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Linux Distro Can Run on Google Drive: This Developer Made it Happen

While Google and Linux do not rhyme well, this developer has managed something interesting.

When it comes to Linux, we get to see some really cool, and sometimes quirky projects (read Hannah Montana Linux) that try to show off what's possible, and that's not a bad thing.

One such quirky undertaking has recently surfaced, which sees a sophomore trying to one-up their friend, who had booted Linux off NFS. With their work, they have been able to run Arch Linux on Google Drive.

Yes, you read that right, I was also surprised when I first came across it thanks to TechSpot. Let us take a look.

Linux on Google Drive: What Kind Of Sorcery Is This?

a screenshot of a fastfetch output of arch linux running on google drive
Source: Ersei 'n Stuff
In this article, I have summarized the details of what they did so that you can get the general idea.

The brainchild of Ersei, a student of Purdue University, published a detailed blog on how they were able to accomplish this seemingly ethereal task, that was driven by one of their vices, “competitiveness”.

They wanted to create that was something harder, better, faster, and, of course, stronger than what their friend achieved. Ersei began with an idea, which then spiraled into various stages of creative thinking (they mention it as being on the brink of insanity).

But, they finally went with running Linux on Google Drive. They started by taking the help of Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE), that allows non-privileged users to create file systems without the need to edit the kernel code.

Thereafter, they got FUSE programs installed in the Linux kernel's initramfs, while enabling networking (Dracut helped with those), and chose Arch Linux to build on top of, testing it on a local S3 bucket.

Then, they moved to implement an existing project that allows for running FUSE with Google Drive into their Arch Linux build, made many fixes along the way, and mounted the drive.

After many rsync runs, a successful pairing of Linux and Google Drive was achieved.

a screenshot of the arch linux files in google drive

Of course, everything was not all fine and dandy, Ersei noted:

  • Extremely slow boot times.
  • Relative symlinks not working.
  • Hard links were non-functional.
  • Permissions and attributes don't appear to work.
  • Symbolic links to other Symbolic links didn't work.
  • Calling for Symlinks outside of Google Drive doesn't work.

But, that didn't demotivate Ersei, they went on to fix the slow boot times with a few tweaks. They even tested their Frankenstein creation on a spare laptop they had lying around that didn't have any storage. It worked just fine on it.

Even though they admit that this is a silly project, they are open to the idea of commercializing this for any interested company, offering up the promise of “True Cloud Native Computing”.

Interested in trying this out?

If your answer is yes, Ersei's blog linked is a must-read if you want to get your bearings on how to run Linux on Google Drive.

If you have any further questions, then you can contact them by heading to their homepage, where they have linked their socials.

💬 I didn't think I would see such a fringe use case for Linux, but, here we are. What about you?

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