Linus Torvalds Likes Chrome OS More Than Gnome 3 Shell?

When Linus Torvalds sneezes the Linux world gets a cold. The father of Linux has praised Google Chrombooks for being more useful than Gnome 3 Shell.

It reminds me of a discussion that I had with him during LinuxCon about whether Google would succeed with Chrombook or not. I told him how my wife was a 100% Chromebook user.

Linus has one of the early Chromebooks in their kitchen as the ‘family calender’ which was used to check Google Calender and occasionally to Google or get map directions. Today he found that the device updated itself to the latest version of ChromOS which comes with Aura Windows Manager. Linus was ‘impressed’ with Aura, he writes, “I haven’t really played around with it all that much, but as a desktop it really doesn’t look that bad. I could name worse desktops (cough cough).”

He then points out the problem desktops like Gnome are creating with their ‘smartphone UI’ approach. “It allows such radical notions as having easy mouse configurability for things like how to launch applications. Things Gnome removed because those kinds of things were “too confusing”, and in the process made useless. And a auto-hide application dock at the bottom.”

Linus found it to be “Revolutionary!”

What’s Missing In Chrome OS?
Chromebook is a nice device if all you do is use a browser. I have never heard my wife complaining ever since she started using the Chromebook. Earlier when she was a Mac and then Ubuntu user she would often call me to fix a problem. But, as a power user there is not much that I can do on Chromebook. It leaves quite a lot to be desired, Linus also feels the same way. He says, “If that thing had a terminal window and you could install a development environment on it (and if it wasn’t that dog-slow Atom thing – it’s literally too slow to really be useful for even web games like Bejeweled – I’m not exactly talking Crysis here!) it really might be quite usable as a laptop.”

Linus appreciated the ‘traditional’ and more ‘useful’ approach that Google took with Chromebook. He says, “And I have to say, it also seems to improve on the experience even in the non-laptop mode. Making the calendar start as a “window” instead of as a browser tab also means that when you use it in the single-use mode that we traditionally did, the app takes up the whole screen, without the browser buttons etc.”

“So the new Aura approach seems to work both as a traditional window manager and as a more limited “apps take up the whole screen.” Maybe this whole “browser as an app” thing can really work,” says Linus.

Kudos to Google for doing an excellent job with Chromebook. Are people at Gnome listening?

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Swapnil Bhartiya

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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