Open Source

Meet Google Linux

It was only inevitable that Google Android would find its way onto the PC. But what exactly does this mean for Linux? Does it really hold any value or will it be nothing more than a flash in the pan? Jack Wallen certainly thinks it will mean much more than meets the Google Eye.

You knew it was coming. Surely you did. First Google had their "Google Desktop" that mostly went nowhere. Then came Chrome, the browser that threatened to "out cool" any other browser. And then came Android, the operating system for the phone of the future (the one that supposedly could take down the iPhone). Android. An operating system for mobile phones.

...and more.

That's right. The creators of Mobile-Facts.com have managed (in less than four hours and with rusty skills) to compile Android to run on a Netbook. That's not surprising since Android is Linux and Linux can run on everything from a toaster to a PS3. What is surprising is that they discovered Android was actually designed for both phones and for mobile Internet devices (such as Netbooks).

Now remember, Google already has Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google this and Google that. It is now shy only a platform to run as a full-fledged system.

Ah ha! There you have it. Google has always been really good about sneaking things under the radar. Chrome hit us in the back of the head with little to no warning. And now this. But what does it mean? From my point of view it means this:

  1. Google's Android finds some success with the mobile phone platform.
  2. Android finds its way pre-installed on some netbooks taking advantage of all the Google gears and Google cloud.
  3. Android-based Netbooks allow simple tethering to Android-based phones.
  4. Android finds its way onto the PC desktop giving birth to Google Linux.

But this wouldn't be just any old Linux. This would be Linux with the support of the mighty Google. This would mean support, support, and more support. This would mean Google Linux would be the epitome of mobility and connectivity.

This would mean a big win for Linux. And I believe Google has been planning this all along. And why? Microsoft. This would be a serious coup de gras in the battle between Google and Microsoft. Think about it this way. Everyone knows Google. Not everyone knows Linux. If everyone saw a Netbook running "Google" they would snap it up right away. Why? It's Google! Imagine what you could "google" on a Google computer! You certainly couldn't "google" as much on a Microsoft Netbook as you could a Google Netbook.

Seriously though, it's about branding. Up until this point Linux had no branding. Even though the tech-inclined knew of Linux, the average user doesn't. As much as I hate to admit it, Linux is still far from the taking command of the desktop war. But this could change that. Google Linux could be the deal maker. If the Google operating system comes to fruition the way it could, it would bring to Linux some serious branding cred. A Google operating system could make Linux the easiest to use OS available as well as the slickest: Android uses Chrome which integrates seamlessly with Google docs/gears and does so with the stability and security of Linux. It's a perfect combination.

And with that thought in mind I happily say, let's all Meet Google Linux!

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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