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Chrome OS: Internet failing at PC > PC failing at Internet
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 20 November 2009 18:51

From ARS Technica

In 2009, it's better to be an Internet company that's taking slow, awkward first steps toward the PC, than a PC company that's still trying and failing to truly integrate with the Internet. Ars looks at what Chrome OS means for Google, Apple, Microsoft, the netbook, ARM, Intel, and the cloud. "Revolutionary" is a clichéd term, but Chrome OS is a good candidate for it.



MOUNTAIN VIEW — Unless you were hiding under a rock for most of the day yesterday, you're aware by now that Google held a press event at which the search giant pulled back the curtain on ChromeOS, the OS that's really a browser (and is based on the browser that's really an OS). The search giant announced that it is open-sourcing the OS, and described in detail much of its nature and function.

In this article, we'll recap only a few of the highlights of the announcement, because the news has been covered exhaustively elsewhere. Our main focus here is to provide some analysis and context, and to think about what ChromeOS means.
The highlights

What Google unveiled in detail is actually more than just an OS. ChromeOS presumes a particular hardware platform—exclusively flash for storage, custom firmware, and a limited, Google-approved set of system and peripheral devices that the OS will recognize and use. This being the case, this article will refer to a "ChromeOS portable," because to think in terms of a "netbook that runs ChromeOS" is a mistake, for reasons discussed later.

The custom firmware integrates some of the functions of a boot loader, so it's a bit more robust than a traditional BIOS. During the seven-second boot time, the firmware loads a series of kernel modules, all of which are signed; if the signature check fails at any point in boot-up, the machine will prompt the user for a reboot, after which a clean version of the OS is downloaded and the entire device is essentially re-imaged.

Once you get past the custom firmware layer that lives on the "hardware" side of the portable, ChromeOS proper is essentially a version of the Chrome browser that runs right on the hardware, with as little as possible in the way of an intervening OS stack. Every "application" is just a webpage, which means that users don't install binaries, ever, for any reason. "We run completely inside the browser model," said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google when describing user application execution. [ARS Technica...] [Comments...]

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