Google is using (and so working on) a version of Ubuntu GNU/Linux internally. Whether or not this really means anything to anyone else not working at Google is unclear for now.
Even if this is only something they use in part of their production process or they do it on Fridays (the day Google employees can spend office time working on their "pet projects"), it means a lot to the Open Source community. It means that they have, in at least one shape or form, the intention to create a (Linux) Desktop OS that can bring out new stuff they don't find anywhere else right now.
Will Google take Microsoft on in their core business, operating systems? I don't even care. What I am wondering about is if Google will be capable to put Linux in a place in their global strategy where a client of Google wouldn't mind not using Windows or Mac OS X in order to interact with anything computer related that is produced at Google or at any other software producer that has businesses to do with Google.
Right now, Google Earth is only available for Windows and OSX, and not for Linux. I want Google Earth and related products to be Linux-compatible. Let me repeat that for the sake of Google juice: I would like to have all Google's products, including Google Earth and related, available for Linux.
Sure one could argue that Google bought now Google Earth's technology from a company adquisition at a point at which having to make a Linux port would be too difficult. That's why Google being interested in putting Linux in the "mainstream", at any level of "mainstream", is good. They will be able to define, to specify, that the product is meant to be Linux-compatible, apart from Windows- and OSX-compatible, at the starting point of product specification.
They have done a hell of a good job at using Web interfaces: only a little part of Google's products are not Web-interfaced. Let's see how they deal about it in the future.
I am also very pleased about the recent agreement between Google and Sun Microsystems about OpenOffice and related stuff Sun is promoting/sponsoring. Given Google's engineering power at improving software performance, this can mean a lot. Or nothing at all. Will see.
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