le_bebna_kamni: (iCthulhu)
[personal profile] le_bebna_kamni
Google is really cool, but...

They keep coming out with these interesting things -- nifty web browsers and desktop applications. Matt Arnold usually sells them with his normal enthusiastic demeanour, often emailing them to me at my request when I become equally as intrigued.

The problem is, I never get to enjoy the Google bleeding edge. Heck, I never get to enjoy the production release. This is because I use Linux.

I was thrilled when Matt told me Google Desktop had *finally* been released for Linux. And about a month ago I was ecstatic when he told me Chrome had also been released, because while I've been lukewarm after trying the Windows version of Google Desktop, I really liked Chrome. Sure, the Beta was a year and a half after Windows users got a public release, but I'm used to that.

But sadly today I've been disappointed once again. A few of the features in Chrome that I was really looking forward to -- especially the ability to synchronise browsers so I don't have to leave all my bookmarks and settings behind when I switch operating systems -- is completely absent from Linux. All in all, Chrome for Linux just can't compete with the features I have in Firefox, both natively and with plugins.

Now, I know that us Penguin-heads are a small bunch. I know we are by no means representative of Google's market audience. But please, Google, there are a lot of geeks out there who really like your stuff and *want* you to be the big innovative paradise that we worship and adore, our one-stop shop for Internet and even desktop application bliss. And I kind of want to be one of those people...except I can't.

Mozilla is really good with getting its software up to date for non-Windows platforms -- and not just the browser, but its email and calendar client. And Bespin is downright cool. Even Opera has done a better job than Chrome has and getting its browser to the alternative operating systems. I do appreciate that Google at least packaged the browser as a .deb file and that I didn't have to compile from source, but still...

Sorry, Google. I'll try you again in a couple of years. It would be nice if in that time period you could cut the gap between your Windows and your Linux releases to, say, 6-9 months -- please don't disappoint your Penguin fans.

And don't worry, Google Chrome. I still think you're cool...for a Windows application. ;P

on 2010-01-30 09:12 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] matt-arnold.livejournal.com
Google has not shouldered all the responsibility for Linux Chrome. But isn't that the way it should be? Linux is a community that can develop through its own open development teams. Sometimes it depends on a large company such as Canonical or Google or Novell to pay employees to port software to Linux. Sure, both of those can happen. But this is one of those times when not all the developers are Googlers.

on 2010-02-20 04:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] le-bebna-kamni.livejournal.com
While I think it's wonderful that Google is relying on a work force of willing, unpaid labour that makes Linux as marvelous as it is, it still is in essence Google's responsibility because the product absolutely belongs to them. It's not an open-source application; I still have to agree to Google's user agreement in order to download and install it. Non-Google developers can't even make their own decisions about what to implement in the application -- it's still Google's roadmap for development.

Canonical, on the other hand, still releases an open-source product. They may run the main Ubuntu project, but if I don't like what they're doing, I can just make another spinoff distro like Mint or Ubuntu Studio or Ichthux or Satanic Edition or whatever. Heck, Ubuntu is a spinoff of Debian. But I can't do that with Chrome, and neither can anyone else who is dissatisfied with its development trajectory.

Therefore, it doesn't matter whether Google pays its own employees, hires outside contractors, or lets Google enthusiasts do the work for them. They're still the ones in charge -- they could close off community development if they ever saw a reason to do so -- and ultimately the ones I have to bitch about. ;P

on 2010-02-20 04:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] le-bebna-kamni.livejournal.com
"But isn't that the way it should be?"

Only for open source applications. Otherwise it has the potential to be exploitation -- kind of like when Microsoft has made offers to let Windows enthusiasts do development for them for free on some of their plugins and side apps. Hehe...

on 2010-02-20 06:08 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] matt-arnold.livejournal.com
This is the first time I even considered that Linux Chrome is not an open source application. In that case, this is a terrible state of affairs.

on 2010-02-20 06:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] le-bebna-kamni.livejournal.com
On the plus side, Google Chromium is open source. Yay!

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