Build Your Private Chromium OS Chromebook

  • Introduction To Google Chromium OS

Google Chromium OS is a Linux based open source operating system developed by Google, specifically designed to run web applications. It was launched on July 7, 2009. The downloaded source code can only be compiled and run on hardware supported and approved by Google and its fellow companies.

There is an official site provided by Google to run a compatibility check of the hardware you intend to install Chromium OS on. The only application that runs on your desktop is the browser with a media player, keeping this in mind Chromium OS was developed targeting the users who spend most of their time on the internet.

Moreover Chromium OS is built using Portage from Gentoo with a specific overlay called the Chromium OS portage overlay. It is programmed in C and C++ with supported platforms of x86 and ARM families. The updates are also automatically installed on the client machine.

  • OS Architecture

Chromium OS open source project is based on a three-tier architecture: firmware, browser and window manager, system-level and other user related software and services. The firmware speeds up the boot time by not querying hardware for the floppy disks that are no longer used. The Linux kernel is included in the system level software.

  • Security

Google has taken utmost care to keep it highly secure and provided with a more reinforced OS with proper auto update that will provide a timely check of the operating system status. Moreover since the OS is open source any flaws in the OS can be known by the feedback received from the users which can then be rectified. The boot code stored in ROM (Read Only Memory) checks for any vulnerability which makes it one of the most secure operating system as announced by Google sources.

  • Linux shell access

Google has developed a Chromium shell known as “Crosh” from which users can ping and ssh. Bash commands are not provided but can be accessed via the crosh shell.

  • Remote access

The technology is known as “Remoting” that was developed by Gary Kacmarcik which is similar to Microsoft’s RDP, but is yet to be commissioned.

  • Media

A media player is also integrated to address the client’s music and other media needs. This will allow users to play MP3 files, view JPEG images and maintain other multimedia files.

  • Hardware support

Google mainly built this OS for secondary devices such as netbooks as it is not very effective for primary PCs. Moreover Google has recommended SSD (Solid State Drives) for faster IO’s and thus increase performance but it also supports HDD (Hard Disk Drive). Thus using of SSD boosts the performance as well as assists in reducing the space requirements to very large extent.

Now that we have a basic idea about Chromium OS let us understand the steps to configure our own ChromeBook.

  • A. Getting the correct NetBook

Chromium OS runs smoothly on a netbook that has a x86 or an ATOM processor. Though add-on devices such as Bluetooth and WiFi interfaced and running on the OS require some troubleshooting from your end.

  • B. Download and Install

A 2GB pen drive will be sufficient to burn the downloaded Chromium OS. You can download a live CD or a USB Disk Image from the official Chromium OS site. If you are familiar with Linux you can completely build and install it from the source code. It will just take about an hour to compile the source code though downloading and installing the OS is the safest and easiest option. The root user and the password are also provided on the same site.

  • C. Boot UP

Once you have downloaded, you can either burn it on USB or a CD. After this, all you have to do is boot your machine from the respective device. After a few seconds you will be asked to select a network. Once a proper ethernet or WiFi network is detected you will be greeted with the welcome message as all other OS do. Here you will have to login with your details. If Chromium OS detects a web cam on your system, it will prompt to take a photo of yours in order to build your avatar. You can skip this step if and upload the avatar later. Once you are through this step you will see a plain Google Chromium browser with great GUI and you are ready to go online.

  • D. Installing on a hard drive

Booting from a USB or CD Drive is always an inconvenient option as they are prone to get damaged or corrupted. Thus once you are satisfied with the performance and the user interface you can permanently install it on your hard disk. Moreover installing it on your HDD is quite easy, with a warning that all of the data on these disks will be completely flooded away.

All you have to do is to hit “Ctrl+Alt+T”. And now type “/usr/sbin/chromeos-install” and hit Enter(for other builds the command is “install”). Enter Root password ie: “facepunch” and if for a dell build use “dell1234″. Now follow some simple prompts. Once the installation is completed remove the pen drive or the CD drive and reboot your system. Congratulations you now own a brand new Chromium OS.

  • E: Conclusion

Note that you have installed a Chromium OS and not Chrome OS. The major difference between them is that Google Chrome OS is the official build which will be released and supported by Google developers which makes Chrome OS more stable. On the other hand chromium OS lacks with a few features such as a PDF plug-in, MP3 support, and print preview but still you have a working OS with cloud functionality.
Now, you can go to the Chrome Web Store to check for new apps and set-up Google Cloud Print and connect to Google Music. You can check the Chromium OS developer resources for more troubleshooting tips.


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