Chrome OS May Support "Legacy" PC Applications

Previously it was indicated that Google's Chrome OS--the Chrome browser mounted on a customized version of Linux--would not run Microsoft Windows applications. After all, the Google OS would be completely web-driven, and not support the installation of programs within the OS to the hard drive. However, that's apparently about to change with a new feature that's currently in the works.

Called "chromoting," the feature was originally revealed by Google software engineer Gary Kačmarčík in a Google groups Chromium discussion. Unfortunately, he doesn't provide any additional details save for its eventual release, however it's speculated that chromoting will be more in tune with a VPN/sharing functionality than anything similar to Windows-based application installation. This would mean that the actual Windows-based rig would be required to stay on in order to access the programs.

"We're adding new capabilities all the time," he said. "With this functionality (unofficially named "chromoting"), Chrome OS will not only be great platform for running modern web apps, but will also enable you to access legacy PC applications right within the browser."

Mark Lunney, a Flash developer for Glue London, didn't seem too keen on the idea, especially if chromoting does actually use a remote desktop application environment to access legacy apps. "I'm struggling to see the usefulness of this," he said. "I'm not going to keep my Windows Laptop running to use programs such as the Adobe suite. My experience with virtual machines also shows that they run quite slowly--fine for cross-browser testing, but not the kind of 3D modeling and video editing software that are the main reasons I don't think I'll be able to switch to Chrome."

Kačmarčík said that the Chromium team would have more details to share on chromoting in the coming month.

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  • mark lunney
    Surprised to have seen myself quoted on this on various sites today, I do think Chromoting is a worthwhile addition to Chrome OS, I'm just not sure it'll be something I'll use myself.

    I did go on to suggest that the feature could be expanded to allow remote access to virtual machines run by Google, which could revolutionize the way we purchase and use software.
  • Silmarunya
    Lots of hype, let's just hope Chrome OS can live up to it.

    But as for the technical side, how would this work? Would it be a sort of emulator? Generally speaking, an emulator performs worse than the original and this OS is targeted at netbooks, which are already slowed down by their poor hardware.