Are Chromebooks a danger to open source software?

In today's open source roundup: Chromebooks could be trouble for open source software. Plus: Chromebooks outsell Windows laptops. And the five best affordable to premium Chromebooks

Are Chromebooks a danger to open source software?

Chromebooks have proven to be extremely popular devices, with many getting rave reviews on Amazon from very satisfied customers. But are Chromebooks a danger to the long term health of open source software? A writer at Datamation shared his thoughts in a recent article.

Bruce Byfield: services and Google, the company that invented Chromebooks, are built largely on free software. Even the basic idea of the Chromebook is essentially an updated version of the thin client, a technology that free software perfected. Just as importantly, using free software means that Chromebooks were developed more quickly than they would have been if they were written from scratch.

In one form or another, free software is likely to survive the challenge from Chromebook and cloud services. However, not only is desktop free software likely to be curtailed, but also its efforts in the last decade to champion user's rights. For all their convenience, cloud services actually offer users even less control than traditional proprietary software.

If cloud services win out, free software may be left as a means of production -- something valued by developers, but even less known than now. That result might be better than all-proprietary development, but, considering free software's potential, it would still be a disappointment.

The danger is that, in Chromebooks, free software may have encountered a rival with which it cannot compete. The already distant, openly mocked year of the Linux desktop, already a remote possibility, might very well have become remoter than ever, and all thanks to Chromebooks.

More at Datamation

Chromebooks outsell Windows laptops

Speaking of Chromebooks, they've become popular enough that they've outsold Windows for the first time ever.

Joey Sneddon reports for OMG! Chrome!:

Chromebooks have outsold Windows notebooks for the very first time, new data from NPD Group reveals. US Business-to-business (B2B) sales* of notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS passed 50% between June and early July 2015, with overall education season sales up almost 40% over the same period last year.

It marks the first time of any sales period (so far) that demand for Chromebooks have outstripped that for Windows laptops.

...Google saw Chrome rise to take the number one spot in market share.”

More at OMG! Chrome!

Five best affordable to premium Chromebooks

Chromebooks offer a wide range of choices to users, from very affordable to high end premium devices. 9to5Google has a helpful roundup of five of the best Chromebooks for all kinds of users.

Cam Bunton reports for 9to5Google:

Chromebooks are only four years old as a computing category, but they’ve helped give a new lease on life to a flagging PC industry in this ‘Post PC’ world. They’re almost always inexpensive and low maintenance, thanks to being almost entirely browser based. But now, four years later, there are so many options on the market, it’s hard to know what to buy. Here’s our guide on the best Google-powered notebooks out there…

Toshiba Chromebook 2 – The All-Rounder

Acer Chromebook 15 – The Big One

Dell Chromebook 11 – The Small One

ASUS Chromebook Flip – The Wild Card

Chromebook Pixel – The Premium

More at 9to5Google

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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