Google Chrome OS: Pivotal Player

Google will have not one but two OS available for Netbooks and PCs by this time next year. Google Android has already been adopted for smartphones and  is also being used on a number of Netbooks for introduction this Fall. But now Google has officially announced the Google Chrome OS – which is a new “bird” – being attached to the Chrome browser(sound like Internet Explorer and Windows 95???), configured to be Open Source and simple in the UI,  very secure (the OS kernel based on Linux is being modified to put in new security schemes), and geared to boot-up and run very fast. This is the Anti-OS/X-or Windows-7 approach with their huge GUI interfaces, networking and app support logic. Instead, Google Chrome OS is built to support the Chrome browser and Cloud/Net operations. And Google says the OS will be free and Open Source and available in the Fall of 2009 to developers and intrepid users. In 2010, it will be officially released.

Who is In on this OS

The full and official  release of the OS with PC/Netbook hardware is slated for second half 2010. The hardware vendors on board are: ACER, Asus, Freescale and HP. Two anomalous vendors on board are TI and Qualcomm – which implies a smartphone version or other goodies. The lone software player is Adobe – so Flash is likely to run here. The Wired Gadget blog  has some neat speculation on Chrome OS purpose  here.

JavaScript Implications

The Google’s Danes who are behind the fast performing Chrome Browser  JavaScript are on the Job again. The JavaScript questions are intriguing because as you can see here, there is a unique version of JavaScript for every major browser vendor. The standard appears to be the international ECMAScript 262- Version 3 with each vendor adding its own chosen extensions some  of which move towards JavaScript 2.0/ECMAScript 4.0 – the proposed new standard [however there is discord here].

Currently Adobe, in its Flash development language, ActionScript 3  comes closest to implementing the target JavaScript 2.0/ECMAScript 4.0. But of course ActionScript only runs in the Adobe Flash Player and AIR its online/offline Linux/Mac/Windows player. Next comes Mozilla with the Gecko-based Firefox 3.x which is gradually approaching ECMAScript 4 but has made major advancements with implementation of E4X, etc.

However, there is discord in the JavaScript community.

The ECMAScript 4 spec moves JavaScript much closer to Java and C++ with strong typing, packages, interfaces, and namespace. It takes the language and puts it on a more secure and developer-oriented footing. But the learning curve goes up massively [just ask Flash CS2 to CS4 Developers]. There is open revolt against this among the major JavaScript developers [Yahoo and Microsoft principally]. The interim solution ECMAScript Harmony does a sort of PHP-izing [or C++-izing] of the OO features of JavaScript 4 – i.e makes some of the OO features  available but not required. Strict rules like packages, namespecaces, earlybinding and others are relaxed, etc. So with JavaScript and AJAX frameworks playing such a critical role in Web 2.0, SaaS, and Enterprise Web development – what and how Google chooses to develop its JavaScript will be important. Google could:
1)Implement some important chunks  of  JavaScript 2,  like E4X which really improves XML and JSON processing but otherwise back off the strict standard;
2)Work with Microsoft and target the ECMAScript Harmony implementation;
3)Work like Mozilla and move towards the ECMAScript 4 strict standard but in small critical chunks.

So with the announcement of Chrome OS, Google becomes not only a major player in OS design [simple, fast, and Web oriented versus comprehensive,  GUI/3D-laden, and desktop oriented] but also in the future of the underlying Web engine, JavaScript.

Summary

Hmmm Chrome OS is very intriguing. Google versus desktop and GUI-oriented Apple OS/X and Microsoft Windows 7. Google being major player on the evolution of JavaScript engine design. And Google competing with itself(and its partners who are free to add apps and functions to both Google Android OS and Google Chrome OS as they are Open Source). Google’s Android OS will not deliver  multitouch screen operations[at least not any  built by Google] … but why not some enterprising start up? So Google will hope to keep its OS from being ossified by having two versions – and saying let her rip.

But even more fascinating will be how the Open Source and Linux community take to these offerings. Which Google OS will they choose to support ? And will the Linux community support either Android or Chrome which takes Linux in a simplifying and Web oriented direction [in contrast to the desktop heavy Ubuntu 8 or Fedora 7 Linux versions]. But will the opportunity to make a Linux breakthrough on the desktop be so attractive that Open Sourcers will flock to Google? One thing is for certain – with the Chrome OS announcement, the next year will not be dull and complacent in the World of OS and Web software development as some of the major trends/debates in development converge around Google Chrome OS.

3 thoughts on “Google Chrome OS: Pivotal Player”

  1. I have installed Chrome OS on one of my netbooks and the performance of Chrome OS is just okay. there is nothing fancy or very special about it. It was just a sort of GUI version of linux or something.
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  2. Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  3. No help from here – WordPress has improved much faster than Drupal, Joomla, Typepad, etc such that they have an iPad lead on everybody else.

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