Hello everyone. It’s been a couple of weeks since the release of Chromixium Alpha 7a, so I thought that I’d give a more detailed project update here on the main website.
It’s been an incredible couple of weeks, especially since being added to the Distrowatch waiting list. As I write this, there has been over 5000 downloads of Alpha 6b and 7a which is amazing! What is really interesting is the breakdown by country. I am using this information to help decide which language packs to include by default. As space is limited on the ISO, I am probably only to going to include the top 5 non-English languages, but once a stable version is released, I will try and release an International version with all language packs included.
Talking of ISO size, when I started the project, I really wanted to keep the size below 700MB or CD size but you can see that it has grown to over 900MB. This is because I needed to add a number of system utilities to ensure that users get the best experience out of Chromixium and this increased the install size. Once the 700MB barrier was broken, I now had more leway to add additional packages, but I do have a new limit – 1GB. I aim to keep Chromixium below 1GB so that it can be used with 1GB USB sticks.
Sourceforge has been down a few times recently, but as it is mirrored across the world, we can still access the ISO. I have put a Mirrors page on this site to refer to when Sourceforge is not available.
Generally Chromixium seems to have had good press online and for that I thank the writers! There are a number of nice reviews that I have seen, especially on non-English websites where the power of Google Translate has come to my rescue. Thanks to everyone who has helped to spread the word. I just want to clear up a few things that has cropped up in a number of reviews.
Chromixium is not a highly customized version of Gnome (as Softpedia would have it), nor it is built on Xubuntu (as other reviews have stated). Chromixium is derived from a custom Ubuntu 14.04.1 net install. It is probably best classed as an Openbox/GTK+ distribution and draws influences and packages from Gnome, XFCE and LXDE. There was never a decision to drop Thunar, for example, as the default File Manager, as it was never built on top of XFCE.
I have also read people wondering if it would be better for me to release Chromixium as a distro-independent Desktop Environment (DE). I fully understand this point of view, but I am more interested at this point in time in providing a holistic experience i.e. everything that you need, provided in one operating system. I don’t rule this out as a future project, but it would actually be more effort for me than developing a full ‘distro’. However, if anyone wants to volunteer to package some .debs a Launchpad PPA might not be out of the question somewhere down the line.
Finally, I have seen a lot of comparisons with the Budgie desktop and Evolve OS. To be honest, I am flattered by the comparisons as Ikey Docherty is one of the best solo developers we have in desktop Linux and Evolve is shaping up into a beautiful project. I am keeping a close eye on his work and if our paths merge at some point, we may see the Budgie desktop in a future Chromixium release. Having said that, I do think that we have slightly different goals. Chromixium aims to mimic the usability of Chrome OS and tight integration with Google Apps, whereas, Budgie takes it’s design ideas from Chrome OS, but is aiming as an alternative to Gnome Shell/Unity with tight integration with the Gnome Stack. Also Evolve is 64 bit and Chromixium is 32 bit (at present). One other thing – I made the decision to base Chromixium on a mixture of technologies, most of them light-weight and stable. If one disappears, it can be replaced. If the whole desktop disappears, where does that leave us?
Thanks to everyone who is following this blog and Google+ and especially if you have left a comment or left feedback about something working or not. Google+ is the best place to keep up to date with developments. Each new wiki article, guide or bug (+fix) is posted there first. If you aren’t already, please follow Chromixium OS on G+.
The forums are up and running and it’s been great to see some of you over there. If you haven’t stopped by, please take a look. I think you’ll see things shaping up really nicely. You should find that I respond to posts within 24 hours, often sooner and most questions have been solved already. I’d love to get a really active community going over there and if anyone would like to offer to moderate, please get in touch.
I have been gradually adding information to the Wiki and updating the main Guidebooks. There’s a load more that can be added and if you would like to add to the Wiki, just sign up and create a page – that’s the whole point. It can be verified and tidied up later. Alternatively, feel free to submit an article directly to me for inclusion.
There might not be a new version out now before the new year. I am moving house on the 2nd January and then will be without broadband for a couple of months – I will be getting 4G though and will have access at friends and coffee shops so I will remain active online. Most of the development then will be ‘behind closed doors’ but I am still aiming for a stable release by the end of Q1 2015.
The bulk of the technical work has been done now. What remains are bug-fixes and tidying up. It’s shame that the release of Alpha 7a coincided with the upstream bug in the Chromium browser and there definitely won’t be another Chromixium release until that is fixed. I hope some of you have switched to Google Chrome in the meantime.
Chromixium 1.0 will be the first stable release and I don’t consider that there will need to be many if any more new features. It will remain an LTS release, using the customized installer. Chromixium 2.0 will then start work and that might take a different direction. It will probably be 64 bit and might even be based on Debian Jessie for LTS support whilst Ubuntu is in it’s 6 month lifecycle phase. At the moment I have no plans to use Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer, but I intend to give it a closer look sometime.
With the kind help of zinc from the Chromixium forums, I am working on a redesign of this website and also on online ‘app store’. I need some ideas for a cool name for the store. This will not be a replacement for Synaptic or the Ubuntu Software Center, but it will provide a single interface to choose from the most popular applications that people will want to download after installing Chromixium – no searching, just ‘scroll and click’. I will post a list at a later date for discussion, but there will only be 2 alternatives per category along with a Chrome App alternative. The idea is to come up with a one-stop-shop for quickly getting software into your install – perhaps with user ratings of some kind. Before anyone asks, I don’t want to include the Ubuntu Software Centre by default because it brings it too many dependencies and I want to be able to offer cloud/browser-based alternatives.
That’s all for now. Feel free to comment below!