Linux

CloudReady by neverware

Submitted by Putz3000 on Thu, 09/29/2016 - 23:31

I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware. What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.

neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.

Initially I did not look at the certified hardware list as I was just “dinking” around with both CloudReady as well as a little HP Mini 5102. I approached this project as it would either run or not run and just plowed into this headfirst with a “no guts, no glory” mind set. I would recommend looking at the certified hardware list to see if your device is on the list. If so look closely at the information provided. Some hardware may need to be updated to a certain BIOS version before working. If you want the easy way to create a bootable USB drive you will need to use a Windows computer or Mac computer. I do not know why a company like Google, who is very much linked to Linux through Android as well as workstations used within the company as well as their Chromebook OS refuses to offer much in the line of Linux support, but it’s no different here. I believe there might be instructions on the neverware website for building the bootable USB installer using Linux but the simpler method is to use a Chrome extension under Windows or Mac OS to create the needed USB bootable installer. Once you have created the bootable USB drive you will want to boot your device from it. When the boot wizard displays a window that allows you to connect to a network you will want to click in the lower right task bar to bring up a menu that allows you to install CloudReady on your devices local hardware. You do not need a network connection for the installation. After selecting the option to install CloudReady you will be asked if you want a “stand alone installation” or a “dual boot installation.” neverware cautions that the dual boot option may not work on all hardware. I cannot comment on dual booting CloudReady as I have not attempted a dual boot installation with any of the installations I have done. After selecting the type of installation (stand alone or dual boot) the installer takes over and approximately 20 minutes later your device will power off indicating the installation is complete.

Now that the installation is over, remove the USB installer and power on your device. You will be offered the opportunity to install an Adobe Flash module which you can allow or decline. After that you will be prompted for your Google hosted account (Gmail or personal domain hosted with Google). It is at this stage that you must have a connection to the Internet either by Ethernet or WiFi. Once logged in you are good to go. There are some differences that will require some extra effort and possibly the installation of Chrome extensions. Off hand it would appear to me to be centered around DRM type content situations such as streaming multi-media like Netflix. You can find information on the neverware forums if this is an issue you want to tackle.

My first installation was not without troubleshooting issues. The first issue I faced was because I did not read the instructions close enough. I missed the step to actually select installing CloudReady to the devices local hard drive and instead logged in with a Google account basically converting my USB installer into a CloudReady boot disk. After reading the instructions a little closer I started over and actually selected the option to install CloudReady to the HP mini’s hard drive. After the HP mini 5102 powered off I thought for sure everything was good to go and hit the power button expecting a “Chromebook” like boot experience. I was a bit disappointed and confused when I received a “non system disk” boot error. This confused me a bit because booting from a USB stick worked fine which would indicate the only hardware problem of note would be hard drive vs USB. It was at this point that I eventually decided to look at the certified hardware list and saw that the HP mini 5102 was not on the list...but the 5103 model was. Thinking that there might not be much difference between the models I decided to take a look at the information for the 5103 and ended up noticing a BIOS firmware version requirement. I checked HP’s website and found that the 5102’s BIOS was pretty far out of date so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to update. After updating the BIOS on the 5102, I restarted and was presented with the CloudReady logo and login opportunity. I will say that after briefly playing with CloudReady, it would seem to me that you will be much happier using devices with reasonable computing resources but if you have ever looked into official Chromebooks you will know that is the recommendations for actual Chromebooks as well. All in all, CloudReady seems to deliver a Chrome OS experience just like I had expected. If you decide to try CloudReady out please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware (https://www.neverware.com/). What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.

neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.

Initially I did not look at the certified hardware list as I was just “dinking” around with both CloudReady as well as a little HP Mini 5102. I approached this project as it would either run or not run and just plowed into this headfirst with a “no guts, no glory” mind set. I would recommend looking at the certified hardware list to see if your device is on the list. If so look closely at the information provided. Some hardware may need to be updated to a certain BIOS version before working. If you want the easy way to create a bootable USB drive you will need to use a Windows computer or Mac computer. I do not know why a company like Google, who is very much linked to Linux through Android as well as workstations used within the company as well as their Chromebook OS refuses to offer much in the line of Linux support, but it’s no different here. I believe there might be instructions on the neverware website for building the bootable USB installer using Linux but the simpler method is to use a Chrome extension under Windows or Mac OS to create the needed USB bootable installer. Once you have created the bootable USB drive you will want to boot your device from it. When the boot wizard displays a window that allows you to connect to a network you will want to click in the lower right task bar to bring up a menu that allows you to install CloudReady on your devices local hardware. You do not need a network connection for the installation. After selecting the option to install CloudReady you will be asked if you want a “stand alone installation” or a “dual boot installation.” neverware cautions that the dual boot option may not work on all hardware. I cannot comment on dual booting CloudReady as I have not attempted a dual boot installation with any of the installations I have done. After selecting the type of installation (stand alone or dual boot) the installer takes over and approximately 20 minutes later your device will power off indicating the installation is complete.

Now that the installation is over, remove the USB installer and power on your device. You will be offered the opportunity to install an Adobe Flash module which you can allow or decline. After that you will be prompted for your Google hosted account (Gmail or personal domain hosted with Google). It is at this stage that you must have a connection to the Internet either by Ethernet or WiFi. Once logged in you are good to go. There are some differences that will require some extra effort and possibly the installation of Chrome extensions. Off hand it would appear to me to be centered around DRM type content situations such as streaming multi-media like Netflix. You can find information on the neverware forums if this is an issue you want to tackle.

My first installation was not without troubleshooting issues. The first issue I faced was because I did not read the instructions close enough. I missed the step to actually select installing CloudReady to the devices local hard drive and instead logged in with a Google account basically converting my USB installer into a CloudReady boot disk. After reading the instructions a little closer I started over and actually selected the option to install CloudReady to the HP mini’s hard drive. After the HP mini 5102 powered off I thought for sure everything was good to go and hit the power button expecting a “Chromebook” like boot experience. I was a bit disappointed and confused when I received a “non system disk” boot error. This confused me a bit because booting from a USB stick worked fine which would indicate the only hardware problem of note would be hard drive vs USB. It was at this point that I eventually decided to look at the certified hardware list and saw that the HP mini 5102 was not on the list...but the 5103 model was. Thinking that there might not be much difference between the models I decided to take a look at the information for the 5103 and ended up noticing a BIOS firmware version requirement. I checked HP’s website and found that the 5102’s BIOS was pretty far out of date so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to update. After updating the BIOS on the 5102, I restarted and was presented with the CloudReady logo and login opportunity. I will say that after briefly playing with CloudReady, it would seem to me that you will be much happier using devices with reasonable computing resources but if you have ever looked into official Chromebooks you will know that is the recommendations for actual Chromebooks as well. All in all, CloudReady seems to deliver a Chrome OS experience just like I had expected. If you decide to try CloudReady out please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.