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Dell Engineers Tinker With Google's Chrome OS

Scott Campbell
Google OS open source operating system

The engineers installed Chrome OS on a Dell Mini 10v notebook, according to a post by Dell's Doug Anson on the Round Rock, Texas-based vendor's community Web site.

The company has released a USB key image loaded with the Chrome OS.

"It's definitely not perfect (read: highly experimental, untested, unstable, yada yada...) but it does appear to function," Anson wrote in the post.

Anston said it takes more than 5 or 10 minutes for the Chrome OS network connection manager to see access points, but that 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," Anson wrote.

Aside from the network connection issues, "ChromiumOS shines," wrote Anson in the blog referring to what has come to be known as the Chrome OS.

"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," he wrote.

Anson added that the downloadable 7.5 GB Chrome OS image is "totally unsupported and very minimally tested" by the company.

Dell customers on the forum have posted mixed results in using the image. One user, named "commo" said he booted it on his mini 9 notebook. "Waited approx 5 minutes, wifi started working, but no [DNS]...and could not connect to anywhere even by using [IP]," the user wrote.

Other users noted that Dell may need to dedicate more images for download because of the length of time it takes to download.

"Any kind of mirror would be great at this point. I've got 4 days remaining on a download I started this morning," wrote a user named Zathu.

Early Chrome OS testers also noted on a Google Groups site that it's possible to get the OS running on an HP Mini 1000 machine, except for the WiFi issues that Dell also found. A video on YouTube also shows the Chrome OS successfully booting on a Lenovo S10-2 netbook.

Google announced the Chrome OS last July and released an early version Nov. 19.

"We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open source community and developers," wrote Google's Caesar Sengupta, group product manager, and Matt Papakipos, engineering director, in a blog post on Google's Web site. "There is still a lot of work to do, and we're excited to work with the open source community. We have benefited hugely from projects like GNU, the Linux Kernel, Moblin, Ubuntu, WebKit and many more. We will be contributing our code upstream and engaging closely with these and other open source efforts. Google Chrome OS will be ready for consumers this time next year."

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