First Look at Chrome OS

Word comes from Gdgt.com that they have a virtual machine image of Chrome OS. As you know, Google released the kibbles and bits of the Chrome OS source code yesterday and it looks like a few brave hackers have put it together for an easily digestible virtual operating system install.

I decided to take my hand at installing Chrome OS in VirtualBox to see how the infant of an OS is coming along. The system booted very quickly. This is definitely going to appeal to those using Windows XP (or even Ubuntu) on their netbooks, as it often takes in excess of an entire minute to boot them.

I also thought the feature of logging into Chrome OS with your Google credentials was convenient. This means if I wanted to borrow my friend's Chrome OS device, he could just sign out and let me log on. There would be no issue of his private data being shown to me.

However, Chrome OS (or Chromium OS, as this source code version is called) is still a very rough version. My trackpad actually stopped working after a few minutes into my session. But overall, I really like where Google's Chrome OS is going.

You can download the virtual machine image here: Chrome OS VMware or VirtualBox Image (we recommend VirtualBox, which you can download here: VirtualBox for Windows, Linux or Mac).
Gdgt also has a USB-bootable image ready, but they warn that it might be for the faint of heart (it involves Linux, oh my!). Make sure you download the VMware image, even if you are using VirtualBox. The VirtualBox image would not boot for me.

So even though Google says Chrome OS will not be available for a "download and install to your computer" type opportunity, we know that with source code running in the wild, it's only a matter of time. Soon we'll have an .iso image to install to your favorite test machine, although it might be a bit hardware limited. Oh, the magic of open source software!