Google ChromeOS – a non-event

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The net is abound with buzz nowadays about the aannouncement of a Google “Operating System” due to come out the second quarter of 2010. Yawn..

Beyond the discussion of what qualifies this as an Operating System, for which I will direct you to two excellent articles by TechCrunch and The Register (Caution: colorful language), there is also the question of what the product actually is. According to Google, the Chrome OS is “Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.” In other words: Install Linux, Install Chrome, take away anything that isn’t Chrome, and expect who ever is using this to only use tools that run in Chrome. Seems to me this should take about a week for a competent System guy to do, assuming he has to write his own scripts.

So what’s the big deal here? The “new Windowing system”? Gnome, KDE, and the rest aren’t good enough for you, you need something that will launch Chrome automatically without showing a Desktop first? I mean seriously, what are they going to be spending a year on?

The answer is as simple as it is sad: they are going to spend the next year on trying to make Chrome do things the way a real OS does, and on trying to make Web-apps function like real apps. With all kinds of hocus pocus like HTML 5, Google Gears, and G-D knows what else, they’re going to try and develop a comparable platform for running the programs you need inside a browser.   I doubt they’ll succeed, and I seriously doubt that they can do it in a year.

And that’s the bottom line. No one really cares is the OS they use come from Microsoft, Mac, Linux, or Ed’s computer shopp and live tackle, they simply want to install their applications (that they’ve been using for years) and have them work. Period. This is the reason that after a great valiant run at Linux, I came back to Windows. It let me do the things I wanted, and have been doing for over a decade, without having to re-learn and re do everything. Trying to get everyone to shift paradigms and move to Google Docs is one thing (and a daunting task at that). The fact that Google Docs can’t do everything that office can is completely different. In the larger scheme of the corporate world, a $200 saving on a computer with a free OS is nothing compered to the amount of time, and hence money, wasted on trying to relearn years of established ways to do things.

There’s even more to is than that. As the Register points out:

But it’s not just Office that will keep Microsoft’s hold on the PC market. Can you replace Active Directory with a web app? Is there a site I can visit to connect to my office’s shared printer? What do you mean World of Warcraft doesn’t run in the browser? How do I play a DVD in Google Chrome?

And he’s absolutly right: The greatness of a true OS is that it can run ANYTHING, not just thing that are written in the limited context of the Internet. And if a program is installed on my hard drive it will run with or without a network connection, and can access and modify the files on my drive without the fear that sudden server congestion will break it. Until ChromeOS can claim even a little of that, it is not Operating System, it’s a non-event.

Good Weekend,

B.E.

Do you understand the words that are coming our of my keyboard?

I happened across an interesting article about OpenXava today. OpenXava is a platform for Java Enterprise applications that promises to simplify code development, which is a great idea. But what struck me about the article was actually the opening paragraph:

OpenXava 3.1.3 is a framework to develop Java Enterprise applications in a different way: OpenXava avoids MVC. It’s a JPA Application Engine in that you provide only your POJOs annotated with JPA and you obtain an application ready for production.

Productivity
With OpenXava, you only need to write your model, POJOs with annotations. You do not need to write the view, and the controller (for CRUD, printing, etc) is reused.

If you are scratching your head at this and reaching typing in Google for translation, you are not alone. Sure, it makes it sound all hi-techie and complicated when there are a ton of acronyms and abbreviations, but that also makes it harder to understand. What the guy meant was that you can use plain Java to create enterprise applications without having to go through a lot of the grunt work. As far as  introductions go, I think that would have been sufficient. There really is no need to make things sound more complicated then they are, and don’t always assume your readers know what you’re talking about. For any one who is still interested, the full article is HERE.

On the same topic, I’ve been meaning to write a post about the wonders of commenting your code, and why it’s so important to do it, and do it right. But then I discovered 13 tips to comment your code – a wonderful piece originally written in Spanish by José M. Aguilar in his blog, and translated into English by Tidarat Chamnasri Timm Martin (Thanlks, Tidarat, For the correction). It’s something that anyone who write code should read at least once a week. Or possibly (in the case of certine people) have ingraved into their forearm.  🙂

And finally, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’d recommand going to http://www.tengrandisburiedthere.com. If you don’t get it, look here.

Good Weekend,

B.E.