Google Operating System

I’m not exactly a Wired geek stud, so when I heard about Google’s new OS today my instincts were all business (getting out of their market competency?  Dangerous!) rather than geek (“awesome!”).  But this snip from The Daily Beast is pretty evocative:

In a sense, Google is just bringing computing back to the way it was supposed to be. When Steve Jobs toured Xerox PARC and saw computers running the first operating system that used windows and a mouse, he assumed he was looking at a new way to work a personal computer. He brought the concept back to Cupertino and created the Mac, then Bill Gates followed suit, and the rest is history.
What Jobs didn’t happen to notice was that the computer operating system he witnessed and copied wasn’t meant as a way to organize the software and data on a single machine–it was actually a way for computers on a network to share resources. Not only files, but the software to work with them. The computers themselves were to be just dummies–terminals from which to run software and access files that were stored on someone else’s expensive computer.

Instead, our operating systems have moved away from sharing and towards ownership. We buy a big powerful machine and do everything on it ourselves. This suits software and hardware companies just fine: they create new, bloated programs that require more disk space and processing power. We buy bigger, faster computers, which then require more complex operating systems, and so on. (It’s as if the car companies and asphalt industry worked together, building roads that required new kinds of cars, and then cars that required new kinds of roads.)

HT Boing Boing


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