With Google’s operating system, what you see is what you get: a web browser, few applications (built using the Chrome browser), and some web apps. The whole operating system is one of the lightest, most low-resourced operating system out there. Enter Chromixium OS: it aims to be as light and as easy to use as Chrome OS. Does this Linux distribution have what it takes to pick up the slack?
Why you should check out Chromixium OS
Whether tech-savvy people want to admit it or not, Chrome OS has real appeal. No other operating system on the market, besides perhaps Mac OS X, is as easy to get up and running. You log in with your Google credentials, your stuff syncs and that’s it. For users not looking to do advanced stuff, this is very compelling.
Unfortunately, Chrome OS is extremely locked down to specific Google-sanctioned hardware, so sharing this user-friendly operating system with anyone with a laptop or desktop is near impossible. That’s where Chromixium OS comes in. If you have a real need for a very light, easy-to-use laptop OS, and you have no ability to install Chrome OS to it, consider this your first option.
Underneath Chromixium is your standard Ubuntu Linux installation. You have the ability to open up a terminal window to use the apt package manager as well as use the infamous PPA system, along with steady Ubuntu Linux updates and everything else that you’d expect out of an Ubuntu install.
When it comes down to it, what this distribution is selling is the desktop environment. It’s specifically designed to look and act like Chrome OS. The operating system does a good job of it, for the most part. To the untrained eye it’s Chrome OS: very light on resources, yet easy on the eyes, persistent software updates that don’t give new users trouble installing, And rock-solid end-user support.
Chromixium might not be as well known as Ubuntu Mate, or any of the other official lightweight Ubuntu Linux spins, but it is a formidable opponent, for sure. If you are in dire need of a lightweight distribution for a family member that has a hard time using computers, or are just in need of an ultra-light Linux installation, do not hesitate to check this out.
Why you should pass on Chromixium OS
The only real downside to this Linux distribution is how young it is. It’s a fairly new project, so the community is sparse compared to some bigger, more mainstream Linux distributions. This can make some uneasy. This isn’t an indictment of Chromixium; they’re a wonderful project with some interesting ideas. However, it should be noted that when talking about distro-specific communities, bigger is always better.
Where this distribution stands out is its ease of use for new users. Put this on your mother’s computer, and she’ll probably have no trouble finding where everything is – updating and what-not. That’s mostly it though, honestly. The distribution does a better job of being Chrome OS than Google does by offering up more diverse programs and applications that the Chrome operating system lacks, and most end-users will like this.
Still, if you’re a Linux power user, there are far better lightweight Ubuntu spins out there to choose from that will accomplish your tasks. There are some that give you more surface-level freedom (like Ubuntu Mate or Xubuntu). Chromixium can fill this void too, but this is not what it was designed to do. Advanced users should consider passing on this Linux distribution unless they’re fans of the Chrome OS look and feel.
- easy to install
- easy to get up and running
- uses Ubuntu as a base so new users familiar with Ubuntu won’t need to learn a new system
- Ubuntu base allows users a wide array of software as well as driver support, etc.
- light on resources making it a perfect laptop operating system
- sparse community compared to other, more well-known Linux distributions could make newbies uneasy
- may seem largely pointless to advanced users
Chromixium OS is an interesting Linux distribution designed for a specific purpose: capture the simplicity of Google’s Chrome OS and the prolific nature of Ubuntu and combine it together. For the most part it accomplishes it’s task and is a solid choice for those looking for a near-Google experience on their laptop or desktop.
How do you feel about Chrome OS? Tell us in the comments below!