News – Google Chrome for Linux, Thunderbird 3.0 & Malware for Ubuntu

Dorian is currently concentrating on writing and getting things ready for Christmas.  So in the meantime, here are some new stories to tide you over:

News – Chromium OS is Here

Chromium OS is Here

Google just announced their Chromium OS project.  This will act as the open source precursor to Chrome OS.  And the folks at Canonical are helping Google build it.  Exciting times ahead, especially for netbooks users and cloud computing advocates.  Thanks to the 451 Group‘s Matthew Aslett team for posting about this.

News Flash – Linux Desktop Suck, Android is Not Linux and the Nokia N900s Dropping Out of Orbit

These past few days have seen Dorian scrambling to catchup and not blogging.  Dorian still feels the need to fight his e-mails, update his “other” sites and organize his cluttered life, rather than update his readers on exciting developments he has worked on.  Instead Dorian will continue writing in the third person, and highlight the latest and niftiest in Linux tech news… and hopefully he will get his act together soon.  So lets look at whats buzzing in the blogsphere.

The Linux Desktop Sucks

First the Linux hater, and now some developers and power users state what they REALLY feel about Linux on the desktop.  vanRijn experienced the beauty of sweet candy land that is the Mac OSX world and laments why we can’t see the same in Linux-o-landia dkite proofs more an optimist, saying yes its broken and but will get better… someday.  Also some finger-pointing to the manufacturers for not getting their act together, and states some heroic community coding is needed.  Funny how Dell engineers are helping to make Dell machines running Linux able to recover themselves, just like under the most common desktop OS.

Dorian’s thoughts: The Linux desktop worked for me, on a laptop in 2002, so stop your bitching guys.  I’ll agree the legendary saga that is fixing X and sound, etc. is reaching epic proportions.  And yes devs from vendors are leading the way in many cases.  But in some cases it seems easier to start from scratch as with Wayfarer or Moblin or PulseAudio.  Still building a solid and expandable underlying architecture is hard, so everyone does so in a piecemeal fashion.  And in traditional UNIX fashion, we argue and argue over what we want to build and how to do it.  Instead of wringing hands, help fix the problem.

Android is Not Linux

Sounds like another bad recursive hacker pun, no?  Looks like the guys at Google, took a Linux, through out the parts that worked-yes, shocking some parts of Linux actually work quite well thank you very much-and replaced them with their own jerry-rigged replacements.

Dorian’s thoughts: Why guys, why?  Just learn to use the tools, and I’m sure the standard Linux stuff works pretty darn well on a mobile device.  At least one real handset maker seems able to use the existing Linux stack, and run with it.  Sure the UI needed a replacement and some optimizations are required, but rip and replace with crappier renditions?  Not cool guys.  Google needs to learn to work with the FOSS community, and not around it.

Nokia N900s Dropping Out of Orbit

So the N900 already launched… but Nokia started pumping out, shipping out their amazing N900s and stocking retailers with these pieces of mobile computing paradise.  And unlike Google, Nokia knows how to build on top of existing Linux stacks and without stomping on existing FOSS communities.  Not like a giant robot ravaging a city… Google.

Dorian’s thoughts: Remember about us Canadians!  We’re that country above the US, and we’d like some N900s too, pretty please.

In Other News:

OK, Dorian must end his newcast here and scurry back to his other work.

The Chrome and the Cloud

Google today announced their Chrome OS project.  The details are sketchy for this announcement.  This Chrome OS apparently stems from the Chrome web browser that Google released last year.  A sort of instant-on netbook operating system, that meshes the hardware with the Internet cloud.  Google claims the OS project differs from the Android stack that runs on cellphones.  And thats all we essentially know about this Chrome OS.

So left me put on my futurist hat and predict what Chrome OS will be.  If I were building something like Chrome OS, I would grab an existing OS (say Linux).  I would then strip out all the unnecessary extra services and applications.  Then I would modify the desktop shell to essentially run a web browser (Chrome) connected to the web.  I would include an internal web caching application (Google Gears anyone?) to handle the off-line situation.  So there you go, netbook running Chrome OS would essentially act as a smart thin client (dummy terminal for you readers who remember the 70’s).  And the server would live on the Internet cloud.

Wonder how such a device would feel like?  Grab a Nokia N810 or N800 and you’ll have a closer feel to a mobile cloud computing device.  Congratulations to Google to helping bring true heterogeneous cloud computing and its advantages to the common man.

My Head in the Clouds – Cloud Computing

After much resistance, I extended part of my life on-line.

The reality is that technology plays an important role in my life. I organize, communicate, create, distribute and entertain through computing. But even with Palm, a decent Linux workstation and the web to my disposal much of this technology and its benefits are separate. While I can connect remotely to my desktop and let my groupware, Kontact handle my e-mails, RSS feeds, etc., its not convenient.

Here is where Google enters in. They have the storage and online applications that keep me and my data connected. Its not perfect. I rather using the Internet as a conduit, and maintaining everything locally. But its not realistic for me to do so. In theory, I could produce, store and transmit electricity myself (obviously with the right equipment) too. In practise, I pay a utility company to do so.

So why not do the same with computing? Thats the promise of cloud computing. Think of it as hosted web applications on steroids. Cloud computing would change computing into a utility. Use only as much as you need. Have it accessible all the time, everywhere. Imagine your desktop, mobile device, workstations and servers all communicating seamlessly with each other.

Of course, Google is not exactly cloud computing. Its close. But Google serves you and me, so that we are a captivated audience for advertisers. But I can’t complain about Google… they do host this blog after all… and a bunch of my data. However a number of companies are moving forward with utility/cloud computing: Amazon, and Sun Microsystems to name a few. Exactly in what form, how and who will create a stable platform in the Internet cloud, remains to be seen. We do live in times with interesting possibilities.

Laptop Ubuntued and the Quest for Desktop Searching

After my lengthy post on the issues of installing Ubuntu on my Toshiba Satellite 2410 laptop, I am pleased with the results. I managed to fix the suspend issue that plagued me with this post. So I am almost ready to “give back” the laptop to my brother.

After hearing yesterday about the Google XXS exploits in Gmail, Picasa and other stuff, I decided to distance myself from Google software. I love the Google search, the amount of space in Gmail, and appreciate all the work Google does with the open source community. However, Google’s desktop applications are still closed source and are prone to the slow security fixes that all closed source programs are prone to. So I decided to uninstall Picasa which I used once or twice. Also I decided to find an open source desktop search utility to replace Google Desktop Search.

I decided against Beagle, for technical and philosophical reasons. I tried Strigi, but the interface is lacking. Also there seems to be a bug with the indexing and searching functions in Strigi (version 0.5.5 from feisty-backports). So it just eats up my CPU and disk space. A rather useless search function if you ask me.

So, now with all that said, I continue my quest for a decent desktop search.