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Chromium OS hacked on to MacBook Air

updated 03:20 pm EDT, Wed July 20, 2011

Chromium OS works on Apple's MacBook Air

A new hack has managed to load Chromium OS on to the previous-generation MacBook Air. The trick involves 'burning' an image of the OS to a USB flash drive and running Terminal prompts to move the OS and give it permission to run as a boot drive on the Apple notebook. Because it needs to run on the Mac's solid-state drive for the firmware to recognize the boot process, it has to wipe out the Mac OS X install; the creator, Hexxeh, urges every user to backup any data.

The trick was tested on an 11-inch Air but should work on the 13-inch model given very similar components. Virtually every component works, including NVIDIA graphics acceleration, the webcam, and both screen and sound controls. Battery life may even be slightly better because of the reduced overhead.

A few significant limitations exist. The new OS takes longer to boot than a Mac, at nearly 30 seconds versus 15, because of how Apple's EFI firmware and Chromium OS interact. Bluetooth is disabled. Trackpad scrolling is also "painfully slow" since Google's drivers don't perfectly match.

The warranty-voiding approach in some ways brings Chromium OS and Chrome OS full circle. Google had indirectly positioned Chromebooks as having many of the same traits as an Air, such as very fast boot times, a thin and light profile, and a minimalist design.

By Electronista Staff


  1. johncarync

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002


    I had a dream

    Reminds me of a dream I had where I converted my BMW to look and perform like a Chevy Cavalier.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    warranty voiding is wrong

    Warranties are not only covered by the manufacturer they are regulated under law as well.

    You don't void your warranty if you install your own OS.

    Think about it, if your spacebar is covered under warranty, why would installing Chrome OS mean your hardware warranty covering damage to your spacebar is voided?

    If you do something to damage your device - that isn't going to be covered - and frankly never was covered under warranty - it's only warrantied against manufacturer defects - not problems you cause yourself - but if the device does display a defect that you didn't cause - its still covered under warranty.

    I would never believe in a million years, I'd get electronista to stop publishing misinformation.

    But check the Magnusson Moss Warranty act for yourself.

    With that said, who would install Chrome on such an expensive device as the Macbook Air?
    It's basically on OS designed as a dumb terminal to the internet - you don't need high end equipment for that.

  1. viktorob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011



    It is a nice experiment, a useless one, but nice.
    With Lion's recovery system Chrome is obsolete.. sorry, it was already obsolete before Lion. my bad.

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