Feeds

Google Chrome OS mauled by Richard Stallman

'Careless computing for suckers'

High performance access to file storage

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." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.