Here we go again. The chimera that can sink a thousand ships, let alone web browsers masquerading as operating systems, is at our port one more time. The internets are abuzz with the introduction of Google Chrome and many already announced the (re)start of the OS wars:
Folks this is the operating system war in full action. One between Microsoft and Google. Google is coming out with their own browser called Chrome.
TechCrunch promptly declared it the “Windows Killer“:
Make no mistake. The cute comic book and the touchy-feely talk about user experience is little more than a coat of paint on top of a monumental hatred of Microsoft…Chrome is nothing less than a full on desktop operating system that will compete head on with Windows.
There’s no point revisiting the colossal misunderstanding that confused the web browser with an OS when none other than Netscape co-founder Marc Andressen said half a decade ago, “Windows is just a bag of drivers.”
A modern operating system geared for general purpose computing must provide out-of-the-box hosting of multiple apps, managing of physical and virtual resources, disk access and file system management, 2D/3D graphics rendering, computer hardware interface, device drivers, printing, networking, multi-format media playback, DRM, and a thousand other, often inter-related, chores. Can Google Chrome playback Windows media files? Can it hook up to 1,000 different scanners, webcams, joysticks and other input devices? Can it even print?
Now, Mr. Arrington like others might have in mind limited (and perhaps embedded) OSes that can only provide a very small subset of what we commonly expect from general-purpose operating systems like Windows or Mac OS X. Unfortunately we have seen that movie some years ago. Remember the web-surfing appliances of yesteryear like Sony eVilla or 3Com Audrey and Kerbango? How about Compaq iPaq or Netpliance I-opener?
What I find most ironic is the fact that what is supposed to be the “Windows Killer” only runs on Windows, thereby giving Windows users yet another reason to stick with that OS and perpetuate the common assumption that good things happen first and usually only on Windows. What a way to start dismantling the Windows machine!