EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.30.14

Google and the Desktops (or Laptops)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Google’s operating system for desktops and laptops is shaping up, and what can be said about it from a freedom advocate’s perspective

GOOGLE’S Chrome OS, which is becoming one of the world’s most widespread GNU/Linux distributions for the desktop, is receiving more coverage these days [1] (it’s mostly positive and optimistic). Capitalising on the success of Android and increasingly converging with it [2] for development [3] and apps, Chrome OS seems to have a future of relatively high presence if not worldwide domination (Chrome OS is for desktops and laptops, not mobile devices, which is where Android now dominates). Chrome OS very much revolves around the Web browser, which is not surprising given Google’s core business.

Recently, in order to improve perceptions of Chrome security, Google offered cash prizes [4] and tackled allegations of eavesdropping (by accident [5-8]). There are some attempts, including poor ones [9], to discredit Chrome using “security”, especially now that a new release comes out [10-12], eliminating Flash in the process (at least for GNU/Linux and its Free version of Chrome, called Chromium [13]).

Chrome OS and Chrome are proprietary, but they have Free/open source surrogates, Chromium OS and Chromium. They are privacy-infringing, but they are generally more benign than the proprietary software which still dominates in desktops and laptops.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What Chrome OS Needs to Expand Adoption

    Back in 2012, I did a comparison between Chrome OS and Ubuntu. I examined the areas where each operating system differed and I also touched on a few of their similarities. In this piece, I’ll take it a step further and examine how Chrome OS is close to filling the OS gap, yet might need some improvements in key areas before the masses begin dumping Windows to migrate to it.

  2. Chrome apps come to Android
  3. Google Delivers Developer Tools for Apps for Android and iOS

    It was back in September of last year that the Google Chrome team delivered an extensive post up heralding “packaged apps” that work with Chrome, which the team obviously felt could become a game-changer for Google’s browser. “These apps are more powerful than before, and can help you get work done, play games in full-screen and create cool content all from the web,” wrote the Chrome team. Many of us have tried some of these apps and experienced how they make the browser feel almost like an operating system underlying applications.

  4. Pwnium hackathon: Google offers nearly $3 million in rewards
  5. Chrome Eavesdropping, Balkanized Internet & More…

    It’s convoluted and unlikely, perhaps, but there’s a way that websites can trick the Chrome browser into leaving the mic open, allowing who knows whom to eavesdrop.

  6. Speech recognition hack turns Google Chrome into advanced bugging device
  7. Google dismisses eavesdropping threat in Chrome feature
  8. Security Alert: Google Chrome

    Right now I’m glad I never used Chrome.

  9. Spammers buy Chrome extensions and turn them into adware

    Changes in Google Chrome extension ownership can expose thousands of users to aggressive advertising and possibly other threats, two extension developers have recently discovered.

  10. Chrome 33 Beta: Custom Elements, Web Speech Synthesis
  11. New Google Chrome 32 Release Fixes Mouse Pointer and Quicktime Issues
  12. Chrome 33 Beta: Custom Elements, Web Speech, and more

    Today’s Chrome Beta channel release kicks off the new year with a slew of new features for developers ranging from Custom Elements, to web speech synthesis and improved WebFont downloading. Unless otherwise noted, changes apply to desktop versions of Chrome and Chrome for Android.

  13. Use Chromium on Linux? Adobe Flash Will Stop Working From April

    Google are to drop support for the ‘Netscape Plugin API’ (NPAPI) – used by Adobe Flash – on Linux builds of Chrome/ium far sooner than was originally planned.

    The ageing plugin architecture, which allows for unrestricted access to a computer, is considered inefficient and insecure, with Google calling it ‘the leading cause of hangs, crashes, and security incidents’.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. linuxcanuck said,

    February 1, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Gravatar

    I am not sure if I read this right. I had to read it twice. You have trashed Canonical and Ubuntu which is FOSS repeatedly for having spyware included just because they have a scope linking to Amazon which does the actual spying. It is removable and you can turn it off but the inclusion alone is enough to cause you and RMS to go into spasms.

    Then you laud Chrome OS which you say is proprietary but included FOSS components and is released by the spying-est company on the planet.

    It makes you wonder if you have your head screwed on right or if you are softening your stance selectively.

    FTR, I do not use either Ubuntu or Unity.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    If you examine what I have said, then you’ll see that there is no anomaly. I generally emphasise (for years now) that Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux distribution, just as Ubuntu is (these are facts), and I generally call Chrome “spyware” and complain about Android and Chrome OS being privacy-infringing. I wrote about it hundreds of times in different places on the Web. By the way, in Stallman’s draft about Ubuntu he called it “malware”, but I advised him to change it to “spyware”, I don’t endorse spyware. I never really endorse Chom* anything or *buntu anything.

    In this particular article, I begin by saying we’re looking at Chrome/ium from a freedom advocate’s perspective. I then note that it is capable of taking over big segments of the market, irrespective of what it means to freedom and whether we like it or not. In the second paragraph I speak about attempts to say that Cheome/ium is not secure, even though IMHO it’s no worse than counterparts, especially under Windows. For the OS, my main concern is stuff that infringes privacy (I never use Chrome under Android and I ask Android users not to use it either).

    My last paragraph says that Chrome OS and Chrome are proprietary and privacy-infringing. It says that this is still not as bad as Apple’s Mac OS X and Windows because these ones don’t even have Free surrogates. There are other reasons, but I don’t delve into everything.

    My stance on Ubuntu is, if you are going to select a GNU/Linux distribution, then don’t go for Ubuntu. That said, i very much support those who replace Windows with Ubuntu and I am happy that Canonical helps popularise GNU/Linux (e.g. in Korea).

    If you think I am not consistent, then I probably failed to explain myself well. I will try better next time.

  2. linuxcanuck said,

    February 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Gravatar

    I have followed TR and BN for a long time. It is refreshing to read positive pieces like this one. I just think that if you are being open minded that you eed to make a habit of it.

    RMS’s hit piece against Ubuntu was two months after the fact. It did not account for changes that Canonical had made. It was nothing more than a desperate call for attention for his self-promotion and lecture tour. This is illustrative of most of Canonical critics. They use their criticism for their own ends. It is petty and sour grapes.

    Nobody has to use Ubuntu. Its success does not affect other distributions. They can either take the same road or one of their own. There is no need to try to build something at the expense of something else.

    I would never label let alone mislabel it. It is what it is and people can use what they choose. That is the essence of freedom. That is something that RMS does not accept. At the heart of it is that he does not believe in free choice.

    Techrights is a good critic of proprietary. My opinion is that it needs to also be open to promoting all distributions and allow people to choose based on information and not labels and narrow opinion. Calling names and using derogatory terms does not help. It hinders because it belittles those who use them more than the ones that you seek to criticise. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we needlessly in-fight.

    I recommend Ubuntu for those who would benefit from it. I recommend other distros that are appropriate for them. There is no one distro to rule them all.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I still write many positive things about Ubuntu, but when mistakes are made we need to draw attention to them, at the very least because we have the power to change things (Mono in Ubuntu by default, Yahoo — i.e. Microsoft — search by default in Ubuntu).

    When RMS wrote about Ubuntu he had already seen the EFF’s stance. RMS and the FSF — like myself and others — are very strong proponents of privacy, so the trend was worrisome. There is some “facebookisation” in some areas of Linux, especially Android. People are turned to products as part of a core business model. Monetising people’s perceptions or selling people’s thoughts is not benign.

    I am writing this from a Kubuntu laptop and I still accept people’s use of Ubuntu, it’s just not the distribution I would recommend first (usually, for new users, I’d recommend Mint, which is based on Ubuntu).

    By the way, Canonical is a client of the company I work for. I have set up quite a few Ubuntu servers.

  3. linuxcanuck said,

    February 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Gravatar

    We need to criticise constructively. Nobody deserves a free ride and mistakes made need to be addressed. The problem with the Ubuntu scope and RMS was one of timing. The storm was over by almost two months and Canonical had addressed the issue when he jumped in and then labelled a whole distribution as spyware based on one scope that was easily uninstalled and no data was being collected by Canonical.

    Mint too has made its share of mistakes. I cannot recommend Mint because it has no upgrade tool and because they have two bad DEs, Mate and Cinnamon. They have a development problem that nobody wants to talk about. They are not in the same position that Ubuntu was vis a vis Debian, with scads of paid developers. They risk going the way of PCLOS who trash talked Ubuntu. Too high expectations and not enough developers can send you in a tailspin.

    Ubuntu, love or hate it, has never tried to gain users by tearing down the work of others. The bad blood with Debian was one sided and that has subsided as each has gone in polar opposite directions.

    I prefer to think of Linux (sorry GNU/Linux does not work for me) as having distributions that appeal to categories of users. Ubuntu and Mint do not compete in my own mind. Mint is often trotted out as being newbie friendly, but I think not because it has no upgrade tool. Editing sources is not a newbie skill. Mint should be for average skill users who are used to Windows and Ubuntu is for newbies who want a more Mac-like experience. It is really a matter of matching the person with the appropriate distribution.

    We have lots of great distros and there is something good about each one. We can focus on the bad or the good and I prefer to focus on the good. I read most of what TR publishes and it is more positive than it once was and that is something that I like to see. I hope the old days of calling W7 Vista 7 is over. Respecting your opponent is important if you want to have credibility.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks, but one thing I must still ask: how did Canonical address the issue? It never really prevented Amazon from accessing an identity (IP address).

  4. linuxcanuck said,

    February 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, but this same thing would happen if a user used a web browser instead of the scope. Users do not have to use the scope or they can disable it or they can remove it.

    Nobody was saying that tracking wasn’t going to happen if they used the scope. But to say that Canonical was spying and that the whole distribution is spyware is way over the top and a complete distortion.

    Users concerned about privacy do not use Ubuntu and most other distributions, they would use something else. Users of Ubuntu want choice and freedom. If you want restrictions then you should use Debian and if you want complete anonymity and privacy then use Tails.

    What users need to know is the truth and not distortions. This is what happens if you use this. If you do not want that to happen then do this instead.

    I lost lots of respect for RMS over that issue. Had he mentioned it in September instead of December then it would have shown that he was interested in making things better. By mentioning after the fact when it was all over he was in it for himself and did not care about Ubuntu or its users.

    My idea of helping is to care about making things better for the users. RMS is not a user and did not care about the outcome. He only wanted his name in the news. And that is my biggest problem with GNU/ FSF. They are yesterday’s news and have to be controversial to get attention.

    If they wanted to make things better for users then they would be working on advancing the cause and not in turning back the clock. The best thing they did was GPL. For that I am grateful. Everything else is slipping from their grip. There is less and less of their work in Linux each year.

    I want to give respect, but they are making it difficult with their antics. Most Linux users do not care about even the GPL. They have their work cut out for them and are on the wrong track to get the message out.

    I appreciate what TR is doing. You have passion, but sometimes show weakness by not being able to resist taking shots.

What Else is New


  1. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  2. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  3. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  4. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  5. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  6. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  7. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  8. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  9. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  10. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  11. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  12. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  13. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  14. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  15. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  16. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  17. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  18. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  19. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  20. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  21. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  22. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  23. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  24. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  25. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  26. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  27. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  28. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  29. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice



  30. EPO-Connected Writers Are Using Alternative Facts or Fake News to Promote the Unitary Patent in British Media

    The misuse of publications for the purpose of lobbying by Battistelli and Team UPC (a small group of opportunists looking to exploit change that they themselves introduce) is worth noting, for its frequency is on the rise again


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts