Monday, June 3, 2013

Vendor Reliance

There's a problem with the Chromebooks! Who are you going to call?

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with someone. She was saying that when I was doing support for Manaiakalani, she never had to stress. She could be fairly confident that any problem that came my way I'd be able to take care of it. I explained to her that this was because I was in control. If there was a problem, I could find solutions on the Internet, write scripts to fix or workaround problems etc.

No one really talks about how these things go oh so terribly wrong. It's Google so it's going to be awesome and easy and just work.... only.... what if it doesn't? What if Google doesn't really acknowledge that there's a problem?

I've been hearing discussion from schools about whether to go with Chromebooks and the consensus seems to be that learning is being done in the cloud, there's no good reason not to use Chromebooks. There's something missing here. There are technical details. Of course, no one's really talking. How can you, or anyone, make an informed choice on the Chromebook if no one is talking about the problems?

The majour problems I've seen so far are being excused under the guise of cheap hardware - Google couldn't possibly be at fault. It must be the manufacturers fault right? Or... even your own for buying something cheap and expecting it to work.

Meanwhile there are comparisons to be made. We can prove it's not the hardware at fault here - by running Chrubuntu. Suddenly you can change the entire software stack (except the kernel) and see it running on the same hardware.

Of course.... if Google can keep palming off issues as being because of "cheap hardware", rather than their own software having issues, then they never have to fix the software. And yes... I know... I could download the source code and have a go at fixing it myself.... except that I wouldn't be able to run it anyway... Not on the Chromebooks without having to put up with Developer Mode anyway.

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