On 7th July 2009,Google announced its intention to join the operating system market with the announcement of Chrome OS, an extension to its seemingly disappointing Chrome web browser.I had honestly been asking myself for sometime back as to when Google would get into the OS race.I just want to see another giant take on the Redmond giant that has enjoyed so for so many years.To me, the failure of MS Vista was a big turning point in my view of the company. Since then i had always wanted another viable and alternative to MS.

So it was not surprising when there was so much rumor on the blogosphere that Google was entering into the OS market, a move that is seen by many as a direct challenge to MS.So reading that news from the Google blog was both heart warming and disappointing to me for a few reasons.

Google Chrome OS is meant to be a thin client that is meant “to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds”, so says the official post.Also “Google Chrome {will be} running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel”. OK, so the thrust of the OS will be “speed, simplicity and security”, but the question i ask myself is “do we need yet another Linux distro in the already fragmented less than 1% share in the desktop market?” well,i believe no.

You see, there are distros out there that can do all that Google is designing Chrome to be. My favourite distro, Ubuntu, is virtually, in my view, a fast forward release of the yet to be born Chrome OS.I can get my Ubuntu laptop to be up and running in 45 seconds after pressing the power button. I don’t have to worry about viruses or other security issues. I am able to run web apps in my browser as Chrome OS is meant to be. I am already a “cloud man”,with all my data in the cloud. So all i do with my Ubuntu machine is run my stuff in the browser. And it works perfectly and flawlessly.

To me, it is not so necessary to have Google risk its reputation on a new OS that may take so many years to to establish itself since people will not suddenly move to cloud based computing in the near future. There are hundreds of millions of people who will still want to watch a movie with VLC on their machines, edit photos, play their music collection and lots of other things that they wont need to have to get onto the net to do. So it is safe to say that Google will have a lot of work to do, with the launch of its Chrome OS, which is not expected to ship untill the second half of next year, given the fact that there has been so much hype surrounding the OS.

Since Google wants to take on the software behomoth in Redmond, it opted for Linux, an Open Source project. This means that the Chrome OS code would have to be released to the public for any one to use under the relevant licenses. That sounds good, but my question is, couldn’t the big G just buy off a solid distro like Ubuntu which has a good user base and a solid record of being reliable. After all, the distro has the speed, runs fine with web apps, is built on the Linux Kernel and is very popular. I honestly believe Google could have done better with an outright purchase of a distro like Ubuntu rather than stake its reputation on the line with the introduction of a new OS . After all, Ubuntu can be used both as a platform to the web and can also run apps offline.

All the same, Chrome OS is not yet out and only time can tell if Google made the right decision to build an OS from scratch.If you are wondering what Ubuntu is, what it looks like and what it can be used for, check out this Youtube video.

What do you think of Google’s up comming Chrome OS, share your thoughts.

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