Google's vanity OS is Microsoft's dream
Snug as two bugs in an antitrust rug
No one will be happier than Microsoft about Google's vanity venture to market computers with a Google-brand OS. It gives us the illusion of competition without seriously troubling either business, although both will obligingly huff and puff about how serious they are about this new, phoney OS war. Since both of these giants are permanently in trouble with antitrust regulators - they're at different stages of IBM-style thirty years legal epics - that's just the ticket for them both.
Google's failure to dent the Microsoft monopoly will simply notch up another failure for Linux (whose fans are quite happy to work for The Man, as long as it's not the Man from Redmond) - and it'll do nothing for consumers. How so? Because the computing problems we'll have tomorrow will still be the same ones we have today.
It's a pity, really. There's certainly a gap in the market for new classes of devices, somewhere between a phone and a full-blown laptop. Pocket communicators with built-in connectivity, and a better keyboard than a phone, could be far preferable to any "converged" device on the market today, even the sainted iPhone.
Think of the old Psion 3 or 5 pocket computer on steroids, offering a lovely QWERTY keyboard for messaging, a screen that's good enough for browsing and a photo album, and small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. Today's netBooks really don't have instant-on yet, nor an optimal UI - and in a pell-mell competitive market where margins are squeezed, they're getting bigger, heavier and more expensive.
But these are both niches, at the end of the day, and don't need Linux underneath.
And because they're niches, they won't seriously challenge Microsoft's hegemony in the desktop market. The idea of a desktop running a thin OS served by the cloud is fine - until you want to do image processing, or make music or videos. You do realise there's more to a PC than updating your Facebook profile, right?
The extent of image processing in the cloud begins and ends with ICanHazCheeseburger. You really can't fault its ability to move the funny caption around - and change its colour! Get back to me when there's real-time video scrubbing, rendering or multiple levels of Undo.
Linux is a fine OS until you get to the applications - ah, yes... GIMP - and integration with the real-world, doing stuff your Mum needs to do. To make Linux n00b-friendly, Google would need to impose Google UI guidelines and do the hard work itself on a range of applications, because the cloud equivalents aren't there and Linux consistently fails to pass the consumer test.
Why you're being conned
There are some clues here that tell us Google really isn't serious about VanityOS - or whatever it decides to call it. Android would have been a much better choice - it's easy for OEMs and ISVs to work with, and developers love the rapid-development cycle of an interpreted language. (Yes, I know you can compile native code that sort-of-works - the beauty is in the development environment.)
Google doesn't really have a lot of faith in its own cloud computing applications if it needs to take a huge multiuser OS and strip out the innards, just as a backup.
After a couple of years of pronouncements we'll be exactly where we are today. Google will still be setting the price for internet advertising thanks to its "black box" psuedo-auction, and Microsoft will still be pre-installed (or pre-warez'd) on almost every desktop in the world.
Large corporations approaching maturity need something to keep them busy, and when they're not angling for pieces of state action, they'll often reach agreements like this. Here, they're inventing "competition". ®
"Are there really still people out there who think of the PC as a games platform? Get real."
Erm. EA certainly do, witness the recent Sims 3 release. Given that the Sims is a juggernaut of a franchise that hoovers up cash I'd guess that all of the people buying it think that too. There have been predictions of the death of the general purpose PC for many years, its not going to happen anytime soon.
This is an interesting move by Google in a limited market. Whether it gains any traction will be interesting to see. I have never understood why people gush over the latest announcements from a search engine/advertising company. Maybe its because they use Linux internally and fall into 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' territory.
Can I bash Linux too?
Replace the word Linux with Windows and Google with Microsoft and it reads like any other "Microsoft Basher" blog.
I happen to work on some of the fastest supercomputers and clusters in the world at Schlumberger.
Guess what they all run..?
Here's a hint-> it's not windows!!
And I have a fully supported Linux Desktop as my works PC alongside many others in the company.
It was the same when I was working in Sony rolling out their new TV platforms and Siemens while they are hosting bbc.co.uk.
Linux ... dead ... riiight!
Not from where I am sitting.
I have and am making a lot of money working solely on Linux systems so who says theres no money it it?
Microsoft are desperately trying to get a foot into these markets, but don't ever seem to make any progress.
Heard that somewhere before about Linux and the Desktop?
Linux Failure? Hardly.
Considering that Google doesn't want to give Linux any credit for providing a solid foundation for their operating system, I suggest that when Google's new operating system is a flop, you should blame them for the outcome. Still, Google is wise to distance themselves from the Linux brand, based on the types of stereotypes commonly expressed about Linux, and its perceived difficultly of use (as you so eloquently parroted).
"Another failure for Linux?"
You've got to be kidding. Ubuntu is more than user friendly enough for moms and grandma's alike. Free software is the future, not software that spies on your usage and phones home.