It’s been nearly 18 months since Dell released a Chromium OS build for the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook — allowing users to test out a pre-release build of Chrome OS long before it would be ready for the public. Now the computer maker has released a brand new build with updated wireless drivers which support the latest versions of Chromium.
Unfortunately the latest build doesn’t currently support audio, which means you probably won’t want to install Chromium on your Dell netbook unless you really don’t need audio, or just want to play around with the operating system. Fortunately you can run Chromium OS from a USB flash drive without replacing your operating system.
You can download the latest Chromium OS build from the Dell FTP site. The most recent build is from May 13th.
In order to install the operating system on your netbook you’ll want download the .gz file, extract the .img file using Winrar, 7-zip, or a similar utility on Windows, or the “gunzip” command in Linux, and then prepare a USB flash drive with the image. You can find instructions for doing that at Chrome Story.
Google does not plan to offer an installable version of the Chrome Operating System, but most of the source code for the operating system is open source, which means that anyone can compile the OS and install it themselves. If that’s a bit too complicated for you, Dell’s pre-built image should make things much easier. Independent developer Hexxeh also regularly compiles Google’s latest code into installable Chrome OS builds which you can download from his web site.