Google ditching Windows for Linux and Mac

Google is currently phasing out Windows-based PCs, and switching over to Mac and Linux operating systems, according to the Financial Times.  Since the Google China attacks back in January, shortly after Google said it would end censorship in China, Google is removing Windows from its computers.

Google is no longer offering new hires the option to run Windows-based PCs, without the approval of a CIO, and instead offering employees Mac computers or PCs running Linux operating system.  Google was still allowing new hires to install Windows on their laptops, back in January, but not on their desktops.

“We're not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said an employee at Google.  “Linux is open source and we feel good about it,” said the employee. “Microsoft we don't feel so good about.”

Long-term employees who wanted to remain using Windows on their machines required approval from “quite senior levels,” an employee at Google said.

Employees at Google have also mentioned that Google is in the process of switching employees to run their own products, including Google Chrome OS, Google Chrome browser and a variety of other essential products. 

Google was attacked back in January, using a remote code execution (RCE) security flaw found in Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows XP.  The exploit could be used to run unauthorized software on a compromised computer by tricking the user into visiting a webpage with maliciously code on it.

Google would not comment on its policies.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

China's supercomputer power grows

Next Story

Apple comments on Foxconn suicides; rumours of wage subsidies

104 Comments

View more comments

Laura said,

With Linux and OS X (which is Linux underneath) hackers will have to make more effort to find exploits in the first place, they are less likely to be able to use something that has already been found.

Actually, no it's not linux. It's BSD. And it has virtually no GNU software, so there's really not much practical similarity between os x and linux systems.

Laura said,
Windows XP is pretty old, but users should still expect decent security. I guess they don't want to pay a fortune to upgrade it. Why should they?

The cost of an upgrade would be a drop in the bucket to Google.

Good for them I guess, but their repeated referral to XP and IE6 is garbage. Using an outdated OS and browser (with free update) was their fault, not windows. Just seems like PR spew. Same thing will happen if they use an outdated browser on pretty much any platform.

Google bad bad idea. They only got viruses since they were using XP (A 9 year old OS!!!) and IE 6!! They should stay with windows at least. It is a widely used OS along with OS X. So keep Windows 7 and OS X.

Google are just being like people who refuse to update their software so go for something completely different.

This is all about Ego in my opinion. Google prides itself on being a trailblazer and now they have the opportunity to show the world they don't need MS. Google is not perfect and they have shown not all of their ideas work (Google Wave anyone?).

nubs said,
This is all about Ego in my opinion. Google prides itself on being a trailblazer and now they have the opportunity to show the world they don't need MS. Google is not perfect and they have shown not all of their ideas work (Google Wave anyone?).

Google wave works? You might not have a use for it but it is a very nice tool for online classes.

If Google is still using XP, they are ****ing idiots and shouldnt be using computers period. And if anything thinks this is going to hurt MS....think again.

Considering how little Windows-only computers were used at Google (the vast majority of Google's computers run a specialized version of Ubuntu called Goobuntu and their web services run in Linux servers), I'm surprised this hadn't happened already. Hell, the only reasons they need Macs are for iDevice app development. They can run their Windows and Windows Phone development environments in a VM.

This just makes Google look stupid. They had Windows XP with IE6 hacked. Yeah so a 10 year old OS and browser were hacked. I bet those machines were not patched, and the users were full Admin's on the box.

Who was in charge of security? Are they still working there? So instead of say upgrading the browser to IE8, which is more secure than Chrome, they decide to ditch all Microsoft products?

Windows 7 comes with IE8.

Lame.

http://arstechnica.com/microso...-ie8-is-the-most-secure.ars

rrode74 said,
This just makes Google look stupid. They had Windows XP with IE6 hacked. Yeah so a 10 year old OS and browser were hacked. I bet those machines were not patched, and the users were full Admin's on the box.

Who was in charge of security? Are they still working there? So instead of say upgrading the browser to IE8, which is more secure than Chrome, they decide to ditch all Microsoft products?

Windows 7 comes with IE8.

Lame.

http://arstechnica.com/microso...-ie8-is-the-most-secure.ars

actually, welcome to online development. as long as you support a particular platform,you should be running it also. the hack in question would have only taken one vulnerable computer. being a company that until recently has fully supported all the major os and browsers, how is it shocking in any way that they had at least one with xp and ie6 on it.

I disagree with this. I am a MAC man now, but they really could just upgrade to Win7 and be good to go. The flaw discussed was Windows XP + IE6? It would be quite silly to assume Google employees were using that configuration, IMO; but hey - what do I know.

First of all Oh pleaasee! Google can't face Microsoft in clean "match" for the OS market and they are trying to hurt them by playing dirty. The other thing is after all this time they decided now they should stop buying a competitors software? My third point is apparently their profits are so high they will license new software/hardware and by the looks of it their staff will need a lot more training. Why isn't this the great chrome os btw? Lastly, ALL software can be hacked. What's easier to hack? the software for which you have the source code maybe? Security breaches are no longer measured in number of security defects but support response time. Anyway you see it M$ is ontop of both.
My last concern is how will google software (cloud or desktop) be that efficient on the windows platform if Google doesnt believe in that platform at all?

Riva said,
My last concern is how will google software (cloud or desktop) be that efficient on the windows platform if Google doesnt believe in that platform at all?

Even though Google isn't using Windows internally any more, 80 some odd % of the rest of the consumer world still run it on their PC. Producing a substandard product would reduce consumer uptake (At least those of you who use Windows) and therefore affect revenues from the majority market share holder.

P.S. I'm not a Google employee, Linux user by choice, .

Edited by Gerowen, Jun 2 2010, 4:55am : Clarification

Linux and Mac share the same Unix archetecture... its more secure than every version of windows except possibly Windows 7. Its designed to be secure. Now vunerabilities are in every piece of software created. Its easier for developers to work with. Its also cheaper to use, at least linux. MacOS must be for work terminals.

Ruciz said,
Its also cheaper to use, at least linux.

Except the salary differences between a *nix admin and a windows admin amount to the cost of the OS licensing, thus invalidating the claim.

They won't be doing this 100%, how else will they develop and test their applications on Windows? Virtual Machines or dual boots i guess...

No one has either a right to tell Google how to run their business, or should lose sleep over it if they ditch Windows in the workplace. That's a corporate decision, and you can bet they have good reasons to have made that decision. Nothing happens on that level without a lot of debate.
I run XP Pro for work, Vista Home Premium dual booting with PCBSD at home, and travel with a netbook running Ubuntu. If you're a guest at my house, your only choice if you need to use the internet is my Mac, running OSX 10.4. Every other computer is passworded, and I don't give anyone my passwords.
Have I gotten viruses on a Windows PC? Yes. I've never had one using Vista, but have in all previous versions from 95-XP.
Have I gotten viruses on a Linux machine? No, but I run an antivirus program on my machines - just to be safe.
A virus on my Mac? No. I do run an antivirus program on it, but it's never proven useful.
What do I do for a living? I work on, and sell computers. The biggest problem really is stupid users on a Windows PC, not Windows itself.
Pros for Windows: Almost everyone knows how to use it.
Cons for Windows: There are (literally) millions of viruses, and spyware programs out there that run in the Windows environment.
Pros for OSX: It's faster than Windows, and there are relatively few viruses and spyware programs that will run in the Mac OS.
Cons for OSX: The average user has never used it, and refuses to learn how to run a new OS.
Copy the pros and cons from OSX for Linux.
It's all a matter of choice what type of computer you use, and what OS you use at home. Work is another story. My work machine is Windows 7 ready, and when the time comes, I'll move to Win7 Pro (I already have the software & drivers ready). I can't do that before the company is ready to make the change.
Google making the swap to an OS that requires an actual admin to make changes is nothing more than good business. It may cut down time, and Windows can be run in VM on either Linux or OSX, so there should be no problem testing their applications.

Here we go again with people claiming that unix or macos are bulletproof. Let me see, how would i produce more chaos? how will i steal more personal information? 80% of the market? or 20%? what to chose what to chose...
We need to open up an ebay account and pay a lot of money in it. That will be the reward for the hacker who creates new viruses on those two platforms every day for a month. Say dev contractor £600 a day?

Commenting is disabled on this article.