NayuOS is an ongoing project at Nexedi: since we mainly use Chromebooks as part of our development tools, we want to have more customizable, secure and privacy-compliant devices. We also love Free Software so we do want a Free alternative for Chrome OS which fits our needs.

Why choosing Chromebooks with Chrom* OS instead of another GNU/Linux distribution?

For whom is Chromium OS?

For developers

Chromium OS is much more developer-friendly, since there is a large range of tools for development (Python2.7, gdb, ...) and networking (tcpdump, rsync, ...) which are not available in Chrome OS. Having Python2 means that it is easy to run an HTTP server on the local network and develop web applications!

For people who care about privacy

Chromium OS is fully Open Source. This is necessary for better privacy and security: you don't have to trust Google, you can look at the code and ensure that the software does what you expect from it! However, it requires you to switch to developer mode, which is by default less secure (no more boot verification, shell in the browser and VT2 access, available root access with no password, ssh daemon running, ...) but allows you to use your device without restriction.

Of course, you still have to be careful with the location of the storage of your personal data (file system, Google's servers or your own, ...).

What is NayuOS and what are the benefits?

NayuOS is a customization of Chromium OS which is currently used by Nexedi's developers and that we want to share because it can be useful to others.

We want to improve the development environment, the usability and configuration of the system and the privacy of the users. Right now, our technical goal is to:

Download the images

The build process based on Buildout in our decentralized cloud technology SlapOS makes possible to build many images of NayuOS for specific boards based on the latest releases of Chromium OS.

NayuOS images

Old images were deleted because of a security issue on hosting system. All old images could have been compromised. They are temporary hosted on a SlapOS webrunner.

board code machine name stable (release 52) unstable (release 53.0.2785)
auron_yuna Acer C910 Chromebook 15 link link
candy Dell Chromebook 11 (CPU: Celeron N2840) link
clapper Lenovo Chromebook N20 link link
cyan Acer Chromebook R11 link
leon Toshiba Chromebook link link
lulu Dell Chromebook 13 link link
peppy Acer C720 Chromebook link link
quawks ASUS Chromebooks C300 link link
samus Chromebook Pixel 2015 link link
squawks ASUS Chromebooks C200 link link
swanky Toshiba Chromebook 2 link link
wolf Dell Chromebook 11 (CPU: Celeron 2955U) link link

Verify the image

Verify the hash by checking in the hash.txt file (stable, unstable) of the extracted image, and compare with the value of the freshly downloaded image.

zcat your_board.nayuos.img.gz | sha512sum 

The values should be the same.

Install the image on your Chromebook

Before doing anything, it is safer to make a recovery USB stick, just in case...

In order to install Chromium OS on you Chromebook, you will have to create a bootable USB stick. To do this, you can use:

Once you have your image, you need to activate the developer mode on your device: generally, you have to turn your Chromebook off and hit ESC + F3 (the "reload" key) + POWER button.

You should then get a screen saying that "Chrome OS is missing or damaged", this is just an dissuasive message, hit CTRL + D and confirm by hitting ENTER that you want to enable the developer mode.

Choose to "Browse as guest" by clicking on the button in the bottom left corner of the login page.

Then, you need to allow your device to boot on USB. For that, get a shell:

and type:

sudo crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 

Reboot and press CTRL + U at boot time to boot on USB. You will be on a live Chromium OS system. If you want to install it for real, open a terminal and type:


After that, don't try to turn the developer mode off (hitting SPACE at boot time), or you will have to reinstall the original Chrome OS!

If it does not boot on the live system...
If you were in developer mode under Chrome OS, you may have to switch back to normal mode (hitting space at boot time). Then, you can follow the instructions above.

How to build the image?

If you want to build the image yourself, you can find more informations on:

Known issues

Some issues which may be fixed in the next versions.

Tips and tricks


Q: I want to run it on a normal PC laptop. When will this option be available?

A: Some of us tried to run a "generic" version of Chromium OS on their laptop. It was not reliable because of problems due to unsupported hardware (such as trackpad issues, ...).

Q: I do not understand why do you need to make separate images for all the x86-based Chromebooks?

A: Chromium OS is optimized for each device: because the Chromium OS team know what are the hardware specifications for every board, they choose not to add such driver, ... . This is why sleep mode, sound, wifi, and so on, always work well on these devices (that you sometimes experience when using a generic GNU/Linux distribution on an ordinary laptop).

Q: What does NayuOS looks like?

A: It looks like this:

NayuOS screenshot

Q: What can I do with NayuOS?

A: You can:

Q: What can't I do with NayuOS?

A: You can't:

Q: How Free are NayuOS users? Do you think someday it might be free enough to be submitted to the FSF as an approved distro?

A: Our intention is to have a fully Free (so FSF-compliant) device and Chromebooks running NayuOS or Chromium OS are relatively close to it, but:

About the kernel on my own Chromebook ("swanky"):
cat /proc/sys/kernel/tainted
This means:
512 - A kernel warning has occurred. 1024 - A module from drivers/staging was loaded. 
There are no non-GPL-licensed module loaded! These flags can be explained by warnings from Intel drivers:
dmesg | grep -i warn
WARNING: at /mnt/host/source/src/third_party/kernel/v3.10/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/intel_display.c:759 intel_wait_for_vblank+0xdb/0x1c3()
WARNING: at /mnt/host/source/src/third_party/kernel/v3.10/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/intel_display.c:854 intel_wait_for_pipe_off+0x14d/0x154()
and zram being still in staging (in other words, it is/was not considered ready yet and on the way to become a official Linux kernel module)
dmesg | grep -i staging
zram: module is from the staging directory, the quality is unknown, you have been warned. 

Q: I am interested on how I can manage to add my private ssh keys to NayuOS.

A: I am using NayuOS daily, with a USB stick (some use SD cards) on which I have all the data I want to keep locally. My ssh private key is stored on it, so I just need to copy it to ~/.ssh when I need it. The device can be encrypted using cryptsetup cli.

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