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Thread: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

  1. #21
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Wow, I really didn't expect much of a discussion around this, but wow! I honestly hadn't thought about the licences the code was under and now that I've thought about it, Google seems to have made a clear distinction between Chrome and Chromium. I would like to know how does the licensing work in regards to Chromium being barebones Ubuntu and that having it's own license and then there's the Linux Kernel being GPLv2? How do they co-mingle? And how does that effect the release of source code?

    Some of you in this thread really opened my eyes to the fact that Google can make changes to Chromium and then ship it as Chrome, but if you think about it, it doesn't make much sense for them to hold back on the community. I feel that the biggest push behind the product will be the Linux community. Based on this, I think it would be foolish for them not to release source code and if publicly caught doing so that's bad PR.

    I'd like to just grab the steering wheel here and turn back to the original question, "Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?". As I mentioned in my piece, which I'm going to have to update/rewrite, with regards to the open source-ness..or lack thereof, the best way Google can help Linux is if hardware vendors start releasing drivers that actually work! I'm not too pushed about the drivers being open source (it would be great though) and I'm sure a lot of you might feel differently, but that's just not something companies like to do (eg. nVidia & ATI).

    As I've said before, ultimately I feel that Google's name will help with drive support and the like which can give Linux what it's been lacking for a long time and really give Linux an opportunity to shine!
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  2. #22
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Chrome OS may, by itself, not be that feature-rich. However, what if somebody edited the "build_chrome.sh" script to take advantage of JHBuild instead of Make to build code, not to mention building GNOME instead of Chrome? They would end up with a new Linux distro. If I had to do this I would, and I would upload the image file that results onto Launchpad. You'll be surprised.

  3. #23
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simian Man View Post
    No, the BSD license is for people who want their work to be useful to as many people as possible. The GPL has a "if you're not with us you're against us" mentality that goes against the grain of Open Source IMHO.

    For example, I write code using the MIT license (basically the same as BSD). Anybody can use and modify my code be it for a commercial project, or open source project (whether GPL or not). However I can't incorporate code from GPL projects because I'm apparently not on the same team as them.

    BTW large corporations can usually avoid using open source code if they want to; look at Microsoft or Apple prior to OSX. Granted Apple modified BSD because it was more convenient than starting from scratch again, but they could have if they had to. Who GPL really hurts most is smaller companies that don't have the resources to replace whatever GPL code they need themselves.
    Apple took BSD because it was there. OS9 was a joke and they had to take from open source to produce something good. Seems true for large software like an OS or kernel. And if somebody wants to consider MSWin a technological winner, that's cool but I have no further comment on that.

    Your isolated experience doesn't define what's best for the entire landscape, either. I'm sure there's tons of people working in the technology sector of smaller companies who would negate your side of the argument. Not to say that BSD shouldn't exist nor that it's a bad license. It's fine for those who require it, like poor Apple. I just personally don't like it and that is just my opinion. And of course there is at least as much of a demand for the GPL side of things because it can't be destroyed and diminished by corporate interests, which is the whole point of its existence.

  4. #24
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by LightB View Post
    Apple took BSD because it was there. OS9 was a joke and they had to take from open source to produce something good. Seems true for large software like an OS or kernel. And if somebody wants to consider MSWin a technological winner, that's cool but I have no further comment on that.
    OS 9 was a decent operating system for it's time, and Windows is absolutely a technologically sound OS. It amazes how much they've been able to refine it while still keeping binary compatibility with ancient software (a requirement Linux sure doesn't have).

    But the key is that Apple absolutely could have written a Unix-like kernel themselves. IBM, HP, SGI, Sun and SCO did. And even if Apple didn't want to, they could have licensed a kernel from one of those companies I mentioned. Anyway if this is such a problem with BSD style licensing, wouldn't you be able to come up with more than one example?

    Quote Originally Posted by LightB View Post
    Your isolated experience doesn't define what's best for the entire landscape, either. I'm sure there's tons of people working in the technology sector of smaller companies who would negate your side of the argument.
    OK, well when those other people you speak of are ready to argue for you, you can point them to this thread mmkay?

    Quote Originally Posted by LightB View Post
    Not to say that BSD shouldn't exist nor that it's a bad license. It's fine for those who require it, like poor Apple. I just personally don't like it and that is just my opinion. And of course there is at least as much of a demand for the GPL side of things because it can't be destroyed and diminished by corporate interests, which is the whole point of its existence.
    Right. The point of it's existence is to lock out anybody using a different license, not freedom. That's fine if that's what you want to do, but if your goal is to create something that is as free as possible, the BSD license is obviously better suited.

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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simian Man View Post
    OK, well when those other people you speak of are ready to argue for you, you can point them to this thread mmkay?
    Simian, you never provided any advocates to support YOUR assertion that the GPL hurts smaller companies. So I find it funny that once LightB questions your claim, you suddenly apply such a rigorous standard. And frankly I have to side with LightB on that issue. It's common sense that there are literally thousands of smaller companies who benefit from some kind of Linux server running Apache, MySQL and PHP, all of which are published under the GPL. And that's just the most obvious example. The thing with the GPL is, you can use it for commercial purposes and even extend the code without publishing it, just as long as you don't ship the application to any other users. But let's have a look at your argument, that publishing Chrome under the GPL would hurt smaller companies. That maybe true for a company who wants to take Chrome and improve it to the extent, that they would be able to take a significant market share away from Google selling their improved (hidden code) version. Does that sound like a realistic scenario for a smaller company to you? How many companies could make it this way? You might argue that your point is more pertinent with regards to other types of software, and that maybe another discussion, but as for here, I don't see how it applies. But more to the point, even if there were such a business model, I as an end user am not really interested in that, and I will choose what's best for me, and that in my opinion includes the guarantee, that the software I run is and always will be open source and open to inspection in all parts. For that reason I will not run nor support Google's approach.

  6. #26
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    (my understanding of linux and ubuntu has changed overnight after i saw a video of the ubuntu developer summit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olDMAYD7t3k

    if u can, kindly watch it. its pretty lengthy though, around 56 mins)

    anyway, the thing is, if google makes an OS (which it obviously is) it brings much needed attention to linux. thats the ultimate thing. i hope with the arrival of google to the linux arena, there will be more opportunities for developers to come up with better stuff, be it softwares, drivers, codecs, etc.


    Ubuntu 10.04 (64 bit), AMD Athlon X2 240, 4GB (800Mhz) DDR2 RAM, Motherboard - BIOSTAR GF8200C M2+

  7. #27
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    My personal thoughts. Plain and simple.

    Google has made such a small distro, it will be hard to use without it being on the internet. Like if you are out of range, or simply don't have wireless card from verzion (Or whoever does it, i don't know i'm not from the USA) You will be bored. It may seem stupid (My point) But it could be a factor.

  8. #28
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by earthpigg View Post
    [snip] ...but when one person points out, as the user above did, that the full products known as Chrome OS and Chrome Browser are not open source at all, and that Chromium OS and Chromium are open source... folks will be tempted to say "Same thing" and let the waters be murky and muddy. [...]
    Wow. OK. Now the waters are even murkier.

    Here's what I thought:

    1.) Google Chrome is a browser.
    2.) Chromium OS and Chrome OS are the same thing.
    3.) Chromium Browser refers to Chrome OS and Chromium OS.

    Ergo:

    Chromium OS = Chrome OS = Chromium Browser

    But does not = Google Chrome Browser.

    Is this right?

  9. #29
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by VTPoet View Post
    Wow. OK. Now the waters are even murkier.

    Here's what I thought:

    1.) Google Chrome is a browser.
    2.) Chromium OS and Chrome OS are the same thing.
    3.) Chromium Browser refers to Chrome OS and Chromium OS.

    Ergo:

    Chromium OS = Chrome OS = Chromium Browser

    But does not = Google Chrome Browser.

    Is this right?
    No. Chromium is the unbranded source code for the browser, Chrome is the branded binary that Google distributes on its web site. Same with Chrome OS vs. Chromium OS.

    Chromium, as well, is only the Google-authored portion of the browser's code. There are other components, notably webkit, that are already released under open-source licenses.

    Anyway, my understanding is that currently the only difference between Chrome and Chromium is branding. In addition, the OS is tightly integrated with the hardware designed for it that it may be unrealistic to install a source code build on commodity hardware.
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  10. #30
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    Re: Is Google's Chrome OS Good for Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by boobembe View Post
    Simian, you never provided any advocates to support YOUR assertion that the GPL hurts smaller companies. So I find it funny that once LightB questions your claim, you suddenly apply such a rigorous standard. And frankly I have to side with LightB on that issue. It's common sense that there are literally thousands of smaller companies who benefit from some kind of Linux server running Apache, MySQL and PHP, all of which are published under the GPL.
    Umm no, not exactly. Actually Apache is released under the Apache License which is a non-copyleft license. That means it is actually much closer to the BSD license than the GPL. Also PHP is released under the PHP license which, again, has no copy-left restriction so is closer to BSD than GPL. Of the examples you gave, only MySQL actually even uses the GPL.

    And it's beside the point anyway because, for someone who merely wishes to use the software as is - which is the vast majority of LAMP users - it doesn't make a lick of difference which license the software uses. It only matters to them that it's free of charge.

    Where it actually becomes an issue is when the user wishes to extend the software either by modifying the sources or by using the software as a library for new applications.

    And there are many examples of the GPL hurting smaller companies, but they are not really noteworthy or memorable because nobody is going to remember that company X chose not to use product Y. If you have worked in the software industry at all, you'll know that most companies avoid the GPL like the PLAGUE.

    Quote Originally Posted by boobembe View Post
    And that's just the most obvious example. The thing with the GPL is, you can use it for commercial purposes and even extend the code without publishing it, just as long as you don't ship the application to any other users.
    Well that's only useful in a very small number of situations isn't it? And if you think it's a good thing that people can modify GPL'd code for profit in some situations, how can it be a bad thing that people can modify BSD'd code for profit in any situation??

    Quote Originally Posted by boobembe View Post
    But let's have a look at your argument, that publishing Chrome under the GPL would hurt smaller companies.
    That wasn't actually my argument at all - though I can see how you may think that given what thread this is. I was just defending the license in general.

    Both styles of licensing have their place - just as proprietary licensing has its place. The GPL is better when you want to restrict people to using the GPL license for their work: either to entice them to buy a commercial like QT used to or because you want to lock out everything but the FSF's narrow view of what software should be.

    And BSD style licensing is better when you actually want your work to be free to everyone regardless.

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