up every darn thing that a group of money welding people show an interest in.
A question asked by a teacher I had more than 40 years ago comes to mind: Why is there never enough time to do something correctly the first time, but there is always time to do it over?
In Goofle’s case, there isn’t time to do it over. If not chosen as a pet project, they half-ass something, kick it out the door and call it done.

You named a few good and successful projects Goofle has had but, for example, I don’t give a tinker’s damn about POP/SMTP/IMAP. When I use web-based Email (and I do), I realize it’s limitations and make a choice to use or not use a particular one. Free Yahoo mail also does not offer the ability to insert images into the body of it’s Emails, but neither doeS it claim to. Goofle CLAIMS to offer this ability (as one of it’s “Labs” features), but they still haven’t figured out how to make it work.
If you choose to use Yahoo (or, for that matter, Hotmail) cough up the bucks for the “enhancements”, live with the shortcomings, or move on. It’s that simple.
I’ll tell you ONE thing I know for a fact: In no case can you contact ANY of these, express a grievance and get a response, much less a solution. They are too big to give a damn.

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29 nixCraft July 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm

@1fastbullet

Excellent post.

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30 glurt July 19, 2009 at 10:26 am

it means, that we can see microsoft death on the horizon

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31 Chris July 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

For years, people moaned and moaned about MS coming with IE and they are still having issues with it now, including having an IE free version of windows 7 is STILL not enough for some people, which is ridiculous, I want my OS to come with a browser, end of; I can add Firefox or whatever later if I want. But anyway, ChomeOS comes with Chome…so will they get the same restrictions as MS…

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32 1fastbullet July 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

@Chris
I may be mistaken, but was not the IE-free version the result of European lawsuits?

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33 Chris July 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm

No that was the Windows Media Player which was forced to have version of Windows without WMP. MS made the IE free version because they could see it coming :)

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34 Jay August 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

I find the second sentence in this “article” to be complete tosh.
How is “This is a direct challenge to MS Windows operating systems. ” a true statement? The writer does not state why it is a “direct challenge” to Microsoft.

Come on be realistic, people have been using MS DOS/Windows/Office etc for over 20years now and their products are now of age and run relativity well and are fully featured, the only problems I see now are end users messing things up, or hardware failing. Linux is now where MS were 10 years ago.

I used to be into Linux heavily and thought it too was the best thing since sliced bread and it was sooooo uber cool. Then I woke up and realised it was still in it’s infancy when I had problems with it and no one knew how to resolve them.

Windows FTW.

commence flaming.

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35 hemanth.hm August 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Google for “windows and mac” only now :

AdWords Editor
Gmail/Google Notifier
Pack
Secure Access
SketchUp
Talk
Pinyin IME

must be available for all GNU/LINUX within mid 2010 as the Linux Kernel Based Chrome OS comes to life.

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36 M.S. Babaei August 6, 2009 at 12:49 am

> Google for �windows and mac� only now :
>
> AdWords Editor
> Gmail/Google Notifier
> Pack
> Secure Access
> SketchUp
> Talk
> Pinyin IME
>
> must be available for all GNU/LINUX within mid 2010 as the Linux Kernel Based Chrome OS comes to life

Yeah That Would Be Great !!

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37 Danny August 7, 2009 at 2:30 am

It’s a lightweight distro targeted at netbooks. Windows sucks on netbooks, so this is not a competitor to Windows. Netbooks are by definition small machines which are light on features and are specifically geared towards using network services, trading portability for functionality. Several of the machines on the market use a Linux kernel with X11 and a lightweight UI, and they do so successfully. If Google can remove the general-purpose X11 layer entirely, they could provide an better performing interface than what’s currently available from general-purpose operating systems in this niche market, and not have to completely reinvent the wheel. Seems like a good plan.

I won’t be using it, because I’d rather trade speed for functionality – but I’m not the typical consumer… :)

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38 1fastbullet August 7, 2009 at 5:41 am

@Jay

While I may have overlooked something, I don’t think this article was about Linux except for the mentioning of its kernel. I also think that the current status of Linux, compared to Windows, is not at issue.
My interpretation of the article was simply that, in direct competition with Windows, Google is planning to release a new OS which they state will concentrate on three key words, “Speed, simplicity and security”. These would, by coincidence(?), be issues which many Windows users have repeatedly expressed reservations about but, largely remain unaddressed by Microsoft Windows.

No flaming required, in my ever-so-humble opinion.

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39 Krishna August 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Although using the linux kernel would greatly serve the purpose of addressing wider market of architectutes as already all the possible devices are supported for Linux kernel. Perhaps the promise to make better desktop user interface than mircosoft would be day-dreaming effort. Focussing on developing on RTOS based systems/applications would be a better choice for google than taking up a project to put down Mircrosoft desktop systems…. Even google manages to come with with good windowing system, chances are less people adopting to it…. i would wait and watch.

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40 Matt Kukowski August 26, 2009 at 6:25 am

Google does not care much about the Operating System… it cares about allowing more ACCESS to the web.

1) Apple – Too expensive for a lot of people, Apple OS X is a great Operating System, but it to too expensive for a lot of people. This hinders Accessibility, to ultimately connecting to the Internet.

2) Windows (MS) is OK, but there are A LOT of problems with Windows. One are the viruses., making e-commerce hindered. People (a lot of people) are afraid of Identity theft. People are becoming more and more aware of the BOTNET problem (which are windows computers in control of evil hackers). Boot times are not fast enough for Google. Google wants to create an ‘Instant on machine.’ AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL… allowing more businesses to start, without having Microsoft there to crush them. Microsoft stiffles a lot of good ideas, for their own intentions of keeping absolute control of the Operating System Platform… If Google can allow more deverse and interesting Businesses to be able to grow and live on a more accessible and free Operating System that is secure and FREE to leverage, will only increase Googles profits, due to AD Words and Advertising…

The only way to do this is to by pass the Operating System. How do you bypass the Operating System? Well, just do what Netscape and Java was going to do… make the Web Browser the new ‘Platform’. Microsoft crushed this effort, by making the Browser Free of Charge…

How is Google going to treat it’s Google OS and Chrome OS? Give it away free! See any similarity to what MS did to Netscape?

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41 Dinesh Chandra Joshi October 23, 2009 at 5:24 am

Hi Team,

Let us compare corporate strtegies of Apple, MS, & Google and then discuss Linux and Windows 7 as a OS.
* Apple as always is going to target the “La de creamy” strata of the internet users and with the recent balance sheets surplus may be inclined to target the lower segment as well.
* MS with its latest avatar Windows 7 which is definitely not “throw above the wall” system and with a cash reserve of $40 Billion, and “spare no competitor” strategy is certainly roaring to take the market in its stride.
* Google, which has become a synonym of Internet today as Xerox used to be for photostat, an operating system which they plan to target for events rather than a segment will find users oth in class as well as mass.

Now let us discuss Windows 7 and Chrome with Linux Kernel as an OS.

Windows 7 :
The class of the product cannot be put on scale until and unless it is people friendly, or in other terms people are psycholoically ready to accept the ideas/product. The problem with Windows Vista was that it was an “Out of theBox, throw above the wall product” wherein the Hardware Manufacturers e.g. were also aslo taken by surprise, but this time around the product has not been developed in Redmond but at various places e.g. 1 Dell Way, Acer Taiwan and Sony Japan. This certanly means that security, compatibility and other issues have not been compromised and thus Windows 7 is not a “Haste a Waste” but a OS or the PC Manufactuer, by the PC Manufactuer, and of the PC Manufactuer.

Chrome OS with Linux Kernel
Unlike MS, Linux has too many father, and too many cooks spoil the pooding. But given the fact that the Linux being Open Source and Tech Programmers dream definitely has an edge on Windows 7. However, if Google give its name to it, then make it application specific and event specific and target oth MS and Apple users, rather than expecting grand success right from the word go will be a mistake. In the next article I will be discussing the core technologies, hence till then Chow.

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