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Chrome and OS? Yes Google Chrome is an OS September 8, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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I posted on the day leading up to the Google Chrome announcement that it was an Operating System. Now a guy named Ted Dziuba (programming who worked at Google) says that people don’t know shit about this being an Operating System.

First of all a message to Ted. Nice try ( I have to differ having a degree in Computer Science in what oh Operating System Design) and Chrome is in fact and operating system or operating environment. By the classic definition maybe I can buy your argument but this is not about the classic definition. It’s about the future. The future operating environment where traditional elements are commodities.

I think that you need to look back at other environments to find some similarities. Outside of the common sense that Chrome is a platform for an operating environment of “new apps” I think that the networking stacks of the 80s is similar. I’m old enough to remember the ‘networking protocol’ wars (SNA, Decnet, TCP) and TCP replaced them all in the end. I would argue that this Chrome debated isn’t just about the classic definition of the Windows paradigm.

Chrome is an modern view of an Operating System.

For any environment if it quacks like an OS then it is an OS- Chrome at its core is a OS with a browser front end.

Comments»

1. Alan Wilensky - September 8, 2008

John:

Ted is 100% correct this time. Chrome provides no new services that serve to decouple the browser, any browser, from the need to initialize and enumerate devices, and to provide access to devices via a driver model.

None of the current browsers can directly draw to screen or use audio devices with the underlying OS. Could they? Yes, as we see with things like SpashTop, which is really a thin, ROM based OS.

BEA recently released a Java Application server that really does not need an OS at all – it uses an extended kernel that runs with the cooperation of certain Hypervisors to allow storage, graphics, etc.

The server side was a natural for the eschewing of the OS, as the local interaction model is so much more modest than a user machine.

Sorry, until Chrome or any other browser can cold initialize hardware, directly draw to popular graphics systems, manage local storage (volatile or otherwise) and enumerate and utilize audio subsystems …. no OS.

2. John Furrier - September 8, 2008

Precisely my point. Chrome actually decouples the applications and possible applications from the OS itself. Creating an OS from scratch to operate in a vaccum is an operating system with no enivronment.

Lets not confuse and operating system and and operating system that actually has an environment to thrive. This debate is great because it’s so ‘grey’. To me Chrome foreshadows what is to come. A programmer driven utility that will be defined by the apps (aka services) to come. I can imaging other virutal machines being initiated or initialized in the future ontop of a set of routines driven by the abilit to link and load more services. Functionally this smells more like an OS than not.

The key difference is the debate about fully integrated stacks or layered functionality.

3. Eric Rice - September 8, 2008

I’d think this conversation would have happened years ago. Hell, the *web* is the OS… i can access things from a ton of devices, with or without a computer… phone, atm, video-over-ip at the gas station, console. So I’d call you both wrong, although Ted’s take is pant-wetting funny.

4. Niflhiem - September 10, 2008

So, let me get this straight. Chrome is (supposedly) an OS because it runs and manages Add-Ons? So does that make my copy of Photoshop and OS because I’ve installed AddOns, or my copy of Firefox? No, it does not. Yes, Chrome may take the Add-Ons management and streamline it, but it does not have the capabilities to actually operate a system. Any and all of the OS-like capabilities it has always run through or on top of the regular OS.

That being said, I could be missing something important about Chrome. Yet for everything it has in common with an OS, it still lacks much, much more.

5. ocularb0b - September 10, 2008

an operating system is the low level software between the hardware and the software that the OS hosts.
Without and operating system to run on chrome cant do anything. Or even be installed for that matter.
It runs in the application layer in userspace. It is most certainly not an operating system. I cant even understand how this is up for debate. ……sigh

6. david - September 10, 2008

So umm does that mean I can buy a computer and not have to install Windows Linux or Mac OS? I can just install Chrome? Oh wait it doesn’t work like that does it I need an OPERATING SYSTEM to install an OPERATING SYSTEM? Wait a minute, isn’t Google just copying Konquerer which is on Linux? OK so that means when I start apps in Konquerer I am not running Linux I am running Konquerer? ahhhh what a load of crap.

7. Google: Is Chrome the Start of Something Big? - The Culture Market - September 25, 2008

[…] interesting features, such as the URL box also functioning as a search engine and the fact that the browser itself functions as a platform independent Java operating system; with a few minor modifications and the addition of Linux kernal technology, the browser could […]


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