It's time for Brunch

It's time for Brunch

A few days ago I wrote a post about CloudReady an OS based on ChromiumOS which effectivly puts Googles ChromeOS (i know) onto any old Laptop or Machbook.

Going all in with CloudReady ChromeOS Home Edition
CloudReady for Home: Free Download — Neverware<p>Neverware turns your computersinto Chromebooks</p>Neverware[https://www.neverware.com/freedownload#intro-text]What is it?Back in 2011 Google released a new take on the desktop operating system whichthrew away everything you knew from Windows of …

I've been using Cloudready for a month and am really happy with it on my Dell XPS 13.

The Internet however is an amazing place and on Christmas day I got the following reddit post.

Brunch is Chrome OS, which gives you access to the Google Play Store. CloudReady is just Chromium OS, which doesn't allow you to access the Google Play Store.
I'm not the only one out there who thinks that Brunch is an improvement compared to CloudReady: http://disq.us/p/2dusjyx
If you choose to install Brunch on an already existing Chrome OS device that has reached EOL, it's a very good way to extend the support date.
You can dual boot/triple boot Brunch with Windows, Linux, etc.
We also don't know what Google will do with CloudReady now that they've acquired it. For all we know, they could kill it off. Google is very unpredictable.
It's admittedly hard to explain why Brunch is better. I'm not exactly a huge advocate for it, so I'm not going to type an essay for you. Googling it will bring up a lot of results with people talking about Brunch and asking questions.

Well this type of post grabbed my interest and I did a bit of Googling, ans sure enough. Brunch is a thing.

At this point its worth noting that there is a fundamental difference between CloudReady and Brunch.

Brunch Project

Cloudready is based on ChromiumOS, the same place ChromeOS starts. However its an OS in its own right. (and I stand by my last post, its a great product). Brunch however is a Gramework used to take the Google ChromeOS recovery images and run them on an old laptop.

Whats the difference?

From the perspective of a vst majority of users this means that Brunch is able to supply the latest ChromeOS Image and Android Apps. There is also official paid support available for CloudReady. Not for Brunch.

Sure there are additional nuances to the differences. This however is the primary difference.

Why write this?

why put this post together? Simple, its a basic walk through that someone has used which worked. Like most projects of this type which do bring vaule the Docs are written for nerds, with prior knowledge assumed. there are a plethora of youtuebe videos which say they work but dont, this alone can put many off. What i've outlined here works, i'm using it. However it is but one method of many to get Brunch working.

So, how do you install Brunch?

Its worth noting here that this is just one way to install Brunch. I'm looking to show a working method i've tried, it is possible to do this from Windows, dual boot with other Operating systems and this is all detailed in the below seban/brunh link.

The install process to get Brunch onto a laptop is not for the faint of heart, if you've Linux and understand the disk naming conventions its actually quite quick.

The Project page is based here and i STRONGLY suggest having a read of it

sebanc/brunch
Boot ChromeOS on x86_64 PC (supports most Intel CPU/GPU or AMD Stoney Ridge) - sebanc/brunch

There are a lot of disclaimers and words here so i'm going to simplify it.

Create an Ubuntu Boot USB

This is well documented on the internet an realistically you can use any Linux OS which boots off a USB stick. Many of the tutorials use Linux Mint.

Download the Ubuntu Desktop ISO

Download Ubuntu Desktop | Download | Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an open source software operating system that runs from the desktop, to the cloud, to all your internet connected things.

I'd recommend using etcher for installing the ISO to the USB stick as it works on Windows, Mac or Linux

balenaEtcher - Flash OS images to SD cards & USB drives
A cross-platform tool to flash OS images onto SD cards and USB drives safely and easily. Free and open source for makers around the world.

It has a really simple interface, choose ISO, choose USB stick and copy it over..

Once you've created the Bootable USB

Boot Ubuntu

What key your BIOS uses to boot from a USB stick is up to you to find, some suggestions are F12, F9 or F2 which usually give a single boot menu.

Boot Ubuntu from the USB and Click on Try Ubuntu

This should take you to an Ubuntu desktop which is running from the USB key.

Connect to your Wifi..

Install Ubuntu software

There is some software we need to install to do this is easiest from the Terminal so press the Windows Key on your Laptop and type

terminal

This should open a Terminal

Note: I'm going to use sudo here, however you shouldn't be asked for a password because this is the installer USB.

First we need to enable a repository

sudo add-apt-repository universe

Then install some software

sudo apt install pv tar cgpt -y
Note: If you get an error, did you connect to the Wifi?

We are now ready to start

Download the ChromeOS Recovery images

The process i'm outlining here is for a more generic x64 based Chrome Recovery image.  the Projec page notes the following:

2 types of ChromeOS recovery images exist and use different device configuration mechanisms:
non-unibuild images: configured for single device configurations like eve (Google Pixelbook) and nocturne (Google Pixel Slate) for example.
unibuild images: intended to manage multiple devices through the use of the CrosConfig tool.
Contrarily to the Croissant framework which mostly supports non-unibuilds images (configuration and access to android apps), Brunch should work with both but will provide better hardware support for unibuild images.
Currently:
"rammus" is the recommended image for devices with 4th generation Intel CPU and newer.
"samus" is the recommended image for devices with 3rd generation Intel CPU and older.
"grunt" is the image to use if you have supported AMD hardware.
If you have a doubt on the recovery image to use, the "brunch-toolkit" from WesBosch has a compatibility check feature which detects the recovery image to use: https://github.com/WesBosch/brunch-toolkit

For this reason i'll be using the Rammus Recovery image.

Open the recovery image download site at

https://cros.tech/

Search for "rammus"

Note: At time of writing this was the latest generic recovering image. Check the git page above for recommendations

On the next page select the latest stable version of the Recovery image at this time its 87

Note: Make a note of that version, you'll need to know it in a second.

Click on the latest Stable image and download it.

Download Brunch

Next we need to download the matching Brunch PRoject installer. Head over to the brunch releases

Releases · sebanc/brunch
Boot ChromeOS on x86_64 PC (supports most Intel CPU/GPU or AMD Stoney Ridge) - sebanc/brunch

Download the release which matches the same Recovery image we just downloaded, in this case that is version 87

Decompress

The next step is to head back to the Terminal and decompress the images I've used the example file names I've downloaded, yours may be different.

cd ~/Downloads
tar -xzvf brunch_r87_stable_20201216.tar.gz
unzip chromeos_13505.73.0_rammus_recovery_stable-channel_mp-v2.bin.zip

LEave the terminal open as we need to figure out the label attached to the hard disk of your PC

Figure out your Hard disk

Its VERY important you understand that you need to get the richt disk here, especially if you have SD Cards plugged in or are on a Desktop with multiple Hard disks.

If your screw up your hard disk, don't go trolling me on Reddit or Twitter..

The simplest way of knowing which is your hard disk label is opening GpartEd in the terminal

gparted

This will open GPartEd

In the top right is a drop down box it will list the disks that Ubuntu can see. Your Hard Disk will usually be the one with the biggest size. If you have SD cards plugged in, exit GPartED, remove the SD Cards and relauch GPartED

For the sake of example we will assume your Hard Disk is /dev/sda

Install Brunch

There be Dragons from this point on

At this point we have installed the needed software in ubuntu, we have downloaded the Brunch installer, downloaded the ChromeOS revocery image and know what our Hard Disk name is.

Time for one final warning..

Once you run the next command, EVERYTHING on your Hard disk will be gone.. Files, Windows, Photos, Videos, Music the lot.. It will all be gone. You are NOT running Brunch from a USB Stick.

We need to run the following command from the Ubuntu Terminal

cd ~/Download
sudo bash chromeos-install.sh -src < path to the ChromeOS recovery image > -dst < your USB flash drive / SD card device. e.g. /dev/sdX >

Which if we use the file names from above looks like this

sudo bash chromeos-install.sh -src chromeos_13505.73.0_rammus_recovery_stable-channel_mp-v2.bin -dst /dev/sda

You will be asked a couple of questions answer appropriatly and then let the installer run. It takes a few minutes and it is verbose so you will see when it installs.

Reboot

Once complete, as prompted reboot the OS, a Brunch Framework splash will appear and update and run some verbose processes. This takes about 5-10 minutes on the first boot depending on your hardware.

First Boot

First boot will take you through the standard ChromeOS first boot, asking if you want to ship data back to google for usage stats, enable Google Assistant etc.

You'll be asked to login, this does support the login if you use a 2FA Google Advanced Security key and then your ChromeOS home screen will appear

The cool part here is, as I'm an existing ChromeOS user on my HP Chromebook X2 all my Play Apps installed, PWA's and Web Apps installed as well. I was able to restore the existing Linux backup I have onto the Linux container.

Thoughts and Observations

As I stated at the start, my personal opinion is there is a space for ChromeOS, CloudReady and Brunch out there. I think Cloudready is the wise choice for bulk deploy over several old PC's for a business or school.

However i'm very thankful the reddit user reached out to me. My personal gripe with CloudReady was the lack of Android support as I make use of VPN's, Termius and a handul of other apps.

It will be interesting to see what Google does with CloudReady moving forward until then. I'm enjoying Brunch.


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