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Release Notes DR1 KitKat

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This is an archive of release notes for Console OS DR1 KitKat. It is for an old release and is out of date. It is stored here for archival purposes only. We do not recommend people continue to use Console OS KitKat, as Google is no longer security auditing Android KitKat publicly. We cannot share security fixes that they offer to Android partners at this time, and have no plans to continue updating Console OS KitKat.


Welcome to DR1

Welcome to Console OS Developer Release 1 (DR1). This is our first release, and by no means is it meant to encompass all the features we have planned.

Also, keep in mind, this is a release aimed at early adopters. There will be bugs, and it is not representative of the final product. Note to Bloggers: Read that last sentence several times before posting reviews. This is not a release meant for review, but rather, preview.


Who Should Use DR1

We plan to roll out Developer Release 1 in phases, first exclusively to our Kickstarter backers.

This release is primarily targeted at developers. If you are not an enthusiast or developer, you probably should not start off with this release. We encourage you to sign up for updates to be informed of all our future releases.


Warnings & Cautions

Console OS DR1 is targeted at early adopters and developers only. There will be bugs. Hardware support isn't all there yet. Please do not be miffed if Console OS doesn't even start up on your machine just yet - we assure you it runs on dozens of iconic PCs today. We're working hard to get to the rest of the industry.

Console OS DR1 should only be installed on machines that are fully backed up. This is our first release, and any time you install an operating system you should fully back up the entire PC. We are not liable for data loss in any scenario, especially when installing a prototype operating system.


Hardware Support

Console OS DR1 concentrates support on 4th Generation Intel Core processors as well as 64-bit Intel Atom (formerly "Bay Trail") processors.

Support is limited for 3rd Generation Intel Core processors, and we do not yet support Bay Trail systems that run with 32-bit firmware. We're working on it.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support is functional but currently limited. At present, we only support the Intel 3160 and 7260 radios for Developer Release 1, including the Intel 7260-AC models.

We plan to support most popular Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipsets after we complete a transition to Android 5.0, Lollipop. We are currently evaluating the timetable for that release.

If you do not have an Intel 3160 or 7260, we do support the ASUS WL-330NUL USB Wi-Fi device. It's a $20 dongle that you can find on Amazon and elsewhere. It's quite the swiss army knife of Wi-Fi dongles, and it will even work as a travel Wi-Fi router and ethernet bridge.

Upgrading your laptop's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to an Intel 3160 or 7260 is a pain, and we recognize this. But doing so typically costs under $30 and will often greatly improve the performance of your machine's Wi-Fi reception and speed. Plus upgrading to an Intel 7260-AC will give your laptop future-proofing with 802.11ac support.

And again, we expect to greatly expand Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support after our transition to Lollipop.


Installation

Installing - Disable Secure Boot & Windows Encryption

Did you know? Windows may have enabled device encryption without your knowledge. This section walks you through disabling secure boot and Windows encryption.

Before you install Console OS, you will probably need to disable UEFI Secure Boot. What is Secure Boot? It's a program that is supported by Microsoft on most Windows PCs. It prevents from loading other operating systems that Microsoft has not signed. Microsoft, in cooperation with regulators, has implemented Secure Boot on most PCs.

We expect Console OS to no longer require this step early next year. While meant to block malware, Secure Boot does add several steps to installing a pre-release operating system. Disabling Secure Boot is straightforward, but requires several steps outlined below:

To disable Secure Boot, swipe to the right of the screen on your PC to access the Windows Settings button. From there, select "Change PC Settings" - then select Update and recovery. Finally, click the Recovery tab. Under the Advanced startup area there is an option "Restart now" - press that and your computer will reboot to a special screen.

From there, choose "Advanced Settings" and finally "UEFI Firmware Settings" - from there, you will have to locate the Secure Boot menu item. It's typically under the "Boot" tab or the "Security" tab.

We have noticed that some systems require you to set a BIOS administrator password before giving you the option to disable Secure Boot.

Once you have disabled Secure Boot, save settings and restart. You can now proceed with backing up your data and installing Console OS DR1.

Disabling Windows Encryption

While not part of Secure Boot, this is an important step if you are installing alongside Windows. Starting with Windows 8.1, Microsoft began enabling full-device encryption... automatically. In many circumstances, this may have been turned on you fully being informed. This typically happens if you log into your Windows installation with a Microsoft Account, instead of a Local Account.

You can check the status of your device under PC Info, located in Windows Settings. Swipe from the right of the display, until the Windows Charms bar appears (it's that black, slide-out bar that everybody loves so much). Click Settings, and then Change PC settings at the bottom. Finally, go to the PC Info tab at the bottom. If it reports Encryption is On, turn it off.

We believe many installation errors stem from Windows 8.1 standard encryption being on, when trying to dual-boot. If you wish to leave it on, install to a different drive, such as a USB 3.0 external hard disk.

If you are using BitLocker, we have found that disabling BitLocker, and then re-enabling BitLocker after installation, has encountered far fewer issues than the Windows 8.1 standard encryption.

Finally, we recommend disabling Windows encryption, as in future releases we plan to allow Console OS to directly access your Windows file system - but this is not possible if Windows encryption is enabled, as Console OS cannot mount an encrypted Windows volume.


Installing - Backup your PC and Recovery Drive

As mentioned earlier, you should take a minute to backup all your files. We'll wait. It's important. Go do it.

Next, if you are installing alongside Windows, you should also create a Recovery Drive. Most Windows 8 & 8.1 PCs no longer include operating system restore discs. You have to make it yourself. We recommend this step just in case. We have tested Console OS alongside Windows thoroughly, but making a recovery drive will allow you to return your PC to its factory state.

To do this, swipe from the right of the screen and click the Search button. Type "create a recovery drive" and the matching application will appear. Follow the steps on screen, and be sure that the box to include the recovery partition on the recovery drive is selected.


Installing - Creating the Console OS Install Flash Drive

Console OS is typically installed via a USB flash drive. You can create an install flash drive using Windows, OS X, or Linux.

For Windows we recommend Win32DiskImager. We include a copy with Console OS currently.

When running Win32DiskImager be careful to select the flash drive that you wish to load the Console OS install image to. Select the install image applicable to your machine (from the Console OS Account downloads page).

From the Win32DiskImager tool, simply select the Console OS .img file that you downloaded, and the target flash drive. Then click the Write button. It will transfer the Console OS Installer to the USB Flash Drive of your choice.

Note that the flash drive you use will be completely erased, as cautioned by the utility.

Important: Some flash drives are cheap and lame. If the drive you created doesn't work, go back and make another one with a better flash drive.

Most traditional Linux distributions now include a USB image writer built-in. For example, in current versions of Ubuntu, you can simply double-click on the Console OS .img image, and it will launch the appropriate disk utility.


Installing - Deploying Console OS to a PC Drive or USB Hard Disk

First, make sure you have read all of the above steps, including backing up your machine completely. We are not responsible for data loss, and this is a developer release.

Second, insert the Console OS Install Drive into your machine. With Secure Boot disabled (see above), restart the machine to boot off the USB drive. How you do this varies from one machine to the next. The Devices pages may provide machine-specific details.

However, you can also do this from inside of Windows 8 & 8.1. Access the right charms bar (swipe off screen from right to left), or rub the mouse against the right side of the screen. Select Settings. In the bottom right corner, click the link to access PC settings. Select "Update and Recovery". Finally, click the Recovery tab.

Under the Advanced startup area, there is an option "Restart now" - press that and your computer will reboot to a special screen. Before selecting this option, make sure the Console OS Install Flash Drive is connected.

The next screen will give you a menu option to restart from an external drive (it differs slightly between Windows 8 & 8.1), and in there, you should find the Console OS Install Drive as a boot option. Tap that and you should reach the installer.


Installing - Running the Console OS Installer

Once you have booted into the Console OS Installer, you will find a single option there - to run the installation process. Hit enter to begin.

Your machine will then be probed for available installation drives. Select the drive you wish to install to. The particular drive will be scanned. Be sure to read the next steps carefully.

If a valid Windows installation is detected, you will be asked if you want to dual-boot. If a Windows installation is not detected, or is not valid, you will be asked if you want to erase your target drive completely. Please note that there is no undo to this function - once started it cannot be aborted.

If your drive has Ubuntu, a non-standard boot table, SteamOS, or other operating systems, the installer will only offer to erase the entire drive. See Ubuntu - SteamOS and Console OS as we roll out alternative installation steps for those scenarios.

Once the installation is completed, you will be prompted to remove the Install Drive from your computer, and the machine will then reboot. Congratulations, Console OS is now installed! When your machine reboots, you will get a text-based boot menu. If Console OS is the only operating system, it will load by default. If Windows is also present, that will appear in the menu as well.

By default the last operating system booted will load. So if you chose Windows on the previous boot, the boot menu will automatically select Windows to load at the next reboot. You can scroll between the two operating systems at boot time, based on the amount of time you set during installation when prompted.

At this point you can now head to our Getting Started with Console OS guide for additional goodies and technology demos that run inside of Console OS. Welcome to Console OS. We're just getting started.


Known Issues & Workarounds

Installer: Keyboard Stops Responding

On some systems with built-in keyboards (some laptops & 2-in-1's), the installer may stop responding midway. This is a race condition, we're aware of it. We will be open-sourcing the installer in late March and will work with the open-source community to maintain it.

Workaround: Plug in a physical USB keyboard, and complete the installation with it. Once installed, the problem should not occur.

OpenSSL Security Bug

Console OS DR1 is based on Android 4.4.2. And based on voting from our Kickstarter backers, we have chosen to focus efforts on getting to Lollipop as fast as possible. As such, we are currently skipping the last duo of bugfix releases for KitKat.

Though unlikely to cause a problem, Android 4.4.2 does include a version of OpenSSL for specific use cases that contains the "heartbleed" bug. DR1 is a developer release and should not be used as a production server. So, we have decided not to patch this issue. It will be fixed in our next major developer release.


Source Code

Kernel and other source code postings have been moved to our dedicated Source Code page.


Content from Getting Started Guide for Console OS KitKat

Using Android

Console OS is built to stay truly Android-compatible. If this is your first experience with Android, we encourage you to visit Android.com and learn about how Android works across phones, PCs, tablets, TVs... and now PCs too!

Developer Release 1 (DR1) is our first release. Check out the Release Notes and Obtaining Console OS to learn more about where we stand today - and how to get in line to obtain Console OS!


Technology Demos

We have compiled some technology demos that really demonstrate how Console OS is not just pushing the limits of Android, it's rewriting them. Most of these tech demos are built atop Unreal Engine 4. Console OS also supports Unity-based games, Havok-based games, and most Android & Android TV compatible games too.

These technology demos will not run on a standard ARM-based Android device, they're compiled specifically for x86. They may also run on other Android devices with Intel processors, however.

The links below are in Android APK format. By default, Console OS DR1 will automatically accept sideloaded applications.

General Console OS Demos

These apps and tech demos will run on most systems that are supported by Console OS.


How do I get apps onto Console OS devices?

We've included the Amazon Appstore for Android with Console OS DR1. You can also transfer APK's (Android Apps) from another Android device.

Next year, we also expect to launch our own app store, the Console Store. The Console Store will serve as a marketplace that is curated for apps that are designed and enhanced to work on x86 devices, as well as in both touch and non-touch environments.

Console OS does not include the Google Play Store. As part of not having a walled garden, however, we do not stand in the way of Google offering Google Play for Console OS.

Likewise, we do not stand in the way of a user installing Google Play from Android onto a Console OS device. We simply cannot provide official support for doing so.


Storage Devices

Console OS supports FAT32 storage devices with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. We are working to add support for more SD card readers in devices, as well as other storage formats. Note that NTFS and ExFAT are not currently supported by Android natively; this is not a limitation of Console OS. That said, we are working on adding additional file formats to Console OS in the first half of next year.

To mount a USB device, just plug it in. To unmount a USB device, go to Settings -> Storage and select Unmount USB Device.


Portable Workspace

You can install Console OS to a USB 3.0 hard drive. At this time we don't recommend flash drive booting except for early adopters - you need to be using a very fast USB 3.0 flash drive, and most aren't.

With a USB 3.0 hard disk, you can take with you a fully-encrypted install of Console OS with Android, and take your apps, documents, and workspace from one machine to the next. Currently there are two builds of Console OS, one for fourth-generation Intel Core processors, and one for other systems.

We are working on consolidating those two distributions. For now you can only use a bootable Console OS drive for fourth-generation Intel Core processors on other machines with fourth-generation Core processors.


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