Chrome OS install, hints and tips & my first experience

Horay! Chrome OS is out at
You can preview it a bit here

First you need to go to install all the pre-requisites to compile it on your Linux system listed here – OR
If you run ubuntu just do this
sh (hit Y near the end when it wants to install binutils-gold ok?)

Download the tar.gz from here
Or grab the git repo

sudo apt-get install git-core
mkdir [chromiumos]
cd [chromiumos]
gclient config
gclient sync

Note: This process may appear to hang while downloading the kernel source. It may take anywhere up to 10-20 minutes before you get more feedback

Follow the build instructions here

Once its booted up and running, you will realize very quickly its just a bootable web browser. There’s nothing else installed or to install. No logout button, no shutdown, no nothing.
If you are cunning like me and want to play then nothing like a ctl+alt+t to bring up a terminal then use your sudo to get root access. (no tutorials on this, if you dont know the power of sudo you shouldn’t be messing with things!)

First thing i noticed was that the main root file system was mounted what seems to be read-only. This i can only presume is for speed (and it is blimmin fast!) amoung other things.

The home directory was mounted read-write however to allow for downloading etc.
Package management or editing system files is impossible without remounting the root filesystem as read-write
mount -o remount,rw /

It appears to be based on Ubuntu, and its so cut down nothing much is installed. However in saying this, its still 589MB on disk when installed, which considering the fact that its not actually running anything other than a web browser, that’s pretty shocking. I can get a full debian install with xwindows and basic apps in that size fairly easily. Perhaps they havn’t had time to strip more garbage from it yet?
I noticed when its running that its using 653MB of my 1GB RAM, and has no swap at all. I presume its entirely running in RAM which contributes to its speed.

Catch 22, ChromeOS uses your google user/pass to login, if you use this then it will automatically log you in to your google acct at the same time, however, Wireless networking doesn’t come up until you are logged in (WPA key) .

I decided I wanted to add another offline user, so i did. My default username/password was chronos/chronos and i didn’t want that (yes downloaded a precompiled image). I added myself a user, then added my user to the admin,video,etc groups identical to the main user. I was still not able to login using this user which sucked, so i copied the homedir over from the first user to the second.

Still no go, so i checked in /etc for hard coded user names and found a few
/etc/security/pam_mount.conf.xml had the homedir to be mounted hard coded into it
/etc/init.d/ has export USER=firstusername
/etc/init.d/ has su firstusername -c “/etc/init.d/ ${MCOOKIE}”
/etc/acpi/ has export HOME=/home/firstusername

I edited all these to point to the new username, also copied the firstusername to secondusername homedir, chown’d all the files and grep -r’d and changed all instances of username hard coding.

Whilst editing these files i noticed that the pam_mount.conf contained information for mounting the home directory as an encrypted area.
I rebooted and hoped like heck after editing it would all go well. I should mention here that I’m using my 701 EEE PC laptop here, its a great test bed for lots of things.

After reboot i was still unable to login as the new user, so i checked directories other than /etc and found /usr/lib/chomeos-cryptohome/common

At this point, im tired, its late on a sunday evening and i never quiet got it the other user going. Since i need that offline user account to login before my WPA key/WIFI works, i will pursue this one further, for now im heading to bed (may update post later)

2 Replies to “Chrome OS install, hints and tips & my first experience”

  1. Yep, atm its about as useful as a portable web browser. Thats ALL it is, just the browser. it has no menu, no IM client, not even a prefs panel. The only thing you can do with it thats not browser based is connect to the network 😀

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