Computers & Electronics

Converting a Chromebook into a Linux laptop

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 15th, 2018 9:28 pm
Member
Jun 10, 2006
338 posts
53 upvotes
JHW wrote:
Jan 11th, 2018 10:46 am
This thread is a great resource. I used to use Crouton to run Ubuntu on my Acer C720. It worked well but other users kept writing over the boot info that permits access to the Crouton install.

Is it possible to configure a Chromebook to boot into something like Gallium OS from a USB stick, without making modifications to the Chromebook hardware? I now have an Acer R11.
On the R11, I found that I needed to remove the write-protect screw (no big deal) in order to:

- change the firmware to permit the USB alternative OS booting that I wanted
- remove the obnoxious white warning screen that occurs after 'developer' mode is activated (and replace it with a black screen with small white lettering)

Using the same MrChromebox scripts, you can also:

- change the bootup choice delay from 30s down to 1s
- change the default boot device from the internal SSD/eMMC to the USB external device instead (I prefer that ChromeOS remain the default, but I like the 1s boot delay)
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
2583 posts
1935 upvotes
Markham
darethehair wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 8:09 am
On the R11, I found that I needed to remove the write-protect screw (no big deal) in order to:

- change the firmware to permit the USB alternative OS booting that I wanted
- remove the obnoxious white warning screen that occurs after 'developer' mode is activated (and replace it with a black screen with small white lettering)

Using the same MrChromebox scripts, you can also:

- change the bootup choice delay from 30s down to 1s
- change the default boot device from the internal SSD/eMMC to the USB external device instead (I prefer that ChromeOS remain the default, but I like the 1s boot delay)
Good information for the R11!

On my Acer CB3-131, I have changed boot up time out period from 30 sec to 1sec. But it still shows the obnoxious white screen of 'developer mode'.

Now that I have wiped out ChromeOS from the main drive, I do not think I can re-run the MrChromeBox firmware flashing script to change the white screen to black. This is because my Chromebook cannot be booted up to ChromeOS Developer Mode without ChromeOS on the main drive. Such is the missing prerequisite on my Chromebook to run the firmware flashing script.

Is this correct? Is there any alternative way to run the flashing script?
Member
Oct 1, 2009
222 posts
51 upvotes
If the chromebook had the google play store by default, I think that might be better overall. I personally would like one where I can do some quick video/photo edits using some photo and video editing apps in the play store.
[OP]
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May 2, 2010
2583 posts
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Markham
doradxplorer wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 11:51 pm
If the chromebook had the google play store by default, I think that might be better overall. I personally would like one where I can do some quick video/photo edits using some photo and video editing apps in the play store.
True, if your Chromebook has a touch screen. Otherwise, it may be quite difficult to use the apps from Paly Store which are targeted for touch screen Android phones or tablets.

Alternatively, under Linux in general and GalliumOS in this case, there are lots of simple photo editors, too. Both freeware and commercial app. These are all key board based for program naviagation and thus usable on all Chromebooks.
https://www.linuxtechi.com/top-12-image ... x-desktop/

I am using the Corel Aftershot Pro 3, the paid version which I grabbed in a Black Friday Sale last year. It has a Linux edition which one can download and use as the licence key is common for the Windows, Linux and MacOS versions. This is a capable photo editor processing both jpeg and raw files. It is not intensive on computing resources nor storage space. I only use the editing features of it and not bothering with the photo organizing features of AfterShot Pro as my Chromebook has limited space for photo storage.

The well known open source GIMP photo editor is available too. It is highly capable with features similar to PhotoShop. But one needs to spend time to get used to its user interface.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
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drdtyc wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 8:29 am
Now that I have wiped out ChromeOS from the main drive, I do not think I can re-run the MrChromeBox firmware flashing script to change the white screen to black. This is because my Chromebook cannot be booted up to ChromeOS Developer Mode without ChromeOS on the main drive. Such is the missing prerequisite on my Chromebook to run the firmware flashing script.

Is this correct? Is there any alternative way to run the flashing script?
I have found out that I can run the MrChromeBox firmware flashing script under GalliumOS without needing ChromeOS on the main drive. I simply open the Terminal Emulator window of GalliumOS and input the following command.
cd; curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh
After a few seconds, the menu of the flashing script comes up and works perfectly.
Image
Member
Jun 10, 2006
338 posts
53 upvotes
drdtyc wrote:
Jan 13th, 2018 8:07 am
I have found out that I can run the MrChromeBox firmware flashing script under GalliumOS without needing ChromeOS on the main drive. I simply open the Terminal Emulator window of GalliumOS and input the following command.

After a few seconds, the menu of the flashing script comes up and works perfectly.
Image
I have never tried this before (because I have never erased ChromeOS before), but I guess it makes sense -- since both ChromeOS *and* Linux both have the same shell scripting under the covers :)

Anyways, did you try the "6) Remove ChromeOS Bitmaps" option? That is what I do to remove that crazy white warning screen and replace it with a subtle black one (much easier on the eyes when it is already dark in the room).
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
2583 posts
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Markham
darethehair wrote:
Jan 13th, 2018 11:06 am
I have never tried this before (because I have never erased ChromeOS before), but I guess it makes sense -- since both ChromeOS *and* Linux both have the same shell scripting under the covers :)

Anyways, did you try the "6) Remove ChromeOS Bitmaps" option? That is what I do to remove that crazy white warning screen and replace it with a subtle black one (much easier on the eyes when it is already dark in the room).
Yes, I did change the glaring white screen to a black one using Option 6).
The black screen is indeed much easier on the eyes.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
2583 posts
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Markham
Comprehensive Chinese fonts on GalliumOS

Some Chinese characters were missing when I browsed webpages of sites in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This happened with Chromium, Google Chrome or Firefox. Thus the problem was not caused by a browser, but by the Gallium OS.

In the end, I found out that GalliumOS did not include comprehensive Chinese fonts as default and I needed to install such fonts manually.

By inputting the following two commands in the Terminal Emulator of the GalliumOS, I have installed comprehensive Chinese fonts to cure the problem of missing Chinese characters.
sudo apt-get install fonts-wqy-zenhei
sudo apt-get install fonts-arphic-ukai

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