How to install Linux on a Chromebook
Chromebook sales have been red hot on Amazon, with various models regularly getting great reviews and comments from Amazon customers. But not everybody is in love with Chrome OS. Some folks prefer to run Linux and Expert Reviews has a helpful how-to that will guide you through the install process.
Michael Passingham reports for Expert Reviews:
There are many reasons you might want to install a Linux distro on your Chromebook. You might have an application that you can only run in Linux, you might want to play games on Steam (if you have a higher-end Chromebook with decent specifications) or you simply might want a wider range of applications than Chrome OS can provide.
The good news is that installing Linux is now very easy thanks to the open-source Crouton tool. The great thing about this method is that you keep Chrome OS and can instantly switch between your Linux and Chrome OS operating systems, without having to boot into them separately.
Installing Crouton is very simple, although your experience may vary depending on the Chrome OS device you're currently using. We carried out our testing on an HP Chromebook 11 from 2013. Before you start, ensure any local files on your Chromebook are backed up. Anything else, including installed apps, extensions and Google Drive files are stored in the cloud so you don't have to worry about using them.
Part 1: Put your Chromebook in developer mode
Part 2: Download Crouton
Part 3: Install your Linux distro of choice
Part 4: Run and enhance your Chroot
Other Chromebook owners have already added Linux to their machines, and some of them shared their thoughts in a thread last year on Reddit:
Rott3npunk: "I'm on an Acer C720 running Debian and it was pretty simple. You do have to remove a screw to flash the bios, which will void your warranty, but at the price that shouldn't be a big deal. Once you enable seabios and usb boot it's like installing linux on a normal laptop.
The only problem I had was that the kernel patch to make the touchpad work wouldn't work for me, but I updated to 3.17 and everything works fine.
I would suggest you spend the extra 50-60 dollars on a bigger SSD though, the space goes fast."
Donrhummy: "Only if you want to get rid of ChromeOS and install only linux. You can install Linux with ChromeOS using Crouton (officially supported by Google) and no need to remove screws."
Tidux: "I've got Arch on mine because I wanted the linux-c720 package from the AUR, but it's much nicer running regular 3.17 - the linux-c720 kernel config was missing silly things like USB serial drivers and the entire ethernet stack, which made using it as a NOC laptop or tethering it impossible. If Arch eventually renders itself unbootable, I'll go Debian Jessie for the next install."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.