projectz

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What ChromeOS needs…

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Having recently withstood some of the worlds best hackers to stay solid and working safely Google are serious about security with this OS, and with hardware between £200 and £1200 this is a serious contender for the commercial PC crown as more and more of us live in the web. However it is missing a few things.

I’ve no doubt that this is a great OS, I’m happy to use it every day and it serves almost all of what I need to do on a personal basis, i’m not sure if that says a lot about my use of a PC or about how the internet has changed over the last 20 years.

ChromeOS however not without a few issues, which I know some might be things which are out of the scope for such an OS, I thought I’d share my thoughts as a real life chrome user..

Files on Local Networks

ChromeOS is an operating system which is all about the Internet, it supports Google’s, Microsofts and any other web based eco system, file sharing with Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox or any other web based system is a snip. I think however Google are missing a trick on a potential lack of Intranet support.

An Intranet is a local internet, and in today’s home, and with the internet of things taking hold we are more connected in our homes than we ever have been before. However the simple task of moving some files on a NAS box is tough with ChromeOS as the Local Hard disk and Google Drive are all that is supported. I’d love to see other Cloud accounts also to be seen in the file manager however I’m aware that’s not going to happen in the short term this is a Google OS after all however adding SSH/SMB support shouldn’t be that hard?

It’s not all bad, plugins like Plex for example give me access to media, however as great as the cloud based file managers are local nas based web support is a bit lacking. SMB, SSH and FTP Apps are lacking.

What i’d like to see is a couple of protocols being supported SSH, Samba for example and the ability to map my Chromebook to devices the same way I can on my iPad so i can manage my home nework even if i have to do that from within the browser..

More setup options

I love how a browser based OS already has a good interface for setting up a lot of a Laptop’s needs, Wifi, Wallpaper etc, there are a few things however I’d like to be able to setup but can’t. The most obvious and one I only figured out (via Google) recently how to change was the sleep/suspend/hibernate times for the OS. A simple feature which required a console, vi and google to change. This is where linux has fallen flat on its face for many years the complexity of simple tasks. Ubuntu even today has a bug in some situations that turning off the screen saver in the Gui doesn’t do anything.. Google need to avoid this in any OS they move forward with.. Don’t get as locked down as other fruit based OS’s or overly advanced as Android..

App Support

I’m very lucky as to have 3 main devices I work with, many are not and the biggest complaint i have heard so far about Chrome OS is Skype, it is a hugely popular system and has no Web based interface. Yes we could wait for Microsoft to bring one out, it may happen, however such talk of the merging of Android and ChromeOS defines a very clear area ChromeOS is lacking. I agree it is not in the scope of a Web Browser based OS to provide Apps, which in turn add to complexity to such a simple idea. The truth is however unless you are happy to run Skype on your phone as a work around, getting people to use Google Video as an alternatives just ins’t going to work. The world uses Skype and some form of compatibility  is needed with these sort of Apps.

Conclusion

I must reiterate, these are personal gripes if you are thinking of trolling me because you don’t need/want these features, in the most part i’m able to live without them or am able to work around them. I love ChromeOS I love its secure, I love Google is building it secure, i love how quick it boots, i love it’s on a £200 laptop, i love it all. I’m a firm believer for consumers the interface is going this way and for 80% of people a £200 PC which uses the browser is bringing computing to people who it has never been with before, more so as Touch is added and the OS is moved towards a tablet. That being siad the keyboard and the laptop are a long way from dead.. Just watch anyone over 55 on a smartphone to realise that…

The point of this post is to show that there is much to be done, much which can be done and many options for this OS..

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6 comments on “What ChromeOS needs…

  1. fobbox
    March 17, 2013

    Well said.
    I hope Google might address these issues (especially local file support) but I won’t hold my breath. Still, imagine the amount of good that a slightly more robust ChromeOS could do in areas like education.

    • projectzme
      March 17, 2013

      I see the argument against local network shares and the like, there is a purpose behind the OS, the cloud. I just think that the initial user base could do much with this support, even if its in the underlying OS.

      Maybe I’m looking at the issue wrong however, maybe I should be putting a php or Ajax file manager on a server and using a web client to manage my local files? I’m not aware of any service (like plex for example) which can have a server which scans drives for me, and display the contents on a webpage?

      • Graham
        May 7, 2013

        I was pleasantly surprised to discover that simply using ftp://%5BNAS IP address] via the ChromeOS browser gave me access to my NAS without having to go through its own web file manager. What’s more, images opened and audio files played, while via the NAS file manager I could simply download these to the Chromebook.

        However, I agree that it would be good if local network shares could be presented through the ChromeOS file manager.

      • projectzme
        May 7, 2013

        SMB, sshfs and WebDAV support would be great, FTP sends the password out in clear text so don’t use it over the Internet

  2. John
    April 20, 2013

    Issue 160570: Samba network storage support
    http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=160570

    I just want to put this link here so when people see this article. They go to the above link and star the issue.

  3. Pingback: Where ChromeOS stops Ubuntu gets a new alternative desktops which points the way.. | projectz

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