Dell Community site, several company employees were inspired create this custom version after seeing Engadget's video showing Chrome OS running on a Vostro A860 netbook. After tinkering around with the code, they were able to create their own version of Chromium OS, complete with functional Wi-Fi drivers, and have made the build available for download as a USB key image file from the Direct2Dell blog.Dell has just released a customized version of Chromium OS, the open source code behind Google's new operating system called Chrome, in a build designed specifically for Dell Mini computers. According to a blog post on the
About Google Chrome
After last week's sneak peek at Google's upcoming operating system dubbed Google Chrome OS, tech enthusiasts everywhere have been playing with the open source code which Google released to the community on the day of the press conference. This code, called Chromium OS, lets anyone take the basic building blocks of Google's operating system and customize it for their own purposes. Going the open source route isn't just an example of Google's desire to "not be evil," but protects the company from anti-trust, anti-competitive claims surrounding the new project - a project which is basically an OS that runs only one web browser: Google Chrome. In fact, Google's browser is the operating system in its entirety. No desktop applications will be supported on this web-based, Wi-Fi only machine. As Google's VP of Product Management, Sundar Pichai, said during the press event, if any other browser maker wants to build their own version of the OS using their own browser, they can.
Since the launch of the Chromium OS source code, there have been a number of articles explaining how to run the operating system in a virtual machine on your own computer as well as how to boot the operating system from a USB flash drive. But up until now, these efforts have been steered by enthusiastic technology users and not those associated with any large computer manufacturer such as Dell.
And while the Dell Chromium build isn't exactly an "official" company product, it's noteworthy for the fact that it was designed by company employees, posted publicly on a Dell website, and is customized to run specifically on Dell Mini computers.
Dell's Chromium OS Build
Dell blog post, the USB key image file (available here: http://linux.dell.com/files/cto) only works on Dell Mini 10v computers. Most importantly, the build makes the built-in Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter on these machines functional, a feature needed when running a web-based OS. After all, what good is a cloud operating system if you have to be tethered to an ethernet cable?According to the
The blog post includes instructions on how to copy the USB image file to a USB flash drive, but unfortunately the directions are aimed only at those who have access to another Linux machine. We're not sure why Windows and Mac users couldn't just modify the instructions found on this website to make their own Dell Chromium OS USB keys by substituting the Dell build for the one hosted on that site.
In addition, if you're interested in trying out the Dell version of Chromium OS, there are a couple of things you should know:
- You'll need a hefty USB key drive - 8 GB minimum.
- It may take 5-10 minutes for the Chromium OS network connection manager to "see" the Wi-Fi access points.
- Some issues with the connection manager are still present. If it gets hung, reboot and try again.
- And by the way, there's no "reboot" - you have to press the power button on the Mini laptop.
- The Dell build is unsupported and minimally tested - use at your own risk.
If you're still feeling brave, the download is available here.