Feeds

Google OS gOS - if at first you don't succeed...

...fail, fail again

Boost IT visibility and business value

Fail and You gOS, the brain trust behind the failed $200 Linux-based “gPC” at WalMart, has seen fit to throw the dice one more time, introducing an operating system called Cloud that lets your computer boot into a browser. I, for one, welcome this innovation. I've always been a fan of neutering the most versatile machine in human history, restricting its use to only a small subset of the intended functionality. Yeah, this one's a winner from the start.

Last year, this company partnered with PC manufacturer Everex to sell a low-cost computer that ran Linux instead of Windows, the theory under examination being, “if we try to mask extra shitty hardware with an operating system that looks sort of good, will people buy it, even though it's incompatible with 99% of retail software?” The answer, a resounding “no”, came as WalMart - their only distribution channel - neglected to renew the order after about six months, citing “tepid customer response.”

Some of us had learned this lesson from the first Silicon Valley Technology Orgy. If a PC doesn't come with Windows, customers aren't going to buy it, no matter how cheap it is. (The exception to this rule seems to be Apple, where a small but profitable fraction of customers buy a machine that's an order of magnitude more expensive than a PC but doesn't come with Windows. Call it the Divine Touch of Steve Jobs). Still, this doesn't stop some asshat from re-introducing a Linux PC every couple of years, hoping that the price point has become a more powerful motivator than, oh, I don't know, functionality.

Alright, so you strike out the first time. Most people do. Maybe customers don't want a desktop with Linux, but they'll tolerate a laptop - no, a netbook. Many of these little-engine-that-couldn't computers already ship with Linux, so why not gOS Cloud? It's a curious proposition, considering that Cloud can do significantly less than existing netbook operating systems already do, being restricted to the browser. Gigabyte has agreed to ship Cloud in its touchscreen netbooks, so if gOS is as good at software usability as it is at suckering hardware manufacturers into partnerships, this thing might have a shot.

Let's have a look at Cloud's extensive feature list, to see what sets it apart from the competition and find out why users are just going to love it. This is what gOS lists on the Cloud 'Features" page. I shit you not:

  • "Web Browser with Icon Dock Inside": You have to wonder if software development environments nowadays ship with an assistant that pops up, “I see you're shamelessly and poorly imitating Apple. Do you want to either A) kill yourself or B) give up this line of work and start a new career as a degenerate alcoholic?”. Evidently, they don't, because products like Cloud still exist.
  • "Network Manager": A program that lets you easily configure the computer's network connections? You don't say. Fuck me, what a hotbed of innovation.
  • "Power Button": Knuth said that premature optimization is the root of all evil, but I sure hope they ignored him and optimized the hell out of the “turn off” code path. That's going to save people the most time.
  • "Boot to Windows XP/Vista or Linux": Hey! Finally something useful. At least they've provided users with a ready answer to the question “What the fuck is this? Where's Windows?”
  • "Battery Life Indicator": This feature has been included in every operating system that runs on a portable device since the dawn of time, mostly just because of tradition. It's nice to see that gOS isn't stepping too far out of the norm here.
  • "Volume Controls": Oh, good. My speakers are controllable just like they have been since the invention of speakers. I was questioning whether Cloud would include this ability, but now I know because they've explicitly enumerated it. Crisis avoided!
  • "My Files & Viewers": You mean my computer isn't just a dumb terminal to the internet? I can actually save files and shit on it? Ha, madness. Next, you're going to be telling me that not every program I ever need to use is available via a web browser. Crazy shit, man.

And there you have it. gOS Cloud's sales pitch. Wow. Just uninstall your C compilers. It works out best for everyone that way. These guys are spewing so much fail into the atmosphere that US President Elect Obama is drafting legislation to put them under the watchful eye of the Environmental Protection Agency because they're a hazard to the public health.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Google Piggyback

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.