I love to test drive different Linux distributions. Tools like YUMI make it so easy to see how new distros run on the computer you use daily, without losing what’s already there and running well. One of the latest distros that impressed me is Chromixium 1.5.
Chromixium is maintained in the UK by a group of Linux guys trying to emulate the Google Chromebook experience as a Linux distribution anyone can download and run for free on their exiting computer hardware. Now that Chromebooks have pushed the threshold of laptops into the $200 range, wouldn’t you like to just see if you could survive using what is essentially a cloud terminal? Half the magic of Chromebooks are that the apps, and thus the processing, are in the cloud so the computer you are working on does not need much of a brain, just a decent internet connection. Faster brains are also the reason we buy new computers, so the logic could be inverted to reason that running a Chromebook-like OS on your existing computer would breathe years more use into it. If you apply that math to your organization, that is a lot of potential money savings.
So what did I think of Chromixium 1.5? It’s the best way I’ve seen to test drive the Chromebook experience yet! Google Apps are where I do most of my work, so it was a natural fit. WordPress is also cloud-based, so yet another fitting piece. YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Facebook, pick your internet distraction; they worked for me. Now that Google Photos is a decent app to organize pictures and I can use Pixlr to do more detailed edits, even basic photo graphics can be done. Don’t like it on a laptop? Run Chromixium on a desktop for the comfort of your keyboard, mouse, big screen, and desk.
There are other, more complete, Linux Distributions out there and several more that are light-weight for older equipment that are not so “Google-centric.” Xubuntu still tends to be the best overall experience from my vantage point. For those that have not even given reasonable chance for Linux though, I think Chromixium is a great gateway into that consideration, as a first step away from Windows into what could still be considered a viable mainstream platform.
For a more detailed analysis of Chomixium, check this review: