Why I am excited about Google Chrome OS and the Chromium OS project
So, why is this all so exciting? Lots of reasons.
Google is pushing open source and open standards, allowing more people to get involved and allowing other projects (such as browsers, messaging programs, and HTML5 applications) to be compatible. Google is also pushing cutting-edge web technologies to the mainstream. They are innovating on what computers can and should do today. Operating systems environments were originally developed when the Internet was not as pervasive as it is today. The usage model of most people has changed dramatically. Current browser and OS models are out-dated and lead to slower, less secure, and less user-friendly environments than are possible given the technology that is available.
Another really big reason this is exciting is that Google has really great brand recognition and has a legitimate chance of taking significant market share from Microsoft in the netbook space. Netbooks are just the start. Actually, smartphones (cell phones that have more advanced/rich functionality such as Internet access - Email, Facebook, Twitter etc.) were the actually start. Google released an open source mobile platform called Android (also based on Linux), which is running on various smartphones (for examples see: http://www.androphones.com/). Google taking market share is really exciting because they push open source and open standards. Having Linux-based devices available is a good thing. Sean Dague explains this general concept well in his Google Chrome OS post.
One reason for me, more personally, to be excited is being able to use Chromium OS as a very good browser virtual machine appliance. My research involves creating a more secure desktop experience for average users. It makes use of virtual machine technology (the ability to run more than one operating system simultaneously on the same computer). Chromium OS is just one great example of something that could run on our system in a locked down environment. The great thing about Chromium OS is that it is designed from the ground up to be fast and secure. They take a lot of security into account by default. We would just need to translate their rules to our system.
I've read up on Chromium OS quite a bit (the design documents etc.) and plan to use any of my (currently very limited) spare time to try to contribute to that project. It has some interesting parallels to my research.
If you have questions or comments about Chromium OS, feel free to bring them up here. I may likely need to refer you too the Chromium OS discussion group, but adding discussion specifically related to virtualization as comments to this post is greatly appreciated. For some of my thoughts see this discussion thread on a topic related to virtualization: