Will it run MS Office?
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This discussion is very interesting, but in the end I think that the web office will work well, and I have allerady watched a video of chrome os automaticly pushing the file to a microsoft web app of some sort. it seemed slick, and it looked like the web app could accualy save the file back down to the flash drive (there example) but also the flash drive browser was accualy a chrome window panel thing. (file:///)
Netbooks nowadays are capable of running Windows just fine. My campus doesn't have the most stable WiFi, so I need desktop software, and for my everyday use, a netbook is all I need. I can't rely completely on web apps and the cloud, not when my Internet connection is so fickle. If your college's Internet is anything like mine, then you're better off avoiding Chrome OS until offline apps are fully implemented.
However, since Office will run on Linux with WINE, it is theoretically possible, but it'd take a ton of tinkering: circumventing Chrome to get to a terminal, figuring out if ChromeOS uses any repositories, and then installing WINE from there, plus installing Office, which would require a CD/DVD drive, which most netbooks lack.
That said, ChromeOS should run the Office 2010 webapp just fine.
Since ChromeOS is sort of a "cloud" computing system, Google will most likely try and push Google Documents on you and their other proprietary software. This means they are (un)intentionally forcing you to use what is preinstalled or what is available through the package handler.
I want to be very clear here that, ChromeOS should not be the system to do word processing and office sort of activities. If anything, it is good for note taking, music listening, and browsing the web. It's not the most intuitive system as of now. Things could change-- hell the beta right now isn't really even a beta. It's basically what was done at the time.
Hope this helps.
Chrome OS will run Office 2010 for the web. As for running it locally, you're missing the point of Chrome - and you end up just attempting to make it into a 'real OS' which introduces additional complexity.
Mind you, I don't doubt that many people will be committed enough to running Chrome to do this eventually - even if much less effectively than running a proper Windows machines in the first place. Rather like Boot Camp for the Apples, you might say.
This is for a netbook I'm hoping to get this summer when i'm getting a computer for college. I want a netbook that i can take anywhere (for simple applications like word processing, working on projects, or commenting on forums) and a desktop pc i can run games on. I pretty much want the two to work together with word processing and i find the google apps to be horrible at formatting papers and such.