Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chrome OS - About a Month Later

I have had my Chrome OS Laptop (CR-48) for a little over a month now. Things were going well till one day when I needed to SSH into my home desktop and change something for a presentation I was about to give. That is when I realized that I am giving up a lot of power when all I carry around is my CR-48.

My presentation was saved because I was able to use my Nexus One to SSH in. It got me thinking, why should my cell phone be able to run apps locally when my laptop could not?

The cloud promises ubiquitous data access. The CR-48 does a great job of putting me into that cloud and accessing all the data that I please. The problem is, so does my desktop. I only lost power by using an operating system that could not run local apps.

I have decided to put Ubuntu onto my CR-48. I followed this guide on how to get ubuntu installed and this guide on how to get the multi-touch track pad working in Ubuntu. The tutorials are not for the faint of heart, but they are mostly complete with little to no modification of the steps required.

Ubuntu on the CR-48 runs great! I installed Chrome as my default browser (my broswer of choice anyway) and chrome feels less sluggish compare to when it was in Chrome OS. I also get the power of a complete desktop, plus with the Chrome browser I get fast access to the cloud as I did before.

I am not sure what Google should do going forward. The most powerful concept of Chrome OS is that all a computer is, is a terminal into the cloud. A user doesn’t care how much hard drive space they have or how many Ghz their CPU has. As a power user it is hard to image a world where the computer is commoditized. That is exactly what Chrome OS is trying to do. I am not sure if the average user is ready for this commoditization.

For example, my fiancee was using my CR-48 to upload some pictures to Facebook from our digital camera. She couldn’t understand why my laptop didn’t have any photo viewing/editing software. She did not want to upload it to the ‘cloud’ to do what she did in 5 seconds on her own laptop.

Maybe in the future Google will find a way to make these net apps run native on a computer. As it stands now, the cloud is not mature enough to satisfy an average user of a computer. Let alone a power user such as myself.