: An Arstechnica article claims Google denies plans to distribute OS based on Ubuntu
Google press relations office[r], technology spokeswoman Sonya Borälv responded very quickly to my query on the topic. She said that "[w]e use Ubuntu internally but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company."
Google has denied any claims that they plan on entering the online (or offline) music business
but more rumours now suggest that Google may be working on a version of Ubuntu linux aimed at the desktop
Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for.
It could be for wider deployments on the company's own desktops, as an alternative to Microsoft, but still for internal use only.
But it's possible Google plans to distribute it to the general public, as a free alternative to Windows.
For those not familiar with linux or Ubuntu specifically, it is a fairly new distribution based on one of the solid bases, Debian, which has been around for a very long time. Ubuntu has developed quite a following quite quickly and it is now on the top of the Distrowatch
download chart. According to the Goobuntu article, it's installed on up to six million computers and doubling every eight months.
What does this all mean for the technology landscape? Not much. Even if Google releases Goobuntu for the masses, it isn't likely to cause a widespread dump of Microsoft Windows. Firstly, as I stated in a previous post, Google may own the online services bidness right now but they have done a relatively poor job of giving us good software
. I don't think they will be able to improve upon the linux experience for the casual user enough to make Goobuntu a truly viable desktop solution - at least not right away. Secondly, and perhaps ultimately more importantly (since all
software, before it is learned, is inherently difficult to use), the stronghold that Windows enjoys at the moment is not due to superior technology but superior user base. Windows is strong because it has been invested upon. When your Ferrari breaks down and needs $10,000 in repairs you pay it because you've invested half a million in it. Nobody wants to throw away that sort of cash. Dumping Windows for many is like pushing their Ferrari into the river - and I'm not talking about cash investment only. I'm talking about mindshare and training. Try switching off Windows one day and teaching 500 employees how to use linux.. see where productivity goes for the next week.
I'm a linux fan. I'd like to see it do better. I'd like to see more software for it, and more free software for it. I'm also realistic. What will truly change the face of the operating system market is the people. The users. And these users aren't going to come from the plush leather seats in the corner office. These users won't be created by a decree from an aging CEO. These users will come, slowly, with time. They will be 10 year olds and 14 year olds and 20 year olds that have used computers since the dawn of their time and are comfortable learning new software. They will be young people who have grown up interacting with a new and different interface every time they turn around - from VCRs to microwaves to cell phones to video game consoles to computers to robotic vacuum cleaners. They will be people adept not at interacting with interfaces but learning new interfaces
The secret? We aren't heading towards a confluence of interface design, we're heading away from it. We may think we are sitting in the aged and mature technology market
but we are younger than we may ever realize.. So young that we are experiencing in technology what the Cambrian explosion was to evolution