However, for kicks and grins I pulled out the CR-48 a little while ago and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to update to the latest version and - gasp - it was actually quite usable!
I have been using it on and off ever since (it sits in our conference room as a general note-taking and projector device) and I must say - there's absolutely something to this thing. The battery life is great (like 9 hours), screen is OK, keyboard is nice. Trackpad is still miserable.
For the most part my non-professional-work-life lives in a Chrome window anyway (gmail, google docs). If it had a decent text editor (I guess there's a SSH app you can get) I could see it working pretty well as a web development machine.
But for the proverbial "Aunt Tillie", this would be not a terrible device if the iPad was a little too simple. Auto-updates, Chrome syncing, Google docs? Pretty compelling.
It was the opposite for me. I've been using it for some time and stopped due to the constant crashing.
Each new update I had hoped the stability would improve, but it seems they're for new features only the new models could flawlessly run. Alas, I gave up a month ago. It's sitting in my pile of netbooks.
My CR-48 is my 7 year old daughter's machine to play flash games and such. Unfortunately, the CPU/GPU is a but underpowered for full screen Adobe Flash content.
In this case, you're also looking at a very cheap laptop in an OS where there are only two MODELS even on sale, one of which is older. It does not necessarily, or even probably, signal a sea change in the way people think about OSes.
I think this is a true statement and I agree completely, but only because Joe Averageuser doesn't think about OS's _at all_.
I think this very much does signal a sea change in the way people use their computers.
There will always be folks like you and me who want to get down to the nuts and bolts of things and start tweaking, but most people just want to check their email/facebook and work on that spreadsheet/document for the boss.
For years we have all been talking about what moving 'to the cloud' would mean for computing as a whole and now it's happening. Your data goes with you wherever you go and your computer is a super cheap and nigh-disposable way to access it.
The writing is definitely on the wall. In fact, at this point, it's been there long enough that it's starting to fade a little.
Microsoft is a lot larger than is readily apparent. That's because in the enterprise they're about as entrenched as can be.
Take away excel and the impact would be about as bad as taking away google would be (or maybe even worse).
MS will be around in some form or another for a long time. The question is more whether or not they'll be able to leverage the remains of the old into something new. My guess is not as long as Ballmer is still around.
I work for one of the largest companies in the world and this is absolutely true. If Google went offline it would be a minor inconvenience. Taking away Excel would grind the company to a halt. I tried converting a few of our hefty xls files to Google Spreadsheets but its not yet robust enough for the task. And thats just the worksheets themselves - VBA and macros are another level entirely.
That said, I cant help but see trouble on the horizon for Microsoft's enterprise offerings. We recently transitioned to a MS hosted Sharepoint 2010 and its absolutely woeful. Office 365 is ok but not a killer app.
MS can afford to make some fuckups in this area but if they lose traction in the enterprise then I think its the beginning of the end. I guess the xbox division can keep them alive for a while.
But dont the big corps work on volume licensing that is renewed regularly? In any case there clearly isnt a rush of new customers.
That's the vast majority of offices. And the lower number that are large/savvy enough to be pickier on backend systems still buy Windows and Office licenses anyway.
On the flipside, it's hard not to see mobile platforms eventually cannibalizing Windows from below, the way PC platforms (like Windows and GNU/Linux) eventually cannibalized minicomputer platforms, which in turn had cannibalized mainframe platforms.
I haven't heard of this technique being used in any other Linux distribution and I think it is quite novel. Sure, it wastes some disk space, but that if fairly cheap these days.
No and No. I guess chromebooks aren't for me.
Chromebooks might just be for you...
And the Chromebook in question has been out of stock from Amazon and only available through resalers at a significant markup.
Sure, the ChromeBook is the best selling SKU, but wouldn't it make more sense to combine numbers for the 500GB MacBook Pro and the 750GB MacBook Pro?
I can imagine a loving grandparent buying this affordable "Laptop" for their grand kids thinking this suits my budget.
Or someone thinking sure this thing is like the one I have back at home.
Again, a geek assumption about what non-geeks know.
Additionally in an office full of software developrs there are multiple people who are looking to pick one up or have already done so ( Myself included ). I think the "not very tech savvy" crowd would be buying the name brand laptops with Intel processors and Windows since that's what we have trained them to do for 20 years.
However I'm interested if anyone actually succeeded in proving it in some small claims court. There are legal precedents of victories against tying policies of Lenovo and the like in Europe, but I didn't find any similar examples in US.
I will say the comparison to Windows-based computers is a bit surprising however. Still, the type of person who buys a computer on Amazon is more tech-savvy anyway and would prefer a Linux-based OS as compared to the other two.
This is a win for web apps. This is proof that traditional desktop apps are dying.
If all my friends, all my colleagues, and all my clients are on Skype, then having an alternative doesn't help at all.
I think Facebook would be able to replace skype quickly (since everybody have Facebook), but not Google.
1. I did a statement that people who need skype won't buy it.
2. Someone told me that "these things have hangout instead".
3. I pointed that it doesn't matter since all your contacts are still in skype (and their contacts too), so you'll have to switch them all to hangout too.
4. Now you're saying "If they have a Chromebook, it's a good bet they have a Google account".
How is it related at all???
> Amazon's top selling laptop doesn't run Windows or Mac OS, it runs Linux
(That Amazon link doesn't include shipping but that's only an extra £3.99, so still considerably cheaper, and I'm sure when I bought mine it had free shipping... could be wrong, though.)
And even it doesn't matter if they are making a point that is too narrow to be interesting to you as they are not making false points as it is interesting to others and that is probably why it got upvoted.
The kicker is that the 100GB free storage on Google's cloud is only free for 2 years, after which you have to pay for it.
How is any of this better for consumer freedom than just Windows 7? The answer is not "because it has a developer switch on the back to install Ubuntu"; you can do that on a Windows PC as well. And an overwhelming percentage of normal consumers buying it won't be installing Ubuntu on it. In fact, I suspect that this kind of device that is absolutely at the mercy of a corporation is much closer to RMS dystopian vision than any Windows PC.
Would it make any difference to the user or even developers if it ran GoOS as the kernel instead of Linux? This is pretty much like a Tivo or a router.
...and the claim in the body text:
"True, there is Linux under the hood but you have to go out of your way to find it."
So, huzzah for another great victory for Linux (like TiVo, Android...) made possible by hiding Linux as much as possible.
The upside should be that everybody contributes back into the global pool of source code, and that even people who would never buy a chromebook benefit by google's source contributions. I don't know how that works out in practice though.
- Windows 8 (RT/Phone): NT kernel development started in 1989.
- BB OS 10: QNX 4.0 released in 1990.
- OS X 10.8 / iOS 6: NextStep first shipped in 1989.
What is strange to me is how little-used BSD is, given its more permissive license.
And why not BSD? I'd mainly say mindshare, and portability to a degree. You don't have to release your source every time you port BSD to a shiny new platform. BSD code is out there (networking stacks, a handful of the base *nix utils in OSX), but the permissive license cuts both ways.
Apparently, many of your home electronics likey run QNX, and you wouldn't know it.
Every so often I get surprised as to where BSD is when I come across it.
Ecosystem. This is a limited function device, which is bad, but anything you can do on it you can also do on a full Linux distribution. Which means that anyone who can get by with such a device will have no barrier to switching if they are ever inclined to do so.
That is the difference from a Windows machine. Because if you have Windows then you start accumulating Windows apps and you become accustomed to their interfaces and your files are in those formats, etc. etc. Windows locks you into Windows. ChromeOS doesn't lock you into ChromeOS; you can switch to a full desktop Linux distribution whenever you want and everything still works.
I don't want the normal user to have any kind of root access to their machine - and actually most users don't want it either! With power comes responsibility, and non-tech people don't want responsibility with their laptop - they just want it to work.
As long as there's a switch on the back to drop me to a proper bash prompt, and as long as I can tell whomever I support/recommend this laptop for "don't ever touch this" and it will continue to work for them, this is only a good thing. If you know that the user will never be doing rooty things like installing software, you can put a lot of extra security on a device without compromising the user experience, and the Chromebook does exactly this.
Better security, easier user experience, and as-in-speech freedom is one switch away if you want the responsibility. Honestly, I don't see the down side.
Your argument seems to be that "it is better as it doesn't allow me to buy OS-specific apps so I can't get tied in"? I might be misunderstanding.
No, that's pretty much it. The problem with Windows is that when the typical user goes to install a piece of software, there is nothing there to make them think "this will cause me great consternation if I ever want to switch operating systems" -- so they don't think that, and they install it, and soon they're thoroughly locked in before they even realize it.
Or to extract out the general principle: It would be best for user freedom if all operating systems used standardized cross-platform APIs and all applications ran on all operating systems.
So now you are asking a different question. But are you serious? One of the main barriers to Linux adoption has been the difficulty of switching as a result of lock in. Are you seriously asking how the elimination of that barrier could be good for Linux just because it also eliminates the same barrier for other operating systems?
OK, the default alternative to ChromeOS is that people use Windows. Using ChromeOS does not decrease the switching barrier to using Windows as compared with having used Windows in the first place, it only decreases the switching barrier to using Linux or MacOS. Moreover, MacOS can't be installed on a Chromebook, so there remains the substantial barrier to switching to MacOS of buying a different, much more expensive computer instead of just installing a desktop Linux distribution on the Chromebook.
Is there some reason you expect that conclusion to be an absurdity? Fact: People who have never used a computer are the ones with the most freedom to choose between operating systems, because they have nothing invested in any of them yet.
You seem to be implying that this is somehow not the case. Please elaborate.
If people can run linux, it helps linux. Even if they only "know" they can run linux. It's mindshare at that level.
That's not necessarily true with UEFI secure boot.
In one thread everyone will be so sure that ARM devices are the future, and in the next nobody needs to worry about secure boot because nobody will ever want to use ARM.
I don't think x86 is going to change dramatically, I just think it is going to continue to be marginalized. I, like many other consumers it seems, want a small thin fanless ARM computer.
There's also no prohibition from Microsoft on having two different SKUs for the same hardware.
The sky is not falling, people.
* Linux gains from having many people using it, what is effectively happening when a lot of people are buying Chrome Books. So ARM support is likely to become even better, and hardware manufacturers are going to build something more "linux"-friendly
* You can do whatever you want with it if you turn on the developer switch, so that's a plus
* You don't actually pay for a license for windows 7 if you buy this chromebook, so you are not supporting "closed source software" with money
* Google as a company has done considerably more for open source software than Microsoft (or so I think)
These would be my points, why I think of the chromebook in better regards as Microsoft Surface. However, it would be kind of awesome if you'd have an open, touch-enabled platform (like the surface) and could use it however you want i.e. installing Ubuntu on it. In that case I'd probably be really tempted to even buy one, though it'd come from Micro$oft.
You made some great points, but had to end it with that juvenile jab which adds nothing to the conversation and which I believe has no place on HN.
Edit: it works fine if you give it some time. I kinda like it already...
Somehow I SERIOUSLY doubt that.
And I don't think my sentiment is at all unique--I've certainly seen the same idea repeated on HN.
Uh, hell yes. I'm waiting to place the order button as soon as this http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5018096 makes more progress (though it's likely this will be confined to running Windows albeit less restricted). It's also why I'm evaluating grabbing one of these Exynos Chromebooks to install Ubuntu on (possibly in a chroot).
It's a cheap laptop that comes with Chrome OS installed. Versus the current market where I buy a cheap laptop and it has Windows installed. (And in this case I get to choose ARM if I want since Linux properly supports it)
Some Arm chipsets like the Allwinner can now be considered as the true spiritual successor to the PC. Although some aspects are closed source, workarounds will be found and even some closed source drivers can't hurt. It's just like the PC era when people were trying to reverse-engineer the PC BIOS.
The part about logging into your Google account is definitely questionable, but it's a cloud device and that's what you're buying in the end... the fact it has a developer switch is what makes it more like a PC in terms of control and not like a tablet or phone where installing your own OS has a few hurdles.
It's a matter of perspective, really.
From the HN "it's my hardware, let me do what I want" perspective (and count me among you), it's a bit of a paradigm shift. Sure there are some restriction but it's not as if we are completely shut out. We have Native Client to get at a lower level and the usual tools like SSH. If this isn't good enough, you aren't restricted to a single piece of hardware or just install Ubuntu.
The great thing about Chromebook running Linux is that more work is put into Linux kernel, Linux harware supporting and Linux software support.
Linux is not GNU. Locked down devices were explicitly allowed when kernel devs opted to keep GPLv2 instead of moving to v3. They don't care about openness of devices but about the source code.
Just to set the record straight, I was at the last Linux Crowd™ meeting and nobody was cheering over some inaccurate link-bait title of an article in zdnet.
Windows has been Public Enemy #1 for so long they've got tunnel vision, that's how.
Perhaps not for consumer freedom, but think about it in this way: You're getting a laptop largely subsidized by a corporation which is somewhat more guaranteed to successfully run your own brand of Linux. If you buy a PC with Windows and use only Linux, you are paying a lot for something that isn't even tangentially useful for you.
Do you mean Win RT? In which case that's much more locked and you can't run your own binaries or alternate OS's on it, or did you mean Win 8, which isn't really locked at all?
I agree it's not that 'open' for the average consumer, but the very existence of a developer switch makes this substantially more open than RT devices.
Isn't this exactly what folks have been asking for?
Want the secure version, great, that's what you get. Want to put your own stuff, just flip this switch on the back, and it's no longer secure, and you can do what you want to it.
> Want the secure version, great, that's what you get. Want to put your own stuff, just flip this switch on the back, and it's no longer secure, and you can do what you want to it.
This _is_ your own stuff, you're paying money for it, and it _should_ be "secure version" of it, and why do you need to flip anything to get this at all?
Google's NativeClient gives you native apps.
Stallman, on the other hand, is remarkably consistent and sticks to his principles. I doubt he'd be happy with the Chromebook
Not for $249 and not on ARM.
Everything is just "it's just like Windows and Mac OS, except it's not" and not always equates to "free, open source, no cost, no licence fees, customizable, faster, etc..." but never anything that was a true blue selling point.
To the users that have the know how to switch to Linux, all it sounds like is a slight upgrade over their existing setup with less software support.
I think Chrome OS is slowly getting attention because it gets out of your way completely.
No setup, no worries about losing files, extremely low risk of viruses or malware, you already understand it, and it's the easiest to leave in case you don't like it.
EDIT: I have trouble explaining to them that the "slight upgrade" is probably an unbelievable improvement in many aspects. (But a significant downgrade in many others.)
The lack of a real winner takes all windowing solution on Linux means everyone has their different flavor of desktop, all of which are slightly different everywhere. And not like Android different, far worse as far as fragmentation goes, especially sound (if you feel like pointing out sound isn't part of the user interface, I'm going to point out you're not the person who feels undeserved by Linux as is).
I predict Android on the desktop before Linux on the desktop, and if Linux comes to the desktop, it will come mostly from the work of VALVe saying "This is in" and "This is out" and pick the winners and merge them together into a cohesive whole.
Why on God's earth would someone want Android on a desktop machine?
Why does there need to be one dominant DE anyway? The day that happens is the day the core base of Linux users ditches Linux. It flatly will never happen. You think KDE is going to one day just say "okay GNOME, we quit"?
Because, if a company is going to write software to run on lots of machines and be closed sourced like most commercial software, it is going to require a pretty stable target to run on.
When there are 25 different popular Linux configurations, it is prohibitively expensive to test them all for the number of individual users for each configurations.
> You think KDE is going to one day just say "okay GNOME, we quit"?
No, I think game/software vendors are going to ignore one or the other, following the lead of someone like valve. Then that one will become very niche, like the BSDs
Android and ChromeOS and TiVo and your embedded-Linux toaster don't have this problem. They don't need to run legacy X applications and have monolithic GUI's built from the ground up.
Funny that people applaud these "simple" interfaces but whine and moan about gnome-shell embracing a simple, full-screen app, full-screen launcher model...
The fact that you use a windowing system that was designed for remoting but not displaying wigets for not-remoting but displaying widgets does not make you (or me) smarter.
Chromebook and android each present relatively fewer targets to shoot at.
What do you mean?
Dumbification does imply simplification though so I think it's generally a right direction and may be one factor that makes ChromeOS appealing (the problem there though is that it lacks a few fundamental features right now, but that's more easily fixable).
Huh? Unity, especially with auto-hide is literally more out-of-your-way than any other Desktop Environment in any Operating System I can think of. (And I don't even like Unity, I like Cinnamon and Elementary which are very similar to the Windows XP/7 and OS X style desktop environments.)
I'm just really exhausted of non-specific "it's hard to use". (Keep in mind I was specifically talking about pre-installed, though the Windows/Ubuntu installers are nearly the same). If I asked someone to install iTunes in Windows versus install Rhythmbox in Ubuntu, I know which would be easier for someone who had never used either before. Go to a website, download an EXE, bypass the scary security prompt, walk through a six step installer asking about location, menu entries and more. Or open Software Center, type "music player", pick one and click "Install".
If "it's hard to use" because people are used to Windows, I throw my hands up, there's no way to reply to that.
That's basically the answer. That and it's hard to use because most of the software in a windows power users toolkit is windows only. So using Linux for them is like using windows and wishing for bash.
A very eye-opening analogy and one that I can obviously more than sympathize with. (Although Git kindly installs Git Bash now which is appreciated.)
Yea, I did make the point above that Windows is not easy to use either (heck imo it's worse that Linux now), but people are just used to it, so it's perceived to be easier to use. For your example on Mac though, you simply just drag and drop which is by far the simplest.
More hand-waving. Don't know what to tell you, I've been using Ubuntu for years and I've never had anything break, certainly not magically on it's own as you seem to be implying. This stinks of FUD.
>For your example on Mac though, you simplyt just drag and drop which is by far the simplest.
Oh come on. The newest version of OS X requires that you ignore a huge security prompt, manually disable GateKeeper!!!, download a DMG, double click the DMG, know that you need to drag that App.app to your /Applications/ folder and then run it... clicking through yet another a security prompt telling you that you downloaded it from the Internet.
The "app store" model that Ubuntu deployed years ago via USC is so popular that it's the model that iOS, Android, WP7, Windows 8, and now even OS X push as their primary app distribution and installation route...
Windows in failsafe is a lot more user friendly (safe mode, startup repair, etc.) than Linux's "dump you into a terminal" approach.
This is based on my anecdotal experience so can be specific to my software/hardware setups.
DKMS should prevent kernel updates from borking anything, and so far I've handled all kernel updates from 10.04->now with no issues and that includes several custom built and installed kernels too.
Also, I'll even grant that getting the initial setup is hard, (but then again, so is the nightmare of downloading drivers for a laptop that has no ethernet port in Windows).
Do you see what you're saying here? It means that the proven setup you describe here needs to be attained by the user. This is not something an average user will be able to do and even the tech crowd has many difficulties with it as shown in the other postz here.
And I disagree that it's the same as a clean windows install. See, for a clean install in windows I have a relatively well working to do list: the device manager. Yes I have to download the drivers manually, but IMO the package approach has one fatal flaw when it comes to built-in devices: which one will work for my hardware? If I just try, will removal still work afterwards? Usually it comes down to finding a community tutorial (which are often quite good, I admit). Of course, this difference comes from the fact, that most hardware vendors don't fully support linux. Ubuntu has made lots of progress here in that it tries to install the correct packages itself, but for bleeding edge hardware you're often out of luck.
Here's an idea: How about a webfrontend for that hardware auto configuration, Ubuntu uses? It would map some kind of hardware signature to package name, has some community mode built in as well as the vendor approved configurations (e.g. if distro+vendor mode fails, activate community. which configuration is pulled is being determined by 'votes' (does your sound work now? yes/no).
You also talked about OSX's new security features. You don't need to do any of that if the App is signed, it's just double click install (though most are drag and drop). For Apps that are less popular, yes you'd have to disable gatekeeper, but that's not much worse than having to add custom PPA's on Linux (those cause a lot of issues too oftentimes).
I'm all for Ubuntu becoming an awesome viable desktop replacement, and it's come a long way, but (for me) there's far too many annoyances for now so I'm sticking to OSX for my main machine. I do think it's probably better than Windows now though.
I had Windows giving me more breaking problems than Linux, by far. All my windows machines broke after months of intense work and had to re install them, even win7. The most stable has been my macs through.
"Maybe you're a genius and can fix these problems right away, but not everybody is like you."
Well, I'm not a genius but I have a secret. When I buy a machine I look for good compatibility with Linux inside. It works great. You save lots of work in the future with such simple things. Now it is even simpler to choose hardware that works great with Linux.
Either way, Linux installations don't rot in the same way that Windows installations do - mostly because the Gnome people did not manage to infect the Linux crowd with the "registry" mentality. And partly because NTFS is so much worse than ext3.
Interesting times indeed. Gonna get harder for MS/Apple to make money off this turf it seems.
The same college goers tend to buy MacBooks, so I think Apple will be just fine.
This is the picture I have seen so far. En masse? Well only time would tell.