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Using Chromium OS as a Stand-Alone Operating System

Chromium OS is design to be a thin-client to the Internet, namely Google's service. I have heard many arguments against Chromium OS. One such argument is that I can't have a Chromium OS device boot up in 10 seconds to edit a text document if it is not connected to the Internet.

Yes, you can. I'm going to debunk that myth right now and show you how to use it as a stand-alone OS. Chromium OS is based on Linux. That means you are loading up Linux on your netbook. You can use Linux as a full-fledge operating system. The following are some useful tips to use it stand-alone. If you have other ideas, please add to this list.

Switching Between Programs

Use the ALT-TAB key to switch between programs running on the Chromium OS. Programs running on the Chromium OS is generally full-screen. The usefulness of this key-sequence is apparent as you read further down this article.

Terminal

Press CTRL-ALT-T to bring up a virtual terminal. Chromium OS drops you to a prompt, already logged in. With this terminal, you can pretty much do anything you can do in Linux.

You can open as many virtual terminals as many times as you can press CTRL-ALT-T. Or until your computer run out of memory.

Once you have the virtual terminal running, you can bring up more virtual terminals with the "xterm" command. This allows you to change the color scheme, etc. For example, if you don't like the standard white on black, typing "xterm" with no other arguments brings up a black on white virtual terminal. Use standard X Window arguments to change settings.

Task Manager

Press SHIFT-ESCAPE in the Chromium GUI to run the Task Manager. You can also bring this up by right-clicking the Chromium GUI title bar and selecting "Task Manager".

Text Editing

Chromium OS comes with "vi" already installed. You can use vi to edit text files off-line and store them on the mass storage device.

No other editors--emacs, pico, nano--are installed. But if you read this far, I'm sure you know how to put one of these editor onto the Chromium OS mass storage device.

Browse Off-Line Data

Just because you are not on-line doesn't mean you have to stare at the "This webpage is not available." message all day. Type "file:///" in the browser URL entry box and you can browse the content of your hard drive.

Now, just imagine putting some HTML content onto the hard drive. Maybe add some PDF files or add some other documents.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 00:29:10 +0000

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