Alt OS. Campfire. Atl-firmware. Whatever you want to call it, the project that many had hoped would bring a Windows dual-boot option to Chrome OS may have just received its walking papers.
For the uninitiated, a little over a year ago it was discovered that Chromium developers were working on a project that would allow Windows to run alongside Chrome OS. Presumably, this would have worked much like installing the Linux-based Gallium OS on a Chromebook. Upon boot, users would be greeted with an OS selection screen to pick which system with which they would like to boot.
Dubbed “Campfire,” the dual-boot feature was referred to as “alt-firmware” then later rename “Alt OS.” Based on Microsoft hardware certifications, it quickly became clear that Windows was the alternative operating system at the core of Project Campfire.
For a time, development seemed steady for the experiment and a lot of users have been holding out hope that Google would announce the new feature that has been developed on some variant of ‘Eve’, a.k.a, the Pixelbook.
Just last week, we fielded numerous comments and questions wondering if Campfire would make an appearance at Google’s annual I/O developer conference. Much as I suspected, there was no mention of Windows on Chrome OS and now it appears the project may be abandoned entirely.
In the latest Chromium commit, we see the what could be the death knell for Alt OS:
vboot: deprecate Alt OS codeCL: 1588026
Now, this commit doesn’t necessarily mean the project is dead. Deprecation of code could simply mean that developers have found a new path to the same destination. However, you know me. I had to dig a little deeper.
In the attached files for this commit, we see multiple instances of features being deprecated in relation to Alt OS.
REMOVED: Alt OS picker screen
I’m not an expert but this certainly looks like the end for Alt OS. Given the slowed development over the past two months, it appears Google has given up on the project. Personally, I never expected anything to come of Campfire. It always felt like a side project or perhaps one of those things being done simply because they could.
Who knows? With Chrome OS now offering Android apps, Web Apps and a rapidly growing number of Linux options, maybe Windows on Chromebooks just isn’t worth it. Maybe Google will keep using the project internally but the fact that we’ve never seen a glimpse of Campfire in the flesh tells me it’s dead in the water.
That’s my two cents for what it’s worth. Here’s a parting word of wisdom because I know someone’s thinking it.