High-Level Developer FAQ

This FAQ is for developers; check out the General Chromium OS FAQ for non-development related questions.  If that doesn't work out, try the discussion groups.

Should I call my build Chromium OS or Google Chrome OS?

You should call it Chromium OS.

Will the autoupdate feature work on both Google Chrome OS and Chromium OS?

We don't plan to support autoupdate on Chromium OS, as we did not build the binaries, and we don't know what modifications you've made to the system, so we don't want to blow away any changes you may have made to the code. Therefore Google will not autoupdate Chromium OS systems, but you're welcome to set up your own autoupdate server.

Google Chrome OS will autoupdate to keep consumer machines running the latest and greatest at all times.

Will the verified boot feature work on both Google Chrome OS and Chromium OS?

The verified boot procedure relies on custom firmware and hardware modifications and hence will work only with Chromebooks.

What are the minimum hardware requirements?

The open-source nature of Chromium OS allows it to be ported to an expanding range of hardware; however, some base requirements are likely to remain fixed.

Hardware-accelerated OpenGL or OpenGL ES support is mandatory, and the Chromium browser's memory footprint is an obvious lower bound for RAM.

See the Developer Hardware list for examples of netbooks on which developers are successfully running Chromium OS.

What about other hardware: Does Chromium OS support my wifi card?

In order to ensure the best user experience with Google Chrome OS, we're going through a careful hardware selection and testing process for hardware components.

For Chromium OS, the open source community and Google are working to add support for a very broad range of hardware. If the device you're interested in has an open source driver already in the upstream Linux kernel, please send a request to chromium-os-dev -- if you can include a proposed patch, even better.

Please see our supported developer hardware wiki for more details.

Is it true that you don't support hard disk drives (HDDs)?

Firstly, we should point out that the information in the open source release has been misinterpreted as saying that we don't support local storage. We do, but we are asking our hardware partners for Google Chrome OS to use solid state drives (SSDs) rather than hard disk drives (HDDs), for performance and reliability reasons.

Secondly, this restriction doesn't apply to Chromium OS: It will work with conventional HDDs, though the disk accesses are optimized for flash-based storage, like reduced read-ahead.

Chromiums OS issues

I can't log in

Login may fail under various circumstances. For example, if you do not have network connectivity and you have never logged in before, then you will not be able to log in.

The login screen should display a message beneath the username/password input field. For example, if you have network connectivity and provide the wrong credentials, you will be told that either your username or password is incorrect.

To troubleshoot networking at this point, you have to jump to a virtual terminal (only enabled on dev machines) by using Ctrl+Alt+F2 and entering the shared user password that you optionally set as part of the build process. If you did not set this field, you will not be able to debug networking and should plug into Ethernet at your earliest convenience.

If you are able to log in to the virtual terminal, reconfigure the networking service (sudo initctl restart shill).  Note: If you are having trouble with wireless, just plug in an Ethernet cable. It is much easier to troubleshoot a networking issue once you have logged in.

For more information about login errors, look at the log files:

  • /var/log/libcros_log - logging related to chromium's interaction with system services

  • /home/chronos/chrome_log - login manager (which is, actually, chrome) logs

I log in but the browser does not appear

If you do not have a black screen, try using the hotkey Ctrl+Alt+N to open a new window.  If this doesn't work, check slim.log to verify whether it's an error in slim, or in something else. The logs you may be concerned about are:

  • /var/log/messages

  • /var/log/window_manager/chromoeos-wm.LATEST - for pre-login window manager logs

  • /home/chronos/user/log/chromoeos-wm.LATEST - for post-login window manager logs

Wireless drops and does not reconnect

Drop into a terminal either through VT2 (Ctrl+Alt+F2) or Ctrl+Alt+T. Reconfiguring the shill service may fix the problem.


What are the shortcut keys?

To get a visual overlay, hit Ctrl-Alt-/ and then hold modifier keys like Ctrl, Alt, and Shift to see the associated hotkeys.

Most browser shortcuts also apply: http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=95743

Are native applications supported?

Google Chrome OS is a web-centric system, so all applications are web applications; this provides powerful and simple manageability and security. To write applications that will benefit from native code execution we recommend using NativeClient, an open source project that allows web apps to run native code securely within a browser. See http://code.google.com/chrome/nativeclient/ for more details.

Of course Chromium OS is open source, and it's Linux.  This means that as a developer you can do pretty much anything you want, including installing any Linux application.