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Google’s Chrome OS: Tomorrow’s Desktop Today?


Sometime in 2010, Google will release Chrome OS, its take on a netbook operating system. It will be far more than just that though. It’s an entirely new take on the desktop operating system. While a final version is still months away from release there’s already enough of Chrome available that we can begin to see what it’s going to look like.

or starters, Chrome OS is Linux. To be exact, it owes a lot of its genes to Ubuntu. But, that’s all under the surface. You won’t need to know a shell command from the GNOME desktop to use it. As a matter of fact, you won’t need to know anything about the traditional Linux desktops — KDE or GNOME — either. Chrome OS’s interface is Google’s Chrome browser. If you can use a Web browser, you’ll be able to use Chrome OS.

That’s not the case now. Today, you have two choices if you want to try Chrome OS. The first is to build it yourself using Google’s instructions. While this is trivial enough for an expert Linux user, it’s not for anyone else. The easier way to give it a try is to visit Chrome OS Blog, a fan site for Chrome OS that features frequent builds of Chrome OS that you can either run off a USB stick or as a virtual machine using Sun’s VirtualBox.

Either way, you should keep in mind that you’re working with a sketch of an operating system. This is no way, shape, or form an operating system that’s ready for prime-time yet. Between it, and recent public comments from Matthew Papakipos, Chrome OS’ engineering director, you can see where Google is heading with its netbook operating system.

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