Software // Operating Systems
News
12/2/2009
09:01 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Google Chrome OS Previewed

Google's Chrome operating system is about a year away, but a tour of Chromium OS -- Chrome's publicly available open source incarnation -- reveals a lot.




Chromium OS is the core open source element for Google's Chrome OS.
(click for image gallery)

When Google announced it was creating its own consumer-oriented operating system based on the Chrome browser, the world gasped. On November 18th, Google gave the world its first peek of Chrome OS -- and this time there were yawns and shrugs among the oohs and aahs.

What the search giant displayed was a combination of Google's already-familiar Chrome browser with a thin Linux underpinning -- an OS designed to do little more than connect to the Web and run Chrome in a heavily protected fashion.

But for new generations of computers users, for whom computing is the Web, Chrome OS may be able to satisfy their inner Goldilocks. Instead of a full-blown desktop / notebook PC or a tiny smartphone, they'll be able to pick up a just-right netbook or tablet PC that won't drain their wallets and Chrome OS will give them everything from YouTube to Yahoo! in a way that they're already familiar with.

Chrome OS won't be ready for about a year, but we're going to take a quick preview tour of the operating system via its publicly-available open source incarnation, known as Chromium OS. This is far removed from the finished product, but enough of the important pieces are in place to give us an idea of what Chrome OS is meant to do.

The Basics

First, some clarifications. What people are downloading from Google and compiling and booting in VMs or on netbooks right now isn't "Chrome OS," strictly speaking. It's Chromium OS, the core open source element for Chrome OS. It doesn't include Google's brand-specific refinements, and it doesn't yet run on its target hardware -- mainly because there isn't any such hardware yet.

This may seem like nitpicking, but it's not. The final, official version will have a level of polish and a degree of integration with its host hardware that Chromium OS does not have by default. For the sake of consistency, we'll be referring to the OS as "Chromium OS" throughout this piece.

There are two ways to obtain Chromium OS. The first is to download the source code and build it yourself. This isn't a trivial task: the instructions for doing this run to a few pages , and require a running copy of Linux for the build environment.

Previous
1 of 5
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.