Surprising a lot of readers a few days ago was word that Google was dropping support for EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 file-systems from its file manager within the Linux-based ChromeOS. Now, after receiving a lot of criticism, Google is adding back the support for these common Linux file-systems.
Ben Chan of Google wrote on the bug report, "Thanks for all of your feedback on this bug. We’ve heard you loud and clear. We plan to re-enable ext2/3/4 support in Files.app immediately. It will come back, just like it was before, and we’re working to get it into the next stable channel release. Please star this bug to get the latest updates. We’ll post everything here."
Google makes a series of compelling points in its petition. The company asserts that there's split opinion on the applicability of copyrights to APIs in the circuit courts -- a classic cue to SCOTUS to intervene -- and the matter is "a recurring question of exceptional importance." These points alone seem strong to me. But Google also says CAFC has made a serious error that ignores the precedent of earlier SCOTUS decisions and violates the distinction between copyright and patent as monopolies.
On the first point, Google refers back to the SCOTUS Lotus v Borland case in 1996. Google points out that "methods of operation embodied in computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection," then asserts that the Java class APIs are a method of operating the Java class implementations. Since Android's implementations of the Java APIs are Google's original work, the company claims copyright does not apply.
The Chromium project decided that the EXT family of filesystems are surplus to requirements, but has bowed to pressure and signalled it is willing to reverse the decision.
As detailed in this thread, the project's developers feel that as Chromium is intended for consumer devices, the ability to read external media formatted with the EXT 2, EXT 3 and EXT 4 filesystems is not a feature it is felt necessary to maintain in future versions of Chrome OS.
For the past year Google developers have been looking at dropping support for EXT* file-systems from ChromeOS while only today it's making the rounds on the Internet and of course Linux fans are enraged.
While ChromeOS is based on Linux and EXT4 continues to be the most widely used Linux file-system and still is used by default on most Linux distributions, Google developers are dropping support for EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 file-systems from their ChromeOS user-interface.
The legal fracas started when Google copied certain elements—names, declaration, and header lines—of the Java APIs in Android, and Oracle sued. A San Francisco federal judge largely sided with Google in 2012, saying that the code in question could not be copyrighted. But the federal appeals court reversed, and ruled that the "declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection.
AH Google Logo Colored 1.6Each year Google facilitates contests and mentorships to help students from all over the world gain valuable experience in the field of open source code development. Google has recently revealed some of the information regarding their upcoming Code-In and Summer of Code events. The Code-In will begin this upcoming December and last until mid- January. The Summer of Code will begin in May of 2015 and last until August. According to their official statement regarding these programs, Google states that “we are passionate about introducing students to open source software development. Since 2005, the Open Source Programs team at Google has worked with over 10,000 students and over 485 open source projects in a variety of fields to create more code for us all.”
The performance of the device is about acceptable (unfortunately, I do not have any comparison in this device class). Even when typing this blog post in the visual wordpress editor, I notice some sluggishness. Opening the app launcher or loading the new tab page while music is playing makes the music stop for or skip a few ms (20-50ms if I had to guess). Running a benchmark in parallel or browsing does not usually cause this stuttering, though.
This last feature isn’t for the novice users that just buy Chromebooks for their simplicity. But this is World Beyond Windows, where I tout the benefits of Linux, so I can’t leave it out.
Flip the developer mode switch (it’s in software now, but it used to be a hardware switch) and you can get full access to your Chromebook’s internals. You can install a full desktop Linux system (like Ubuntu) alongside your Chrome OS system. Flip over to the Linux system when you want to do some work with traditional desktop apps and powerful terminal commands.
A report from The Information (subscription required) claims that Google tried to buy Cyanogen, Inc, the maker of the custom Android ROM CyanogenMod. According to the report, Cyanogen's chief executive told shareholders that Sundar Pichai, the head of Chrome and Android at Google, met with the company and "expressed interest in acquiring the firm." The report says Cyanogen Inc. declined the offer, saying that it was still growing.
It's unclear what Google would want to do with Cyanogen. The company basically does the same software work any other OEM does: it takes AOSP, customizes it, and ports it to devices. It doesn't have a ton of features that replicate Google services, so without a Google Play license, it's just as poor as any other AOSP-derived Android distribution. Buying Cyanogen would give Google an in-house Android distribution and a team of engineers, both of which it already has in abundance. We suppose the plan could be to buy it and shut it down, but we're not sure what that would accomplish, either.