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Chrome OS Wi-Fi Support Running on a Mini 10v… Source Code Available

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Last week, Google released ChromiumOS to the open source community at http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os.  ChromiumOS is a small, optimized OS whose purpose is to make it extremely simple and easy to browse the web.  Without a network connection, ChromiumOS is not very interesting. With a network connection, ChromiumOS shines.  The Chromium browser is extremely fast and makes for a great web-centric browsing experience.  Boot time appears quick too – about 12 seconds from hitting the power button.

Me and some other Dell folks noticed that Engadget recently got the Chrome OS running on a Vostro A860 netbook. I've been doing some timkering over the lat few days working to get our Dell Mini 10v up and running with ChromiumOS. As of late yesterday, I can report success.   

I have released an USB key image file to: http://linux.dell.com/files/cto. The file name is: "ChromiumOS_Mini10v_Nov25.img."  It contains a functioning image of my USB key loaded with ChromiumOS.  In addition, I have made a best effort attempt to get the Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter working in this image.  It's definitely not perfect (read: highly experimental, untested, unstable, yada yada…) but it does appear to function.

Here are the caveats:

  • It will take more than 5-10 *minutes* for the ChromiumOS network connection manager to "see" the access points and allow you to select and connect – be patient.
  • Wired connections appear to work fine and appear quick to connect.
  • There are currently issues with both the connection manager as well as the underlying components (wpa_supplicant) that can easily break or get hung. When in doubt, reboot and give it another try.
  • Use this image at your own risk – it comes to you totally unsupported and very minimally tested.

Speaking of which, to "reboot" the image, you have to press the "power" key on the Mini 10v – there is no "reboot/shutdown" menu option to do this.

To copy onto an USB key (8GB minimum), find another Linux machine and utilize the "dd" command to put the image onto the USB key.

Example: dd if=ChromiumOS_Mini10v_Nov25.img of=/dev/sdb  

In this example, /dev/sdb is my entire USB key… use "fdisk -l" to see how your USB key is named for your particular environment. Be careful to select your USB device (again, use fdisk -l to double verify and confirm the correct device filename) and not another device… 

Some additional notes for the released image:

  • The user name to login is "dell". The desktop login window will complete the user name by adding "@gmail.com" to the end
  • The user password is "dell"
  • The root password is set to "dell"
  • I've included a script in /etc called "mount_rw.sh" to allow root (or sudo) to remount the root partition for updates/changes/whatever you like.

Obviously, this image comes with absolutely no support of any kind and is to be considered highly experimental and completely unstable. 

There are some good developer forums at http://www.chromium.org for more information – for the chromium-os-development forum, I've posted a summary of what I had to do to get the wifi to the current working state. Much more needs to be done, but, for now, it's a start.

Enjoy!

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