I’ve been watching all of the hype about downloading and running the latest Google creation, ChromiumOS this week so yesterday I decided to take a stab at it myself. I did not however want to simply grab a VMWare image and run it. I’m a software engineer for Pete’s sake! I should build it myself. So how did it go? Read on.
First I upgraded my Ubuntu installation to the latest release (9.10 – karmic), which is actually the suggest/preferred build environment for ChromiumOS. Following that I checked the system requirements and made the appropriate adjustments. msttcorefonts did not show up in the Synaptic Package Manager so I just ran the following command and that did the trick:
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts
freetype-dev was also not listed but I had libfreetype6-dev installed and figured that would cover it.
Next I installed version control clients Subversion and Git. I followed that up with installing the Google Chromium Depot Tools. This is basically a group of scripts that Google uses to managing syncing the code repositories and whatnot.
Obtaining the Code
Next I grabbed the code for the Chromium browser. This is actually optional and you can just download a binary instead, but since I’m going this route I figured I’d go all the way. You can follow the instructions here, which include download a huge tar ball that includes the code, extracting it and then syncing the code with the online repository. The first time I synced:
I received some warnings about third party libraries that were no longer a part of the client so I removed them as suggested. Then I remembered that there was a specific way to run the sync when building the OS so I reviewed the website and re-ran the sync (which I would have done anyway since I modified the code base by removing some directories):
gclient sync --deps="unix,chromeos" --force
So I ended up with the Chromium code base in
Next I needed to grab the ChromiumOS code, so I created a directory for that at
/usr/local/chromiumos and grabbed the code like this:
mkdir /usr/local/chromiumos cd /usr/local/chromiumos gclient config http://src.chromium.org/git/chromiumos.git gclient sync
Now obviously you wouldn’t be able to run the above as a normal user, you’d need to sudo right? I actually created the directory initially using sudo and then gave my local user ownership of the directory to complete the rest of the steps.
Now the code sync ran for about 10 minutes and then ended in errors. Uh oh… this isn’t looking good if I have errors in the check out phase. The error was:
error: The requested URL returned error: 502 ...
After that it appeared to try and get an alternates list and recover but it was unable to do so. I figured since it was trying to recover then there might be a good chance that running it again would solve the problem. So I reran the sync and it got a little farther before it stopped with failures. Then on the third run it finally grabbed all of the code. I guess the third time really is the charm!
Building Chromium OS
The steps in the build process are all pretty straightforward and I didn’t have many problems. Initially if you are going to build the browser portion, you do that before building the OS. During this phase I actually ended up in an infinite loop. After going back to the docs I set the following environment variable:
and that fixed the problem.
Then the building… and building… and building… process took a looooonnnng time. Other than that it was pretty uneventful.
Running Chromium OS
Having gone all the way through I now had a VMWare image of the Google Chromium OS. Awesome! So how did it run? I’m not exactly sure. I was able to create a VM for it and attach the image and boot it up. After that I get the login screen. I put in my Google account login credentials and then…. nothing. I just get a blank blue screen with nothing on it and no activity. I’ll admit, it really is a nice shade of blue but generally I’d like a little more functionality in my operating system. Anyway, I guess I did something wrong or I am running it in some way that is incompatible. I’ll try to figure that one out and post the results as soon as I can.