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Google SuSE Hardware Linux Technology

Developer Gets OpenSUSE Running On $249 Google Chromebook 81

Posted by timothy
from the eye-opener dept.
sfcrazy writes "Andrew Wafaa, an ARM developer who is responsible for porting openSUSE to ARM, just got his hands on the Chromebook, and he managed to run openSUSE on it." Hopefully that means other distros can be soon ported to the Chromebook as well.
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Developer Gets OpenSUSE Running On $249 Google Chromebook

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  • Just curious, why would one try to port a distribution if there's already a ported one? Or the debian's ARM is something different (unfortunately I know very little about processor architectures)?
    • Re:Why not Debian? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by marcello_dl (667940) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @04:04PM (#41770045) Homepage Journal

      I guess the feat is not to redo some porting of code to arm, which debian has done, but to configure the system/add drivers to support the chromebook.
      IMHO if chromebook wants to sell more than a tablet it must work as a real laptop, and a linux distro is at the moment the only way to have a complete personal computing experience on arm.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Google is explicitly selling the Chromebook as being different from a "real laptop". Why would they suddenly change that just because you want a cheap Linux machine?

      • Re:Why not Debian? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Thursday October 25, 2012 @04:39PM (#41770469) Homepage

        IMHO if chromebook wants to sell more than a tablet it must work as a real laptop, and a linux distro is at the moment the only way to have a complete personal computing experience on arm.

        this is only really going to happen when ARM SoC vendors get out of the "vertical market" mentality, and stop trying to control everything. this is a really in-depth topic so i'll describe it briefly (yes, briefly - despite appearances)

        the problem is that ARM SoCs have typically come from the "embedded" space, as "appliances", where android is now also considered to be an "appliance". what that means is that typically a device is designed by the SoC vendor themselves (a "reference design"), the software is written by the SoC vendor themselves, and the whole package sold, usually as a GPL-violating product, to factories who do NOT have ANY software expertise AT ALL.

        these factories receive a set of instructions:
        1) make PCB
        2) assemble PCB in case
        3) insert "boot sd/mmc card" to flash OS onto device
        4) pack in box
        5) sell box.

        the chromebook is absolutely *no* exception to this.

        what we're doing with the Rhombus Tech initiative, through the EOMA-68 hardware specification, is drawing a line in the sand, where the CPU is now on a Credit-Card-sized "module" along with the RAM and NAND Flash, but that's only half the story. because the CPU Cards can go into literally *any* EOMA-68-compliant mass-volume device, the CPU *has* to be considered to be "General Purpose". every CPU *has* to be "open" (or, alternatively, the burden is on the proprietary software vendor (e.g. apple or microsoft) or on the GPL-violating vendor to support literally every possible combination of devices that could possibly be out there or imagined).

        so we're turning things around: turning SoCs back towards where they ought to be (and are already in the x86 world): general-purpose processors that can run any OS.

      • Re:Why not Debian? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:08PM (#41771965) Homepage Journal

        The point of the Chromebook is not to sell hardware. The point of the Chromebook is to sell the Google model of doing everything on the cloud. Selling cheap systems running a "real laptop" OS is an unprofitable low-margin business that's of no interest even to hardware companies, never mind a services company like Google.

        Hackers are hacking Chromebooks because they're hackers. The commercial viability of the combination is nil.

      • Afacit google's goal isn't necessarily to offer a "complete computing experience" it is to offer tools that encourage people to use their services. While they don't seem to mind letting (and sometimes even helping) us techies re-purpose their kit to run things that aren't associated with google services it's not the primary goal of the devices.

      • by fufufang (2603203)

        I guess the feat is not to redo some porting of code to arm, which debian has done, but to configure the system/add drivers to support the chromebook.
        IMHO if chromebook wants to sell more than a tablet it must work as a real laptop, and a linux distro is at the moment the only way to have a complete personal computing experience on arm.

        Google is selling Chromebook as their advertising platform... You might also get vendor lock in. You can't use the Gmail interface without using Gmail itself. Although you can indeed use Gmail via IMAP+SMTP.

    • by xtronics (259660)

      Yes - please give credit to where credit is due.

      Debian ARM port [debian.org]

    • Just curious, why would one try to port a distribution if there's already a ported one?

      So, once Chromium OS runs on the Chromebook, there's no reason for any other Linux-based OS to run on it.

    • by Hillgiant (916436)

      Why not NetBSD? Oh, wait. It probably already does.

    • by mmontour (2208)

      Maybe he just prefers SuSE?

      Several years ago, I ported SuSE onto my PowerPC iBook G3 because I liked it and it was the distro I ran on my main desktop machine.

      ("porting" in this case mostly meant bootstrapping a build environment and working around a few bugs. The source RPMs already had PPC build targets.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @03:55PM (#41769893)

    This is a great idea - a lightweight, attractive, inexpensive ARM-powered notebook running GNU/Linux. But, I wonder why Samsung and others haven't bothered to "officially" offer it? I think a system like this, running KDE, could be very appealing to a present Windows 7 user, versus switching to a higher-priced system running Windows 8 and its unfamiliar "Modern" interface.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Wait until you see KDE running on it first, i bet it will be dismal and defeat the whole purpose and turn people off of 'alternatives' permanently.

      To the average guy, percieved speed is more important than openness, or even cost.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Yes, let's all wonder why Google hasn't officially offered to run another operating system on a machine made specifically for Google to run their OS on.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The question is not why Google didn't do it. The question is, why haven't Samsung and other hardware considered it on their own, since we now see that it might be possible?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Because it's an even more niche product than a Chromebook that have so far sold extremely poorly.

          • by gmuslera (3436)
            If you have 2 niches in the same hardware you have more sells than offering just one. Opening the drivers mean that it could be sold to the 2 kinds of clients, or give your clients an alternative if they don't like the bundled one or at least don't fill all their needs.
        • Why aren't they selling OSX machines, as well?
          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > Why aren't they selling OSX machines, as well?

            They would be sued by Apple for software piracy.

      • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:16PM (#41770895)

        let's all wonder why Google hasn't officially offered to run another operating system on a machine made specifically for Google to run their OS on.

        Good thing he didn't say Google but Samsung and others.

    • This is a great idea - a lightweight, attractive, inexpensive ARM-powered notebook running GNU/Linux. But, I wonder why Samsung and others haven't bothered to "officially" offer it?

      Because there's no software vendor that is both willing and able to put the money into polishing, marketing, and supporting a "GNU/Linux" style operating system the way Microsoft is doing with Windows 8/RT or Google is with Android/ChromeOS, and hardware vendors want to stick to their core competency rather than trying to soft

    • by godrik (1287354)

      You realize the chromebook is made by samsung? The only difference is that they installed chromeOS and not debian.

  • News??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jmc23 (2353706) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @03:56PM (#41769917) Journal
    All this guy did was follow somebody elses directions.

    Keep those quality stories coming Timothy.

  • Step 1. Buy a Chromebook
    Step 2. Use ChromeOS for half a day.
    Step 3. Follows instructions you got from SOMEONE ELSE (a Google-employed developer, at that) on how to load openSUSE onto a Chromebook.
    Step 4. Enjoy being on slashdot front page getting credit for what someone else told you how to do.

    Geez.

    • by Manfre (631065)

      I bet your the type of person who makes outlandish claims like "Coloring a color by numbers pictures is not art worthy of hanging in the Met".

    • by JoosepN (1847126)
      No "Step n. Profit!" ? Who'd follow those steps without it?

      Geez.
  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @04:04PM (#41770041)
    Cold-start to reading Slashdot in 12 seconds flat with KDE Plasma Netbook. Because I could, that's why.
    • Ran it on my $189 eeePc 3 years ago

      Geez.. do you have a time machine??

      • Geez.. do you have a time machine??

        Nope - believe it or not, there was such a thing as openSUSE three years ago. Didn't need a time machine.

  • Computer runs Operating System. Full report at 11:00. Weather at 11:01.
    • by flatt (513465)

      Joking aside, how sad is it that it is now newsworthy that someone was able to successfully install an operating system of their choice onto a device that they own?

      I weep for the future.

  • With a decent Linux distro on it, this certainly becomes more interesting. Now give it a non-glare screen and longer battery life and I'll buy it. :-)

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:59PM (#41772379)

    Suddenly I care about the Chromebook!

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