UPDATE 8-8-2014: This tutorial was written and tested on Feb. 24, 2013. It may be outdated due to changes in ChromeOS and ChrUbuntu. If these instructions do not work for you, other readers have suggested this and this tutorial in the comments.

 

After several months of happily chugging along on the Samsung ARM Chromebook as my secondary laptop I decided to give ChrUbuntu a try, mainly because I wanted a LAMP environment to play and didn’t want to mess with my work-issued MacBook Pro. I installed ChrUbuntu to an external SD card, which gives me the flexibility to boot into ChromeOS anytime I want to surf the web and plus the SD card in anytime I need Linux.

I found the installation of ChrUbuntu to be pretty straightforward. Overall it took me about one hour from start to finish. I mostly used this Ars Technica guide and made a few adjustments where the steps between the Acer C7 and Samsung ARM differed. I also got some help from the 200+ comments on Jay Lee’s blog.

Here’s how to do it:

Don’t forget the SD card

Sadly the most obvious step was the one I forgot when I first tried this. Turn off your Chromebook and plug in the  SD card you want to use.  The card has to to 8+ GB and will be /dev/mmcblkp1This will be important later. Also beware that any files stored locally on the Chromebook will be wiped in the following steps, so save them before you proceed.

Make sure you have an SD card plugged in

Boot into ChromeOS developer mode

There are several steps for getting into developer mode and it can take 5-10 minutes. If you need additional help, the full instructions are available here.

To get into developer mode you have to hold the ESC and REFRESH keys as you press the Power button to get into recovery mode. Once you boot into recovery mode ChromeOS will ask you to plug in recovery media. Instead you have to press CTRL+D to go into developer mode.

Put Chrome into developer mode

Prepare the Chromebook for ChrUbuntu

Booting into developer mode will take several minutes as the Chromebook reboots and resets itself. Once that process is complete you get a screen telling you that OS Verification has been turned off. Press CTRL+D to get past that screen and click through the prompts you get after the Chromebook boots. You want to connect to a network but do not go past the login screen.

At the login screen, once you are connected to a network, press CTRL+ALT and the FORWARD key to go into the developer console.

In the developer console, type chronos and hit enter to get into the shared user account. Then switch over to the bash shell by typing sudo bash and hitting enter. The last step here is to type the following command:

chromeos-firmwareupdate --mode=todev 

This will boot you into the development BIOS each time you start your Chromebook and you’ll be able to hit CTRL+U to dual-boot into ChrUbuntu.

ChromeOS Developer Console

Use wget to download the latest version of ChrUbuntu

If you’ve done all of the steps correctly you are almost ready to start downloading ChrUbuntu. Type exit to drop out of the bash shell and type the following command to wget ChrUbuntu.  This is the correct command for now, but may change in the future as updates for ChrUbuntu are released, so check Jay’s blog for the last version.

 wget http://goo.gl/34v87; sudo bash 34v87 /dev/mmcblk1

Prepare ChromeOS for ChrUbuntu

Install ChrUbuntu

ChrUbuntu will check that you are running a developer BIOS, that your Chromebook is compatible and that the target drive is plugged in. Hit enter and you are set. Also, it’s probably a good idea to plug your charger in a this point.

Use wget to download ChrUbuntu

Grab a cup of coffee while ChrUbuntu loads

ChrUbuntu will now automatically download and install. How long it takes depends mostly on your Internet connection. With my 30mbps it took me about 30 minutes.

Some people have reported various errors at this point, either with the same file trying to load over and over due to a discrepancy in the hash value or an error that says Cannot write to ‘-’ (Broken pipe). I didn’t have these errors myself but the easiest workaround (according to the comment section) seems to be to restart the entire process.

ChrUbuntu downloading

Enjoy

And that’s it. You now have ChrUbuntu installed on the SD card. Anytime you want to boot into Linux plug the SD card in and hit CTRL+U at the Chrome OS Verification screen.

ChrUbuntu on a Samsun ARM Chrombook

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About The Author

Amir Kurtovic

A journalist, writer and communications professional, Amir Kurtovic is interested in the intersection of technology and writing. This blog will explore how the latest trends in the worlds of computer science, design, mobile technology and user-generated media impact and contribute to the art and craft of writing.

35 comments
jc411172
jc411172

This didn't work at all. Now all i have is a useless SD card

futuretechsource
futuretechsource

i keep getting random restarts during the process.. ugh..

rudyf
rudyf

I have a xe303c12 arm chromebook.

I tried many times to enter dev mode using esc/refresh and power buttons but nothing happens.

The chromebook reboots normally…

Did I miss something?

Thanks

wannabeubuntu
wannabeubuntu

Hi, I followed the instructions, but when I go to boot into it by hitting ctrl+U all I get is 2 beeps and nothing else. Is there something I did wrong?

lostinlinux
lostinlinux

Folks,

I need some help please. i have tried to install chrubuntu on my samsung chromebook with the exynos chipset. the chrubuntu install seemed to work but i cant load the chrubuntu environment on my chromebook even though  the ssd has been re partitioned. i used the tnyga script to do the process but now im stuck in the middle. i have a 2gb chromebook and cant restore it to the 16gb or install chrubuntu properly.

I have tried to do a full restore from google but the the chrome route (chrome://imageburner) doesnt work as it wont write to either sd or usb and the linux version writes the disk but the chromebook does not recognise the operation system on the sd / usb

my chromebook is showing as snow hector but its unclear which number to use off the script provided by google

zachattackmd
zachattackmd

ok it finished downloading on the sd card but when it rebooted and i clicked ctrl u it beeped and nothing happened? what did i do wrong?


lostinlinux
lostinlinux

Also, seeing as the chromebook has usb 3.0 could the process be used to run the chrubuntu from usb3.0 stick / drive instead of the sd card

lostinlinux
lostinlinux

does this resolve the issue of melting speakers, or has this already been built in to the kernel

yourcyborg
yourcyborg

"chromeos-firmwareupdate –mode=todev"

is incorrect. 

–mode=todev   should be  --mode=todev

chromeos-firmwareupdate --mode=todev

wasifthegamer
wasifthegamer

It's taking forever to download what do I do please help

ali_attalla
ali_attalla

Also what are the restrictions of chrubuntu, if any

ali_attalla
ali_attalla

If i want to do exactly that on a samsung chromebook series 550, except install Ubuntu straight onto the SSD, instead of an external SD card. Is that possible? Can you send me the commands for that

amirkurtovic
amirkurtovic moderator

@jc411172 This tutorial is about 18 months old and both Chrome and ChrUbuntu have gone through many updates since. I've updated the post and included links to other tutorials people have posted in the comments. 

yourcyborg
yourcyborg

@jc411172  That sounds very frustrating. I think I had something similar happen to me; I don't remember if it was from this guide (I didn't end up using it, but I don't remember why). You can probably recover the SD card by resetting/reformatting its partitions. Windows may even be able to do it. I had something similar happen to me at one point, but I'm not sure what I ended up doing to restore it. If all else fails, Gparted is quite robust and easy to use (also available via live CD/usb). Good luck :)

lostinlinux
lostinlinux

seem to have it sorted now (well back to a full size chromebook anyway) i think there were 2 issues for the record

the sd card and the usb stick i tried needed a fresh format with gparted

then i used option 2 for the linux recovery script from google (which seems to create so many partitions on the media its unbelievable, but hey its worked


Thanks to everyone but for the record see this discussion which may offer additional help 


https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/chromebook-central/5s2fuMpkaXs


aemathisphd1
aemathisphd1

@ardogeek Installed this today and it worked like a charm. My German isn't great but I was able to get through it. I strongly urge anyone on a Samsung ARM Chromebook installing to SD Card use this option.

yourcyborg
yourcyborg

@lostinlinux I believe it's possible to adapt the instructions. The 1st USB drive plugged into an ARM Chromebook will be /dev/sda instead of the sd card /dev/mmcblk1

yourcyborg
yourcyborg

@lostinlinux As far as I know this is something that will have to be done manually. It's fairly easy to Google instructions though... But yeah, 'melting speakers' certainly warrants feelings of trepidation =)

amirkurtovic
amirkurtovic moderator

@yourcyborg Thanks for pointing this out. I may have written the article in Word, which tends to turn two dashes into an en dash.

abscond784
abscond784

@futuretechsource I'm beginning to suspect that there's a memory failure happening somewhere, either in the SD card or just in RAM.  Not sure how to verify that, but it sure feels like memory failures I've seen in the past.

abscond784
abscond784

@futuretechsource  Yep, that was it.  The SD card I was using (PNY StorEDGE 64GB) didn't like the Chromebook.  I replaced it with a Samsung microSDXC UHS-I PRO 64GB and it worked on the first try.

KevinPaid
KevinPaid

@wannabeubuntu @ardogeek  We're assuming you have some form of ARM Samsung because this happened to us.  After 9 hours of hopping around solutions we were able to install it.  You will need the one script to rule em all here: http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.ca/2013/05/chrubuntu-one-script-to-rule-them-all_31.html


enter developer mode, make sure to be in BIOS as well by doing chromeos-firmwareupdate --mode=todev


then just simply type in curl -L -O http://goo.gl/s9ryd; sudo bash s9ryd ubuntu-desktop lts


itll go and show you the OS verification screen.  press ctrl U. wait for a bit, then itll boot into chrubuntu


enjoy!

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