Google's Cr-48 runs OS X and Windows 7 too

When Google shipped out their Cr-48 netbooks to their selected fan base, they wanted to have people hack it, but probably only to a point. Hacking the machine so that it plays nicely with both Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 probably wasn't in Google's plan of an open development stragety for device. Instead, actual users of Cr-48 netbooks have different plans, and have succeeded at them.

Two accomplishments came within rather a close period of each other, one Cr-48 was hacked to run Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and the other uses Windows 7. Both hacks require flashing a modified BIOS on the Cr-48's. On the Insanely Mac forums, damis648 who writes a guide on how to put Mac OS X on your Cr-48, explaining the reason for needing the modified BIOS is due to the fact that the BIOS the Cr-48 ships with works differently than both the legacy BIOS and standard EFI.

 

Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 running on a Cr-48

Damis648's guide and YouTube demonstration, as well as drasticactions' work to install Windows has revealed that the Cr-48 is a very friendly device to operating systems. Under Windows all of the hardware works, including wireless, except for the 3G modem, and everything works in OS X as well, except Sleep, hardware acceleration (QE/CI), and minor issues with the trackpad.

Windows 7 install screen on Cr-48

These two projects have shown the potential of these devices for hacking and modding, as well as hope in the future for a cheap alternative to purchasing, say a Macbook Air. Modifications needed on both ends were quite minimal compared to several other netbooks in order to get everything running properly.

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26 Comments

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gawicks said,
If google makes this thing cheap . it'll face the same fate as kinect

i.e. Google should not put this out at a loss expecting their services to compensate its cost.

Kinect on the other hand is not sold at a loss, so additional sales for non-XBox use is a plus to Microsoft. Additionally, the usage on PCs also feeds into the Microsoft Eco system as Windows is where a lot of the extra interface usage for Kinect is getting used.

I may try putting OS X on this thing later. Though currently it is running Windows 7 Home Premium x86 like a dream.

Though I will say that The Chrome OS Lounge (http://www.chromeoslounge.com) WERE The first ones to discover how to install other operating systems on the CR-48, which credit should go to them.

TonyLock said,
How can I get one of those laptops?

By signing up with Google's application form. US only.
I think it's ended now.

Silverskull said,
Ehh... no way am I flashing the BIOS on my Cr-48. Though this thing would make a great hackintosh...

Why? You arent going to be charged or anything.

Just that the small SSD makes it a bit more expensive, you lose warranty (for future actually purchased Gbooks) and so on...
Here's what you can do:
Buy a Asus 1000H, you'll have more fun with it as soon as it comes to Hackingtoshing and so on.
It's less than a 200 buck purchase, doubt the Gbook will greatly beat that.

Other than that: GOOD hack. Appreciate it!

GS:lin

ie9 said,
I wonder if Google wil somehow modify the notebooks to prevent this before it hits the market

If they are clever they won't...
Let's be honest: A device you bought and find unfitting after some time and just have a costy paper-weighty lying around nagging you, remembering you of Google in some bad way...
Not good.
And to add something: Major target group is the non-savy users, those who stop following your guide how to hack a new OS onto it when you start talking about BIOS flash...

They should stop such an effort that wouldn't go anywhere either way.
Not supporting is all they should do.

GS:lin

ie9 said,
I wonder if Google wil somehow modify the notebooks to prevent this before it hits the market

..They won't be hitting the market...

"Under Windows all of the hardware works, including wireless, except for the 3G modem, and everything works in OS X as well, except Sleep, hardware acceleration (QE/CI), and minor issues with the trackpad."

Hehehehe. Yes, it all works. Everything.

hdood said,
"Under Windows all of the hardware works, including wireless, except for the 3G modem, and everything works in OS X as well, except Sleep, hardware acceleration (QE/CI), and minor issues with the trackpad."

Hehehehe. Yes, it all works. Everything.

There is a 3G modem driver, but I imagine it would not be something that would pick up to do the variance of the HardwareID. The same is true of some of the older XP based netbooks with 3G modems, just find the closest OEM or MFR driver and force the install.

As for OS X, the BIOS/EFI difference issue should be able to be compensated for, which is probably at the heart of the hibernation/sleep issues. Also QE/CI is another thing that should work, but might take some additional tweaking. Sadly, OS X is the less friendly of the two to make things work, but no reason it won't be done, even if the first jump at it was not fully successful.

And ya, 'everything works' is a bit of a stretch, as just the acceleration loss on OS X would be an issue.

Edited by thenetavenger, Jan 2 2011, 2:17am :

thenetavenger said,

Also QE/CI is another thing that should work, but might take some additional tweaking.

The CR-48 uses the same graphics chipset (hell, a LOT of the hardware is the same) as my Dell mini 10 (the 1012 model), and someone is working on the graphics driver for it, but they haven't quite got QE/CI working yet. As soon as he gets it working on the mini 10, there's no reason that it shouldn't work for the CR-48 as well.