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Reporters' Roundtable: Chrome OS and the future of operating systemsWhat is the Chrome OS, and should you look forward to your next computer running it? We discuss this new operating system and how it stacks up with Windows, OS X, and desktop Linux. With CNET's Stephen Shankland and PCWorld Editor-in-chief Steve Fox.
I everyone welcome to reporters roundtable -- Siegelman in San Francisco this is our weekly show we talk about a single -- topical -- in some depth. And this week a very interesting topic in light of the news on the Chrome OS in the Chrome notebook being -- -- going to talk about operating systems. Do we need them and so on. Will the Google platform finally break the hold a traditional operating systems and software have had on computing all this time or has the shift in -- already happened and we just didn't notice yet. Who needs an operating system today and -- Our special guests are first of all here in the office with us Steve fox former editor in chief of CNET. And back again and back again for another visit now you're editor in chief of PC world magazine and website yes that's correct it's good to see you back here it's fun -- activist just the blockers he did have the full body scan and he came in -- smuggling any information -- -- it was -- -- -- that the and joining us from -- -- London bureau are London bureau. And are on the bureau chief all -- one and senior writer Stephen shank land even if it's see you again. Yeah you guys and I -- so let's get started here. Do we still need operating system sort of throw -- out there right now well you know -- I and answered -- make it doesn't go. Yes we need operating systems and there are two ways we need them. We need no traditional ones that you're used to -- on your PC. But in the case of their via Chrome OS laptops. They just fade into the background but there's still there is still an important work talking to hardware so you -- that even if you don't know it's there. But I think more than it answers that you're looking for is. You know the user visible operating system all the settings you have to -- and you don't process management and looking at your files and almost kinds of things that operating systems do. I think basically you -- -- -- but it just got a good example layer so if you look at Chrome OS. You still have some of those -- is not all of them but you still have some of those functions they just happen to run. Inside the browser. Instead of lower level so I think I think it means a whole ought to be. Operating system best that's out there but -- you don't get rid of it all together. So I guess when a question Steve I'll ask you this is how Long Will users care I mean here's a picture for -- you're watching live in a way I took yesterday of -- three machines in my office. I have a -- Windows no. Notebook a Mac. A MacBook and -- Chrome OS machine and they're all running different operating systems but they're all running Google services. And this is the series were configuration economics of using these machines are both like oh my goodness -- -- Google. -- use is actually gonna care about what's underneath. Wyoming I think in some ways they probably don't care all that much right now you would you need operating system something needs to talk to the underlying hardware and portability is a big deal if you've got an operating system -- you can create applications that speak to that so you get on that and portability. Users need to know what operating system because they probably have 3456. Who knows how many devices right components operating system you. Well -- other devices. So they need to know what the ecosystem is that you know of applications the plugs into that. It's in many ways. It's kind of really an important what the operating system is as long as it provides -- basic basic services. And I think what you what you see right now if you look at it what -- who is doing great act as the browser becomes more powerful -- someone has more functionality and importance of the operating system itself. You know decreases this -- -- in force -- inverse route relationship there. Mean that let us explain maybe I -- a little bit ahead here in the show because there are some actual confusion here in the -- -- What is Chrome OS which is what is being pitched here versus what is Chrome. Okay so you have you got Chrome which is a browser and you can get it right now. Lot of people using it. I'm using it along along with lots of other browsers and it's a it's a pretty minimal looking browser is a nice interface. And then there's Chrome OS which is an operating system it's going on pieces of hardware in fact it looks exactly it at least in many ways it looks just just like the the Chrome browser actually -- -- wanna get an idea of what. Chrome OS looks like one on this -- -- notebook -- or -- it's been sent to -- -- 48. Go open up Chrome opening new tab. And and pretend that it says. What apps or applications on it with a bunch of icons and there you've you've got what will look in terms of the U lie look like that -- So it is. -- -- -- Trying to understand that there is or if there's a real OS and other because there -- some things that it doesn't do. Right and what aren't exposed to its right now it's relying it's relying on everything to happen in the cloud credits its so. It speaks directly to. To the to the cloud applications run in there it -- On top of your hardware. And this is oversimplifying honestly but you know certainly to the to the user that's exactly what. Well let's -- and obviously the next big -- because when you talk about the Chrome OS versus traditional old OS's. Is the -- the concept of the cloud in the cloud being the Estrada that we run all our applications on. How tied in to the future of computing is the cloud and it is Chrome OS really have a cloud OS or just an OS that -- the link into the club. I would call it an operating system that links into the cloud it's pretty critical or. He noted the different ways that you can run an application on Chrome OS or for that matter. As a web application on Chrome. And one way -- Chrome extension so there's an extension. Mechanism by which you can add -- -- native abilities. But some -- the other applications are just glorified bookmarks basically so when you're using Chrome OS. You're just tapping into web applications that as Steve says you -- tap into today with the you know regular old Chrome the browser or indeed many other browsers. So -- -- what else what else does it so what else does it do Stephen -- say if you say it's. It's something that you know relies on it as opposed XP being the cloud itself what does this. -- as do beyond beyond that. -- -- -- it's a very it's a very narrow ship right now between. You know. So -- -- so there's our partners and -- some dive deeper things that it can do but right now they're they're very they're very -- so for example. They're operating level service operating system mobile services you might want to deal with. Like balancing. Work load among different applications. Switching between different applications making sure one. It's taking up too much memory but isn't important it's kind of pushed aside and dial down there's some notes and -- -- workload management things very important for operating systems. Interrupt handling. If you click on the mouse if you click on the keyboard something has to know that you just did that. Now a lot of that happens down the lower level with the Linux that's hidden underneath. But the Chrome OS layer also passed -- about it and juggle between all the -- no one -- and I were talking about earlier notifications. You have to know you know when a web applications trying to get your attention some instant messaging application her FaceBook chat message just give up something like that. That's something that eventually gets built into the browser later. And -- lot of other things as well right now web applications are getting a lot more sophisticated. Interfaces for hardware controls things like. Notice saying you know Hubble the the notebook is oriented for you know games that's mostly for mobile phone kind of -- another thing that's coming along got -- -- Is direct communication -- hardware like. -- cans or microphones -- these are all things that now I'll move from a lower layer up into the actual browser -- used -- underlying. Software drivers to make that happen but the actual interface happens. Now -- the browser layer when you're a programmer writing services that take advantage of that so a lot of these things that were lower level services. Move higher up the stack. When so. One of things occurred here -- -- Beatrice ask and chat room of -- talking -- low a low level that's will handle memory management tasks handling its bio to you Stephen you were just talking about -- such thing here is that when you're running Chrome the browser. On machine with -- and other OS like windows ROS ten. Chrome actually does all that already on the application side. So. You write -- -- -- literally every line here -- -- -- what does it really matter what with its Chrome or the browser that is doing stuff like that so. Stevens Point is that this is moving higher up the stack is absolutely true it it sort of takes away some of the work that's required by the by the browser itself right. And we're gonna see browsers get really much more capable -- mean that. Probably the best news about. This current release is the kind of development this is gonna push into the browser and that becomes a standard interface that people can write applications and everything else. Which brings up the question of software which I wanna talk about. -- offer applications and app stores and stuff like that. Which is are very related and instinct topic -- who will get to. Right after this quick message. Hollywood and practically inviting you to join us for the 2010 edition of cnet's holiday help desk that happens every Monday at 1 PM Pacific 4 PM eastern starting November 22. It's where we make you look like a brilliant tech gift giver as we take your live calls and we feel your emails in fact when you. Send us an email right now holiday helped -- at cnet.com and along with the rest of cnet's editors will point you to the right product at the right price. Holiday help desk Mondays at 1 PM Pacific time starting November 22 at cnet.com slash life. All right so let's talk about software on these new operating system platforms. What happens to the software market for developers when we take the old model the Microsoft model. You can you write software you either put it up for on download for -- dot com or you put it in you know the Fries toward people -- the software and install it. Now we're moving on the Macintosh to the app store there. Where you'll be able to do like iPad app store type things. And and buy apps that way just like on a phone. And Google of course has its own web Chrome the Chrome store. What happens to that to the way software is developed and that the economics of software for for developers and for consumers. -- the the big monolithic applications these giant apps. It's it's hard to support that reverse stuff that that the biggest change for the for the app developers write is that is the cost structure but. Look it's a lot -- -- -- better deal for you if you're reading an application. You probably. It's easier to get lots and lots of people spend 9900 dollar 99 or 599 to whatever it is. And to get a small number of people spent 500 dollars and that's kind of the lets them know movement that we've that we've absolutely seen here and will continue you're gonna see. These cheap apps. It in many ways people have shown a willingness. Which is interesting to to pay for apps and seen this -- -- -- app store side. And I -- see the same thing. With with apps throughout it gets to be a drag when you've gotta buy -- -- the same map for four platforms no known once he even if it's only you know you know three bucks think. About. About the economics of the operating system about buying software and looking at that the major players here and I'm gonna get I -- killed by people who support other operating systems. Microsoft makes money by selling windows and windows is an expensive operating system on for the consumer even if you get it for free with your computer -- windows license -- Eating up a big chunk of of your computer the only reason the netbooks -- at all possible is because Microsoft relented. And created a special version of special licenses the windows for low priced machines otherwise those machines will be completely unaffordable. So -- -- makes its money from. The -- system that from big monolithic apps like office. That's one model that's the oldest model then there's Apple's model and Apple's operating system is not expensive. Apple makes its money. From hardware right they they get a lot of money from hardware and and from selling media and taking a very large cut. -- media and applications sales on their they're non PC platform and a computer platforms the iPhone but a case to keep in mind there's a new player here he's gonna make money from all -- this software that's the carrier. Right through it okay so and who knows what kind of arrangement you end up coming up with with carriers because you're gonna need to be sending -- back and forth right and then though then there's who. And then there's -- and Google. Not only are they giving away the operating system they're giving away at a hardware they're trying to get our bread as cheap as they possibly can and their making their money and a completely different way they they're making a small fee. For -- for applications from developers mostly to make money and advertising now -- of these models. Both. -- toppled -- the technology -- economically which do you think has the best lakes fever. Or even. -- I think I think you'll see a hybrid you're gonna see all kinds of models -- -- they weren't seeing I think a profusion. Smaller applications I think you'll see it wouldn't be Mac. App store coming up. That Apple's -- to launch -- Would lie in -- -- their -- their new operating system and I think I think we will still see monolithic. Big heavy applications like Photoshop or. Microsoft Office you really don't have second because -- -- -- -- I I I think there's still up the bulk of those but I think they get marginalized I think that. They become less the you know -- of the big tent all kinds of things and more these. You know. I don't know what that what the right metaphors but I think they'll still exist you know people still have to do. Heavy work on their computers and -- still be you know mathematical whatever that the battle to be expensive -- developed to develop. I think what does happen is you gradually -- -- -- Toward this web's dial. All of issuing software -- -- -- gets updated a lot more frequently and very likely you pay for it. If you -- or at all did you pay -- some sort subscription. Mechanism where you are. Using. You -- -- me. Gigabytes per month to store stuff or you have this many files or. You know -- some kind of a flat fee yet I think that's much more going to be much more likely mechanism and application yet. Constantly updated underneath you. Rather then I'm going to buy. You know office 2010 and -- -- upgrade when the next version comes out three years later maybe -- -- six years or nine years. I think it's gonna be a very different much -- subscription oriented payment. World. Right somebody has to get paid -- when it comes down to use somebody's gotta make some money somewhere though you know -- the model that's out. I'm you know keep in mind you still have. You know large offices in and workplaces where there are still comfortable paying for software -- we do -- then you have some large offices like. Hours for example were actually moving off of the monolithic outlook and exchange infrastructure and towards the host who collapsed structure. So there are are kinks in the armory here and personally as as a professional writer. The last time I fired -- Microsoft Word to actually write something was month ago right now I do on my composing either in Google docs or never know and that's enough. Right but the and the reason I did -- for the convenience factor because I don't have to worry about saving the file and and on multiple machines -- will which is great but -- -- -- and I would I do that a lot as well but you know. That professional journalists of the world are pretty small. -- and getting with -- getting it's getting smaller true but I really indicators and -- there you go so or where the canaries in the coal -- we cover you wanna put it right you know so -- you know I'm certainly saving my stuff in the cloud whether I'm working in Google box which it to a lot of -- word which installed to a lot of them and in fact I you know and saving them to drop box that's in the cloud right. A -- and still you know -- still actually using. You know for for many things and so using some. Some Microsoft's -- Well let's talk a little bit about -- the things that we need an operating system to do it and talk by the different products and how they do it or not and with a focus of course on Chrome OS that's most of England today. We talked a lot about offline. We haven't talked a lot about yet about offline access now when you're -- CR 48 or whatever you know Chrome and crumble it offline -- do I say there will be a lot it will still work -- Gmail will be -- -- -- will work somehow but. -- there's an interesting yeah his -- interesting mechanism here that they're they're different they're different types of web apps that you can run Chrome OS and in fact what Chrome. There are as I mentioned earlier there are Chrome extensions densities modifications the browser itself. But then there are also web pages. -- glorified bookmarks but it also are packaged web pages. And that's a situation where. I use effectively are installing a web page on your computer and you do that you're accessing it on your computer not on some server the other into the Internet. That greatly facilitates using your -- but when there's no network connection. So what you're saying that what you're saying then is which is kind of a few things to think about that the your Chrome. A -- based computer is also a web server. Exactly and end debate the other -- to bear in mind here is that there a lot of standards some of them done some of them developing and they'll let. Browsers -- data off -- I got for offline use and that's a critical mechanism. There's an important -- -- indexed. You're coming out browsers in the next few months in preliminary form and then probably getting -- in orbit later that'll help quite a lot and Google has committed. Two. Bringing back the offline features of Google docs sometime early in 2011 me Google's there's. It didn't do that this is the feature that was enabled by Google gears but they backed up that's been canceled Google gears. So this is offline is now can officially dead. For Google docs that still exists for Gmail but it's you know it's pretty it's pretty rough around the edges my opinion. It looks like -- at that point we will work better. So when you when you look at this at this netbook that's that's come out that we -- -- playing around with your 48. You know you have no access to the file system and its its a black box I mean it's quite literally a black -- it really is a black bucks. And you know that kind of that and its simplicity that's obviously intentional. You know for those of us who were used spending a lot of time in windows where we see things like a file structure. Release an abstraction of file structure and the like. We know where things are stored we can go -- than this you don't feel any of that when you're using this machine basically you can -- some levers you can use their applications many of which don't feel like apps that feel like. You know what it is evident it's still early so that earlier in other clearly -- a -- do you think that is the idea is moving towards the simplicity in the question I would ask is when have we seen aside from -- interface design. When if we see users specifically move. From. You know complex the more functionality to less to that simplicity. I mean certainly -- interface you know the idea of one button is it is a great idea but people always like. Tax we have stuff under the surface that they can do more with this way yeah I -- I -- I mean it witnessed -- This is that people do but I think you have to look at the broad population. Here. Look at the success of the iPhone right now the of the iPad this is not something that lets you get under the covers got a few configurations. You can you can twit live but what really put a lot of functionality especially the best -- and I think that it's you know got tremendous -- -- -- It doesn't appeal to get a lot of people like to. Know what. You know kernel version -- running here you know that gonna stop but if I think that did the iPhone shows that you know there's a pretty big market for a symbol. User interface and -- bit more -- the -- weblog what it. The speaking of missing features one of the things that we've just been talking a little bit is storage now what I -- -- I like to do when I'm using Twitter. Is -- people pictures. And I wanted to do that in on from a Chrome book. And site. Wait a -- How -- -- the screen -- function at work but regardless. How to light. Save a screen a bunch of pictures and then attach them to a tweet or just upload them to something when there's no -- -- upload them from. There is no user accessible file system. On Chrome OS right now is that was my point at least -- get it yet so how important is that going to be American -- that's a big deal but this is a major major omission in the operating system that could not have been done cavalierly. So what is the future that we're looking at that -- -- heralded by Chrome OS where we no longer have access to local file system is that where we're going. It's -- I gave the G -- who drive no I think I think it what you'll see is you'll see injured you'll see some kind of intermediaries popping up they'll let you. Actually saved somewhere so. Right now you can -- lot of different data types in a Google docs not just you know word processing spreadsheet presentation. And PDF there a lot of other file types you concede they're putting graphics files and I think. Then it'll be you know some kind of mechanism. -- built into Chrome -- are built in the browser. Or maybe some extension and where you right click on that thing and it says -- -- say -- to drop box they did this to drop bios it. -- a business on cloud based. Data service so I think that can be solved I think it's gonna be awkward in a lot of ways. Probably very clear view at first but I did think you can get around that. Went up printing that's when the the other things that people want to do their machines and Google's trying to -- the sounds like kill the concept of having to install printer on -- Chrome OS machines that. Putting all the heavy lifting out the windows machines that are out there somewhere but -- print there amid -- -- the problem with with printing new cloud based printing is it's assuming. A lot of intelligence on the part of the printer right. And everything we've seen about prisoners is they're pushing all that intelligence out of the partners they're making them as cheap as they and they're network connected but they're making they're making the units of the windows machine do the work so there's nothing wrong with the idea of of cloud based printing. But you're assuming something something else is gonna happen and you know Google can force all kinds of things to happen they can send out. You know free or cheap netbooks and and the like but. In the printer manufactures have to be on -- with this and that means actually adding something you into the printers hasn't happened yet. -- Actually a little bit happened I've recently bought a I would with the series -- photos look up -- -- smart printer. That is web connected and it's it comes -- -- email address and email print job to it from your phone -- from you're. Whatever you want. And it'll print it. We did some restrictions and it's it's definitely got some big -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- You're up at your friend -- -- photos you want to present. You for the email to the printers email address and -- -- that the listener if you know it's got a wireless network connection built -- and it was pretty G. I have to say the print quality is. Net but -- -- it definitely is definitely works and if you know this is not a high end printer so I could see these things. I know I I do think that -- wireless networks will be -- increasingly common for printers because. That's an easy way for people to attach things they don't have to mess of wires necessarily button and audio I could see this actually spreading to a lot of other different. You know lot of other printers and certainly higher temperatures know what -- -- -- -- It's important to note is. You know what I tried to myself as much as possible for printing things in the first place gets -- just you know that we -- the cost of the consumable just. -- infuriated. And does so I actually W get by a lot of -- without printing out that document that you needed to print out. Especially -- you can email -- to your phone. You know the directions for where we're going things like that there you can you can nothing you can you know cut -- -- -- altogether but. Be growing versatility the cloud has shown me that. There's more stuff that you can do. On your phone there. Well but I do I but it might my understanding I mean I I I get that of my understanding is that actually -- has not dropped right we have. Tremendous capabilities and I don't think people are really printing last. And printers are still being so we still we all we've always been expecting people start going paperless right and -- -- -- not happening how many years have we been writing the paperless office story over and -- -- -- And remind us -- have to remind us printer it's a normal way you might as what happens even when you tried to scan and all of your son's artwork and a -- the and destroy the recycle the original. Yes turns -- mice that had edited an attachment to the physical. Birds and -- -- but it's Al so a and we've only we've only think the highlight some physical form -- take pictures -- The stuff we like and mostly just does it onto a computer. So. But yet there's clearly some actual value that it is described the physical person you can hold your hands not just the virtual version that you see on the screen. I guess we guys are both -- went we talked about storage and printing and maybe this will apply to other peripherals as well cameras. Is that everything that we generally attached or computers no longer direct connected but Internet connected. Is that where we're going is that with the operating system now has -- support is that the bus is now than that well. I think everything is -- -- -- connected to that doesn't he is not connected to other stuff as well I mean I think everything is is additive that to be honest. So I mean obviously if you're looking at this you know it at the this netbook. That's not additive that's you know everything that that's all on board but -- everything is that is is connected and into the cloud. But I I think there is not only just still place but I think there will be continued sales for people who. Want to have both they -- -- have best of both worlds let's. I'll accept that I think that ever examples very illustrative I some of the two big -- real child is -- the problem but cameras are -- real issue. You'll have -- for example when you look at Canon cameras me. For whatever reason -- infinite wisdom does not be USB mass storage driver on the camera. So if you want to load your pictures directly from your camera to your computer. You you have to have a driver and you have to have Ken and supply that driver right now guess what they supply it for windows and Mac OS-X right I think. Actually turns out to be. -- you don't want and presumably 600 million little hardware corner cases. Where it's kinda hard to support the hardware you need to support with the Chrome OS. Laptop so. You know I think they're gonna be a lot a lot of cases where you know it works well for 90% of what you do. Of what most people do but that 10% turn got -- pretty big sticking point out. My camera doesn't -- -- -- my printer doesn't work anymore well I actually do need to be able to use the latest version of PowerPoint presentations and Google lots more import -- you know things like that all those. Little corner cases really add up. Let's not talk about individual operating system as as we begin to understand. -- prognostication here we -- talking a lot about Chrome OS. Who what are we expect from Chrome OS in the next year two years they'll talk with -- -- become a mainstream OS in for consumers via netbook okay so I'll I'll say no I don't think so I mean I I think a lot of people play with it first of -- a lot of some cost in current operating systems. Lot of people that lot of windows users wouldn't lot of Mac -- out there. So I think a lot of us will play with this will enjoy it. But I'm not sure we're gonna get the functionality that we want especially in and until the browsers get even more developed that we're gonna wanna see from -- so I think this lives alongside. You know various tablets. And netbooks and notebooks in what have you but it's I don't see this with -- really changing landscape drastically what does this take market share from. I think it's you know netbooks have been taking it on the -- we hear from tablets and this is just one more little little chunk out of there. But you may think it may be right back here is and I'm sorry arched -- and -- Thanksgiving. I think I just say that everyone is any more devices now and I think it's -- of these things are really cheap yeah no -- not it's you know if if it ends -- being a 99 dollar device when not then. The so I think I agreed I think pricing is going to be a huge a huge part of the equation here if they're really -- and people will try them -- they're expensive. Then they won't I think that you know -- -- that. You know I -- -- is pretty interesting device for you know obviously millions of people even though it certainly not cheap it's pretty you know it's a premium gadget. And despite that other new competitors had trouble -- a price points out it's not it's not because Apple is you know completely doubting everybody. So I do think that one of the unknowns here is. There's this idea of activation energy how hard is it to pick something up and use it I think the iPad in a lot of new Smartphones. You -- -- You just turn on their work you don't have to wait for thirty seconds for two minutes for five minutes for the thing to -- before you can start surfing the net -- it. And I think if it Google actually manages to show that. These -- netbooks -- you don't really fast and really easy to use. I think you know that that could increase their appeal but I agree I think it certainly for a good while they're gonna be a niche product I don't think they're gonna be success the iPad has had. But. You know I do think some are geeks will be trying it out and he and other thing I think it's important about them is. This idea that they are self maintaining -- that is to say that Google maintains it behind the scenes you don't have to fiddle with software updates nearly as much. I think that that's a compelling feature that a lot. A lot of people will welcome they had I don't think that's enough initially to get people in the door to -- them. But you know perhaps when the operating system and web apps -- That will become more of the real selling. Point what about windows or what what the effect of this product and the concept behind this product -- cloud based OS the web based OS. On the future of windows why I think what we'll see in coming upcoming versions of windows windows -- whenever that happens. We'll definitely be. Bigger tie -- to the cloud you know a sinking certainly within the cloud I think we'll see we'll see that the windows storage -- yet there and you know a lot of -- -- -- the literally built into written but again that kind of what I said earlier I think it'll be added it -- I don't you know Microsoft has never shown the ability or the willingness to take things out they just keep on adding stuff. At a more more and of course given its storage you know local storage itself and -- is is cheap they can keep on making these things bigger and bigger. So I think we'll see a lot of effective of all this -- upcoming versions of windows. As well as we'll see continued gunned down versions of windows for -- you know thinner devices what about the price of windows and Microsoft continue to charge com. 880200. Dollars for version of windows for consumers. That's even now what you would expect that one in and out of -- and. Boy that's that's that's that's I I -- I'm not comfortable making me a sweeping prediction I do think that this is you know I yet another com. Serious threat to windows I think actually you know Mac OS-X has been gradually gaining share -- would -- it. No -- the world afire. But I do think that it has got Microsoft thinking. You know maybe windows is really maybe there's a problem the fact that it's. So slow to move to the next version. I just think that you know the iPad and other tablets also are having an effect there. I I think did you know more and more people look at windows is just sort of this stable behemoth and not the source of innovation. And excitement and new shiny stuff there a lot of people who -- -- new version of windows because. They like it or because it comes to -- -- PC but I just don't think that's where a a lot of the new. -- -- Excitement is happening so I do think that you know Microsoft has to do something. Just cutting the price is not going to increase the enthusiasm it might you know let's stave off competition Stephen what about windows as -- what what is that how does that relate -- were talking about. -- that's that's really. But that's I don't think that's -- Terribly relevant to consumers -- mostly -- -- -- version of windows server episode if you aren't you know if you wanna run your. You're corporate computing work -- Somewhere besides on your own machines you can do it there -- so that's not really consumer kind of thing him. But many it is an interesting service I think actually -- that lot of potential as a revenue stream. For Microsoft. But it's not consumer -- -- and keep in -- Microsoft has a problem in that they don't have the hardware right there. They sell software that's what they do right now Apple is they can. And give away operating systems for not a lot of money Microsoft needs to actually continue to make money out of that product. So I don't think we're gonna see it completely squashed in terms of price -- Let's talk when Apple but here OS-X. Is that the desktop -- from the -- -- notebook platform right now. Apple has said they're going to and start to incorporate pilots type features in there including most notably an app store. What does this mean for Apple and for the development of OS-X name. Then there's my other theory that at some point they're gonna merge those platforms is that ever going to have. Gavel I think that it might it's it's of reasonable theory that you know you're talking earlier about this idea of its you know the difference between. Simplicity control right and when you're thinking about simplicity there is -- OS for you and I think that's clearly where the the general platform OS-X is is moving towards something it's simpler. It's maybe that's -- app based it just it just makes a lot of sense and certainly in that case a lot of users have shown a preference for that so you know that's that's a direction that we will -- -- only be looking at the the iPad. Success you know yet -- for an expensive machine that doesn't do anything that other machines don't do it doing very well for a fabulous toys yeah absolutely it. And we're out of time -- an -- about Linux now just getting what they met at. Bowie -- you tried to get away with that. Right so how about. Linux in the future are Linux OS's Stephen. These are covered -- expert years and years and years so I act I I. I can't remember how many times I heard the you know XYZ is going to be a year desktop Linux predictions come out and I was usually fairly skeptical about it and indeed that has failed to happen and in fact I think it's. -- From. It's actually getting harder even though Linux is arguably getting. More mature more robust and more. You know consumer friendly. I just think the competition -- got a lot steeper and isn't Linux underneath this is just it's just really hard to convince people to. Me to shift all it'll all it's a whole lot other software won't work and it's it's just a hard sell he's done very well on the server. And and as we've seen with Android -- does pretty well -- -- now. You know -- embedded computing where you don't even know it's it's down there. But as a consumer facing technology it just -- died and I don't see that changing. Well as consumer facing point taken but isn't Linux underneath -- The the court a lot of what we're talking about including gamma let's pick it. It's very it's very important yet it's not a consumer product if it's it's not mean people know they're buying but yes it's very important that technology to what what's. What is it. Prop up Chrome. Yeah Android -- the crew Chrome OS not a problem -- -- that. -- and and a huge huge number of web applications and all the services that you're tapping into on the Internet. The vast majority of them are running when -- and other on a Linux server and you don't. Tivo boxes. Is is a Linux box -- then -- them about Austin. Units which has Unix not Linux is great -- and I I'm an expert on this one even relevant here what was the question always. And it is relevant as their consumer facing product because it runs on your map -- -- underneath OS-X is. Earlier -- didn't ingredients of OS-X -- its its its not funny hybrid of the mach micro kernel. And and basically BSD Unix previous. BSD Unix and so it's. -- it's really but you know all that stuff that happens down there at the kernel level you don't really need to know about it most people don't know about it -- programmers like it because it. Does have a lot the traditional Unix. -- the command line interface that he -- very advanced scripting that provides. But for the average consumer that's really not terribly relevant -- I do think that it's it's very nice to have a fairly robust operating system down there. Underneath underneath -- all but there -- a lot of Apple specific layers on top like the graphics layer all the drivers and all that stuff so. It's it's a lot more than just Unix with a pretty face on top. I wanna close -- bring up one last topic that hopefully we can get through without -- ourselves on which is. Privacy NC and security the more so user privacy as the operating systems off load more and more of our information. Into the cloud and begin to tie our information together. -- operating system itself the thing that we I don't let that. -- log into for everything is in the cloud what happens to how we protect users from. Being scanned from from losing control of their identities. And. Ugly ugly issue but I think it's gonna be a big problem for a long time if it they're they're practical and there are all kinds of issues -- I you know if you think of is the fragmentation issue I had some of my data at FaceBook -- somebody did it Flickr it's -- my data you know this Google service the other -- service. You know I have stuff spread all over twelve different. You know web applications web services and the practical issue right there is is -- big public I -- -- unified search for example. Well -- just not gonna happen at least not for several years probably so I think as a practical. -- probable that it's real. But then you as you point out when you start getting the privacy issues in the control -- your -- issues I think it's a lot bigger problem and at us and it definitely makes me. I'm comfortable. What would you. When you worry about you don't. All likely thing like what what happens when the server goes down for you know it Tumblr did a couple of days ago. What happens when you when the servers down for a couple days that's one problem what happens when somebody decides to be you know truly -- -- goes out of business you lose your data. That's a bigger problem and I think that's something that people have to -- it I don't I don't honestly don't see -- day where people start reading terms and conditions. So what I think probably it's gonna take some ugly. -- problems where something really nefarious happens before people start waking up to reality but it's really an intractable problem the fact of matter is somebody else. It is -- running a server that has your data on it. Hands. You know you're fundamentally just you just don't have as much control as you did. I think there's a lot for users to suddenly happen to try to keep track of you know it all just do the same situation Stephen -- -- data spread all over the place and I don't necessarily you know know which pieces I -- where. -- find it quite irritating when. When my -- dating context. And contact sprints and get an. It's -- together on my Android phone now. And you know I don't I don't necessarily want want it that way and you know and then the other point is there's a certain amount of trust that we now need to. Assume is you know in in the hands of people were not ourselves now you know they -- When -- physical cases where privacy and security year are. Are in danger in that in the real world this just adds 11 more element. We have to trust someone else so I don't I don't see any easy answer for this and there's there's definitely risks are -- they have always been risks we. We're gonna do what I like to store -- -- -- and I don't wanna be Pollyanna about this but I really do think in general that at least theoretically. These -- web services that specialize in this up function -- that function. Actually really could be a lot more reliable than your average person in keeping your data safe so. Yes there are issues about you know the -- subpoena -- something in finding out you know something that you don't want them to know our. Or you know whatever privacy infringements or somebody using your data to sell ads in somewhere that you don't like. But I also think that there are lots of issues that people losing their data when their hard drive goes bad so are not being able to get -- it because they're on the road. And so I do think that there -- -- real values that cloud computing. Gives to people I do I do think that's -- serious thing you have to -- even though you know some of it -- wickedness possibilities of cloud computing those are real problems. But -- it bit. There are also real advantages to having somebody a professional manager data -- -- you know besides your efforts -- that you can't yet. On that you were out of time -- -- -- stop it to everybody who was hoping that we would also talk about Symbian Unix or -- I apologize there's very big topic obviously. It's the -- from PC world. Thank you very much for coming in pre to be here Stephen shank learned from our our London bureau the entirety of it thank you very much. We look guys all next week and reporters roundtable -- the topic yet you can follow me on Twitter are AFE for news on what's next. You can find show notes on this and other shows at reporters' roundtable that cnet.com or send an email to show at roundtable at cnet.com. Need a thanks for producing thanks everyone for watching with the enactment.