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Chrome OS on Ubuntu

Yes you read it right!! This tutorial will tell you that how you can convert your Ubuntu machine into Browser only desktop. You may have heard the latest news that first NetTop (Chrome Netbooks) by Acer and Samsung are being launched in June.

But If you could make your own system behave exactly the way Chrome OS behaves, wouldn’t that be amazing?  I was also intrigued by the same fact. After all Chrome OS is just a browser on top of Gentoo or Ubuntu [wiki:Talk] (I am sorry Chrome OS developers I know you have worked hard a lot to make Chrome OS complete OS and is very different from Google chrome/Chromium but for a laymen it is just a browser on top of a Linux).

Now my basic idea was, if we could run Google Chrome just at the starting of computer and nothing else is started we could save a lots of ram and can have access to Internet within seconds. So without any further delay lets see how we can configure Linux to achieve this.

Step 1: Start Autologin
You have to auto login to system so that you can access browser as fast as you can. To start auto login:
Login Screen
Go to:System->Administration ->Login ScreenUnlock: unlock the system by typing in your password.

Select: Click on radio box where it is written “Login as ******** Automatically”

Close it

Step 2: Install Openbox Search and install “Openbox” from Ubuntu Software Center.Or

simply type in terminal

sudo apt-get install openbox openbox-themes

Step 3: Install fbpanel and PCManFM Fbpanelis one of the lightest panel yet it is enough powerful to let you work in peace.To install fbpanel in Ubuntu

Search and install “fbpanel” and “PCManFM” from Ubuntu Software Center.


simply type in terminal

sudo apt-get install fbpanel pcmanfm

Step 4: Install Chromium Search and install “chromium-browser” from Ubuntu Software Center.Or

simply type in terminal

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Step 5: Leave rest on me Download this file : chrome-session.tar.gzmake this install.sh file executable using

chmod +x install.sh

and install chrome-session by typing

./install.sh in terminal

Thats it now you can logout the computer and choose chrome-session at login (you can find it at the bottom of login screen). You should see chromium running with fbpanel at the top hidden until you move your mouse at top screen.

I will try to experiment more on this, meanwhile you can try to run a pure Firefox session. If you find any bug please report me as a comment here.

Here are some cool things I observed about this chrome session:

  • Access your Internet using the same nm-applet which power gnome desktop
  • Access Folders just like you open it in any other windows environment, as easy as that
  • You will find chrome market more useful in this case. Because you will have to find a web app for what you can do otherwise on your desktop.
  • Change many windows using the same old alt + tab
nm-applet in Chrome SessionFolder in chrome sessionChrome market in Chrome sessionchange active window in chrome session


1. To revert back just close the browser. It will automatically log you out. You may then select Unity/Ubuntu classic again, just as you had selected chrome-session.

2. Here is the file if you want to enjoy firefox-session use this file firefox-session.[UPDATED]

3. If the script throws an error please post your queries in the comments. Before posting please try to start fbpanel by typing command “fbpanel”, it may not run by showing some error but then you can re run the script and every thing would work perfectly.

PS: I updated firefox session file. You can use this new one. Please make sure that you have decompressed the downloaded file (you can do this by right click on the file and select extract here). Once decompressed  a folder named firefox-session would appear. using terminal go to the firefox-session folder and follow the above mentioned 5 th step.

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