Screenshot of CloudReady interface.
Enlarge / CloudReady is a ChromeOS various constructed from the supply obtainable 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 absolutely 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 assets 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 current license agreements and has no present plans to curtail availability of the free House version of CloudReady.

All of this excellent news comes with “at the moment” 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 isn’t a precise connection between Google and Purple Hat, the connection between CloudReady and Google’s personal ChromeOS was roughly an actual reproduction of that between RHEL and CentOS. The flagship distribution in each circumstances is open supply, and the supply code is offered—however compiling it right into a working product is a big enterprise, and that remaining, working product just isn’t obtainable freely from the seller.

CloudReady, like CentOS earlier than it, takes the freely obtainable supply of its mother or father distribution and turns it right into a freely obtainable and instantly practical 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 barely distributed on Google-sanctioned Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, with sharply restricted 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 robotically “expire” when that {hardware} reaches a sure age. For colleges with growing older fleets of Home windows 7-based PCs that would not do effectively with Home windows 10, CloudReady affords a option to modernize the working system with out refreshing the {hardware} itself.

Whereas the first earnings stream for Neverware comes from instructional and enterprise clients who pay per-device license charges, the corporate additionally affords a freely obtainable House model. The House version of CloudReady permits anybody to show an outdated 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 training or enterprise environments can be, however is in any other case a practical ChromeOS substitute, together with common, computerized safety upgrades. Schooling and Enterprise CloudReady variants take this a step additional, being absolutely manageable with Chrome Administration and Google Admin console.

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