Sunday, April 11, 2010

James Gosling Quits Oracle

Finally, James Gosling confirms the rumors that were going around the internet of his resignation from Oracle. On 9th April, he confirmed that he resigned from Oracle a week back (April 2nd, 2010).

The news struck as a big blow to the millions of Java developers and fans across the world. When asked about his decision of leaving the company, his response was truly terrifying. Here are the actual words he wrote at his blog -

"Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good"

I personally think its high time Oracle comes out and does something to instill confidence in the huge developer-base of Java.

Thinking positively, I believe Java is mature enough to sustain itself and a single person leaving the company cannot kill the product.

Anyways, let wait and watch how the story unravels at the Oracle camp.

Check out his resignation article at his blog -

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Running Chromium OS In VirtualBox

If you would like to try Chromium OS without disturbing your system or without going through the trouble of downloading the source code and building it, this blog-post is for you.

The Chromium OS has been built and bundled as a VMWare image (.vmdk). This image can be used with VMWare workstation, but this piece of software isn't free. So in this blog-post I will be targeting the free virtualization application - VirtualBox.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package originally created by a German software company Innotek, purchased by Sun Microsystems and now being developed by Oracle Corporation as a part of its family of virtualization products. Download VirtualBox from

Download the VMWare image of Chromium OS as a zip file at -

Extract the VMWare disk image from the zip using a compression utility like WinZip, WinRar or IzArc. Fortunately .vmdk images can be used in VirtualBox without any prerequisites, so we don't need a VMWare workstation to use the image.

I couldn't find a proper .vdi image when writing this article. If you find one, please post a link in the comments section. Either way, the series of steps will still be the same.

The following steps will get Chromium OS running in VirtualBox as a Virtual Machine.

  1. Start VirtualBox

  1. Create a new Virtual Machine

  1. Name the Virtual machine as Chromium OS and select the operating system type as Other/Unknown

  1. Allocate certain RAM for the operating system to run

  1. Use the existing available hard-disk (the image which we have just downloaded)

  1. The Virtual Media Manager ups on clicking the button beside the drop-down list

  1. Add the image file which was obtained after extraction

  1. The new image becomes the hard-disk for the virtual machine now

  1. Click on Finish to complete the process

  1. You can now see a new virtual machine docked on the right-hand panel of the window

  1. Double-click on the VM and Chromium OS boots up

  1. Login using your Gmail

That's it, Chromium OS is up and ready. Explore it!!!

Chromium OS

Chromium OS is the open source development version of the Google's Chrome OS. The source code of Chrome OS was released on November 19th, 2009 under the BSD license as Chromium OS.

Chromium OS aims 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. It targets to build a powerful platform for developing a new generation of web applications.

Chromium OS is the name of the project and Google Chrome OS is the name of the product. But the developer builds are still termed as the Chromium OS.

But the advent of the Chrome OS has led to a bigger question – Do we really need a new Operating System? More specifically - Why Google Chrome OS?

The traditional boot-up process that we go through everyday involves a series of steps like -

  • Loading the BIOS
  • Hardware detection
  • Loading and starting the Boot-loader
  • Loading and starting the Kernel
  • Starting the OS primitives
  • Running the startup applications

Even the fastest computer in the world takes about 45 seconds for this to happen.

This was the focal point of Google while building the Chromium OS. For millions of naïve users who use their netbooks/laptops mostly for internet, 45 seconds is a lot of waiting time. Google plans to make the web browser the Operating System for fast boot-up and this OS is the Chromium OS. In fact Google is claiming a 7 second boot-up for the Chrome OS and in certain instances the boot-up time has been as low as 3-4 seconds.

The Chrome OS hasn't been released yet and the expected release date of the Chrome OS is late 2010 or early 2011. But technical enthusiasts can still get first impressions through the open-source Chromium OS project.

Google Chrome OS is built on the Linux kernel and is expected to be free on release, but then what’s the economy model of Google? - Chrome pushes Google web applications like Google Docs, Google Calendar, Picassa, Youtube, etc. The major revenue stream of Google is through its advertisements. More users of Google applications will yield more revenue to Google through advertisements.

All the applications utilized by the Chorme OS are cloud based applications. A major drawback is the customer trust on Google. All our documents – text docs, spreadsheets, and presentations are all on the Google cloud. How can an individual be sure that his documents are secure from unprivileged users? The recent crash of Gmail has strengthened the apprehension and has caused a panic about the cloud based OS of Google.

Major Drawbacks

  • Google is considering Chrome OS as a companion device. It is assuming that every user will have another work-station at their disposal
  • Vague support for working offline. Google is planning to provide a little support through Google Gears and local caches, but every the idea has to be solidified
  • Android applications are incompatible with Chrome OS
  • Chrome OS requires internet access for everything
  • Every application which users desire cannot be integrated into the cloud
  • Browser lock-in. No other browser can be used expect for Google Chrome

The Brighter Side

  • Speedy boot-up
  • Security by default
  • Support for both x86 and ARM architectures
  • Several applications are available by default like Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live
  • No need to install anything. Just plug-n-play

On a whole, Google has created a lot of buzz about its new Operating System. Let’s wait and watch. I recently was a part of a presentation around the Chromium OS - check it out here.

If you would like to try out Chromium OS for yourself, either follow the build instructions at (or) check out my next post - Running Chromium OS in VirtualBox.