Install Linux (Chromebook)

Install Linux in a system with Chromebook, much of this information would be useful for Windows Systems


This article is about how to install Linux in a system with Chromebook as the original System Operative, however, much of this information would be the same on Windows Systems. In general the steps of the installation would be as follows:

1. Build the USB memory stick with the Linux
2. Do our system can boot from USB
3. Make space on our Hard Disk
4. Install from USB
5. Boot

1. Build the USB memory stick with the Linux

Linux distros are generally available as a CD/DVD image files with the extension .iso which are downloaded and burned on a CD/DVD, but, we are going to install Linux from USB memory stick so we need an application that installs the .iso file on the USB memory stick and does it bootable.

We are going to use Linux Debian in their “stable” release. We select the “netinst” option, this is a single CD with the minimal system and download the full system over Internet.

Build the USB, we use the application Universal-USB-Installer

Universal USB Installer

2. Do our system can boot from USB

On Chromebook:

Developer Mode

ESC + REFRESH(F3) + POWER
CTRL + ALT + D to jump advise screen.
Reboot

Verification Screen

Developer Console

CTRL + ALT + F2 (→) Developer Console
CTRL + ALT + F1 (←) Return to the browser

localhost login: chronos

sudo bash – command to access super user

crosssystem dev-boot-usb=1 dev-boot-legacy=1

reboot

on verification screen CTRL + L to load SeaBIOS and get the boot options. If SeaBIOS is not installed you will get a couple of beeps. Unfortunately, not all devices ship with SeaBIOS.

To install the SeaBIOS we have to follow this link: https://johnlewis.ie/custom-chromebook-firmware/rom-download/

– access to the Crosh Shell: CTRL + ALT + T
– type shell
– type / execute the command given in the link above.

Install SeaBIOS

Now on verification screen the SeaBIOS should be loaded and show the bootable options when clicking CTRL + L.

3. Make space on our Hard Disk

on Windows, shrink the Windows partition,

WIN Key + R
execute Disk Management Utility type: diskmgmt.msc + ENTER

diskmgmt.msc

Now we have free space on our Hard Disk for the new system. We have to select in the installer the option “uses the free space on the hard disk”. On the step “Partition disks” select the option “Manual” and on the next one select use the free space.

On Chromebook we are going to use all hard disk space.

During the installation the process would ask us where to place the Linux, we just would select the option “use entire disk”.

Entire Disk

4. Install from USB

NetInst use the Internet connection to download the entire operating system.

If we are trying to use the Wifi connection may get an issue similar to this:

iwlwifi

Some of your hardware needs non-free firmware files to operate. The firmware can be loaded from removable media, such as a USB stick or floppy.

The missing firmware files are: iwlwifi-7265D-26.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-25.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-24.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-23.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-22.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-21.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-20.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-19.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-18.ucode iwlwifi-7265D-17.ucode

The problem is that Debian Installer use only the main software, the non-free component is not included.

We could try to get these files on Internet, but we think that it is easier to get Internet access trough other devices and install iwlwifi drivers later, instead.

We can connect to our router trough an Ethernet connector (RJ45) if that is possible.

We can use a USB-RJ45 adapter to connect to our route if our system does not have a RJ45 connector. We usually use LogiLink® Gigabit Ethernet USB 2.0 to RJ45 Adapter

This adapter has a Linux drive, we just have to put it on the USB installer to get Internet access in the installation process.

Once the installation is completed we can change our sources.list to include the non-free software and then install the iwlwifi drivers.

apt-get update && apt-install firmware-iwlwifi
modprobe -r iwlwifi
modprobe iwlwifi

5. Boot

on Chromebook,

When I reboot our system a verification screen is showed,

Verification Screen

with CTRL + L we load the SeaBIOS and boot from hard disk, or show a boot menu if there is a USB memory stick bootable plugin.

Anytime we can recover the Chrome System Operative, we only need to type in CTRL + D to jump the verification screen and get one that lets us recover the Chromebook System Operative.
We need a USB memory stick with the Chromebook SO, we can get it from the link, we need the model number given on this screen.

Missing Screen