Arman's stuff
Chrome OS

(Fri Nov 20 13:24:46 2009)

Google has come out with some new data about Chrome OS - what it runs on, and what it does.

It runs on custom hardware (or at least custom firmware), and it does everything you'd expect a browser to do. Wait, a browser?


Chrome OS won't allow any programs to be installed locally; instead, everything will be stored "in the cloud" - even files, unless you stick 'em on a drive. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm all about storing files in the cloud. The downtime is a lot less, for one thing. Any security problems are no worse than security on your own machine (different, but not worse). No, what gets me is the fact that programs are stored on the 'net. Remember the recent debacle with Amazon over its Kindle (they yanked copies of books without asking)? What do you do when that happens to your software?

I guess it's the geek in me - I like having control over my files. I understand that people often don't need that control, because they don't understand it. I, however, do understand it, and often require it. I use Linux because more control is available to me. I like stick-shifts, because more control is available to me. I use a second-rate MP3 player instead of an iPod because more control is available to me. I don't want my OS on autopilot; I want to be able to get my fingers in and DO STUFF. Here at work, we got some new IP phones; very cool, but we're limited to a very boring background, a very frenetic background, and a very ugly background. I want to be able to put my own background on there (my System of Roots fractal). I can't, of course; it's a closed system. So what happens when computers become a closed system? Obviously, it won't happen to servers, but netbooks... I can see that happening.

Again, I'm not fighting it. I don't think it's evil. I just morn the loss of freedom that many people don't even realize is missing. Sure, you say you just want to browse the web and check your email, but what about Skype? Or watching movies (not the DVD variety)? Or VNCing into your home server (Ok, that might just be me)? When your OS is a browser, it gets pretty hard, if not impossible.

I use a Windows Mobile phone. I can hear you already - "Why!?!"
I have a good reason, actually. The desktop OS just isn't as good as it could be (especially if they try another Vista), but their mobile OS isn't actually that bad. It might not be perfect, but it has a lot more history than WebOS (on the Palm Pre) and the Android, and a lot more support than Palm OS, not to mention it's much more open than the Blackberry OS. Not saying any of those are terrible, of course; my phone just has more options. I've not paid for a single program for my phone, and yet I have half a dozen games (including Lemmings and a text adventure system), lots of apps (including Word, Google Maps, PuTTY, and WinRar), and even two browsers (IE for Mobile and Skyfire). I can watch YouTube, play (older) flash games, and I even have an instant messenger. Sure, the games were made for previous versions, and I haven't found a VNC program... but at the same time, I have those options. I can even write my own programs for the phone, using .Net (though it's a bit bloated). My point is, my phone has options. I can change the skin; I can add and delete programs; I can even modify what programs go where in the menu system. I use it because I like the control, the options I have. Can you do that with an iPhone? Or an Android? I doubt it. And the same goes for Chrome OS - if I can't add and delete programs at a whim, simply and easily, I've lost that control.

So why, simply put, do I not like a cloud OS? It comes down to the same reason I don't want more government control - it might be safer overall, but I've lost my freedom. With that model, I can't write my own programs, modify programs I buy, or even use my files the way I want. I suppose I could (eventually) get used to using the Chrome OS File Player, but I LIKE mplayer. I suppose I could (maybe) work with Chrome Browser, but I LIKE Opera. I like my options, and while taking away the ability to add, remove, and modify programs would dramatically cut down on piracy, I can promise you that it will lead to the same problems the iPhone has had - jailbreaking. Or worse, a complete adoption failure. If you tick off the geeks, you're screwed.

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This blag is tagged: Cloud, Google, Phone, Windows, All