Chromebook Pixel 2

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Warning: This article relies on third-party scripts and modifications, and may irreparably damage your hardware or data. Proceed at your own risk.

This page details installing Arch Linux on the Google Chromebook Pixel (2015). It is commonly referred to as the Chromebook Pixel 2, sometimes referred to by its codename Samus, and sometimes called the Chromebook Pixel LS (which stands for "Ludicrous Speed") when referring to the upgraded version with a Intel Core i7.

Installation

  1. Enable developer mode.
  2. Use the superuser shell in order to enable SeaBIOS[broken link: invalid section].
  3. You have the option to Boot to SeaBIOS by default so you can boot without any keyboard shortcuts.
  4. Install Arch Linux.
  5. Continue reading below to correctly configure GRUB before rebooting.

GRUB

GRUB does not detect the correct video mode and does not display the menu by default. GRUB_GFXMODE is set to auto. Using vbeinfo, on the grub command line, it's detected at 1280x850x16. The options to display the menu are to either turn off GRUB_GFXMODE or set the correct display. In /etc/default/grub either,

GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT=console

or,

GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x850x16

and then run

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

to update the config.

If you forget to do this you can boot off the installation media again mount your disks and arch-chroot in.

Linux

Touchpad, touchscreen, and audio have been working in the vanilla Linux kernel since v4.9, but linux-samus4AUR comes with a config that is somewhat optimized for the Chromebook Pixel (2015).

Audio, Brightness, and Touch

The source for linux-samus4AUR contains some helpful scripts[1] that aren't distributed in the package, but can instead be installed in a derivative package called samus-scriptsAUR. These are helpful for managing audio (e.g. switching between speaker and headphone output), setting screen backlight and keyboard LED brightness, and fixing the Atmel maXTouch bug (see #Unresolved Issues).

Keyboard Bindings

xkeyboard-config 2.16-1 added a chromebook model that enables the Chrome OS style functions for the function keys. You can, for example, set this using localectl set-x11-keymap us chromebook. See the chromebook definition in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/inet for the full mappings.

The search button acts as a Super_L key, which may be undesirable for keyboard layouts that make good use of this position. Using xmodmap, you can rebind this to whatever you would like. Example using Tab for a keyboard layout with six layers:

$ xmodmap -e "keycode 133 = Tab Tab Tab Tab Tab Tab"

Add this to your .xinitrc to load at login.

Unresolved Issues

  • xkeyboard-config provides a chromebook model which can be specified, for example, with localectl set-x11-keymap us chromebook but when using GNOME on Wayland the model is not recognized. The media keys still behave as function keys and setxkbmap -print -verbose 10 doesn't show the chromebook model being used.
  • Touchpad occasionally doesn't work after waking from sleep using linux 4.9-1+. If this happens, reloading the touchpad driver via sudo modprobe -r atmel_mxt_ts && sudo modprobe atmel_mxt_ts usually restores touchpad functionality. This fix is also available as enable-touch from samus-scriptsAUR.

See Also