3 min read

Run ChromiumOS on Dell Mini 9 with wifi

**UPDATE 2: **it’s 2012, and now I’m running the special Dell builds, with wifi (Hexxeh’s builds (even Lime) don’t support wifi on the Dell Mini 9 for me, even though the docs say it supports Broadcom BCM43xx chipsets), but there are docs to get Dell’s custom builds rolling. The updated instructions are available on kirsle.net (thanks Kirsle!) Note that I also had the issue with the Dell April 15 build not booting after install without the USB drive, but there was a solution in the comments pointing to this page on My Dell Mini and now it’s all good. It’s so nice to have this working again, looks like now it’s going to be my laptop for next week’s DEF CON 20!

UPDATE: I’m now running the latest build of Hexxeh’s Chrome OS named Flow - and everything just works out of the box.  The release is much improved, and it’s getting very close to being the perfect day-to-day netbook OS as far as I’m concerned.  Great work!

While I still really dig my Dell Mini 9, even with 2Gig of RAM it feels kinda sluggish when I have my normal 50 tabs open, and I’ve always known someone could do better (since I’m too lazy to recompile a kernel for it like I would have in the past).  With all the focus on netbooks it was bound to be addressed, and while Android looks promising, it’s currently still more of a phone OS than something you’d be able to use on your netbook.  I’ve run it off a USB drive on the Mini 9 just to check it out, it was cool, but again, not really usable enough for a ‘top - maybe that’s not the target. Another I want to check is Moblin, Intel’s effort using Ubuntu as a base, but I haven’t seen a Mini 9 HOWTO (maybe I’ll have to write my own…) for that.  So, enter Google Chrome OS, Google’s idea of how to not only address this problem, but perhaps lay out how we will use these computers in the future.  It’s always funny when I start talking about cloud and thin clients, it takes me back to dumb terminals talking to mainframes, but I digress. The point is, thanks to great posts at jasongriffey.net and Lifehacker, it’s really easy to install Google’s Chrome OS on a Dell Mini 9, the only thing I really have to add is that you have to use ChromeOS Zero from the hexxeh.net site. After all, this is an open source project, so folks are going to make changes/fix things and share with everyone. Looking at the site they had a new release, yesterday (gotta love it!) The last time I tried a build the wifi on my Mini just worked, so it looks like those problems are a thing of the past.