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Old 01-29-2014, 12:06 PM   #1
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How to run Linux on a Chromebook

Want to run Debian or Ubuntu on your Chromebook? With Crouton, you can do that.

How do I love my Chromebooks? Let me count the ways: Faster than fast Web-browsing; great software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs; automatic updating, real improvements with each new major update; and great desktop security. It really is the first operating system in decades that is giving Windows a run for the desktop dollar.

But, there are still some things a Chromebook can't do as well as a traditional fat-client style desktop. For me, it's graphics. I don't do much graphics work, but I do some and when I do my program of choice is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). While ChromeOS is based on Linux, it doesn't natively support sophisticated Linux programs such as GIMP, LibreOffice, or the Evolution mail client.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to add desktop Linux to a Chromebook to give you the best of both worlds: traditional Linux and Chrome OS. Note: you can also try to dual-boot a Chromebook, but I haven't yet found a way to do this that I'm happy with, so I'm going to just focus on the easy, safe way to have your ChromeOS and eat your traditional Linux cake too: Crouton.
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Have you loaded Linux onto your Chromebook? Did you know that LQ has a Chrome OS related sister site? Visit for more.

Old 01-29-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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Crouton is currently broken on both the dev and beta channels of ChromeOS, and will probably be broken on the stable channel with the next update. There are efforts underway to rescue it, but Google's development policies make it problematic for future compatibility. The foolproof way is to just install to a flash drive. A mini-USB drive works well for this. The problem with using an SD card is that the card sticks halfway out of the chromebooks. Why they made that decision, instead of having the card entirely inside the laptop is something that completely escapes me.


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