How to install your favorite Linux distribution on a Series 3 Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook Plus

A few weeks I stopped by a Frys stores in my neck of the woods just to browse and see what I could buy. One computer I looked at was the latest Chromebook, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook. On the hardware side, it is powered by the ARM Mali™-T604 GPU and Samsung’s Exynos 5250 processor, which is based on the ARM Cortex A15 1.7 GHz dual-core processor.

On the software side, everything on it screams Google, the core being Google’s ChromeOS, a cloud operating system. A cloud OS does not really excite me, but the hardware was nice and slick and almost weightless. But what I did not like about it was the lack of an Ethernet connection. What happens when I’m in a place where I had no legal access to a wireless connection?

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That was one thing I did not like about it. The other thing I wondered is, will I be able to install my favorite Linux distribution on the it just as easily as I can on a regular notebook or desktop computer? The answer to that question, it turns out, is a “no.”

It can be done, but not just as easily. So, if you have a Series 3 Chromebook and have been struggling to install a regular Linux distribution on it, here are the steps you need to get it done:

1. In order to boot another operating system on your Chromebook you first need to enable the “Developer Mode”, the Chromium project has the required steps needed. Please note that enabling “Developer Mode” will effectively re-format your device so ALL DATA WILL BE LOST.

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2. Create a recovery image for the Chromebook (just in case). In a browser head to ‘chrome://imageburner’ and follow the steps.

3. Create a tarball of the Chrome OS root filesystem. This will come in handy as you will need some components from it and also serves as a good reference point.
On the Chromebook open a terminal either in the browser with ‘Ctrl+Alt+T’ or a virtual terminal with ‘Ctrl+Alt+->’ (forward arrow, 3rd key from the left, top row, near the esc key).

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6 Responses

  1. 1. Remove old hard drive.
    2. Install SSDdrive.
    3. Install your preferred flavor of Linux
    4. Watch that mutha’ fly!

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