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Chromium OS

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Title: Chromium OS  
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Chromium OS

Chromium OS
Chromium OS (23.0.1262.0) displaying the app drawer with integrated search and the English WorldHeritage homepage.
Developer Google
OS family Chromium OS (based on Linux kernel)
Package manager Portage[1]
Platforms x86, ARM[2]
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface Graphical (Web-based)
License Various
Official website /

Chromium OS is a Linux distribution designed by Google to work primarily with web applications. It is the open source development version of Chrome OS.



In preliminary design documents, Google describes a three-tier architecture: firmware, web browser and window manager, and system-level software and userland services.[3]

  • The firmware contributes to fast boot time by not probing for hardware, such as floppy disk drives, that are no longer common on computers, especially netbooks. The firmware also contributes to security by verifying each step in the boot process and incorporating system recovery.[3]
  • System-level software includes the Linux kernel that has been patched to improve boot performance. Userland software has been trimmed to essentials, with management by Upstart, which can launch services in parallel, re-spawn crashed jobs, and defer services in the interest of faster booting.[3]
  • The window manager handles user interaction with multiple client windows much like other X window managers.[3]

Release history

By May 2010, compiled versions of the work-in-progress source code had been downloaded from the Internet more than a million times. The most popular version, entitled "Chromium OS Flow", was created by Liam McLoughlin, a then 17-year-old college student in Manchester, England, posting under the name "Hexxeh". McLoughlin's build boots from a USB memory stick and included features that Google engineers had not yet implemented, such as support for the Java programming language.[4]

While Google did not expect that hobbyists would use and evaluate Chromium OS ahead of its official release, Sundar Pichai, Google vice president of product management said that "what people like Hexxeh are doing is amazing to see." Pichai said the early releases were an unintended consequence of open source development. "If you decide to do open-source projects, you have to be open all the way."[4]

Hexxeh's work continued into the following year. He announced "Chromium OS Lime" in December 2010,[5] and in January 2011, released "Luigi", an application designed to "jailbreak"/"root" the Google Cr-48 "Mario" prototype hardware and install a generic BIOS.[6] The developer made the builds available in virtual machine format on March 13, 2011.[7] With no official build of Chromium OS forthcoming from Google, Hexxeh's "vanilla" nightly builds of Chromium OS remain the principal resource for people wanting to try Chromium OS.

As of 20 April 2013, Hexxeh has discontinued uploading his builds of Chromium OS.

Arnoldthebat still maintains daily and weekly builds,[8] with additionally available usage guidelines and help.[9]

In May 2011, Dell Computer also released a new build for the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook, following up on an earlier build released almost 18 months earlier. The build did not support audio, but was bootable from a USB drive.[10]

In July 2012, Chromium Build Kit was released. It automatically compiles a developer build and installs Chromium OS on a USB drive.[11]


Some devices have shipped with Chromium OS preinstalled. They include the Kogan Agora Chromium Laptop by the Australian company Kogan[12] and the Xi3 Modular Computer, introduced by the company of the same name.[13][14]

Trademark dispute

In June 2011, ISYS Technologies, based in Salt Lake City, sued Google in a Utah district court, claiming rights to the name "Chromium", and, by default, Chromebook and Chromebox. The suit sought to stop Google and its hardware and marketing partners from selling Chromebooks.[15] The suit was later dismissed, and, as part of an undisclosed settlement between Google and ISYS, ISYS abandoned its trademark efforts.

See also


  1. ^ Cairns, Ryan (2010-02-05). "Upcoming build system changes". Chromium OS dev. Google Groups. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  2. ^ Womack, Brian (2009-07-08). "Google to Challenge Microsoft With Operating System". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Security Overview: Chromium OS design documents". Google. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Stone, Brad (May 7, 2010). "Test Flights Into the Google Cloud". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Hexxeh. "Now with a citrus twist". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Hexxeh. "Your princess is in another castle…". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Hexxeh. "In my VirtualBox?". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Chromium OS Builds". Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Linder, Brad (May 15, 2011). "Dell releases Chromium OS build for Inspiron Mini netbooks". Liliputing. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Chromium Build Kit (July 30, 2012). "Chromium Build Kit-- Source Forge". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Agora 12" Ultra Portable Laptop powered by Google Chromium OS - Buy your Google Chromium OS laptop computers from Kogan
  13. ^ Xi3 Modular PC
  14. ^ ChromiumPC
  15. ^ "Chrome Turf War: Did Google abandon the Chromium Trademark?". June 13, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Chromium Builds by Hexxeh
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