In the first week of July I received in a bunch of machines off my company’s UPS technology subsidy. The story of the subsidy is probably worth a post all its own, but suffice to say, UPS basically gives the company a bunch of PCs every so often based on how much we ship with them. One of the machines we got this time was a laptop that I thought might replace my aging desktop at work and be usable at home since I’ve often got to access our network from offsite. My personal Macbook, one of the early all-aluminum chassis 13″ models from late 2008 is also aging and I was hoping this HP would make a nice upgrade / replacement for home use as well and I’d just give my old Mac to my brother as I’ve done with my last two Mac laptops. I’m sure he was looking forward to that possibility as well. When the HP came in, I was in love. It took only four short months for this relationship to sour.
Microsoft was right to be afraid of Linux, as Google just announced that a Google Chrome Operating System is on its way for sometime later this year and runs on top of… LInux. The new OS is being designed specifically for netbooks and Google claims will be able to power them up and get you on the web in a few seconds, but Google says it could easily power a full up computer as well. Like all Linux distributions, the OS will be open source allowing anyone in the world to review and modify the code that powers it. Many programmers think that it is open access to source code that has allowed Linux and BSD to maintain a comfortable lead as the most popular OS powering servers that run the internet. It is also anathema to Microsoft and Apple who have built empires on proprietary (closed) code with business and consumer customers respectively. Google’s stated strategy has already proven effective by Apple as their closed OSX is actually running on top of a variant of BSD (which is probably why it is so stable). Ubuntu Linux has been making some inroads on cheap and older hardware (as users replace a corrupted Windows OS on an older machine), but on new hardware, Windows still dominates. A Google OS based on Linux is exciting (if predictable).
In one of the more embarrassing Microsoft stories I’ve heard in a while, Computerworld is reporting that Microsoft has issued a warning that editing files stored on Microsoft’s Home Server using any of a bevy of Microsoft programs (and potentially many non-Microsoft programs) may corrupt those files! Home Server was Microsoft’s (inept, we find) response for the home and small business market to the growing popularity of NAS (network attached storage) for backing up the huge amount of digital detritus we are all accumulating.
As a big GNU/Linux fan, I’m always checking up on the latest open source projects. I found that a group of folks is developing a free ‘Windows’ OS (not an emulated Windows on Linux like Wine) that will allow folks to install and run software written for MS Windows in a free OS environment that looks and feels just like Windows.