Curious - Chromium on the iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MythicFrost, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Not that I'd ever do that, but I'm wondering if it'd be possible to put Chromium (when it's released) onto the iPad and use it as it's OS?
  2. GadgetX macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2010
    Never going to happen. Even if it did why would you want it? The thing that makes the iPad so great is its OS.
  3. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I wouldn't want it, but I want to know if it's possible. If it's not, why?
  4. infectbda macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2004
    From a technical standpoint, it likely is at least somewhat possible, although since the iPhone OS isn't exactly the same as OS X, and the libraries are somewhat different, some work would have to be done to do a semi-port.

    The problem is that Apple would very likely not approve such an app, for at least two reasons: browsers execute code (javascript), which is not allowed, and Apple has a habit of rejecting applications that "duplicate" built-in apps.
  5. GadgetX macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2010
    Anything is possible if developers are willing to put enough time and money into it, but in this case there is no want or need for it so no ones going to bother.
  6. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I'm not referring to an iPad app, but actually running the Chromium OS on the iPad, as the only OS on it.
  7. RobBookPro macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    Lol. Yes the thread starter was talking about ChromeOS rather then the web browser.

    It is an interesting discussion, as I would love to be able to dual boot into a Ubuntu installation if necessary. However I have a feeling the low level software on the iPad is not going to play nice.

    I wouldn't want to brick an ipad though.
  8. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Yeah, I'm referring to Chromium the Google OS for slates.
    Nope, that would be pretty bad.
  9. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I REALLY doubt that this can happen. I'll share my thoughts based on my experience, it might come off as fact but take it with a grain of salt.

    First, OS X doesn't boot like other OSs. Just look at how complicated getting linux to boot on the AppleTV is, or how complicated it is to get OS X to boot on a regular PC. Couple this with the fact that the iPhone OS is essentially an embedded version of Mac OS X and things get complicated quickly.

    Second, assuming you could get some sort of bootloader going (Which I think if at all possible would be quite a hack and certainly not ideal) Your going to have to worry about all the drivers from the touch screen, to the display and even the A4 chip. Apple probably won't be realeasing the details on these devices.

    Third, the iPad is not a super accessible device. Not like a netbook where you can simply plug in a CD/DVD drive and treat it like a computer.

    So for these reasons I don't think it can really happen, and if it could I imagine it would be largely unsatisfying.
  10. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    IF the Chrome OS became the dominant operating system, I can see Apple doing a boot camp scenario as they did with Windows. But otherwise, they're not going to want the competition.

    As a hack, I suppose it's possible if someone ported Chromium to work on the Apple CPU.
  11. GadgetX macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2010
    First of all I highly doubt that chromium will ever dominate the OS market, but thats just my opinion. Second, even if it some how did become a big player Apple is not going to complicate the iPad with it. The iPad would undoubtedly lose its access to the App Store if it was running Chromium which is a huge revenue for Apple. So again no. Don't count on seeing Chromium on the iPad.
  12. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    How about we wait until people actually get to use them. :rolleyes:
  13. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Well, the fact that the iPad runs iPhone OS is why I preordered it sight unseen. If it were running "Mac OSX" or some "hybrid" version like some people wanted, then I'd be thinking I need to see it first before I buy it.
  14. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    It's quite simple actually. I'd say if the hacking community decide to work on it, it could be done within weeks (albeit with limited functionality until they crack everything open)
  15. Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    The hacking community has being trying to crack 3.1.3 in the 3GS and iPod touch 3g for months. No luck
  16. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    It's simple for the end user mainly because of Chameleon Bootloader. That doesn't mean that it is a trivial process in and of itself. I believe the way the Darwin Kernel and the way other things boot are pretty different. But perhaps I'm wrong do you have more details?
  17. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Yeah since it came out last month and all.

    I agree with others about the iPhone/iPad OS being the main reason I bought it. Some people say its just a big iPod Touch. I say the iPod Touch is just a small, limited iPad. I mean have you guys actually used an iPhone? Its like the best gadget I've ever used. Of course I want a giant one with a beautiful IPS display and extra features / functionality. That's probably one of the best announcements of all time for me.

    I absolutely love my iPhone, but not as much as before the January announcement. Heck, the thought even crossed my mind that I might get an Android phone instead when I upgrade next because I would have an iPad. But honestly that isn't going to happen any time soon. I just thought it was crazy that it crossed my mind--the iPad beating out my love for my iPhone? Insane! I haven't even tried one yet but I know it will rock, even more so on OS 4.0 later this summer.
  18. Bytor65 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2010
    That is kind of like asking if if is possible to transplant a Miata Motor into Corvette Z06?

    Theoretically it is possible, but it will likely never happen happen because the motor is one of the main draws for the car.

    Apples slickly integrated OS is at least half of the appeal here.

    There will likely be dozens of open source OS tablets but only one with an Apple OS.

    Second thing: Chrome? Really? I could see Android which actually is a full featured open OS. Chrome is really just a web browser pretending to be an OS, you do everything in the cloud. That doesn't strike me as very appealing. You can just run Chrome browser on Android and do what you want on the cloud and other things locally.
  19. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    To make it clear for others,

    The OS is called Chromium OS, which is the open source development project for the OS and Chrome OS is what Google will bundle together and market for the slates.

    Chromium is the open source project behind Chrome which is the browser marketed by Google. In other words if we were to compare it to Apple, Chromium=WebKit, Chrome=Safari.

    As for the OP's question, sure it's possible but why? It'll take years to master the hardware with drivers.
  20. dlamblin macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2010
    Two words: JTAG Cable.

    Is "hacking" the iPad trivial? No.
    However, you do not NEED to make some kind of wiz-bang ChromeOS installer script or process to get it running. You're not really even getting anywhere by jail breaking the device, since your intent is to toss the whole existing OS. There will be no app that reboots into ChromeOS, and there will never be Apple approval of any other OS on the iPad. Hopefully that clears up half of the above comments.

    What you likely would do is something like the following:

    0) figure out where everything is. (Is it me or does the project not follow the build structure described?)
    1) compile it with A4 support (non trivial too; that's something like an A8 with a PowerVR GPU, you probably have to write this yourself, along with the OpenGL ES 2 support for the GPU to work with whatever layer of OpenGL is in chromium/chrome...).
    1b) compile Chromium/Chrome with the same support
    2) add boot code to the image for the device. Here you'd likely reuse some of what you find on the device already, see step 3.
    3) use a JTAG cable and software to read the whole image of the ROM/flashROM off the device. Pray you can disassemble this and understand it.
    3b) Baseless speculation: It might be possible that the device has some kind of hardware based code signing. Hopefully not, otherwise hope it can be brute forced reverse engineered before the heat-death of the universe.
    4) Now that you've analyzed what was on the system, and made a reasonably comparable image that includes ChromiumOS/ChromeOS's booting it's kernel and all the device support, FS, and userland binaries, use the JTAG cable to put that into the FlashROM (hopefully there wasn't any other ROM or wasn't anything actually important, or show-stopping in the ROM).
    5) Try that. Notice problems. Repeat after code-fixes.

    Possible best case: Google already has support written for the devices, cpu and gpu, it all builds, there's tools to make an image, you put that on the device, and in 8 hours you're pretty much running a ChromeOS demo device instead of an iPad.

    Prognosis: unlikely.

    Disclaimer: Some disassembling required.

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