Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

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Snap
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Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

Postby Snap » 18 Aug 2015 10:55

You need Chromuim (or Chrome) installed. Then (from the Arch wiki):
Starting applications without a window manager
It is possible to start only specific applications without a window manager, although most likely this is only useful with a single application shown in full-screen mode. For example:

Code: Select all

~/.xinitrc
...

exec chromium
With this method you need to set each application window's geometry through its own configuration files, if possible at all.

Tip: This method can be useful to launch graphical games, especially on systems where excluding the memory or CPU usage of a window manager or desktop environment, and possible accessory applications, can help improve the game's execution performance.
It's a cool method for an ultra simplistic kinda ChromeOS just running all those html apps if you like that. I don't find it interesting other than the experiment itself, but it's fun to see it working. Now go and let Google sniff your activities. It's like the KDE cube. Run it once, have some fun and then disable it forever. :lol:

BTW, There's another much nicer and complete way of emulating a ChromeBook with a panel and a launcher (without installing Chromixium, of course). Or simply adding all the Chrome/Google features to any Xfce install. Works wonderfully in Xfce or LXDE. I don't use any of this myself. I try to avoid Google as much as I can (though they own Youtube... sigh! ), but I configured the thing for my dad, one of my sisters and a couple of friends in their computers. They're so happy with the crap.

If anyone is interested, just say hello and I'll write a step by step guide for it too.

Cheers.
This likely means that your installation is broken. -Mr Pixbuf.

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jsalpha2
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Re: Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

Postby jsalpha2 » 20 Aug 2015 00:09

My son's school is switching to Chromebooks. I would not mind learning a little about them. From what I can tell, the hardware is not impressive on what they have. I'd be interested in what you did. May try the Chromixium as well. Thanks

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Snap
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Re: Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

Postby Snap » 20 Aug 2015 08:13

No need for chromixium. You can do exactly the same with any xfce or lxde environment without much hassle. Chromixium just tries to emulate the ChromeOS visuals and cosmetics, but what's cool about that? And it's Ubuntu. Better stick to Debian.

The real benefit of using this setup over Linux, is that you are not tied to the very limited hardware of the ChromeBooks. You can use a ChromeBook, any other notebook, a much better laptop, a desktop, a huge workstation... or a pad if you want that (Debian has ARM support), with all the benefits of the native Linux apps arsenal side by side with the chrome webapps, full HD storage, as much RAM as you want, etc... And more important the security and stability of Linux (while RHEL keeps allowing it to be secure and stable...) compared the Google thing.

Let me check the virtual machines where i figured how to built that and will post a cheat sheet with the step by step to achieve the Chrome thing with its adequate launchers. It's one of those things that you do, see them running (and setup for others) and then forget about it, :lol:

Gimme a while and I'll post back.
This likely means that your installation is broken. -Mr Pixbuf.

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Snap
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Re: Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

Postby Snap » 23 Aug 2015 16:43

Sorry for the delay. dbus and phonon got me busy for a couple of days...

Here we go.

NOTE: These instructions are assuming an Xfce desktop, but they can be easily adapted to any DE or WM.

Install chromium (or chrome – no need for Chrome, Chromium does the same job without (most of) the closed source code. Most of it because Flash probably will still be there).

You'll get two new launchers in the xfce>Apps>Internet menu:

Chromium App Launcher
Chromium Web Browser

You can launch them both at any time, but to get the ChromeOS-like functionality launch Chromium this way:

Code: Select all

chromium --silent-launch
Chromium will be now running in the background as a sort of daemon providing support for the Google apps as standalones. You can use it this way or you can add this at the startup to get it up and running every time you log in. Go to Settings>Session and Startup>Application Autostart and click the Add button the bottom left to add a new entry there:

Code: Select all

Name: Chromium Silent (or whatever you like)
Description: (Anything that works for you)
Command: crhomium --silent-launch
Close and check if its activated just in case.

Now you can add a new launcher to your panel. Somewhat like this:

Code: Select all

Name: Chromium Apps (or whatever you like)
Comment: (Anything that works for you)
Command: chromium --show-app-list
Launch it and a window (tray) will open a the top left of your monitor (showing like four default apps if I remember well) including the Chromium browser itself. Launch any app. Instead of opening as a tab in the browser now they're standalone apps in separate windows. Cool, isn't it?

Then you can open the browser and login your Google account. Add you favorite apps or a bunch of them you want to try. They will show in the tray from now on. But... the tray is a bitch. Click anywhere else and it will disappear. To overcome this you can add independent launchers for any Google app you want into your menu or your panels, independently of the tray.

Open the tray, right click on one of the app icons and chose Create Shortcuts... (Select Desktop, Menu or both). I went for desktop only and made a launcher for every single app just to have the needed data on hand in order to make the launchers. Open the desired launcher with a text editor. Go to your panel and make new launchers using the commands you'll find in the newly generated .desktop files. Notice how weirdly the apps are recalled by the Google dudes. Something like this:

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Name=Google Docs
Exec=/usr/lib/chromium/chromium --profile-directory=Default --app-id=aohghmighlieiainnegkcijnfilokake
Icon=chrome-aohghmighlieiainnegkcijnfilokake-Default
StartupWMClass=crx_aohghmighlieiainnegkcijnfilokake
Relocate and reorder the launcher to taste/needs in the menus and panels and you are done.

You can launch the Google tray from the menu or panel at any time, but for faster launch and standalone apps mode from the launchers, Chromium should be running in advance, either silent or in its full glory.

Enjoy.
This likely means that your installation is broken. -Mr Pixbuf.

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jsalpha2
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Re: Howto mimic ChromeOS in a Linux system

Postby jsalpha2 » 26 Aug 2015 12:12

Thanks, I haven't tried it out yet, maybe this week end.


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