I took Google's Chromium OS for a spin yesterday for two reasons: One, I thought that it looks interesting and, two, I wanted to see how it runs in real time on my netbook. I've used Google's Chrome browser for sometime now so I thought I'd give their Chrome browser-based OS a go. Here are my first impressions of Chromium and its features.
Hardware: Acer Aspire One netbook with 1GB RAM and using a 4GB USB thumb drive for the OS container.
Boot Time: WOW! It boots so quickly that I had a hard time timing it. Initially, it booted in about two seconds but after setting up wireless networking, it was a few seconds more. Five seconds is as close as I've come to an actual time on boot after setting the . My netbook is one of the nicer ones that really is a mini laptop and not a standard SSD-based (solid state drive) notebook gadget so your actual mileage may vary. Boot time: Impressive.
Look and Feel: Chromium looks like the Chrome browser with two tabs already created for you. A Gmail tab and a Google Calendar tab await you. There's also a Google Chrome button in the upper left corner of your screen, that, when clicked, displays several social networking and productivity tools for you to explore. Response is excellent and there's no clumsiness about the interface. If you know Chrome, you know Chromium.
Network Setup: In the upper right corner of your screen, you have three small buttons: Battery/Power, Network, and Options. Since I am on WiFi, a list of available wireless networks was already in the list for me to choose from. I selected mine, entered the secret code and I was online. No hassles, no rebooting and no messages to say that "You are now online." There is a change in the way the button looks but it might prove too subtle for some to notice. A connectivity status message here would be nice.
Power down: There's no 'Start' button. There's no power off icon, no logout option or anything to tell you how to get out of Chromium. Your system's power button is the only escape method that I've found. Pressing the power button takes Chromium out from under you in less than a second. Did you save your work first?
I like Chromium despite its Spartan looks. I'm wondering, from my little test drive, why one would need 3GB of space for a browser-based system that contains few non-browser features. Since it's free, why not give it a try. You've nothing to lose. I wouldn't give up my current OS just yet but if you're bound to one of those netbooks with a small SSD, Chromium is a great asset. If I had one, I'd convert to it immediately.
My rating for Chromium is 8.5. I think it needs a few more features before I commit to it on a permanent basis but I do like it.