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Use Linux on Chromebook

Created: Apr, 2015

Last Updated: Apr, 2016

Benefits of Chromebooks:

  • Lightweight, compact and low-cost
  • Long battery life

Make it run on Linux will be perfect. I used to use Crouton. But as of 2016, GalliumOS turns out to be a better option for me because it is a full-blown Linux on Chromebook hardware.

Gallium OS

Go to GalliumOS Wiki for instructions. It is likely you need to open the Chromebook case to unblock the 3rd-party firmware flashing.

Install Crouton in Chromebook

[Update 2016] I no longer use Crouton because I prefer a full-fledged Linux. But it doesn’t mean Crouton is not a good option for you.

Crouton is a chroot environment piggy-backing on the ChromeOS (aka, it is not a full Linux). Because of the limited memory space on Chromebook, I usually install Crouton in an external USB drive as follows.

  • First enable developer’s mode. This will result in a complete reset of the current ChromeOS including all of the data.

  • Insert USB drive, create a “chroot” directory and symbolically link to “/usr/local”

cd /usr/local
sudo mkdir /media/removable/USB_DRIVE_NAME/chroots
sudo ln -s /media/removable/USB_DRIVE_NAME/chroots chroots

This is because Crouton installer will look for and install binaries to “/usr/local/chroots” by default.

cd /home/user/XXXX/Downloads
sudo sh crouton -r trusty -t cli-extra  # this ditches X environment

To have a list of supported distributions, run:

sh crouton -r list

To have a list of available desktop environments, run:

sh crouton -t help

For more command line options, refer to Crouton command line cheatsheet @ Crouton Wiki.

  • To start Linux in chroot, there are two ways. To start Linux without GUI, do
sudo enter-chroot

To start Linux with LXDE, do

sudo startlxde

The former is quicker than latter.

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