The big buzz (and trending Twitter topic of the day) is Google OS. This will apparently comprise a minimal Linux Kernel, a graphical rendering engine, and Google Chrome. It will be perfect for what people spend 95% of their computing time on: dicking around in a web browser, and running web applicaitons.
This is all well and good for 99% of users, and not so good at all for people who actually do CPU-intensive computing. That means any sort of scientific computation, CAD, Image Processing, Gaming, and Music Software. All those applications require optimized native code processing, and are usually written in low level languages like C++. While the average person had enough computing power 10 years ago to satisfy their needs, those applications have no trouble soaking up all available CPU bandwidth.
If you read Slashdot or any mainstream Computer publications, they run articles every 6 months or so about how “Today’s software doesn’t take advantage of new Multi-core processors.” That might be true for applications (like Web browsers or Word processors) that spend most of their time waiting for a user to hit the next key or click the mouse, but it is not true of music software or any of the other applications mentioned above. I write software that routinely saturates as many processor cores as it can, and software like Cubase and Ableton Live do so as well.
When Google talks about the browser being the only interface to Chrome OS, and only portable web applications being available, it seems like a missed opportunity. They should allow native development, and expose an API for presentation, because it would allow people to write computationally expensive software that will run very well on their platform. A minimal Linux core and a streamlined GUI platform would be perfect for e.g. music software, and Google has the market presence to finally make Linux a viable commercial software platform.
But once again, as with Microsoft and Apple, the needs of musicians, graphic artists and scientists come last after the unwashed masses who just want to watch kittens play piano, and send nude pics of themselves to their innamorata or innamorato. This seems really short-sighted.
Originally published at Do My Eyes Look Scary?. You can comment here or there.