Say you like the simplicity of Google’s Chrome OS, but want access to a wider world of native desktop apps. You could use Crouton to install Ubuntu on a Chromebook (and run it in a browser tab). Or you could install Chromixium on just about any recent computer with an x86 processor.

Chromixium is a full-fledged desktop-style operating system based on Ubuntu. But it has a user interface that’s designed to look like Chrome OS and it puts the Chromium web browser front and center.


That means you can run Chrome web apps and synchronize your apps, browser history, and other settings with your Google account. You also get a Chrome OS-style desktop, app launcher, and taskbar.

But under the hood, Chromixium is based on Ubuntu. That means it’s a GNU/Linux operating system that can run native desktop apps including LibreOffice, GIMP, Firefox, and Steam, just to name a few.

The taskbar is pre-populated with common Chrome shortcuts including YouTube, Gmail, and Google Drive and there’s a search icon in the lower left corner which you can click to open the Chrome app menu.

You can also right-click on the desktop to bring up a context menu that lets you launch other apps, change the wallpaper, access settings, and run commands. You can use the Synaptic package manager or open a terminal window and use apt-get to install apps and manage your system.

A computer running Chromixium probably won’t boot as quickly as a Chromebook. But almost anything you can do with a Chromebook you can also do with the Chrome or Chromium web browser on a Linux, Mac, or Windows computer. Chromixium is an attempt to offer the best of both worlds by providing a full-fledged GNU/Linux operating system with a Chrome OS-like desktop.

Version 1.0 stable was released on April 26th, 2015 and it’s a 32-bit operating system based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with the 3.13.0-51.84 PAE with support for up to 64GB of RAM.

via DistroWatch


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14 replies on “Chromixium: Ubuntu Linux… if it looked like Chrome OS”

  1. I imagine that the user management aspect is pure linux though – eg, you’re not going to login with your gmail credentials…

  2. I like this.
    Its worth a try.
    It would be nice running this.

    I have ubuntu on one comp I won’t switch that one, and on another comp korora.

    But for other peeps comps or a new one .
    It could work

    As long as installing on a usb is easy.
    (im looking at you elementary OS)

  3. Sure you can do anything in browsers on other operating systems that you can do in ChromeOS. Except have your underlying OS handled in such a maintenance free and secure way, which is a big part of the point of using ChromeOS.

    More interesting for Linux is what Microsoft announced today about various technologies which will now work with Docker. Unless I missed something that means you’ll soon be able to run some Windows apps on Linux boxes under Docker.
    How fun would it be if Google implemented a container technology natively in ChromeOS which could make use of Docker images? Then you’d have the great, fast, easy to maintain ChromeOS and be able to run any Linux or Windows app you’d like on it as well.

  4. But how is it done technically? Did they just theme an existing desktop or is this the real chrome os ui running?

    1. I can tell you when I reboot into the Live USB image, but I’m willing to bet it’s just a theme. It looks like they stripped down Openbox or something along those lines. I’ve been using Peppermint Linux for years now, but Chromixium is more along the lines of what I was looking for: something with the speed and minimalism of ChromeOS, but the possibility for massive customization like Linux.

      1. Yes, it’s just Openbox with a custom theme. It booted really fast, even for Linux (granted, I am running it from USB at the moment), and runs really smoothly. I haven’t had the opportunity to use ChromeOS, so I can’t compare.

        Verdict: I like this, and would rather buy an older laptop and install this on it than buy a Chromebook just to run ChromeOS. I suspect that battery usage is not nearly as good as ChromeOS though, especially since Ubuntu is quite notorious for draining the battery like it’s nobody’s business.

          1. I’m running Peppermint 5 now, which uses Xfwm4/LXDE, and launching or switching apps in Chromixium is at least as fast as that, if not faster (but I didn’t run Chromixium from a hdd, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison). I haven’t used Mint or Ubuntu in a while, but it seems at to run at least as fast as them. If someone installs this, let us know if the performance differs markedly from the live image.

    1. If I could upvote this 2wice I would because I lol’d a great much.

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