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Chrome OS not a competitor to Linux, it *is* Linux.

A lot of people – including the BBC – are touting Google’s Chrome OS as a competitor to Windows and Linux:

The news could also be a blow to the open source Linux operating system, which had taken an early lead on netbooks, but then lost out to Microsoft’s elderly Windows XP. (BBC link)

Of course, this isn’t the case. Chrome OS is just another distro, albeit one backed by an enormous amount of dosh:

The software architecture is simple – Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. (Google blog)

UPDATE: I note that the BBC has removed the paragraph quoted above.

It’s an interesting idea – a distro where the only app is the browser – but it’s not really anything new; it’s just another iteration of the thin client idea. Of course, it might be the right iteration this time.

It also rather goes against a lot of the ideas people like Alec and Adriana are coming up with – ideas of owning one’s own data are rather scuppered by every application running on some anonymous server somewhere. Maybe, after a while, users of Chrome OS will start to buy UI-less home servers to run their apps on and store their data.

Maybe we need a UI-less distribution of Linux, running Apache (or whatever) and a whole bunch of open source webapps – word processing, spreadsheets – and, of course, a Mine! server.

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