Chrome OS 48 Review And Installation How-to – The Desktop Linux From Google With Biggest Commercial Success

Update 28.01.1016: what’s new in Chrome OS 48

Introduction

Chrome OS – the Linux distribution made by Google and based on Gentoo Linux and Google Cloud services. Google built Chrome OS for their devices – Chromebooks – small netbook-like devices. The biggest part of Chromebooks success – cheap ~$200 devices for students, small business and non-IT specialists: ready Google Cloud infrastructure – Google Docs, Drive, E-mail and other can save your money. Powerful $800+ laptops are a good thing, but some small tasks can be made on weak hardware. Internet connection today good in big cities and this is very good to work with clouds – ChromeOS automatically syncs your settings and data if you need it. Easy and minimalist interface is very usable for kids and old peoples.

Some digits: Chromebooks now has ~14% of the laptop market (~8% in the previous year). Worldwide sales in 2015 are rather than 7 million devices (23% up), in education segment – 73% in EMEA, 69% – Asia/Pacific, 60% – USA. Impressive, right?

Interfaces and software

General and most important part of ChromeOS – Chrome Browser from Google. Yes, Chrome Browser in Chrome OS. Also available: small and fast window manager, image viewer, file manager. System settings (language, time, themes) are built-in to Chrome Browser. Unlike typical Linux Distribution the Chrome OS don’t have a package manager – all applications can be installed only as Chrome extensions.

Chrome OS interface – settings widget, Chrome and launcher panel

Chrome OS settings is a part of Chrome

File manager and Gallery

File manager also support Dropbox, OneDrive, and other cloud services

Individual notification

Crosh – terminal emulator in Chrome

Launcher

Memo Notepad

Gaming in Chrome – Team Picks

Google Docs

Installation

For installation, you need a USB Flash device with 4 GB+ memory. * For Chromebooks – please check the instructions from your hardware vendor. Samsung and Acer devices are supported boot from USB Flash image, use Ctrl+U in developer mode. * For other hardware – setup your BIOS/UEFI for boot from USB device.

Google does not provide builds of Chrome OS, only recovery images for Chromebooks. We can use the Chromium OS – open source project and Chrome OS for Developers. Just download image from here and write it on USB Flash:

// For x86-64 machines:
$ curl -O http://chromium.arnoldthebat.co.uk/daily/Camd64OS-20151109010101.img.7z
$ 7za x Camd64OS-20151109010101.img.7z

// /dev/sdX - your USB Flash Device, be careful
# dd if=Camd64OS-20151109010101.img of=/dev/sdX bs=8M

OS X users can also use dd, Win32 Image Writer for Windows.

Now we can boot from USB Flash disk – Chrome OS works nicely, but we can also install it on hard disk or SSD. Just press Ctrl+Alt+F2 and login with user chronos and password password.

NOTE: next command wipe all your data on HDD/SSD

Run the installation:

/usr/sbin/chromeos-install

You can also open a terminal in Chrome Browser with the Ctrl+Alt+T hotkey.

Resume

Positive:

  • cheap devices for all
  • fast working on new and old hardware
  • cloud infrastructure
  • easy interfaces

Negative:

  • browser is one and only – not enough for advanced users and tech specialists
  • Google monopoly in software
  • good network connections are necessary
  • application store only for registered users

In the end of the story my personal recommendation: try it, Chrome OS or Chromebooks can be useful in your business, work and family and also can give a new life for your old hardware.

Whats new in latest release – Chrome OS 48

    • improved notifications after a file download
    • default applications for photos now is a Google Photos
    • new recovery screen
    • multimedia player has new material design interface

Multimedia Player With Material Design

    • new wallpapers
    • IPv6 address is now visible in network settings

IPv6 Address

  • Unofficial Chrome OS build for Raspberry Pi 2

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  • Anton Ermolenko

    Hello!

    Are you sure about “dd if=Camd64OS-20151109010101.img.7z”, not the “dd if=Camd64OS-20151109010101.img”?

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      Fixed, thanks for attentiveness!