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What Chrome OS has on Windows that Linux doesn't
Linux
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 09 July 2009 11:20

  Google's Chrome OS isn't the first operating system to challenge Microsoft Windows' commanding lead. But it's got an advantage that other rivals such as Linux lacked: the Web.

July 9, 2009 4:00 AM PDT
by Stephen Shankland

Any new operating system must attract the developers who produce the applications to make it useful. The trouble Windows challengers have had is matching the wide spectrum of software available for Windows already.

That software includes mainstream titles such as Microsoft Office, Quicken, Adobe Photoshop, games, but also innumerable programs for narrower niches such as genealogy. Although some people are happy if they have the handful applications they need, an operating system needs broad support to achieve mass penetration.



Canonical's Ubuntu version of Linux has a lot of buzz as a desktop operating system, but when April 15 comes around, TurboTax doesn't run on it. Multiply that by all software the world needs and the Windows incumbent advantage becomes clearer.

Chrome OS faces the same applications challenge as any other operating system, but it's rising to that challenge in a different way. It includes the Chrome browser running on a stripped-down version of Linux, but the applications won't run on Linux, they'll run on the Internet. Chrome is the conduit to the Web applications, and Chrome OS is the vehicle by which Google will get the browser installed on Netbooks starting in the second half of 2010, the company promises.

The Web is the OS
"For application developers, the Web is the platform," Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, engineering director, said in the Google Chrome OS blog announcement Tuesday.

That gives Google some real advantages. Everybody already is using the Web, including everybody using Windows. Adding Web applications to your life is a much more gradual shift than suddenly cutting over from Windows to Linux or Mac OS X.   [C/Net News...]    [Comments...]

 

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