Feeds

Google Chrome OS mauled by Richard Stallman

'Careless computing for suckers'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.