Monday, 11 January 2010

Chrome OS Quickie

I thought I'd wade into the Chrome OS debate with a very quick review of build by Hexxeh (visit his site, for details of how to download and create a bootable usb disk).  At the time of this post, January 11th 2010 his 'ChromeOS Zero' is the latest build.

Amongst the things said to be improved from his end of year build is more support for a greater range of wifi, oh yeah, and speed. Not sure about things on the wifi front but I can attest to it being much sharper in use on my Acer Aspire One. It boots in about 6s from the USB stick and closes down almost instantly - nice work.

There are details on the wiki ( amongst other things, as to how to install to your harddisk should you wish to - I tried that on an older machine with the year end build and it worked as detailed. Running from the harddisk did improve the speed of things - as to be expected.

The first item on my agenda was to get the British keyboard layout selected. A quick 'CTRL+ALT+T' to bring up the terminal. Followed by 'setxkbmap gb' from the prompt to set the layout to British and then 'exit' - good to go.

For the record the version of Chomium it runs is which is good news if you want to run extensions. All my usual suspects seemed to work, Adthwart, Flashblock etc.

Summing up. I am very impressed, even at this early stage, as to the future prospects of Chrome OS. It boots quicker than anything I've ever used, beating Moblin v2.1 (my prefered netbook OS of choice - at the moment) by miles- not surprising really, considering it's basically just a browser. As you would expect - and pretty much required since it's all it does - Web browsing is as quick as it gets - and Flash works (most of the time).

Now it's true the screen update does lag from time to time, which I guess is understandable because I'm guessing the hardware drivers aren't bang on the money at this early stage and it doesn't come with any bells or whistles. There's no office here but as long as all you want to do is access your online life quick and easy, it appears to fit the bill.

I'm not sure if it will replace my netbook OS anytime soon - there are still a few too many custom apps I use that don't have suitable online equivalents - but in a year or two I reckon the gap will have narrowed and then the decision won't be so clear cut.

A very promising start...