Google makes Chrome OS open source today

Google makes Chrome OS open source today

Summary: Contrary to rumors, Google did not release a beta version of its much anticipated Chrome operating system today. And nothing is coming anytime soon: the final version is at least a year away, the mega giant web company said.


Contrary to rumors, Google did not release a beta version of its much anticipated Chrome operating system today. And nothing is coming anytime soon: the final version is at least a year away, the mega giant web company said.

But there was some significant news for the community today. Google made the early code available to the open source community and claims external developers will have the same access to the code as internal Google developers.

All the code is open and sketches of the design documents are available now. The final version of the cloud-based operating system is expected to ship at the end of 2010, before the holiday season, executives said.

Google also provided an early demonstration of the web operating system, which sports a Chrome browser-like interface that features application tabs instead of web page tab and a seven second bootup time that is expected to be much faster on its release.

For example, users will see the same clean tabbed style interface but the tabs on the upper left hand of the screen are for gmail, Yahoo, Facebook and any other web service or application customers use on a day-to-day basis.  All of the data, of course, is stored in the cloud.

Executives who showed the demo Thursday said the Chrome OS functions more like a TV than a computer. It is entirely solid state and based on Flash memory storage so there's no latency that comes with using a hard disk.

The OS uses web-based security model. The software offers a verified boot and cryptographic signature keys that check for and ensure there's no malware impacted the applications.  Like the Chrome browser, it will also feature security sandboxing to isolate one web application from another.

The web operating system will offer auto-updating and synchronization capabilities.

Go To Market

Google is working with partners to specify hardware competence and reference implementations at the hardware level.  That is, Google Chrome OS will support only solid state drives and select wireless cards. This means that customers will have to buy a new next-generation netbook or device that is designed for the Chrome OS.

The initial form factor for 2010 is the netbook. Laptops and desktops may follow in the future.

Google expects hardware devices to fall in same price range as netbooks are today.  Chrome OS netbooks will be larger and feature a full sized keyboard.

"The code is open. We would not be here if it were not for several large open source projects such as Linux kernel, Ubuntu, Moblin and webskit," said Caesar Sengupta, Group Product Manager. "We'll be a good open source citizen."

The open source operating system won't support other browsers natively but third parties including Mozilla and Microsoft can take the code and do Firefox-based and Windows-based versions of the OS.

More Google Chrome OS coverage:

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Google, Hardware, Open Source, Operating Systems

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  • I like it

    The ChromeOS demo looked pretty cool!

    I'm almost 100% webapp-based already, so I could see myself using a simple, fast & no maintenance OS like that the majority of the time.
    • Just what the world needs

      A Linux flavour with integrated Google spyware. There is a price for no maintenance.

      Why bother when there are so many other good and light Linuxes?
    • RE: Google makes Chrome OS open source today

      That is, Google Chrome OS will support only solid state drives and select wireless cards. This means that customers will have to buy a new next-generation netbook or device that is designed for the Chrome OS.<a href=""><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
  • I like it too, but, for me, I need to compile and run programs locally.

    I would imagine that eventually there will be a KVM enabled version that will allow me to run a more normal desktop in another VM.
    • That's not what you were saying the other week

      You were proclaiming vigorously that ChromeOS was going to decimate Windows' ownership of the PC landscape and free the whole world from the tyranny of Microsoft's grasp.

      You and I went round and around regarding the claims that you and others were making that ChromeOS was going to be a general purpose and direct competitor to Windows.

      What changed your mind?
      • Present tense vs. future tense

        "Going to" implies the job isn't done yet. And one's computing needs won't go away until Chrome gets released.

        Also, he made no mention of using Windows at all.
        Michael Kelly
        • Please make your point

          My grammar was correct when pointing out what Donnie was stating what he believed ChromeOS would be in the future.

          Do you actually have a relevant point to add to the conversation?
  • ROFL @ "mega giant web company" (nt)

  • LOL, so much for "trying" to steal MS thunder during PDC.

    Opps, no one was supposed to notice. Sorry...
    • The unannounced guest to Chrome's party

      Did you guys watch SilverLight4's demo yesterday? Boy, that thing is lightening up a fire beneath the rear of HTML / JAVASCRIPT. Future AJAX apps will look like garbage in front of SilverLight and Google must know it, which is why they are so desperate to shove out gimmicks like Chrome OS to direct the attention away for M$' answer to future Web apps.
      • "Unannounced" is an understatement

        The press is full of news about Chrome, but honestly this is the first I've heard about SilverLight. Seems this was something much ballyhooed some year or more ago, then some reversal wrt olympics, and sort of faded from the radar.

        The challenge for MS will be to raise this product's public image up out of the grass.
      • Silverlight and the platform lock in

        Yes, Silverlight is nice, but going there implies a platform lock in.

        Oh, giving breadcrumbs to Moonlight does not count as multi-platform.
        • SilverLight draws circles around Chrome

          Locked-in or not, it's the substance that matters.
          • Only idiots will take the Silverlight bait.

            Or people who cannot learn new things, especially if they don't say MS Corp all over the place and cost a perpetual fortune.

            MS are fcuked. I can't wait for the share price crash party.
          • I'm sure you said this before

            How much control will Google have over everyone until you switch to start calling it Goog$e? Forget the hate. Be productive. And your vulgarity just shows how passionate you are about giving money to Goggle instead of Microsoft. Either way, you're the one who is F**ked :)
            A Gray
        • What is NOT lockin?

          Yes, because all of us moving to Chromium won't be locking us all in since its open source. Honestly, how many people will ever compile their own OS? I'm guessing less that 1000th of a percent of people who actually have a PC of any kind.

          Whatever you choose will lock you in. Silverlight is the best tool. If you choose Flash, you'll just lock yourself into an inferior tool. At one time, Flash was alight compared to HTML. How, its dated. Someday something better than Silverlight will be out. Until them, don't be such a fan-boy.
          A Gray
  • Rather than releasing an unfinished project, Google

    chose to wait. A wise decision, which will give those of use who are interested - and I suspect they will not be few ! - time to change to solid-state drives. Sure hope those SSD prices fall signifcantly in the year to come !...

  • RE: Google makes Chrome OS open source today

    Welcome to Google's new world of vaporware. And let me guess, Chrome OS when released will always be in beta and you will need to get an invite to be able to use it. And on top of that, anything you type into Chrome OS becomes the property of Google. I can't think of anyone who would want that.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE:RE: Google makes Chrome OS open source today

      Awwww, did Loverock not get his Google invites?
    • Vapourware is an MS invention.

      Google under-hype and over-deliver. MS always do the opposite, and of course force people to pay them more money to upgrade when they don't want to, just so that their printers stop working etc etc. MS are fcuked. They refused to change and now their time is done.

      The best thing is, Microsoft can no longer be fashionable. Not only have they been around too long, but they've taken the pis s so much that everybody can see what a lying load of incapable thieves they are.