Friday, August 9, 2013

Chromebook - ARM, Linux and HTML5

Recently I purchased a Samsung Chromebook with Google Chrome OS. At a local retailer, it costs 399€ with 3G data modem option. Cheapest models are sold for less than $200 in the U.S. and various web stores.
Samsung Series 3 Chromebook running Ubuntu Unity.

What an amazing piece of technology! I'm mostly fascinated by it's totally fan-less design. The book is running Samsung Exynos 5 series CPU, with dual-core Cortex-A15. The chip was originally intended for smart phones like Samsung Galaxy, etc, but is proven to be equally good for lightweight computation as well. In continuous use, I haven't noticed heat of any significance.

Chrome OS is sort of a new rise of dummy terminals. With web-apps philosophy, applications implemented with HTML5 and Javascript are intended to be executed from the cloud at run-time, and files are expected to be stored at cloud storage as well, as the integrated 16 GB Flash disk does not allow much local store. Out of the 16GB, six gigabytes are already taken by the Chrome OS base installation.

Concerned for confidentiality issues of cloud computing?

There is option to replace the original Google operating system by another Linux variant. There are at least two projects, Crouton and ChrUbuntu providing alternatives. Google OS is based on Linux, thus it is easy to replace by another Linux. Crouton actually does not replace the original kernel and drivers, only installs an new windowing environment and middleware, reusing lower layers of the Linux OS. Chrubuntu is a Ubuntu port dedicated for Chromebooks, and it replaces the whole software stack.

Crouton is originally developed by Google engineers, thus it is very easy to install a top of existing Chrome OS. Here it is explained how:

I'm now a happy user of Ubuntu Unity, which enables me all the software there exists for Ubuntu, with easiness of apt-get.  Now the book is a really a tool for software development and other purposes. An SD card increases local storage space for my files and programs. Now, it’s really not only for consuming web content, like many considers the Chrome OS. And, I can always switch back to the original Chrome OS just with a key press, as both environments are running simultaneously side by side.


  1. IC Insights released a MPU market study Yesterday (2013-08-13), indicating that x86-architecture CPU total market share has decreases down to 54%, meanwhile ARM is gaining more markets in tablets, mobile phones and other embedded.

    1. Just recently AMD announced first ARM CPU on its roadmap. Hierofalcon chip, which will be on sale next year, has 4-8 pcs of 64-bit A57 cores integrated. This is interesting. Of course AMD is still strongly committed to x86 architecture, but we're witnessing how the world is changing..

  2. this one really solves me a lot of headache part 1 is done and hope to implement this one

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