Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Observations and Suggestions using Chromium OS - Part 1

I synced my old repository and updated it to the Developer build (Mon Nov 30 4:35:10 UTC 2009). Build was successful. I copied image to a USB and booted my Acer Inspire from USB.

  1. Boottime was about 12 seconds from USB. But still great!
  2. My network did not connect at boottime so had to login using the local username and password. This happened every time i booted. Maybe the network settings will get saved once i boot from a local harddisk.
  3. Once logged in i had to manually select my network and then login to gmail etc. etc. using my google credentials.
  4. I then connected my Acer to a 19'' widescreen with 1440x900 resolution. Had to use xrandr to get the screen resolution right but was no fuss. Used the following command:

    $ xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1440x900 --rate 60.1

  5. Tested using youtube, google docs, google reader, picasaweb, a couple of flash-heavy sites (royalsociety.org), google chat, google books, google wave. Everything seemed 'much much' faster than same accesses via firefox.
  6. Clicking on PDFs opens them up in google docs. But trying to download did NOT seem to work.
  7. For adjusting sound, had to use alsamixer from commandline to get the sound volume up. I wish there was a sound button in the GUI itself for the same.
  8. Could not figure out how to setup my network printer to print my google docs.
  9. While playing a youtube video it felt as if the browser crashed and then recovered itself. I cannot describe what exactly happened unless i debug this further.
  10. Could not play any silverlight videos. I guess the plugin will come someday.
I have started seriously using this as my preferred OS for my netbook even  though i am running it off a USB. It actually doesnt feel any different at all. It is a fresh new experience and thats what makes it exciting i guess.

  • It strikes me now after using Chromium OS that we were actually having redundant software for most needs all the while. If the browser is capable of showing photos, opening PDFs, editing documents, playing music, videos and games then when the heck have any other software. What is missing if you are a programmer, is a platform for developing and testing software in the popular languages. But maybe even that can be incorporated into the browser easily. For example, a tab of the browser could upon up as a text editor and perhaps google could host a variety of popular compiler and library stacks to compile,link and run code (think like LAMP stacks but for developing code). A user then just submits his code and gets his output. Ofcourse, such a system would require careful thought and design as there are many many issues to be tackled. But just a thought.
 On a side-note, i remember that i read somewhere a couple years ago that Blake Ross (the firefox guy) was working on an operating system called Parakey which was pretty similar in spirit to Chromium OS. Dont know what happened to that. Anybody?

  • Have a sound button in the GUI for adjusting volume.
  • Have a key accelerator (like Ctrl+/? from google reader) to display Keyboard shortcuts.