Google confirms Chrome OS reveal date

20 Nov 2009

Google’s Chrome OS operating system for netbooks will be ready for consumers by this time next year, a Google executive has confirmed.

Caesar Sengupta, group product manager in charge of Chrome OS outlined plans by Google to open source the project as Chromium OS.

“In July we announced plans that we were working on Google Chrome OS, an open-source operating system for people who spend most of their time on the web.

“Today, we are open-sourcing the project as Chromium OS. We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open-source community and developers. As with the Google Chrome browser, development will be done in the open from this point on. This means the code is free, accessible to anyone and open for contributions.”

What’s in the Chromium OS project

Sengupta said the Chromium OS project includes Google’s current code base, user interface experiments and some initial designs for ongoing development.

“This is the initial sketch and we will colour it in over the course of the next year. We want to take this opportunity to explain why we’re excited about the project and how it is a fundamentally different model of computing.

“First, it’s all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.

“Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn’t trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer.

“Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot. While no computer can be made completely secure, we’re going to make life much harder (and less profitable) for the bad guys. If you dig security, read the Chrome OS Security Overview or watch the video.

Speed obsession

Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimising many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS.”

Sengupta said that working with the open-source community is vital, as the company has benefited hugely from open-source projects in the past, like GNU, the Linux Kernel, Moblin, Ubuntu, WebKit and many more.

“We will be contributing our code upstream and engaging closely with these and other open-source efforts. Google Chrome OS will be ready for consumers this time next year,” Sengupta said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years