Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.14

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.14. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.11.

Ubuntu 11.04 for the Cr-48 is ready!

Update: You should probably use the new ChrUbuntu 12.04 Install Guide instead of this one. This guide will not work on Chromebooks updated to Chrome OS version 19 or higher which will be virtually all Chromebooks by June of 2012.

Even though it's 4 months old, my how to install Ubuntu on the Cr-48 post is still very popular. Today I'm glad to announce that I've updated my install script to use the just announced Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. First a few things:

  • If you followed my original guide and are running Ubuntu 10.10 happily, you should follow Ubuntu's standard upgrade instructions, not this guide. Following this guide will destroy your existing Ubuntu install including all your data! If you have 10.10 installed but wish to start clean (perhaps with a larger partition size, something the script now easily supports), you should do a USB Recovery of Chrome OS. Then after updating to the latest Chrome OS release, follow this guide.
  • If this is your first time installing Ubuntu, note that the installation process will reset your Cr-48 to Factory Defaults. You've been warned.
  • Yes, Unity is the default. That was the decision of the Ubuntu team. If you don't like it, complain to them, not here. You can choose to use to the Classic Desktop by default if you prefer.
  • The script now checks to see if the image files are on a local USB / SD Card before downloading them. Thus you can save all 52 of the ubuntu-1104.bin??.bz2 files to a flash drive and the script will use them. Make sure they're in the root folder of the drive.
Now the instructions:
  1. Get root. (also known as Developer mode)
  2. Reboot your Cr-48 but don't login. Make sure you have a WiFi or USB Ethernet connection at this point. 3G is not recommended. Press CTRL+ALT+=> (=> is the forward arrow where the F2 key used to be). Do not use the normal CTRL+ALT+T method to get a shell. Use the CTRL+ALT+=> method.
  3. Login as user chronos, no password is needed.
  4. As the chronos user, run "wget; sudo sh hnkxo". If you get a "not found" error, make sure you have Internet connectivity.
  5. The Chrome OS stateful partition where your data and settings are stored is just short of 11gb by default, the script shrinks the stateful partition to make room for Ubuntu. You can choose to give Ubuntu from 5gb up to 10gb in 1gb increments. I recommend not going higher than 9 though as 10 leaves Chrome OS with very little free space (less than 1gb). Once you've entered a number 5 through 10, your hard drive will be repartitioned. It may look like the Cr-48 is doing nothing for 10-15 minutes but let it be, after awhile it will reboot and re-initialize the stateful partition (told you it was going to wipe your data). This process takes about 5 minutes and then the Cr-48 reboots again and shows you the Welcome screen you got when you first turned on your Cr-48 out of the box.
  6. Go through the setup process until you get to the Google login page. You'll need to have a WiFi or Ethernet Connection again at this point. 3G is not recommended. Now follow steps 2 through 4 again. This time the script will see that you've already made room for Ubuntu and will start downloading the Ubuntu 11.04image and copying it to the SSD.
  7. There are 52 100mb files to be downloaded. Each is compressed so the actual download size ranges from less than 1mb in size to 90mb in size. The total size of all the files is about 1.1gb compressed and 5gb uncompressed so the download and install will take awhile. The files are named ubuntu.binXX.bz2 (where XX is aa, ab, ac, ad, ae, af... ba, bb, bc... all the way to bz). If you want to see how big each piece is, take a look here.
  8. The script keeps track of which of the 52 files have been successfully installed so if you lose Internet connectivity, or the battery dies (you should be plugged in BTW), etc, just re-run Step 4 and it should resume where it left off.
  9. After all 52 files have been downloaded and copied to the SSD, the script will make a few more updates to your Cr-48 and then reboot.
  10. You'll see Ubuntu 11.04 start up! The username is "user" and the password is "user" if you need to make changes.
  11. If you chose anything other than 5gb for the partition size, you'll need to "grow" the ext4 file system to fill the partition. Open a command prompt and run: "sudo resize2fs -p /dev/sda7". This will grow the ext4 partition to fill the free partition space.
  12. Right now, you're in Ubuntu but if you reboot twice, you'll be back in Chrome OS. To make Ubuntu the default, run "sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 1 /dev/sda" (password is "user"). It should be possible to run this from Ubuntu or Chrome OS.
  13. To make Chrome OS the default again, either pull the battery and turn off Developer Mode, or run "sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 0 -S 1 /dev/sda".

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.9

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.9. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.9. The Chrome Releases Blog posted about the dev browser update describing it as addressing UI, performance and Sync issues. The browser 12.0.742.0 and 12.0.742.5 updates are also relevant to this is the first Chrome OS release since they were released. This is shaping up to be a major bug fix release...

So Google, what's up with the release at 7:10am PDT? No complaints here but most releases happen in the late afternoon in my experience. Somebody must have had a really great cup of coffee this morning.

Update: there's a bug related to a partial update to the theme, the background color was changed but the status icons/text did not. The white on light gray is pretty harsh on the eyes. Quick fix for me was to switch to Google's Greyscale theme.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beta Channel Update:

Beta Channel has been updated to version The Chrome browser
version is 11.0.696.54.

arggh... Despite being advertised on, it doesn't look like this beta update is actually being made available to Cr-48s yet. I may need to further refine the autopost script to check for updates more like Chrome OS checks for updates...

Holler if you actually manage to see this update offered to your Cr-48...

Update: The update is now being offered and Google posted details (or lack of) to the Chrome Releases Blog. As was suspected, no major updates to be found.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dev Channel Update: Update: Oops!

Dev Channel has been updated to version The Chrome browser version
is 12.0.733.0.

Strange, Google's servers started declaring version of Chrome OS for both beta and dev-channel tonight (I deleted the beta post). Oh well, should not happen again since my script will ignore existing versions. Sorry for the false alarm folks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beta Channel Update:

Beta Channel has been updated to version The Chrome browser
version is 11.0.696.47. This update closes the recently publicized Adobe Flash vulnerability.

In other news, it looks like my Chrome Update Auto Post Script worked but needs a little tweaking to prevent duplicates.

Introducing Automated Posts for Chrome OS Updates

I'm on Eastern Standard Time and Google is Headquartered on the West Coast, 3 hours behind me. Google tends to release Chrome OS updates in the late afternoon (their time), presumably after a work day spent testing the new release to make sure it won't fry our beloved Cr-48s and give the ninjas more work than they already have. But what that means is releases tend to come out while I'm in the middle of eating my dinner and not available to update this blog.

But now I'm happy to announce that thanks to some of Google's incredibly powerful tools including AppEngine and Blogger, this blog should get updates within minutes (seconds?) of a Chrome OS release. The blog post will of course have minimal details at first about the release as I haven't even had a chance to install it yet but I'll be updating the post with details and you, my wonderful readers can of course provide your feedback in the comments. Do note that it seems at least Google Reader seems to cache the original blog post and never updates with changes so you may need to open the blog post directly to see the updates. If anyone can recommend a solution to this issue, I'd be grateful.

I tested this out with the 0.12.397.0 release and things worked well except of course that I didn't finish tweaking the script until today so the post was much later than future posts should be. I'm hoping to see a beta channel update hit us, maybe even before the weekend, that'll include the Chrome browser beta update that fixed a nasty  flash vulnerability. The beta update should provide a better idea of how fast posts for new releases hit this blog.

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.397.0

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.397.0. The Chrome browser version is
12.0.733.0. Flash player has been updated to 10.3 which should improve performance. What have you noticed about the this dev version so far?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.362.2

Update: I missed a big one! WPA/WPA2 Enterprise networks now work! I successfully connected to my University's WPA2 Enterprise network this morning. Currently though it's not possible to manually add Enterprise networks so you must be in range of the network and the SSID cannot be hidden. Those issues should be fixed shortly.

Dev channel has been bumped up to 0.12.362.2 this evening with a number of improvements:

  • The new Chrome Logo is visible on boot.
  • You can now retake your login photo or swap the image out for any other image by going to Wrench -> Settings -> Personal Stuff.
  • The window switcher button that appeared in 0.11 is now only visible when two or more windows are open (so people who only have one window open won't wonder about the useless box at the top right).
  • All bugs eradicated.
Okay, maybe the last one's not quite true. But if see anything else good or bad, be sure to let us know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beta Channel Update:

It's the good kind of April fools day joke. Google has snuck up behind us and declared 0.11 is beta-ready. which we previously saw in dev channel is now rolling out to beta channel. It's a slow rollout so keep mashing the check for updates button if you don't see it just yet. One exciting new feature of the included Chrome browser 11.0 is the HTML speech input API. Those of you who have Android phones and have used the Voice Input app will be familiar with Google's speech input technology. After you've updated or if you're on dev channel and 0.11 is old news to you, you can give Google's speech input a try on your Cr-48 at this demo site.

P.S. Kudos to commenter Cougar Abogado who just last night guessed that 0.11 might hit beta real soon now.