The network is the computer - The Chrome OS mantra?

After I posted on Twitter that the Google Chrome OS reminded me of the Tektronix X-Terminals we used at NASA around 1990, a friend tweeted the reply, "The network is the computer."

If you know anything about Unix history, you know "The network is the computer" was the slogan of Sun (nee Sun Microsystems) for many years. I remember reading an article one time where Sun executive said something like, "We don't really know what it means, but we like it", in regards to this slogan.

Google Chrome OS, Dr. Eric Schmidt, and Sun

Now, if you happen to know even more about Unix and Sun history, you'll know that Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, worked for Sun for many years before moving on to Novell and eventually Google. In a blog post today, Dr. Schmidt didn't say "The network is the computer", but he came pretty darned close, describing a Sun project back in 1983 known as 3M. Like my thoughts regarding the similarities of the Google Chrome OS approach and the Tektronix "boot from the network" X-Terminals, the 3M project was basically a "network computer", albeit way before the network, hardware, and software were ready for the user experience.

So, for me, whenever I think about the Google Chrome OS, I'll often remember those old Tektronix X-Terminals, and the Sun "The network is the computer" slogan. I have to think the Google marketing people would love to use this slogan, especially after blowing up a notebook computer today to prove their point about "The network is the computer" ... er ... "Cloud Computing".


Many thanks to Rich Rodriguez for reminding me of Sun's "The network is the computer" slogan. And here's a link to Eric Schmidt's blog post on the Google Chrome OS and similarities to the Sun 3M project (and my Tektronix X-Terminals). You can also find my original post on Twitter (see Alvin Alexander on Twitter).