Acer C710 Chromebook

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The following is a work in progress, of getting arch working on Acer's new C7 200$ Chromebook. From opening the box to an Arch Linux command line.

Currently you'll need a second computer already running *nix. In the future If there's enough requests I'll create a way to install Arch without the need for a second computer. Much like the cr48-ubuntu script. If you're already running Ubuntu on your C7 then you can just skip to creating your own arch image.

Installing Arch onto an Acer C7 Chromebook

Currently Archlinux does work on the C7 but the install process is a bit odd. Currently I have no way to replace the chromeos kernel, and I'd really like to. If you manage to figure it out PLEASE let me know how. In the mean time the system does work really well (for a chromebook) with Arch.

Backup all your data!

I'm assuming you're buying the system to install Arch, and that there's no personal data on the device. But if that's not the case


Off device too, the hard disk gets wiped clean by design when you enter Dev Mode.

Enabling Dev Mode

First step is to enable Dev mode on the system so we can run some unsigned code. This will wipe all your data!

To enter Dev Mode:

This enters recovery mode,
  • Now press Template:Keypress (there's no prompt). It will ask you to confirm, then the system will reboot into dev-mode.
Dev Mode will always show the scary boot screen and you need to press Template:Keypress or wait 30 seconds to continue booting.

If you want to boot fromDirect_bootstrapping_Archlinux a chromium type usb drive you'll have to run "crossystem dev_boot_usb=1" from ChromeOS and reboot once to boot from USB drives with Template:Keypress. But we don't care about that.

Note: If you need to hard reset. Press the refresh/F3 and press the power button. This will hard reset the system. It's occasionally useful, but use it with care - it wont sync the disk or shut down nicely, so there's a nonzero chance of trashing the contents of your disk.

(all of this was stolen from [1]) Direct_bootstrapping_Archlinux

Partitioning For Arch

Next you need to make room for Arch by repartitioning the Chromebook.

You can use the following script to repartition your C7 to make room for Arch Linux. (It will also probably work on other chromebooks as well.)

It will prompt you for sizes, then it will partition your disk for installing Arch, then reboot. After it reboots the C7 will reinstall ChromeOS to factory, but you'll have the partitions needed for installing Arch in the later sections.

if [ "$1" != "" ]; then
  echo "Got ${target_disk} as target drive"
  echo ""
  echo "WARNING! All data on this device will be wiped out! Continue at your own risk!"
  echo ""
  read -p "Press [Enter] to partition for Arch Linux on ${target_disk} or CTRL+C to quit"

  ext_size="`blockdev --getsz ${target_disk}`"
  aroot_size=$((ext_size - 65600 - 33))
  parted --script ${target_disk} "mktable gpt"
  cgpt create ${target_disk} 
  cgpt add -i 6 -b 64 -s 32768 -S 1 -P 5 -l KERN-A -t "kernel" ${target_disk}
  cgpt add -i 7 -b 65600 -s $aroot_size -l ROOT-A -t "rootfs" ${target_disk}
  blockdev --rereadpt ${target_disk}
  partprobe ${target_disk}
  crossystem dev_boot_usb=1
  target_disk="`rootdev -d -s`"
  # Do partitioning (if we haven't already)
  ckern_size="`cgpt show -i 6 -n -s -q ${target_disk}`"
  croot_size="`cgpt show -i 7 -n -s -q ${target_disk}`"
  state_size="`cgpt show -i 1 -n -s -q ${target_disk}`"

  rec_archlinux_size=$(($max_archlinux_size - 1))
  # If KERN-C and ROOT-C are one, we partition, otherwise assume they're what they need to be...
  if [ "$ckern_size" =  "1" -o "$croot_size" = "1" ]
    while :
      read -p "Enter the size in gigabytes you want to use for Arch Linux. Acceptable range is 5 to $max_archlinux_size  but $rec_archlinux_size is the recommended maximum: " archlinux_size
      if [ ! $archlinux_size -ne 0 2>/dev/null ]
        echo -e "\n\nNumbers only please...\n\n"
      if [ $archlinux_size -lt 5 -o $archlinux_size -gt $max_archlinux_size ]
        echo -e "\n\nThat number is out of range. Enter a number 5 through $max_archlinux_size\n\n"
    # We've got our size in GB for ROOT-C so do the math...

    #calculate sector size for rootc

    #kernc is always 16mb

    #new stateful size with rootc and kernc subtracted from original
    stateful_size=$(($state_size - $rootc_size - $kernc_size))

    #start stateful at the same spot it currently starts at
    stateful_start="`cgpt show -i 1 -n -b -q ${target_disk}`"

    #start kernc at stateful start plus stateful size
    kernc_start=$(($stateful_start + $stateful_size))

    #start rootc at kernc start plus kernc size
    rootc_start=$(($kernc_start + $kernc_size))

    #Do the real work
    echo -e "\n\nModifying partition table to make room for Arch." 
    echo -e "Your Chromebook will reboot, wipe your data and then"
    echo -e "you should re-run this script..."
    umount /mnt/stateful_partition
    # stateful first
    cgpt add -i 1 -b $stateful_start -s $stateful_size -l STATE ${target_disk}

    # now kernc
    cgpt add -i 6 -b $kernc_start -s $kernc_size -l KERN-C ${target_disk}

    # finally rootc
    cgpt add -i 7 -b $rootc_start -s $rootc_size -l ROOT-C ${target_disk}


Create Arch Disk Image

Create Image File

  • First we need to create an Arch Image to do things with. It's recommended that you use arch to create this image (because that's how I did it), but you can probably do this from any linux system.
# truncate -s 1G arch.img

Convert Image To A Partition

  • Convert image to a ext3 filesystem.
# mkfs.ext3 arch.img
  • Mount image to install to
# mkdir /mnt/arch_install
# mount -o arch.img /mnt/arch_install

Install Arch onto this new image

There's plenty of ways to go about this, the method I recommend is Directly bootstrapping Archlinux. If you go this way you can just follow the Installation_Guide. But anyway you choose to create your Arch linux install should work, unless you do something very strange, in that case good luck!

Copy Arch Image To C7

You should now have the following

  1. An image of Arch Linux
  2. A freshly partitioned Acer C7
  3. A copy of the kernel
  4. A copy of the kernel modules

From there all you need to do is;

  • get the arch.img on the C7
  • download a copy of your kernel
  • download a copy of your kernel modules
  • mount your image
  • mount your root-c partition
  • repack/resign the kernel
  • dd the kernel
  • copy over the kernel modules
  • copy over cgpt
  • set boot with cgpt
  • reboot
  • be happy

Problems AKA: Work In Progress

Tango-document-new.pngThis article is a stub.Tango-document-new.png

Notes: please use the first argument of the template to provide more detailed indications. (Discuss in Talk:Acer C710 Chromebook#)

See alse