If you are on the ChromeOS dev channel, you may have noticed that network connectivity has been hit and miss over the past few weeks and if so, you may want to start mashing your check for updates button now to update to ChromeOS 77.0.3849.0 while reading this post. I am still working my way through the changelog for this build and it is pretty lengthy. Here are the notable changes that I have been able to find so far. This is also the first official beta for ChromeOS 77
If you are the owner of a modern Ultra-Portable Laptop such as the Google Pixelbook, you likely already carry a USB Type C hub to allow you to connect to classic USB devices. Most USB Type C hubs often pack features such as USB-PD Pass-through and HDMI output to allow you to use the hub as a docking station when you need to share your laptop to a full size display. I have a growing collection of USB Type C Hubs and when I got my hands on the MINIX NEO Storage Type C Hub, I could definitely say that it stands out from the others by packing a 250 GB M.2 SSD inside.
The Chrome team has just released the first Developer Build of ChomeOS 76 and it brings at least one welcomed change that eliminates the need to manually enable GPU support on Crostini. I am currently doing a teardown of the build to try to spot other changes and will update this post accordingly.
It has been a crazy year for those watching the rapid evolution of ChromeOS, in fact it has been a month since I first broke that ChromeOS had implemented proper USB support in Crostini 75.0.3759.4. Officially the Crostini USB support is limited to Android Phones, specifically to allow for developers to connect to adb on the phone to test applications on actual hardware however it is possible to pass support to many other devices by activating a hidden flag. There is a myriad of USB devices out there and this article provides a overview of what works and what does not work.
Over the past month, I have been researching Machine Learning and the insane amount of future possibilities that will result in the breakthroughs being made today. Projects like Keras and Tensorflow are pushing the boundaries on what computers are capable of and enabling just about anyone without a multi-million dollar server cluster to get into machine learning. I have built a simple setup script that will automate the process of setting up all of the tools needed to get started with Miniconda, TensorFlow, Keras, Pytorch, OpenCV and more in a ChromeOS Crostini Container. Here is how to get started:
Google is currently pushing ChromeOS 75.0.3770.10 to users on the Dev channel. Software developers and Road Warriors all over will start to rejoice when they hear that Crostini containers will finally route connections through a VPN if active on your Chromebook.
There was a time where Chromebooks were looked at as simplistic devices that are only good for visiting websites and to the credit to those old Chromebooks, they did their job well. These early Chromebooks lacked a large amount of local storage, often having between 16 and 32 GB of local storage, and between 2-4 GB of RAM. Chromebooks have since evolved to the point that they have the potential to be some of the most powerful laptops on the market but the only thing that has not evolved with the rest of the hardware is that Chromebooks still routinely ship with 32 GB of storage in 2019.
Heads up all ChromeOS users on the Dev channel, Google is currently rolling out ChromeOS 75.0.3761.0 to your devices. After performing a quick backup of Crostini, I took some time to install the update and find out what changed – it seems that it is not much. It is important to backup your “Downloads” folder as many items were deleted after the installation.
ChromeOS 75.0.3759.4 is currently being rolled out to users in the dev channel. Unfortunately if you have chosen to enable the GPU, your Crostini instance may no longer function. You may get the following error message when launching Termina via crosh
Error: routine at frontends/vmc.rs:118 `vm_start(vm_name,user_id_hash,matches.opt_present("enable-gpu"))`
Fortunately this can be fixed by disabling Crostini and re-creating the container. You can then restore a backup if you happen to have one from before the update. Here are the steps to backup your container, install the update and restore the container
There are a few pre-made distributions to allow you to run a version of ChromiumOS on existing hardware such as CloudReady and FideOS however there are several benefits to building your own distribution from scratch. ChromiumOS is the open source of the popular ChromeOS operating system. By following this guide, you will get a version of ChromiumOS that should boot on most hardware (with a 64 bit Intel or AMD Processor). This version will also give you access to Linux Apps via Crostini and even enable the same OTA upgrade service that users on ChromeOS enjoy.