Coronavirus Impact.

At the moment it is looking very much that we shall have to postpone any thought of a social evening/lunch . We are considering moving our meetings to an online venue if we can sort out some suitable video conferencing software. It could be interesting.


Our Next Meeting : Wednesday 18th March 2020
Online Video Conferencing

We shall be trying out Nextcloud and Google hangups watch out for email invitations. or link to Peter.

Our Last Meeting: Wednesday 19th February 2020
Chrome OS and Linux Apps - Gareth

Gareth writes:-

Chrome OS has emerged over recent years as an alternative to Windows/Mac/Linux gaining a lot of traction in the US education market due to fast boot and extremely quick reset back to factory stock build. Somewhat limited for the power user, Chrome OS is built around the Chrome browser and did not historically feature the ability to install applications making it somewhat limited to browser tabs and browser based applications.

A couple of years ago Chrome OS started to gain the ability to run Android apps and the Play Store which started to somewhat solve the lack of software. More interestingly for us Google also recently added support for Linux applications under a project called Crostini. Crostini is still a beta product, but is available across a wide variety of supported Chrome OS devices both x86 and ARM.

In this meeting we'll be taking a look at Crostini and the Linux support evolving in Chrome OS.

As a break with tradition I shall leave Gareth's synopsis in this write up {Ed.)

Gareth was using a Chromebook from Acer for this talk which could show everything except Android apps and was lent by Steve as Gareth had sold his Chrome book after a clear out, before remembering that he had to give this talk. It has a touch screen and watch movies. Chrome OS is now Google's operating system built around their Chrome web browser. The full version can install Android apps. It automatically updates itself with a new build every few weeks.

The window manager and desktop is Chrome. The Window Manager was X-display but is now Wayland in Crostini. It had 2GB RAM but tend not to have much disk space as they are designed to work in the Cloud. He managed to get one with 64 GB which you need to store Apps and the Operating system. It has amd64 processor .

Using the Crostini Project for Linux support and as there is no good internet connection here he had previously downloaded what he was showing tonight. File manager has Linux files as standard. Can use Virtual Box. Originally there was no sound or accelerated graphics support, but this does now have sound which he will demonstrate. Several minutes download terminal the system with Android Apps on top of Chrome OS in a Container and Linux installs a cut down VM. It uses Debian Linux. Crostini files begin with 'cros' with French names. He had downloaded Firefox and Libre Office running in a Linux container. Printing works with CUPS. GRAB installed GIMP .

Container Projects

There is a shell called CROSH>. The Debian container has to be called penguin>. Much of the work involves containers for files and you can even have nested containers. They illustrated this with a nested penguin graphic (Like a Russian doll) . Lots software, Mint, etc.

There are some YouTube demos showing Crostini working.

Running his Linux VM and passing a file inside he was then running a RISC PC as a demonstration. It is very small because they want it to run as fast as possible. You don't have to install much these days. You just have to do a remount and rename what you want to load. Gareth wanted to use Ubuntu and not Debian so renames his system as penguin. (Did | get this right ? Ed.) Linux then finds all the Apps in the Linux container, Snap doesn't work in the Debian container but it does work in the Ubuntu container - he is not sure why.

In 2019 "Crouton" Android Studio wanted to write apps on a Google machine. Chrome OS on ARM. Rip out 32 bit WiFi to get Netflix. Concierge manager. There is a guest container agent. Gareth demonstrated sound with YouTube running in a Ubuntu container. VNC servers.

Crouton (see installs a CHroot environment. You need to run in Developer mode. Stands for Chromium OS Universal CHroot, sort of. You can install a full Linux desktop alongside Chromium OS and switch between the two with a hot key.

If you press the wrong key you can wipe out whatever you are doing , key is something quite common like space!

Quassel Chat System

This is a bit like IRC. Multipass allows you to run Linux on Mac OS.

There were other things mentioned like Concierge

which is VM tool which runs the vm_daemon in Chrome OS user space and is responsible for managing the lifetime of all VMs and Sommelier which enables X11 to display in Wayland.

This was quite a complex meeting and I know I haven't captured all of it. Well done Gareth for presenting it.

Future Programme

We'll soon need to plan the next year's meetings at a Committee Meeting so if anyone would like to introduce a topic we would be delighted to accommodate them.

ICENI Future programme

ICENI Future programme 2020
March 18th AI - Pattern recognition BUT NOW VIDEO CONFERENCING All
April 15th Accounting Software - MAY CHANGE All
May 20th AGM - Cloud Computing TBA All


Meetings are now on the Third Wednesday of the month unless otherwise stated.

Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road,

Ipswich IP2 8RE ,

for a map and other details please see the website.

Membership fee currently £15, visitors free.

Special Notice - Insurance

"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."

However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)

Our Website and Email

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I am open to suggestions on what people would like to have included in the website. If anyone would like a copy of our old newsletters on CD this could be arranged.