Cloud Software

I was not present at VMWorld this week so I didn't get hands on opportunity to try and get to grips with a new technology quorum from Google, VMWare and Nvidia to bring datacentre based "thinclient on steroids" technology to the Chromebook enterprise user. You can read more information in this eWeek article from Jeffrey Burt.

I read it end to end and whilst anything that increases the adoption of Chromebooks (I now have four machines and am writing this article on one of them) in the enterprise thats great. However for Google I understand allowing fast seemless handling of enterprise apps on Nvidia CPU enabled machines with custom firmware and VMWare's Blast technology is one thing, on another hand personally its left me scratching my head.

Google have an absolute winner on its hands with the Chromebook. I ADORE MINE. My MacBook Pro's of which I have two or three now rarely ever get booted. I can now do everything I need for my Red Hat work on a Chromebook. Google Docs giving me enough power to draft documents, spreadsheets etc etc. Photoshop needs taken care of by and everything else we do online anyway right ? So I don't need the apps of old, the apps of 2008, the old ways of working that held me back and restrained me from being able to work at speed.

Google. You don't need VMWare, period.

Google - you are an enormous company whose products get better and better, if you want Chromebooks to be a success in the enterprise get off your communal arses and think out the box.

We moved into a better way of working when ChromeOS was born. What you're doing here with VMWare is a death huddle. It's just Wyse terminals in shiny Chromebook form. It's 2004 all over again and it's actually saying we capitulate, we accept CIOs are that dumb to keep spending money with proprietary vendors for client software rather than develop and host software as a service in the Cloud. Frankly it's comical.

We're in the cloud for a reason, Google has the ability to actually do more in the Cloud than anyone, even Amazon - and Chromebooks are a key to that in corporate world. Only issue is I've no idea who with any muscle or vision in Google is driving enterprise ChromeOS because right now they have a bag on their head and they don't know how to talk to the press, analysts or the community at large using their kit.


Starting to write this article felt like I was part of an intervention or about to "come out of a closet" but it's time to stand up and make a declaration. My name is Richard Morrell and I am a Chromebook user. There. Said it, now you can all ponder why this is even news worthy but I can safely say that I've just rolled over to month eight of using Chromebooks having totally pooh pooh'd the concept for a very long time and having even had a Samsung model and sent it back in 2012 as a "novelty niche product that wouldn't catch on".

In November I bought an Acer C720 to try as a spare lightweight laptop in the house, purely for browsing and watching Netflix as I presumed, wrongly, that was all they were good for. I had used Google Docs before on a Linux laptop in Chrome but I'd never used it as anything other than a convenient shareable text editor. The onset of having 100GB of storage on Drive free with the Acer meant that I had plenty of space to share documents and quickly I replaced using my personally owned Linux laptops and both of my MacBook Pro for this new plastic lightweight upstart.  I actually stopped using Linux in anger for the first time in over a decade for mainstream computer usage. Very soon I was hooked. I was working faster than I'd ever worked before, my document creation was massively up, I was able to multitask and do more than I'd ever done before - in a browser.

Even podcast creation and video editing, image creation and manipulation, all of these tasks normally software driven I was able to produce on a Linux laptop. Using Soundation, Pixlr and WeVideo within a browser I was able to work faster, quicker and actually more in a more stable fashion than using Audacity (which crashes so damn much on Linux), Gimp (processor hungry) and the unstable 1.4 release of OpenShot for video manipulation on the Linux box.

Now bare in mind my main personal Linux laptop has 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an i7 chip, and I'm replacing it with a $199 Acer C720 that has lower build quality but weighs nothing and boots in a heartbeat. My own machine having a three hour battery life (with TPM running) the Acer hits nine hours without missing a beat.

In fact I was so impressed I bought a caseload of the Acer machines and gave them away to friends and family who have taken to them with ease and enthusiasm. In fact some of those folk are less than tech savvy and if you asked them now would they move back to Windows over their Chromebook and I think the language would be somewhat blue.

Then HP released their 14" Chromebooks globally. Being HP they couldn't market it very well, not sure if that wasn't to annoy Microsoft or just because they're HP. In a range of gaudy colours I plumbed for the MacBook lookalike silver with the 4GB of RAM and the SSD. That machine since Christmas has become my daily slave. I regularly get 10 hours of battery life out of it, it's the goto machine of choice for almost every Red Hat task. I cannot now imagine a day when I don't simply open my screen and login to my life.

ChromeOS and Chromebooks have had their share of criticism but I'm one power user with two AirPrint / ePrint capable lasers in the office that is a convert to the life they allow you to have as a writer or a parent.

Now I truly work in the cloud.


Early this morning I recorded remotely with Mark Cox Director of Product Security Engineering at Red Hat and one of the founders of the OpenSSL Foundation talking about the latest OpenSSL vulnerability. Listen in to find out what it means for you, the real actual picture of what it means for the industry and a proper picture of risk and mitigation.

I broke the Heartbleed SSL story to the world so this time I thought we'd do it properly and have something you could listen in to.

Click the link below to listen in or subscribe to my iTunes show,

 Download the podcast in MP3 format here - or alternatively browse the RSS.


Tom Nicholls from the British Standards Institute joins me today on a podcast talking secure cloud best practices, governance and the Cloud Security Alliance STAR programme that the BSi is now not only endorsing but promoting heavily to sit alongside ISO standards.

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