Yet another linux on Chromebook post…
I have written about crouton that provides chroot installs of popular linux distributions like ubuntu, debian and kali. I followed that up by installing the official linux on Chromebook offering.
Now I just have to tell you about my new favourite solution – chromebrew
The reason I like chromebrew is that it simply extends chromeos to run like any other linux distribution – “…Chromebooks with Chrome OS run a Linux kernel. The only missing pieces to use them as full-featured Linux distro were gcc and make with their dependencies. Well, these pieces aren’t missing anymore…”
The biggest advantage with chromebrew is that it takes so little space, which is a limited quantity on most Chromebooks. It also has a good package manager, crew.
With crew, it is easy to add the apps you need, try ‘crew install nano’. Package installer scripts are written in ruby and support aarch64, arm7l, i686 & x86_64 processor architectures.Check out crew packages
Linux on Chromebook just became extremely simple…
My previous post “My new go-to linux dev machine is a Chromebook…” seems now to be obsolete. Google have released a “linux mode” in Chrome version 69 for Chrome OS. This is the project “crostini” that was first made available on the Pixelbook.
There are a couple of gotchas, such as it is only beta so far and is only supported on certain Chromebooks – see here for more information: linux mode capable chromebooks – note it says that Chromebooks like the HP 14 G3 running 32-bit ARM and others using Baytrail x86 CPU devices will never support linux mode.
Luckily, my ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA is on the list. So, no need to reset and set developer mode, just simply select Settings -> Linux(Beta) and go for lunch – this is definitely more than a coffee install.
You will see a new app on your Chromebook – “Terminal”. The username and password are those of your Google account – so, launching Terminal, I see a prompt of “nicbkw@penguin:~$”. Click (touch & hold) on the Terminal icon in the appfinder and you have the options to uninstall and shutdown Linux(Beta). Clicking on the launched Terminal icon, you will see the option to open new windows, meaning it is possible to run multiple terminal session windows as well as browser and your other chromebook apps.
The distribution is debian stretch and installing apps is as simple as “sudo apt-get install gimp”. The GUI runs natively in the Chrome OS environment and this linux app appears alongside other ordinary Chrome OS/Android apps – see the header image.
The linux virtual machine, together with any data you store while using it persists between sessions, so you can quit apps, logout, etc without worrying about resetting anything. All data is stored in the same encrypted storage as other Chrome OS data.
My new go-to linux dev machine is a Chromebook…
The other day I arrived at work to discover I had left my laptop at home. I hot-desk some days each week in Liverpool in fabulous SensorCity (@SensorCityUK) and was lost without a keyboard and ability to geek. Fortunately, just 5 minutes walk away is the local branch of a well-known UK “previously-loved” chain, so I went for a meander. I returned with an ASUS C101PA ChromeBook for less than half-price. It has a 10.1″ 1200×800 touchscreen with 6-core ARM CPU, 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, USB-C charging and a 9-hour battery – what should a geek do???
The answer is to enable Chrome Developer mode and install xenial ubuntu, of course – note that you should backup before enabling as this will factory reset your chromebook and delete all your data. Warning over.
It is possible to run a full linux desktop (something lightweight, like xfce, bearing in mind the free space on the eMMC), but I like working with a command line and you will see that you end up with linux running in one or more Chrome Tabs, while retaining full access to the Chrome/Android side of things – browser, email, 6Music on BBC Radio iPlayer, etc.
So, The best instructions are those available from the master – take a look at https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton
Here are the basics:
1. Enable developer mode – https://www.howtogeek.com/210817/how-to-enable-developer-mode-on-your-chromebook/
2. Download the current version of crouton from here – crouton
3. Open a shell (Ctrl+Alt+T, type shell and hit enter)
4. Run sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t core – wait patiently and answer the prompts to add user, etc.
5. Done! Run sudo enter-chroot
The result is an arm64 install of ubuntu xenial that has access to serial over USB, USB and SD card storage
So far, I have:
1. mbed-cli to build and flash code to STMicro Nucleo boards – this installed build-essential, git, python, etc.
2. go version go1.10.3
I am very impressed. So, don’t dismiss chromebooks as over-sized androids, poor iPad substitutes, especially if you can pick up a bargain…