I'd agree with that, but not for Chrome OS. It's an OS literally built for a device that runs one thing: the browser. Google explains it far better than I can
The goal is to build "an operating system that provides a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web." Here are the initial use cases for Chrome OS:
- Computing on the couch
- Use as a lightweight, secondary work computer
- Borrowing a device for use in coffee shops and libraries
- Sharing a second computer among family members
"First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps.
The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.
"Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security.
Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself.
Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot. While no computer can be made completely secure, we're going to make life much harder (and less profitable) for the bad guys. If you dig security, read the Chrome OS Security Overview
or watch the video
"Most of all, even though developers can view its source code and compile it, Chrome OS won't be available for download because it requires a special hardware configuration and it's not designed for multi-boot. Chrome OS is just the platform for Chrome OS netbooks. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel.
This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS," explains Google
Microsoft's Gazelle project is very similar. But I do think that merely being a web machine won't show its full value at least for 2-3 years. I can work within Google Docs (and I do) or Zoho Office online, but I prefer OpenOffice on the desktop for a wide variety of more complex tasks. I can see its value, assuming it's a $100-$150 machine or so, but if someone takes the code and opens it up to a few big apps, then it will level a lot of Linux distros in its path. And that won't be a bad thing; they need move beyond KDE/Gnome at some point.