What Kind Of Bird Are You Booting?

Consider this a Thanksgiving post. I know most of you are away eating, or arguing with family. Up here, in the Great White North, Thanksgiving was back in early October so I'm sort of working today. You might say I'm indulging in a different kind of bird. Just what kind of bird, however, was something I was very curious about.

Google's new Chrome OS sports a familiar distro under its feathers.

Like many others, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of the new killer OS from Google. I wanted to try it out. Kick the tires. Take it for a spin. That sort of thing.

So I downloaded the VMware image on the site and saved it to my disk, then created a virtual machine inside VirtualBox using the VMDK image as the disk file. Then I booted it and started looking around. It took me about 20 seconds to figure out that the login was my GMail user name and password and I was off.

To be honest, I was only so excited, though I accept that it's early days for Chrome OS yet. But I wanted more. Specifically, I wanted to load it onto a USB key and try it on my Acer Aspire netbook to try it in its natural environment. So I downloaded yet another file, this one designed to create a USB key bootable image. When I looked at the README file included with the large zip file, I saw something that really got me excited.

You can get to a shell by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T . Yeah, baby!!!

Now I could really start having fun. Can I sudo? Yes. The user name is chronos with password chronos. Cool.



cat /etc/lsb-release

Even cooler. Check out the screenshot to the left of this post. Google Chrome OS is yet another *buntu. Yes, it's Karmic Koala with a different set of feathers.

Happy Thanksgiving!


re: getting to a shell

Thanks Marcel,
I tried it again, but I soon discovered that not all the keys on my keyboard are working in the VM (even though they all work fine on the host), alt is one of the keys not working, hence why I'm unable to get to shell. If I get a chance, I'll see if I can get to shell on a different host.

open source this ?

I came here from the site opensourcethis dot com. It seems to suggest I can vote and suggest open source programs, but theres no-where to do it I can see, also all the articles seem to point to this site... whats going on ?

Trusting data on the cloud

With regard to the comment about trusting data on the cloud, there are two issues here. First there is the issue of privacy - private and confidential information should be kept off the cloud of course, but is Chrome OS any worse than what we already do now? Most of us have already put the most important private information on the cloud - anybody who has used a credit card for online purchases has their credit card numbers stored on various websites, and anybody who gas used Internet search has their browsing history stored online. Most of us already store our email online with hotmail, yahoo mail or gmail, and for those who don't, plain text emails are routinely scanned by governments worldwide.

Secondly, it should noted that here in the UK at least, the major security leaks, loss of privacy etc. so far have come not from information stolen from the cloud, but from information found on lost or stolen laptops, USB keys, CDs, and desktop hard drives on PCs disposed of. Hence cloud computing where no information is stored locally and where the data local cache is encrypted as in Chrome OS, may actually provide greater privacy and security of data than local hard drives or media.

The point is that unless you are doing something very secretive, Chrome OS isn't likely to be a whole lot worse than the lack of privacy we already have today on the Internet, and as far as general privacy on the Internet is concerned, the horse has already bolted, and it is a question of realizing that the Internet isn't private at all and keeping really private data well away from the Internet. I think the solution to this are private sessions running on Linux applications running in a sandbox with data stored locally or on the cloud only as encrypted files. Given Chrome OS is open sourced, this should be easy.

The bottom line is that real danger to privacy in the case of the cloud comes not from technical issues, but from our legislators who because of lobbying from commercial interest groups may remove laws respecting privacy and allow our private data to be used without our knowledge or approval.

What Kind Of Bird Are You Booting?

I don't use GMail. So I won't be using ChromeOS.or, indeed, any other web based email

moblin, android, chrome, etc

Tried Chrome and its... meh.

Moblin is much farther ahead and ready while who knows if Google will see this through. (Google Gears is dead it seems and no one falls out of love with projects more than Google.)

Then when Android is ported for netbooks and MIDs, we will have another choice and if Im running an Android phone it seems that I would want it on my netbook.
I like choice but even Linux fans are getting lost in all the new netbook interfaces especially since they are still incomplete.

That said, I use Gmail and Yahoo and the rest of the cloud (new word to say an old thing always annoys me) but I WANT everything also on my desktop. That whole recent Google Docs censoring thing is really creepy and a good reminder that your work doesnt belong to you.

Besides, I work on free software projects so I prefer to eat my own dog food.
Yes, I know the contribution Google makes to the Linux kernel but I also know that a company like Skype will treat their customers using Linux better than Google which either doensnt make Linux versions of their popular apps or they are always a few gen behind. I expect that from a Skype but not from a company like Google.

Getting to a shell

Hello Andrew,

Quick comment when it comes to trusting your data to 'the cloud'. You are 100% right. You shouldn't trust it. That said, you shouldn't trust your data to anything. Anything you post online that you want to exist or access tomorrow had better be backed up somewhere. Along the same vein, anything you store on your computer's hard disk that you want to exist or access tomorrow had better be backed up somewhere.

> You had mentioned getting to shell with ctrl+alt+t, that didn't work for me.

I went and tried it again and the same happened to me. It didn't work, no matter what I did. Needless to say I was rather confused. I even started wondering if Google had performed some kind of JuJu to make it so you could no longer do that -- yes, I know that's silly. So I shut down the virtual machine, and tried the Ctrl+Alt+T immediately after logging in and that time it did work. Seems to be a timing issue. So try it .again and let me know if that works for you

-- Marcel

My attempt

After reading your post I thought I would give it a shot. It actually took me a while to find an image to download, most seem to have been removed, and after downloading the image, I installed VirtualBox and created a ChromeOS virtual machine. My host machine is an old P4 with 1GB RAM running Ubuntu 9.04. Chrome ran very slow, CPU and memory maxed, but I liked the look and feel and things loaded quickly... after they started loading. ;)

Earlier Gar Nelson said, "My biased opinion, the cloud is cool, and useful, and all that but I'll still keep my stand alone computer. I really can't imagine trusting all my data to the cloud."
At this time I would have to agree with him, I'd prefer to keep all my important data locally on my own machine. It will be interesting to see how Chrome OS evolves from now to the official release next year.

You had mentioned getting to shell with ctrl+alt+t, that didn't work for me. :(

re; Portables

Hello alphakamp,

The download site for ChromeOS at gdgt.com does offer a download that you can use to create a thumb drive. When I find myself with a spare minute or two, I plan on trying it out myself.

As for comment subscriptions and notifications, I may or may not be trying to help out with that. :-)

-- Marcel


I could see ChromOS becoming the ultimate portable OS, la bootable thumb drives to avoid those pesky Windows labs. On a side note, why doesnt this site have the usual comment subscriptions/notifications?


but not surprising, it will be nice to see what the final version and subequent versions will look like.

The expanse of space surrounding Planet *buntu is getting busier and busier. As a result, achieving a stable orbit is particularly difficult when you're easily distracted. Consequently, Marcel Gagné's blog looks at pretty much anything and everything that orbits Planet *buntu. News, howtos, rumors, opinions, controversy, tech tips, helpful hints . . . you'll find it all here. Oh look! A shiny object!

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