As some of you might know, Google released Chrome OS on Thursday (I saw the video on my ride to work on Friday morning, thanks to Rachid). Khanna (and Gmail RSS Feeds) pointed me to this techcrunch post on how to use it with VirtualBox, but they also had this nasty warning (bold emphasis mine).
First, a few caveats: we didn’t create the Chrome OS build ourselves — it was downloaded from BitTorrent. In theory it could possibly have been tweaked by some malicious hacker to steal your Google account information (this is unlikely, but who knows). There’s an easy fix if you’re worried though: just go make a throwaway Gmail account, and use that to play around with the OS. Also note that because this is running in a virtual machine, you’re probably not going to be seeing great performance (like that 7 second boot time). But it’s more than good enough to get a feel for the OS for yourself.
So, I set out to build my own copy of the image, since I do have a AMD 64-bit PC with Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic and 4GB of RAM :). All that was needed was to follow the instructions at the get and build page at Google's Chromium project, and it will all be done :).
Needless to say, there were some hiccups :). [read the Tech Notes below this post if you are interested]
How YOU can start playing with itAnyways, if you are in a hurry, point your favorite bittorrent software to download this torrent file [certified legal and malice-free by me, Animesh :) ]. A detailed description of the torrent is at this page.
[don't know how to use bittorrent? Post a comment or email me for a direct link for this 800MB file]
After that, follow the instructions to use VirtualBox from this Techcrunch post.
Here are some Screenshots from my run (you should see something similar):
Initial Login Screen
The Program Pane (or whatever they call it)
The detailed demo video from Google is reproduced below, in case you want to see the experience.
My ImpressionsHere are some initial thoughts:
- The goals are pretty lofty - provide an uber-secure OS for the netbook, which starts in under 7 seconds, and resumes from hibernation in 3. On top of that, make it so secure that anti-virus software is not needed.
- As another requirement, they need to provide "richer" features to the users who are used to desktop apps [local storage, audio/video capabilities come to mind].
- Using it on the VirtualBox will not be able to demonstrate the speed part, but one should be able to test the offline-storage and a/v aspects, and to a lesser extent. the security.
- I like what I see so far, and maybe my happiness is amplified by the fact that I was able to build it myself from source. Who here can say the same about Apple Snow Leopard or Windows 7? :)
- I did not test out all the features yet, but it was a bit slow, and froze sometimes. Will post more after I have done some experiments :)
- This was also my first experience of creating and posting a torrent. I am seeding it, so please feel free to take it for a spin. Also, please try to seed (leave it running) once you finish downloading. Thanks.
So, what do you guys/gals think?
- The backup user is firstname.lastname@example.org and the shared pwd is googlechrome.
- If you try to build it yourself, and choose to NOT download the source for the Chrome browser part, you will note that the path to the zip file that you should download in lieu of the source of the browser is broken. The one that worked for me was http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots/chromium-rel-linux-chromiumos/32516/chrome-linux.zip
- If you try to build it yourself, after running build_image.sh , the image will give errors if you try the steps under "Check the contents of the image". Don't worry. Just proceed to build the vmware image and use it. That's what I did.