Chrome OS Flex

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113 comments

  • Joel R.

    Thanks for sharing this Michael Clarke. So I guess we'll be bidding farewell to the CloudReady brand soon. Chrome OS Flex sounds strange to me, not gonna lie. I actually thought this post was about you wanting to flex how good Chrome OS is lol. Knowing Google though, they'll have no problems changing the name again.

    Alexander David Frick In case you haven't seen this yet. The advisory on system access reductions is repeated here. Gives sort of a better picture of what's upcoming for CloudReady, soon-to-be Chrome OS Flex. Unfortunately at this point there looks to be nothing yet to alleviate the concerns you've voiced in an earlier thread... There's the "future improvements" line again, so there's hope. Reading between the lines, Crostini also looks to be a closed issue now; a lot of devices (i.e. with unmitigated CPU vulnerabilities) will just have to be left behind. Personally, I'm just happy to get a bit more clarity and better documentation overall.

    Ilya G Forrest Smith I'm not sure about your own feelings on this whole transition, but personally I'd just like to say congratulations to you and the whole Neverware team for what I consider is a tremendous achievement. It's really nice to see some of the old CloudReady docs now be official docs on the Google support page. Even the SanDisk thing has been carried over (poor SanDisk lol). No doubt Chrome OS will only reach more people because of this. While Google has put their name on the product now, we all know that it's you guys who started all this. Thanks for all your hard work throughout the years. Am just wondering now though, once the move to Flex is complete, where we can go to for help on issues. Hopefully we can still contact you on a new forum perhaps?

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  • Patrick B.

    Article mentioning Chrome OS Flex expected stable release of 2nd quarter, some feature set, and Forrest as Product Manager 

    https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/chrome-os-flex-turns-an-aging-laptop-into-a-chromebook-for-free/ 

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  • Forrest Smith

    This is definitely the same team - been a long year working on this, and saying no to other improvements we know you'd all appreciate, but I promise it'll be worth it as this thing goes from "early access" to fully stable and replacing CloudReady.

     

    So much appreciation for what this community has done for CloudReady - make sure to join us at the new Chrome OS Flex community once you start trying out the new version.

     

    https://support.google.com/chromeosflex/community?hl=en

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  • Bidwell Ely

    Congratulations Forrest Smith, on becoming the Program Manager of Chrome OS Flex. A  couple of questions

    1. Can the CloudReady forum become integrated with the new Chrome OS Flex forum? My thought is that if someone looks up the old CR forum, they could be automatically switched to the new COF forum.

    2. Will the users of the new forum have to sign up? And will the various branches ie General etc be carried over?

    Again congratulations, will you and Ilya G still be the in-house representatives on the new Forum?

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  • SpacePiggy

    Flexing the old Asus CN60 Chromebox:

    1 on boot we have a Tricolor Chrome OS splash, bye-bye Cloudready logo and no faded blue chromium frisbee

    2 Welcome to Cloudready 2.0 (going for broke - Install Cloudready 2.0; Try It First is for wimps)

    3 spinning wheel as it wipes the drive (nah, no backup made) and installs Flex. The tiny text says this is Google Chrome 100.0.4880.0 along with my Chromebox serial number)

    4 Twenty minutes or so and installation is complete, countdown to shut down, reminder to remove USB and reboot

    5 UEFI firmware (Mr ChromeBox) didn't find Flex at first, prolly because of old Cloudready and Gallium grubs, eventually it got there after a few taps of the space bar ... note to self, clean up grub

    6 Get Started, connect to network, set up looks pretty much like the current Chrome OS

    7 sync with google account, hey, it's now syncing Messages with my android phone and new Chromebook!

    8 Acorn TV streaming is still broken. Oh well.

    I'll play with it over the next few days. Forrest Smith On the surface this looks pretty sweet. About Chrome OS reports version 100 DEV so as warned, shell is gone, we have only crosh. This will impact Alexander David Frick

     

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  • SpacePiggy

    brief follow-up:

    1 cleaning up grub on the CN60 facilitates prompt booting to Flex

    2 live boot of unsupported iMac 7,1 works great with all the goodness listed in my previous post, plus brightness and volume keys work with Apple wired keyboard. Acorn TV also works. In this case I didn't install Flex on the old iMac as I have need of several legacy Mac apps that won't run on my Apple Silicon MacMini.

    Today is a good day.

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  • SpacePiggy

    One more for Forrest Smith:

    What is the purpose of the App called Firmware Updates? It shows up on both the CN60 and iMac7,1 but does nothing obvious other than to say Update peripherals All firmwares are up to date.

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  • Joel R.

    Forrest Smith So apparently Chrome OS Flex has updated to kernel 5.10 and now boots on my Ryzen 7 4700U-powered Lenovo Ideapad. I get now when you said there's reason for optimism in a past thread; you guys certainly didn't disappoint.

    Just some more early questions to you and Ilya G, appreciate any early answers:

    • Will the Chrome OS Flex .bin/.iso files eventually be made available for a quick download, perhaps on https://cros.tech/table or somewhere else? This question pertains to stable and preview releases. I'm hoping Dev or Beta images can be downloaded separately so I can test them via USB; I usually like to keep my main install on the Stable channel.
    • Will there be any way to disable updates on Chrome OS Flex, an easy way such as renaming or editing a config file like previously? Would like the option to stay on an older version for short periods, maybe skip a version, in case there are any regressions in new releases. Though I am optimistic that regressions will be minimal moving forward with the rebranding.

    Edited to add another question:

    • Since there's no access to command line access at the moment, is there a way to target a specific drive for install on my device? My laptop has an NVMe SSD and an HDD inside. I want to install Chrome OS Flex on the HDD only.

    I realize these questions are probably out of your normal scope of service, so I understand if the answers won't be positive. Thanks in advance.

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  • Michael Clarke

    Joel R. - The Chrome OS recovery tool has Google OS Flex listed under Manufacturer when selecting the image you want to use.  Currently only offering a download of the development image.  No real need to download a bin/zip image from an alternate location, since the tool downloads a highly compressed image for you when creating your boot USB.

    Looking at the downloads folder during creation of my test USB stick, the current Chrome OS Flex developer image is a whopping 6.5 GB, but is downloaded as a 1GB zip file.

    The majority of your time is spent watching it write those 6.5GBs to the USB stick...  If it helps save a bit of time, you can take a copy of the unzipped bin file while it writes the first USB, then use the 'Local Image' technique like with CloudReady.

    Disabling Chrom* updates is possible, but is usually documented as putting firewall rules in place to block certain traffic.  Not something I'd ever really consider, especially now we're beginning to see so many Software as a Service sites stop supporting browsers older than n-1 versions (Amazon Music, Spotify, Netflix etc, they'll all be doing it eventually).

    NeverWare and Google will need to be very specific up-front about what is and isn't supported in OS Flex.  The advertising will mean the OS is visible to a much larger user group thanks to all the usual click-bait technology 'specialists', and questions about Play Store, Linux Support, Phone integration, Targeted Disk installations etc will no doubt be commonplace.  

    Personally, I am excited to see where this goes, and have massive respect for what the NeverWare team has been able to achieve.  I just hope OS Flex is not something we see in the Google Graveyard any time soon (ever, in fact).

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  • Guzman

    So I installed Chrome OS Flex on both of my old Chromebooks (Lenovo N21 and HP Chromebook 14 G1) that were previously on CloudReady 96 Beta.

    First off, things installed without issues. On both the flags did not work (I had this issue on both with an earlier version of CR 94), but clearing the TPM fixed it. Also the new "Enable featured experiments" icon in the browser bar didn't work until I cleared TPM as well.

    Second thing I noticed is that the new launcher is on by default on the HP but not the Lenovo. Nice thing (for me at least) is that in the new launcher the "continue" section at the top is gone.

    Overall other than a few cosmetic things, for a basic end user like me, it seems no different than any other release of CloudReady, other than the multi coloured Chrome browser rather than the blue Chromium one.

    Stable and no issues.....so far.

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  • Bidwell Ely

    Joel R. Here is a very good set of instructions on how to install Chrome OS Flex, you might want to add them to your list.

    https://www.howtogeek.com/786376/how-to-run-chrome-os-flex-on-your-pc-or-mac/

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  • Joe

    Hey guys Long time indeed. When I heard... I had to see what will be with CR. Hoping things will Look-UP. Going to try this on my Hp Pavilion x360 15-cr0xxx [Eh going back to CR for now bc it's only for Companies]

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  • nangtienngu

    Congratulation to all employees at Neverware. Hoping that Chrome OS Flex will be succeed as Neverware Cloudready

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  • Walter Northern

    Installed Flex.  I LOVE IT, and will more than likely keep a machine around for just basic services.  The bad part of Flex is that I lose access to the shell and "developer mode" which I use 90% for my work.  Crostini doesnt support my notebooks so the Linux container stuff is out.  So if Google stays this route I will have to bid farewell to CloudReady/Flex and move on to something else for work Im sure I'll find a Linux distribution that I like.

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  • jordan livesey

    congratulations, this will certainly make a big difference, now with the google branding and reducing e waist as well, especially for those computers that can not upgrade to windows 11, my old lenovo idea pad 320 15 ast works just like my current asus chromebook does, played with it last night and its pretty solid on that laptop, also tried it on my acer aspire a515-44 and it was ultra fast thanks  to the ssd, but for daily tasks I like to use my asus chromebook, hopefully if we do get android apps, I can finally take my chromebook out of developer mode as my flex system will take care of that, but I doubt we will get that support since not all android apps are optomised to run on x86 processers, unless you count the illegal android x86 which shouldn't exist in the first place and is not officially supported by google. this project just goes to show that there is a new meaning of the word chromebook or chromebox now, and we even have a powerwash feature, oh by the way crostini does not fully work yet

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  • Alexander David Frick

    Ugh. All this saddens me. When Google acquired neverware they said that basically nothing will change. But I had a hunch that sometime down the line, I didn't know when, google was gonna swallow it up and do some type of proprietary bullshit that affected devs. I like the cloudready logo, and love the chromium logo. I use the shell and the ability to write to the rootfs daily. All of this will be going away. I guess its good for google and regular people. Not good for devs and tinkerers. Just the same story over and over though. Companies like Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, and Google swallowing smaller companies and startups, just to make them assimilate into something that will make them more money. Examples are the Oculus brand, GitHub, and now Cloudready. Sad to see you transform into something that is no longer its own rendition of ChromiumOS, but another asset to Google's ChromeOS ecosystem. SpacePiggy Bidwell Ely 

    I've been a long time user of Cloudready and a fan of Neverware, and this just is a kick in the butt to long time users who need shell access. Oh well, I guess I'll just continue work on my own ChromiumOS releases, where at least I still have control over my own system.

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  • Joe

    It's like that Linux OS CubLinux which I was a User of but it too quickly faded away

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  • SpacePiggy

    Alexander David Frick there is a Reddit comment claiming enabling Dev Mode on Flex by appending GRUB, however I don't have the chops to do it. Maybe you can?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/chromeos/comments/stl9fq/enabled_developer_mode_on_chromeos_flex_by/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

     

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  • David Hold

    Chrome flex will be the next version of cloudready once flex gets out of beta and becomes stable…

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  • jordan livesey

    its currently in dev at the moment though, still, plenty of time to add interesting features, I am interested in its progress so if anyone on the dev team would like to update me on its progress feel free to do so, I love chrome OS and chromium OS just as much as everyone else does

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  • Bidwell Ely

    Alexander David Frick, when Thorium is ready for testing, I have an old Toshiba laptop, I would love to test it on. 

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  • jordan livesey

    my ida pad 320 15 ast is not in the certified models list but it works really well for the most part, I decided to go back to stable software because again, its still in development, and still has the audio player app, which gallery replaced, would love that back in chrome OS, but then again, my chromebook, asus chromebook c202XA is no longer getting updates now so I am stuck with gallery

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  • Stede Bonnet

    I was expecting something to happen when Google acquired Neverware. Anything that challenges Microsoft Windows and puts a dent to their market share is a good thing, even though Google has long forgotten it's "Don't be evil" mantra.

    The first Chrome OS Flex release however seems to be extremely premature, which also suggests some under the hood changes. With great excitement I was going to install this on a HP ProBook 450 G4, which runs Linux and should run Cloudready nicely, and the USB won't even boot. It seems to fail rather randomly, sometimes at the Chrome-logo but with multiple retries I once got all the way to the login process after which it froze again.

    Plugged the USB-stick to a Lenovo m73 Tiny (Core i3) desktop, which is Cloudread compatible, and it also froze to the Chrome logo.

    So definitely this is not just a rebadged Cloudready as the general HW compatibility has been severly impacted and the 1st released installation image is very unstable. This is very unfortunate as the Flex test release got the media's attention, but now many testers will be very disappointed. The Flex has already attracted less tech-savvy people, who are not familiar with Cloudready/Linux etc.

    When can we expect a dev new version for testing?

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  • jordan livesey

    as soon as it leaves the beta channel as far as I know, its currently in the dev channel, 

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  • Joel R.

    I want to echo Stede's sentiments above on "general HW compatibility" being potentially "severely impacted," or at the very least still needs a little bit more work. I've had a similar experience to his in my testing so far. This is definitely not a complaint as it is understood that the current Chrome OS Flex release is an unstable one and we're not really sure what the exact intention of this was, what was meant to work and what was intentionally left out. So this is more of just sharing while this forum remains open, with the hope that it may be somewhat helpful to Forrest & co., although I have full confidence that the next release would be a better one regardless.

    The installer image itself did not reliably boot on three laptops that I tested it on. The Chrome logo did always appear at boot, but then the welcome / get started page would flash momentarily and then suddenly black out, leaving me no other option but to force shutdown. What I noticed was that I needed to press the keyboard or stimulate the touchpad before the welcome page appeared to keep it on screen, although this was not consistent as well as sometimes it would still black out. Anyway, I was eventually able to keep the welcome page stable across the three laptops after a few tries and proceeded to test the installer image, later on installing to the internal drive.

    My Dell Inspiron 11 3162 with Intel Celeron N3050 fared the best, having tested via USB and also a full install afterwards to the internal HDD. Worked like previous CloudReady releases; no immediate issues stuck out (apart from Crostini which I don't really expect to work anymore on this device). There are still a lot of teething issues however on my two Lenovo Ideapads, one Intel Core i3-1005G1 and the other AMD Ryzen 7 4700U. Surprisingly, the touchpads on both did not work as I tested the installer image; I had thought that the upgrade to kernel 5.10 would have brought compatibility for this. I plugged in a USB mouse and tested the installer image; no glaring issues here which was good, so I went ahead and installed to the internal SSDs with optimism because I mainly wanted to test out Crostini. After being prompted of the successful installation, I removed the USB installer and restarted the devices. Sadly, I did not get far this time, with both Ideapads going through what seemed like an endless reboot loop, the Chrome logo just beautifully flashing on and off. End of story.

    Nonetheless, looking forward to the next release!

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  • TML

    Any idea when devices using CR will get moved to Flex? Weeks or months roughly?

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  • Bidwell Ely

    Ilya G Forrest Smith how are things going?

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  • Walter Northern

    Too many issues with this build and the lack of shell access was just a bummer for me. I went ahead and purchased a Linux distro called Linspire and basically turned it into my own cloud os. At least it has shell access so I can use things like ssh and dev tools. I'll revisit Chrome OS Flex when it's stable. I just seriously hate that Neverware went this route and is going to be gone. I may try and see if I can find someone to compile a custom Chromium OS so I can use it on the side but so far I got what I want, Chrome, PWA's and shell access. Not a perfect solution but it works while I regroup.

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  • SpacePiggy

    Wow! Linspire nee Lindows. That's a name I hadn't heard in literally 20 years.  You've made me feel old.

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  • Alexander David Frick

    Bidwell Ely SpacePiggy I actually did that of my own accord because I knew that them disabling dev mode was either a grub thing or a line in /etc/chrome_dev.conf. I got it to work in dev mode too. However chrome os flex is unstable, and had kernel panics and browser crashes in my testing in verified and dev mode.

    Thorium is my browser project for linux, win, and macos. It is different from my ChromiumOS project. Both are mature and stable enough for daily use so Bidwell Ely you can try it now if you like. 

    My ChromiumOS releases have kernel 5.4, codecs, and extra packages (read the readme, excluding the building section). Only major differences to cloudready are it doesn't support nvidia (yet) and doesn't have widevine (but the lacros browser, which you can enable in chrome://flags DOES have widevine) or enterprise enrollment. Im also working on a patch/mod to enable crostini regardless of CPU.

    https://github.com/Alex313031/Thorium 

    https://github.com/Alex313031/ChromiumOS 

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ChromeOS Flex is replacing CloudReady, so this community is no longer accepting new comments.

Please visit the ChromeOS Flex Help Community to post any new questions or thoughts! You can still link back to this or other pages in this community in order to reference past conversations.

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