GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED that Chromebook users can now choose an alternative operating system for their prized devices.
It's only for the brave, and will involve potential permo-borkage of your machine if you get it wrong, but brand evangelist Francis Beaufort has been telling Google+ users about a new and easier process for poking around under the bonnet of Chromebooks, if that is your bag.
It involves a hard reset (in Google-speak this is known as a Powerwash) into the Developer Channel of Chrome OS, that is to say, the version that's even more unstable than the beta.
Because you are giving access to the root directory and power shell of the device, it is only during the initial set up that this is possible, so back up anything that is physically stored on the device.
From there, a simple command line will give you permission to boot and even install an alternative operating system from a memory stick.
We tried some experiments last night with a Keepod, an Android-on-a-USB-stick device designed to help children in the developing world breathe life into old computer equipment.
It's most definitely fiddly and long-winded as processes go, and not for the faint-hearted, but if you're determined, you can definitely get into an alternative operating system.
The next win will be to create a dual-boot partition so you can choose between Chrome OS, Linux or Android.
Beaufort comments that the functionality has been added "to support installing and testing custom code on Chrome OS devices", which is a posh way of saying "tinkering".
Chrome and Android are already moving closer together with the addition of a limited range of Android apps available in an Android runtime for Chrome with many more expected to follow this year.
The two are also moving closer together in terms of the Material design adopted across Google products including Android 5.0 Lollipop. µ
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