Chromium OS: the distro of the future?

Article from the Verge today:

A de-Googled Chrome OS. This or something like it is something that I've thought would be great for quite some time. I'm very curious as to where this will go.

From the press releases, it looks like the company will be keeping it proprietary, but 99% of the thing is open source. I wonder whether they would be willing to open all of the code up, or how much work it would take for a group of developers to essentially recreate the project and keep it totally open. Perhaps the Chromium project is too close to Google to keep it open. Somebody, please fork it! The real work wouldn't, I suppose, be in recreating the barebones OS, but in bolstering the suite of FOSS online services to replicate Google's offerings. We are getting there, I think.

But at least from a user perspective, I'm intrigued. When I think of my own needs, especially for a laptop, a terminal and a browser cover about 90% of what I need to do these days. I'm going to install this on an old laptop tonight and fool around with it. What do all of you think?

If you are interested in chromium is take a look at this.


Thanks for the link. I fooled around with these builds about a year ago and thought they were great, but they didn't have the killer auto-update feature that Chrome OS has, so you needed to reinstall quite often to keep up. I wonder if they've solved that issue. I'll go and take a look at the latest builds.

The Neverware OS handles the updates for you, so they seem to have solved that problem.

As with Android, it looks like Google has cleverly designed Chrome OS so that you can kinda sorta run it without Google services, but doing so makes it much harder. It's sort of half-open source.

A fully cloud-based OS makes a lot of sense, but for it to be useful to ordinary people, it would have to be built completely differently than a more traditional Linux distro. We need more robust open analogues to Google Docs, Dropbox (RIP Ubuntu One), Spotify and such, and these would be ideally tied together by a single account.

So a release model like Cyanogenmod?

Google will probably merge android and Chrome OS in the near future

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they are. It's been said to be coming in 2017. and the proof is the existance of the Pixel C.

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Not necessarily of the future for everyone but it definitely will be around for a really long time. The web is getting more and more powerful. I bought my fiance a chromebook 2 years ago and the only time we ran into an issue is when she needed a windows laptop for going to College Online where she needed to run an app that locks her computer down. Almost every other use case is possible on a chromebook.


Yes, I am aware of the merger. While it will probably be good for Android users and perhaps the people already using Chrome OS, it would probably not be good for the whole Chromium OS thing. The attraction for me is as a tiny OS that leaves a minimal footprint on the machine: "just a browser." If it were swallowed up by Android, that would add a lot of bloat and the whole security mess that Android is in at the moment. Maybe someone can fork it before that happens.

@Ferman yes, it's quite surprising how much you can do with a Chromebook. For many users, it's really all the computer you need, as long as you're ok living a Google-centric lifestyle. That's the caveat that keeps me from using one. As Logan and Wendell have mentioned on the Tek a few times, Google has in general been somewhat benevolent about user privacy and doing evil things with all of that data, but it's just more than I'm willing to sign up for.

All the big Linux distros are great, and lots of fun to fool around with, but with a rock-solid browser-only OS like Chrome OS, I feel like you could sand down almost all of the rough edges that keep a lot of people from trying, or sticking with, Linux. Don't get me wrong, I love those rough edges, but imagine if you could have a system up and going in 20 minutes and never have to touch the settings or command line ever again? Or one that never needed backups? That could run just fine on ancient, minimal hardware? That would be cool.

The Projet have changed the name to Cub Linux, because Google dosent like Chormium OS.

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I think this is the absolute best option for many users (Not all, but quite a few of your "average" users).

I've converted my father to an Asus chromebox this past year, and for his uses its been absolutely amazing.

However I could never see this catching on with the more tech savvy crowd, much to simplified for our needs :)

I would purchase one for a cheap laptop to take with me when traveling internationally.

Cub Linux is a new name for Chromixium OS, Chromium OS is something completely different, I mean, I got confused with this post.

As it says on , "Chromixium is changing name and rebranding to Cub Linux.". Chromium OS is open source ChromeOS, while Chromixium is something between Chromium OS and Ubuntu, that's how i understanded it, and now i checked it, and it seems it is like that:

They're keeping it proprietary but it's open source? It's still using the linux kernel?

I really hope not. Not all solutions are right for all people. I want flavours. Choices.

Saying "of the future" sort of denotes that this is going to be the main OS 'of the future'. I for one, don't want to live in that future.

Keeping it open source is IMPORTANT, but as it is, chrome OS is already severely limited. Not everything needs to be networked all the time. I get a nasty taste in my mouth with words like 'proprietary'. "of or relating to an owner or ownership."

We need to push open source linux / gnu distros driven by communities... like we have now. Like we have been doing...

I hate a locked down os, and the fact that they used proprietary, means that they can change at any time.

Google to me, isn't a bad guy... they're sort of the optimal version of big brother. But I just don't want to hand over the worlds largest search engine, the worlds largest operating system. Certainly, they have android right now, and that's a global leader, and it is what it is, but mobile phones have their own small function in our lives, which isn't as important as workstations for productivity and general freedom for everyday use.

I like egalitarianism when it comes to OS.

This has a place for cheap outdated systems. Not of the future as it is severely limited.

The scary thing is, if people can dock their phones and do everything they need to do, on a locked down OS, then that would serve the mainstream. If all these intensive applications move to the cloud, we have ultimately less freedom. Small community driven distributions wouldn't stand a chance. It would hurt... give us mobility, but hurt our freedom.


@Sehnsucht, thanks for the link. I wasn't aware that the Chromixium project had undergone some changes. It's another interesting take. I'll fool around with it.

@cam.bankord, I think that we're pretty much in agreement. FOSS is the way to go, and as a user, I'm fine with dealing with the quirks and effort that go with taking that route. And of course, yes, I appreciate being able to do all of the wonderful things that a full, non-cloud-based OS like Linux allow us to do.

What I think the Neverware OS illustrates is that FOSS has not yet come up with a great solution for some of the people who need it the most, e.g. financially strapped public schools. If you have some smart people doing your IT, schools can go with something like Edubuntu, but it's still orders of magnitude more difficult to set up and maintain than Chrome OS. US school districts are buying Chromebooks by the millions, and I see it exploding in other markets soon as well, whereas desktop Linux has never had much success in K-12 education.

I think that this could be a great opportunity to rethink the way that distros are developed, because Google really is making massive inroads here, upon which this Neverware OS business is just a footnote. Many of the hackers and tech CEOs of tomorrow will have grown up using Chromebooks, not Windows machines. As the article hints at a bit, Microsoft, Apple, and Intel all perceive Chrome OS as a massive threat. There is something poetic about these young kids learning on Windows computers that have literally been left for dead, brought back to life Lazarus-like by Linux.

I take it not as a failure on the part of the FOSS community or a dereliction of duty that these people are being better served by a private company, but as a challenge for us to do better. Yes, we should be able to create something even better without needing to make it proprietary.

In the immediate present, a cloud-based OS would seem to be underpowered and detrimental to freedom, but if you look a bit farther into the future, I don't think that it has to be so. Projects like Wikipedia, GitHub, Protonmail, and DuckDuck Go show that you can have robust web offerings outside of massive corporations that can respect your freedom and be decentralized. Heck, the development of Linux itself is essentially a massive cloud project. A Chromium-OS-like OS may not in fact be the future, but I could certainly see it going that way.

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@leipero, i'm also confused with this Chormixium OS @ Chromium OS thing ;)

Installed it today using the Neverware instructions. It's quite polished, and was one of the easiest installs l've ever run. Took about 10 minutes, most of which was waiting on the download and the installation media creation tool. You can even run it directly off of a USB drive as a live environment. Impressive. I could really see this taking off.