Chromebook users might be closer to dual-booting Windows than they think.
Chrome OS developers are working hard on a feature called Campfire. The feature may be similar to Apple’s Boot Camp feature and could come alongside the rumoured 2018 Pixebook.
According to a report by XDA Developers, Chrome OS developers are completing chunks of code for Campfire quickly. This indicates a tight time frame, which makes sense if the feature will be part of a Pixelbook 2 release this fall.
Initially, Campfire was dubbed ‘Alt OS,’ a feature developed on the eve-campfire branch of Chrome OS. New features built for Alt OS popped up on the Chromium Gerrit, like the recently added support for Windows keyboard mapping.
Chromium Gerrit, a web based collaboration tool, allows developers to check each other’s modifications before merging them into the code. However, the Gerrit isn’t just useful for developers — it’s a great way for us to see what they’re up to.
New Campfire clues
XDA Developers spotted a recent Chromium Gerrit commit that indicates there will be multiple variants of Campfire. Furthermore, developers merged Gerrit changes into the master branch of Chrome OS and not device specific branches.
While this is good news for Chrome OS in general, it doesn’t mean it’s coming to every Chromebook. Campfire reportedly takes a big chunk of storage to work. A code comment on the Gerrit points out that minimum storage requirements for Windows at 30GB with 10GB remaining for Chrome OS.
That puts the total storage needed at 40GB, far above what some Chromebooks have.
Finally, it looks like Google wants the dual-boot process to be simple and easy. Right now, booting another OS on a Chromebook requires Developer Mode. However, Google is simplifying that. A part of the Chrome OS installation labeled RW_LEGACY will receive updates to make dual-booting easier.
Furthermore, a new command will be added to the Chrome OS shell (crosh for short). The command will make it easier to set up and enable booting into an alternate OS.
Overall, it looks like the Chrome OS team is making significant steps towards a dual-boot system. While some older Chromebooks may not benefit from the new feature, many upcoming devices will likely add support.
Whether or not you’ll use Windows on a Chromebook, it’s great to have the choice.