Ever since Googles announcement of Chrome OS earlier this year I have been eagerly waiting for some kind of early alpha or beta version to play around with. Thankfully, for a short time, Google “accidentally” uploaded an early prototype of the Chrome OS built on top of the chrome browser that will eventually end up being the OS.
You can download the deb package file from here. This package can only be installed on debian based Linux distribution (like Ubuntu) or any Linux distribution that has deb package manager installed.
It is perhaps not correct to label it as a “leaked” version. After all, Google Chrome OS is an open source project and will be free to use for anyone who is willing to do whatever they want with it.
Chrome developers did the right thing by pulling it out from public download as it was most likely made available to download by fellow developers for testing purpose. Outsiders who are not familiar with the development process of the project might get a very bad first impression of the Chrome OS.
The first impression you will get after installing the package is that it is visually not very different from Chrome browser. On the top right corner, there are some new tabs next to the clock:
On the top left corner, there is a curious chrome logo that almost looks out of place. When you click on the logo it takes you to full-screen mode, but the feature seems incomplete at this stage. You cant have multiple tabs open in full screen mode.
Full Screen Mode
It is important to note that Chromium OS will be Chrome browser layered on top of Linux Kernel (or something to that effect); so Google is not necessarily building an OS from scratch. At best they could be building a new desktop environment like Gnome or KDE; but most likely (and I am just speculating here) they are going to deploy the “OS” as a package on a debian based distribution.
Whatever the case, this is a very exciting time to live in if you are a Linux and open source enthusiasts and if there was one company that can lead Linux in to mainstream (in the form of desktop OS), it is Google.