Feeds

Google Chrome OS mauled by Richard Stallman

'Careless computing for suckers'

Security for virtualized datacentres

Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman has attacked Google's still-gestating Chrome OS, arguing it's designed "to push people into careless computing."

Stallman – who created the free Unix-style GNU operating system – has never been a fan of so-called cloud computing. At one point, he called it "worse than stupidity." And now, he's peeved that with Chrome OS, Google is so strongly encouraging netizens to move data off their personal machines and onto servers that aren't under their control.

"In the US, you even lose legal rights if you store your data in a company's machines instead of your own," Stallman tells The Guardian. "The police need to present you with a search warrant to get your data from you; but if they are stored in a company's server, the police can get it without showing you anything. They may not even have to give the company a search warrant."

Chrome OS moves all your data and applications into the browser. Google doesn't even offer a ready means of browsing your local file system. The OS won't officially arrive until sometime in the middle of next year, but last week, Mountain View released beta laptops to a handful of testers. The Reg has one. But don't tell Richard Stallman.

Google says Chrome OS lets you "live in the cloud." But Stallman says this is meaningless. "I think that marketers like 'cloud computing' because it is devoid of substantive meaning. The term's meaning is not substance, it's an attitude: 'Let any Tom, Dick and Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your computing for you (and control it).' Perhaps the term 'careless computing' would suit it better."

Chrome OS, he continues, is for suckers. "I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear."

Stallman likes that under the covers, Chrome OS is rooted in GNU/Linux. But he doesn't like it that much. "In essence, Chrome OS is the GNU/Linux operating system. However, it is delivered without the usual applications, and rigged up to impede and discourage installing applications," he told The Guardian. "I'd say the problem is in the nature of the job ChromeOS is designed to do. Namely, encourage you to keep your data elsewhere, and do your computing elsewhere, instead of doing it in your own computer." ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.