Google bought CloudReady, the largest ChromiumOS distribution

Enlarge / CloudReady is a ChromeOS different constructed from the supply out there in ChromiumOS repositories, a lot as CentOS was constructed from Purple Hat Enterprise Linux supply code.

Jim Salter

This week, Google acquired OS vendor Neverware, makers of the CloudReady distribution of ChromiumOS. ChromiumOS is the totally open supply, upstream model of ChromeOS—the sharply restricted, cloud-focused working system which Chromebooks and Chromeboxes run on.

The acquisition sounds nice on paper—Google actually has extra sources than Neverware, together with however not restricted to the developer base for ChromeOS itself. In keeping with Neverware’s FAQ on the transition, huge G will honor all present license agreements and has no present plans to curtail availability of the free House version of CloudReady.

All of this excellent news comes with “presently” caveats on each bullet level, sadly—which strikes us as a bit unnerving, coming because it does instantly after Purple Hat introduced that it was killing off CentOS Linux and changing it with CentOS Stream.

Whereas there is no such thing as a precise connection between Google and Purple Hat, the connection between CloudReady and Google’s personal ChromeOS was kind of an actual duplicate of that between RHEL and CentOS. The flagship distribution in each circumstances is open supply, and the supply code is accessible—however compiling it right into a working product is a big enterprise, and that closing, working product isn’t out there freely from the seller.

CloudReady, like CentOS earlier than it, takes the freely out there supply of its father or mother distribution and turns it right into a freely out there and instantly useful clone.

A Chromebook by one other identify

The analogy between CentOS and CloudReady does break down a bit when the query of {hardware} comes into play. RHEL and CentOS each put in on the identical generic x86 {hardware}—however Google ChromeOS is just distributed on Google-sanctioned Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, with sharply limited life cycles and assist home windows.

CloudReady is meant to unfold the ChromeOS expertise past these {hardware} bounds and quick lifeycles—it may be put in on any arbitrary PC {hardware}, and it does not routinely “expire” when that {hardware} reaches a sure age. For colleges with growing older fleets of Home windows 7-based PCs that would not do nicely with Home windows 10, CloudReady presents a technique to modernize the working system with out refreshing the {hardware} itself.

Whereas the first earnings stream for Neverware comes from academic and enterprise prospects who pay per-device license charges, the corporate additionally presents a freely out there House model. The House version of CloudReady permits anybody to show an previous PC (or a brand new, very low cost PC) right into a Chromebook-like system.

The free House model can’t be managed with the Google Admin console, like Chromebooks in schooling or enterprise environments can be, however is in any other case a useful ChromeOS substitute, together with common, computerized safety upgrades. Schooling and Enterprise CloudReady variants take this a step additional, being totally manageable with Chrome Administration and Google Admin console.

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