A lot of people at the moment are immensely intrigued by Google Chrome OS. I won’t hide that I am one of them. Google promises a much needed shift in the way small computers work. Problems like software updates, backups, installation, maintenance, viruses, have plagued the world for too long: a shift is way overdue. To me, however, the change about to happen shows us what many people have refused to believe for a long time: KDE and GNOME shot each other dead. I write this knowing full well that I am going to make a lot of people angry. This might be the first time a writer receives very angry responses from both camps — KDE and GNOME’s users might actually (finally?) join arms and fight just to show everybody how wrong I am!
So, let’s go back a little bit — not much: just a year or so. You are Google and you want to provide the operating system for the next generation of users, the ones who didn’t start with Excel and Word, but with Facebook and Flickr. The obvious choice is GNU/Linux for the kernel — Google knows it well, helps improving it, and obviously likes it. Then, the next question: what desktop environment would you feed those new users? KDE? GNOME? Both? What about programs looking different? What about the broken audio system? (Pulseaudio anybody?)
The question was a tough one. The answer was simple and painful: neither of them. Painful, because I am intimately sure (although I can’t prove it) that if GNU/Linux had one set of desktop libraries, one desktop environment, one set of standard for playing audio and so on, we would have those libraries in Google Chrome OS.