Google Chrome OS coming next week…maybe

Google Chrome OS coming next week…maybe. It’s been four months since Google dropped a bombshell with its announcement that it is getting into the PC operating system game, in a direct challenge to Microsoft and Apple.

Now the world may get the first glimpse of Chrome OS, the PC operating system as envisioned by the folks in Mountain View, California.

According to a report in TechCrunch citing “a reliable source,” a version of the Chrome operating system will be available for public download within a week.

TechCrunch said Google has a legion of engineers working on hardware driver support, and notes that the software may only run on a limited set of PCs at first:

We expect Google will be careful with messaging around the launch, and endorse a small set of devices for installation. EEE PC netbooks, for example, may be one set of devices that Google will say are ready to use Chrome OS. There will likely be others as well, but don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have from day one.

Google said in July that it was working with PC manufacturers including Acer, Asus and Hewlett-Packard and promised that the first devices running the Chrome OS would be available in the second half of 2010.

Google also said at the time that the Chrome OS code would be “open sourced” later this year, so next week’s rumored release would be in keeping with the original timeline.

As PC world puts it, however, open source code is not the same as a ready-for-prime-time product.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the average person will be able to download these files and get the OS up and running. Source code is just a collection of text files meant for software developers to tinker with.

As I understand it, to get the source code to work as a computer program, you need a compiler that brings all the source code together and turns it into something your computer can actually boot up.

So, if you’re a developer, you may soon get a taste of Chrome. The rest of the world may have to wait a bit longer. ( )

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