No, that's not the Google Chrome OS

October 15, 2009 3:52 PM EDT
I know lots of people who really want to see Google's Linux-based Chrome operating system. I should — I'm one of them. But, alas, that story going around that there's been a leak of Chrome isn't true.

The tale goes that this guy was knocking around Google's Chromium file archives when he found the code for the operating system. He then announced his findings and released the code on RapidShare, a pay-to-download Web site.

Interesting download site choice, don't you think? That's what I thought. I then looked at the screen shots, and I thought this looks real familiar. Of course, it was. I quickly recognized an early version of the Google Chrome Web browser for Linux.

With a little checking I found that this particular version of the Chrome Web browser, google-chrome-unstable_4.0.222.6-r28902_i386.deb, has made several earlier appearances before masquerading as the Chrome operating system.

It's not. But you don't have to take my word for it. I asked Google, and Eitan Bencuya of Google Communications confirmed that this code isn't the operating system: "This is just the *browser* component of Chrome OS, not the operating system itself. We are currently working on building Chrome the browser for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS, and the source code of the browser for all four platforms is all public."

Yep — that's what I thought.

So don't waste your money on this download. I strongly suspect we will see a public — and free — beta of the Google Chrome operating system soon — say, oh, I don't know ... October 22nd? AKA Windows 7's launch date.