The good news is that there is a new build of Google’s Chrome OS for the Dell Mini 9 and 10, courtesy of Dell themselves. The better news is that the wireless connectivity now works on the live USB and Dell gives the plaudits to Broadcom for providing drivers.
I tried the old live USB release a while ago and determined to have another go now that the official Chrome-book laptops have been announced. If you go to the Dell site you can find an updated build from May 13th.
The verdict? It’s a Chrome web-browser…
According to the read me file, “Broadcom wireless driver support is functional in this May13 image. A huge round of thanks goes to the Broadcom folks for doing the WL port to the new API.”
- You need to download the Chrome-OS build from the Dell site, file ChromiumOS_x86_May13.img.gz
- Extract this from the archive to get the .img file.
* It’s a 1.9Gb image, and a 4Gb USB drive is recommended.
- You will need a disk-image writing programme to write the bootable image to the USB stick.
* For Windows, “Windows Image Writer” works.
* For Ubuntu Linux, image-writer application will work or use the command line:
sudo dd if=ChromiumOS_x86_May13.img of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
Plug the USB stick into th Dell, hit F12 to select the boot option, then login to Google Chrome using your gmail id.
The next tricky part is documented in the May 13th README.txt:
- Start a terminal session using CTRL + ALT + T. This drops you into Chrome Shell (Crosh). From there you need a working command shell; use the default Chrome-OS shell password, dell1234. Type:
- Exit the Back at the Chromium-OS desktop, press the power button to shut-down the Mini-10.
- Press the power button to re-start to the Mini-10
- Log back in to the Chromium-OS desktop
- According the README.txt file, you have to wait between 5 and 10 minutes for Chrome-OS to pick up the wifi device. Mine took about 2 minutes.
- You can select the wifi network to which to connect in the Settings tab.
Installing Chromium OS to Your Netbook’s Hard Drive
If you want to install it, you can but it will WIPE your hard drive of everything else.
- CTRL +ALT+T to go to command prompt.
- Type “install” without quotes and follow the prompts of steps. The password is dell1234.