Chris J Powell

ChromeOS…worth the hype?

When I built my MonstaPuter I did so with the intention of being able to run what ever OS I would ever need, either as a dual boot or within a Virtual Machine.  My current Virtual Machine Count using the Oracle VirtualBox is 37.  The next little while will involve my testing, evaluating and in turn giving my opinion of the OS, complete with Screenshots.  I will be looking at this, not as a power user or as a developer but as a average user.  ChromeOS has been around now since November 2009 so how are things progressing as it now holds v1.7.93?

To get a copy of this lightning fast OS surf over to GetChrome the 680MB ISO is fairly typical in size for a modern Linux OS and will fit onto a small USB Stick or a CD if you choose to boot just to the LiveOS (meaning no install required).

In playing around with the LiveOS I can say that I was less than impressed and in actuality very frustrated by the underlying SUSE back end.  The GetChrome Site says that it comes with:

 

Featured software in Chrome OS Linux:
  • Linux kernel 2.6.37
  • GNOME 2.32 desktop environment
  • Experimental GNOME Shell desktop environment
  • Google Chrome 17.0.963 web browser New!
  • Google Talk Plugin 2.5 New!
  • Google Music Manager 1.0
  • Google Picasa 3.0 photo manager
  • LibreOffice 3.4 office suite New!
  • GIMP 2.6 image editor
  • Wine 1.3 Windows emulator
  • Cheese 2.32 webcam app
  • Pidgin 2.7 instant messenger
  • Dashboard with social toolbar
  • Control Center
  • and much more!

All of that is there but the reality is…the slickness and speed is not worth resorting back to an OS that would feel at home back in the early 2000’s.  Other than the tight integration of the Google Chrome Browser…the best that I can say about this iteration of the ChromeOS is…meh.

Now opening up the browser this is where things start to get interesting.

The Google Services are nicely integrated but this is really not what I expected as this is not an OS at all and just a series of online plugins that I can access on any computer that has an internet connection.  In looking back around the web I was pointed off to the maker of an interesting port of the GetChrome version of Chromium so I headed over to hexxeh.net for a quick check…downloaded that image and went through the install process again.

The Hexxeh image is just 231 MB in size which took no time at all to download and once it was unzipped I was ready to go.

After moving the VDI image into the newly created folder I started up the Virtual Machine and this was more like what I was expecting…it booted to a screen asking for my Google Login and then straight to a browser…no underlying OS, no navigating through junk that I don’t need just nice and simple, and if I dare say down right sexy too.

The first install had locked me to just 800 x 600 resolution but in the Hexxeh Vanilla version I had the glory of a full screen.

Could Chrome become a daily use OS…at home sure I could see that.  90-95% of what I do on my pc is browser based so it would absolutely do what I need it to do.  On a laptop though…having always connected service to be able to access the Chrome Webstore and to the Google Services…well that could be a problem.  I enjoyed the initial view and will play around with the Vanilla Build for the rest of this week to give it a good run for its money.

Screenshots:

Cheers,

Chris J Powell

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