Chromium for the Masses

Every time my paycheck is direct-deposited, I contemplate purchasing a Chromebook. Long gone are the days of the CR-48 laptops with the clunky interface and frustrating usability. Although I never quite seem to pull the trigger and buy a Chromebook, thanks to the developer Hexxeh, it's possible to run the Chromium OS on a wide variety of hardware combinations. I'm writing this on my Dell Latitude D420 booted into Hexxeh's Vanilla build of Chromium. (I'm using the excellent Chrome App Writebox as an editor.) You can get the most recent build of Vanilla from Hexxeh's Web site:

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The exciting news, however, has nothing to do with laptops at all. Like most Linux-based pseudo-embedded projects, Hexxeh's Chromium build is getting ported to the Raspberry Pi. Once complete, a Chromium-enabled Raspberry Pi desktop machine will be a very affordable, power-sipping alternative to Google's ChromeBox units. Projects like this really beg the question: is there anything the Raspberry Pi can't do? For more details on the Pi port, visit Hexxeh's blog:


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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Peppermint Linux - best of both worlds

Ferniez's picture

I recently installed Peppermint Linux ( and found that it gives me the best of both worlds. It comes with a tool called ICE that lets you link to the web via the menu. It is functionally the same as Chrome OS except it is a light version of Ubuntu which gives you the ability to use all of the Ubuntu repositories. It also comes with all of the offline capabilities of Linux while providing a smooth path to all of Google and web resources that so many of us use on a daily basis. The other thing that I like is that it can be installed next to another OS like Win7 and used in a dual boot arrangement for even more flexibility.


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Traditional Chinese clothing

Anonymous's picture

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Cr OS Linux is better!

Anonymous's picture

If you need more than a web browser, why don't you try Cr OS Linux from It's a full featured OS with the latest Chromium, Cinnamon desktop, LibreOffice and Google Drive syncing client!

Why Chrome OS if you run Linux?

Anonymous's picture

As I understood the original idea of Chrome OS, Google wanted users to use its Chrome browser/apps ecosystem and keep it simple by hiding and limiting Linux behind the browser. I've not read of anything doable on Chrome OS that isn't equally doable on any Linux that supports the Chrome browser. Why would a Linux end-user (as opposed to developers) be interested in Chrome OS with its limited Linux functionality, let alone be saving disposable income to buy a Chromebook?


Anonymous's picture

why would you trust goggle with anything?

Mmm... I would trust Google

Anonymous's picture

Mmm... I would trust Google though.

I once put something together

pouar's picture

I once put something together that was similar to Chromium OS, using Arch Linux, Firefox, Openbox, and FireSSH.

Dell D420

Rick's picture

Last time I tried Chromium OS on my D420, the wireless did not work. If that is fixed, it would make a great cheap chrome(ium)book!

I foresee performance issues...

David Hughes's picture

I can't imagine that the Raspberry Pi will handle Chromium OS very well at all, as it clearly struggles when running lightweight web browsers such as Midori. Although apparently hardware-accelerated X is in the pipeline...

Raspberry PI speed and chromium

Anonymous's picture

512mb RAM may help, but I have not seen any reviews