FydeOS, a Tweaked Chromium OS for Chrome OS Fans, Hits the Raspberry Pi 400, Raspberry Pi 4 Range

Now available, the latest FydeOS beta includes Android, Chrome OS, and Linux app compatibility, full GPU acceleration, and a new Terminal.

Gareth Halfacree
3 years ago β€’ Internet of Things

The FydeOS team has announced the release of a build of its operating system, a customized version of the Chromium OS project that underpins Google's Chrome OS, which fully supports the Raspberry Pi 400 β€” as well as the other members in the Raspberry Pi 4 family.

"When we first started in 2015, one of the first projects that we did was to port Chromium OS onto the Raspberry Pi platform. As a matter of fact, we are still doing this as the maintainer for Chromium OS for Raspberry Pi, the only Chromium OS release for the Pi," the team writes by way of background. "We believe the Raspberry Pi is doing a remarkable job to bring more and more young people into the world of computer science, we want to help."

The new FydeOS release brings proper support for the new Raspberry Pi 400. (πŸ“Ή: FydeOS)

"We have been wanting to bring the full FydeOS experience onto the Pi for so long, but the technical challenges to combine the graphics stacks of different subsystem into one unified layer had been a road-blocker. After months of research to understand how the graphics driver works in Raspberry Pi and countless failed attempts, we are now finally able to come up with a solution to achieve satisfactory performance. We hope FydeOS for You - Raspberry Pi can bring you a near Chromebook experience so that you can get more out of your Raspberry Pi 400 kit and at the same time the Pi 400 can help more people."

Targeting the newly-launched all-in-one Raspberry Pi 400, though also compatible with any Raspberry Pi 4 model with enough RAM, FydeOS is designed to be as close to Chrome OS as you can get on a Raspberry Pi. Tweaks over and above Chromium OS itself include improved security measures during user registration and sign-in, automatic mounting of additional storage, a completely redesigned Terminal app, improved performance, user-selectable over-the-air (OTA) updates, USB boot, and remote desktop functionality.

There are, however, a few caveats β€” starting with a few graphics driver issues, the biggest one being a lack of support for 4K displays. Another bug lies in running Android apps on FydeOS, where random shapes are drawn to the window for a few seconds before the application starts properly β€” and running multiple Android apps simultaneously can lead to a crash. There's also no support for hibernation, though this is handled by customizing the power management policy to prevent automatic sleeping.

More details on the new FydeOS beta release, and download links for the image to burn to a microSD card or USB storage device, can be found on the official website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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