Ubuntu Founder: “The Stranglehold of Windows on the Platform Itself Seems to be Coming Unstuck”


If you have watched the Linux community long enough, you know that every year is inevitably proclaimed to be the year where the Linux desktop will finally break through. Sadly, though, that has never happened. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu developer Canonical, however, thinks that a major sea change is currently happening in the corporate world that could give Linux another chance. Ironically, what’s giving Linux on the desktop a new opportunity is the fact that the desktop itself is slowly becoming less relevant thanks to virtualization and the move towards productivity computing in the cloud.

As Shuttleworth notes, “Windows is optional, or at least it can be managed and delivered as a service to any other platform, so it no longer has to BE the platform on the client.” Microsoft’s “stranglehold of Windows on the platform itself seems to be coming unstuck.” He estimates that 10-20% of desktops will be able to migrate to Linux smoothly over a year or two.

Rightly, though, Shuttleworth also notes that the Linux world shouldn’t really think of Windows as a target anymore. “Being an effective replacement for Windows,” he writes, “is no guarantee of relevance in the future.” That, indeed, is very true, now that a majority of what we do with our computers involves the browser more than anything else. With ChromeOS, Google is effectively making a push for Linux in the corporate world, though it barely ever mentions the Linux underpinnings of its project. Then, of course, we’ve heard this story a few times too often before, so before you get too excited, remember that every one of the last 10 years was declared to be the “year of the Linux desktop” by at least one pundit.

3:14 am

ChromeOS Just Got a Bit Faster and More Secure


The latest version of Google’s ChromeOS now allows Chromebooks to resume faster and offers support for 802.1x secure WiFi and VPN networks.

When Google first announced the idea of Chromebooks, a series of small, Internet (and Chrome)-centric laptops made by manufacturers like Samsung and Acer, its engineers touted the fact that – unlike other laptops – Chromebooks would actually get faster over time. Chromebooks, Google said, would see the same kind of performance gains that users of its Chrome browser have gotten used to. Now, with the release of the latest stable version of the ChromeOS operating system that powers these devices, Google is starting to fulfill this promise.

The Chrome browser, of course, continues to get faster with almost every release, but according to Google, the company also managed to get ChromeOS to resume from sleep about 30% faster than before. Starting up a Chromebook generally doesn’t take more than 6 or 7 seconds these days and a resume from sleep is virtually instant, so these speed differences won’t make much of a difference in the real world. It is still nice to see that Google is still working on shaving off a few seconds from the startup and resume procedure here and there.

Besides this speed increase, the latest edition of ChromeOS also brings support for virtual private networks (VPN) (an essential feature for many business users) and support for secure 802.1x WiFi networks.

In addition, Google also notes that a number of new services that are compatible with ChromeOS, including Netflix, Amazon’s HTML5-based Cloud Reader and a tech preview of the Citrix Receiver (for running virtual versions of high-end desktop software) are now available.

3:23 pm

Chromebooks Take Flight on Virgin America


Google is definitely trying its best to get the word out about its ChromeOS-based Chromebooks. Now, the company has teamed up with Virgin America – one of the Silicon Valley’s favorite (yet perennially money-losing) airlines – to offer travellers to “test-fly” Chromebooks for free onboard their flights and at select gates from July to the end of September. Chromebook users – including those who bring their own ChromeOS-powered laptops on board – will also get free WiFi courtesy of Virgin America and Gogo. Travelers who stay in New York’s Ace Hotel will also find a Chromebook in their rooms. (more…)

4:51 pm

Google Sued Over Chromebook Name – Could Delay Launch


The first batch of Google Chromebooks is scheduled to go on sale next week, but if it’s up to U.S. PC-maker ISYS Technologies, that won’t happen. According to a press release from ISYS, the company wants Google and its partners (including Samsung, Acer, Amazon and Best Buy) to cancel the 15 June launch. According to ISYS, the name ‘Chromebook’ infringes on one of its own trademarks, the “ChromiumPC” it sells under its Xi3 label. (more…)

4:15 pm