Chrome as your desktop environment

I have an old Asus 1000HE Eee PC (32-bit, 2GB RAM, 128GB SSD).  Fedora 21 with Gnome Shell runs ok, but as I only use this netbook to browse the web, I figured I’d try to figure out how to launch Chrome as the desktop environment, cutting Gnome Shell out completely.  In the process of trying to determine which lightweight window manager I would use, I discovered that Google Chrome (my browser of choice) includes it’s own called Ash.  So, setting this up was as easy as creating a single file, and simply selecting “Chrome” as my login session from GDM.

/etc/X11/sessions/chrome.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Chrome
Comment=Chrome Browser
Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome --open-ash --ash-force-desktop --ash-host-window-bounds="1024x600"
TryExec=/usr/bin/google-chrome
Icon=
Type=Application
DesktopNames=Chrome

This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s pretty neat.  A few problems:

  • Triggering a download crashes the browser, as Chrome can’t launch the Gnome (GTK?) download widget
  • No battery,audio, or wifi system icons
  • Initially, the desktop was off-center.  Apparently, the netbook screen size (1024×600) was odd, so it needed to be explicitly specified with the “-bounds” parameter.

Next, I’m going to give Android-x86 a shot on this Eee PC.

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