Chrome OS & Linux: The Relationship!

Google’s ChromeOS, the operating system of Chromebooks is based on Linux, but what distro is it actually based on? In this article let’s examine the answer to this question and see how you can turn your computer into a chrome book!

For those of you in a hurry, here is the short version of the Answer!

The Short Version of the Answer

Chrome OS is based on Chromium OS, a Linux distro available only as a a bundle of source code! If you need to install chromium on your machine, you have 2 options

  1. You need to compile the source code yourself and build a bootable operating system
  2. You can go for the easier option of using Neverware’s CloudReady operating system

That is just the short version of the answer, let’s next have a look at a longer and more informative answer, where I have explained the need for a browser only distro, why you cannot install Chrome OS on your machine and how Neverware’s CloudReady distro will be a good replacement for Chrome OS

Need for a Browser-Only Operating System

A user may need a Browser only Linux distro in one of the following 3 situations.

#1 Old Laptop, New Life

You might be having an old laptop which is in perfect working condition, but the hardware is simply too old to run the latest software and an Operating System optimized for just browsing can take a whole lot of stress off the old hardware while making the machine comparable in terms of performance to modern laptops due to factors like less overall RAM consumption, the absence of unnecessary background services, etc.

#2 You Only Use Browser On Your Home Laptop

You might use your home computer just for browsing purposes and you wish to allocate as all of your resources to the browser as possible to get the maximum out of it.

#3 All You Need To Do For Your Work Can Be Done Via A Browser

Everything you may need to do on a computer like making documents, editing photos and videos, playing games, storing data, etc can be accomplished using cloud processing and you need an OS that will help allocate maximum resources for the kind of workflow you use. There is a whole class of devices being made these days called Google Chromebooks. Through these devices Google is trying to push the idea of cloud computing to the next level!

It is predicted by experts that in the near future we will all switch to cloud computing with minimal processing being done on our devices and our data will be sent over to the servers through the internet where the actual heavy lifting will take place.

Chromium Operating System

Chromium OS is the Linux distro on which Google’s ChromeOS is based on. According to Chromium OS’s official website

Chromium OS is an open-source project that aims to build an operating system that provides a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web. 

Google’s Chrome OS which is based on Chromium is highly customized and optimized to run only on Chromebooks with some added functionality to run Google services and run android apps. Since Chrome OS is not compiled to run on any hardware other than Google’s Chromebooks, we cannot install Chrome OS directly on our machines.

In their website, you can find the link to download the source code and instructions on how to build the source code. For the novice, this can be a week-long project with no guarantee of success, since it is not an easy task even for the advanced Linux users!

If you are brave enough to give it a go, here are the necessary links!

Chromium OS Quick Start Guide : The quick start guide!

Chromium OS Developer Guide : Explains how to build from the source code

If not, then the next best option for you is to go for Neverware CloudReady OS which is explained in the next section

Neverware CloudReady OS

Neverware Cloudread comes as a replacement for Chrome OS that can be used on all laptops like a regular distro! The official website of Neverware has a compatible hardware list, but this is more of a “Tested to work okay on this hardware” kinda list than a “Will only work on these hardware” list, so try it out on your computer and it just might be the one you are looking for!

Neverware is built on top of Chromium OS, same as ChromeOS by google and hence it is the best bet for us to get Chrome OS on our Machines

And with that, I will conclude this article!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

If you liked the post, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!

Related Articles

Here are some of my other articles that might interest you!

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux..!

Best Linux Distro For Workstation: Analysis and Comparison!!

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

Distro-Hopping, What, Why & How Explained!

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

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Balaji Gunasekaran
Balaji Gunasekaran is a Senior Software Engineer with a Master of Science degree in Mechatronics and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He loves to write about tech and has written more than 300 articles. He has also published the book “Cracking the Embedded Software Engineering Interview”. You can follow him on LinkedIn