Wednesday, December 30, 2009

First Look: Google's Chromium OS

Thanks to @hexxeh who built a bootable USB image of Chromium, Google's operating system.  @hexxeh provides an image of Chromium and instructions at  The instructions under the wiki are a little more detailed so you might want to use them instead of the instructions on the main page.  There are also directions for creating a VirtualBox virtual machine vdi if you want to forego booting to a USB memory stick.

I booted Chromium on the Dell Mini 9, which required resetting my boot order and enabling USB Legacy Mode on in order for it to boot to the USB stick. Without further ado, here are (literal) screen shots of Chromium:

Running on the Dell Mini 9

Chromium Build

Chromium's configuration is simple, only four configuration screens.

Not much in the way of hardware configuration, just WiFi and ethernet.

The Google Wave client, built on GWT, is one of the more taxing browser applications.  Navigation seemed a little bit faster and the gadgets in the wave ran as expected.  Also note that the screenshot was taken from a 23 inch LCD.  This Chromium build mirrors external displays using the same resolution as the netbooks native screen resolution.  There are no options to change the resolution of the external monitor.

Finally Chrome is an HTML 5 compliant browser, so to exercise it a bit I ran several HTML5 demos.  Here's a video of one of them running in Chromium:

WiFi and ethernet is a bit wonky on the Dell Mini 9 and bluetooth did not work, but overall Chromium seem reasonably stable.  Chromium is in its early stages and there are bugs to work out, but it does suggest Google's future direction.

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