Chromium OS

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Chromium OS
Chromium 11 Wordmark Logo.svg
Chromium OS (updated).png
Chromium OS (23.0.1262.0) displaying the application drawer with integrated search and the English Wikipedia homepage
Developer Google
Written in C, C++
OS family Chromium OS (based on Linux kernel)
Working state Current (in case of Chrome OS preinstalled on Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, Chromebits, Chromebase)
Platforms x86, ARMv7[1]
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux kernel)[2]
Default user interface WIMP-based [web browser] windows
License Various
Official website

Chromium OS is the open-source development version of Chrome OS, one of Google's operating systems (OS). Chromium OS is based on the Linux kernel and uses Google's Chromium browser as its principle user interface. As a result, Chromium OS primarily supports web applications.[3]


Chromium's architecture is three-tiered, consisting of "three major components:

  • The Chromium-based browser and the window manager
  • System-level software and user-land services: the [Linux] kernel, drivers, connection manager, and so on
  • Firmware"[4]

Installable, working versions of Chromium OS have been produced and made available for download primarily by hobbyists. Some devices come with Chromium OS preinstalled as their main operating system.

Release history[edit]

By May 2010, compiled versions of the work-in-progress source code had been downloaded from the Internet more than a million times. The most popular version, entitled "Chromium OS Flow", was created by Liam McLoughlin, a then 17-year-old college student in Manchester, England, posting under the name "Hexxeh". McLoughlin's build boots from a USB memory stick and included features that Google engineers had not yet implemented, such as support for the Java programming language.[5]

While Google did not expect that hobbyists would use and evaluate Chromium OS ahead of its official release, Sundar Pichai, Google vice president of product management said that "what people like Hexxeh are doing is amazing to see." Pichai said the early releases were an unintended consequence of open source development. "If you decide to do open-source projects, you have to be open all the way."[5]

Hexxeh's work continued into the following year. He announced "Chromium OS Lime" in December 2010,[6] and in January 2011, released "Luigi", an application designed to "jailbreak"/"root" the Google Cr-48 "Mario" prototype hardware and install a generic BIOS.[7] The developer made the builds available in virtual machine format on March 13, 2011.[8] With no official build of Chromium OS forthcoming from Google, Hexxeh's "vanilla" nightly builds of Chromium OS were the principal resource for people wanting to try Chromium OS. Hexxeh stopped uploading his builds on April 20, 2013.

More recent versions of Chromium OS are available from Arnoldthebat, who maintains daily and weekly builds[9] along with usage guidelines and help.[10]

In May 2011, Dell Computer also released a new build for the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook, following up on an earlier build released almost 18 months earlier. The build did not support audio, but was bootable from a USB drive.[11]

In July 2012, Chromium Build Kit was released. It automatically compiles a developer build and installs Chromium OS on a USB drive.[12]


Some devices have shipped with Chromium OS preinstalled. They include the Kogan Agora Chromium Laptop by the Australian company Kogan[13] and the Xi3 Modular Computer, introduced by the company of the same name.[14][15]

In late 2015, a team headed by Dylan Callahan released a beta Chromium OS port to the Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer.[16]

Trademark dispute[edit]

In June 2011, ISYS Technologies, based in Salt Lake City, sued Google in a Utah district court, claiming rights to the name "Chromium" and, by default, Chromebook and Chromebox. The suit sought to stop Google and its hardware and marketing partners from selling Chromebooks.[17] The suit was later dismissed and, as part of an undisclosed settlement between Google and ISYS, ISYS abandoned its trademark efforts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Womack, Brian (2009-07-08). "Google to Challenge Microsoft With Operating System". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Kernel Design: Background, Upgrades". Google. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Kernel Design". The Chromium Projects. 
  4. ^ "Software Architecture - The Chromium Projects". Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  5. ^ a b Stone, Brad (May 7, 2010). "Test Flights Into the Google Cloud". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Hexxeh. "Now with a citrus twist". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Hexxeh. "Your princess is in another castle…". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Hexxeh. "In my VirtualBox?". Hexxeh's Blog. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Chromium OS Builds". Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Linder, Brad (May 15, 2011). "Dell releases Chromium OS build for Inspiron Mini netbooks". Liliputing. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Chromium Build Kit (July 30, 2012). "Chromium Build Kit-- Source Forge". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Kogan Australia. "Laptops -". Kogan Australia. 
  14. ^ Joanna Stern. "Xi3 Modular Computer is one cool-looking desktop in a cube". Engadget. AOL. 
  15. ^ Dana Wollman. "Xi3 modular PC reborn as Chrome OS desktop, promises independence from local storage". Engadget. AOL. 
  16. ^ Nestor, Marius (December 9, 2015). "Chromium OS for Raspberry Pi 2 Gets Faster Boot Times, Download Now". Softpedia. Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  17. ^ "Chrome Turf War: Did Google abandon the Chromium Trademark?". June 13, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]