Chrome OS devices
This article is to provide information on how to get Arch up and running on the Chromebook series of laptops (or netbooks) as built by Samsung, Acer, Google.
Discussion of this topic began in this forum thread: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=148602
Initially written with the intention of getting a Samsung Series 5 550 to dual boot with Arch. (Only reason for the dual boot is to potentially collect firmware changes pushed downward from Chromeos).
Model Specific Overview
|Manufacturer||Model||Available||Generation||Processor||RAM||Storage||Screen size||Weight||Base price|
|Cr-48||Dec 2010||Prototype||1.66 GHz Intel Atom N455||2 GB DDR3||16 GB Solid-state drive|| 12.1 in
| 3.8 lb
|Not for retail sale|
|Samsung|| Series 5
|Jun 2011||1||1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570||2 GB DDR3||16 GB Solid-state drive|| 12.1 in
| 3.06-3.26 lb
| $349.99 Wi-Fi|
|Acer||AC700||Jul 2011||1||1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570||2 GB DDR3||16 GB Solid-state drive|| 11.6 in
| 3.19 lb
| $299.99 Wi-Fi|
|Samsung|| Series 5
|May 2012||2|| 1.3 GHz Intel Celeron 867
1.6 Ghz Intel Core i5-2467M
|4 GB DDR3||16 GB Solid-state drive|| 12.1 in
| 3.3 lb
| $449.99 Wi-Fi|
|Samsung|| Series 3
|Oct 2012||3||1.7 GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Dual||2 GB DDR3||16 GB Solid-state drive|| 11.6 in
| 2.43 lb
| $249.99 Wi-Fi|
|Acer||C7 Chromebook||Nov 2012||3||1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847||2-4 GB DDR3|| 320 GB Hard-disk drive
16 GB Solid-state drive
| 11.6 in
| 3-3.05 lb
General Chromebook Installation
One thing to note is that if you need to claim your free 100gb of google drive space, you probably want to do that before your install of arch. This needs to happen from chromeos (version > 23) and will not work from linux. It is a good idea to use this google drive before installing Arch as it will sync/backup the chromeos system as designed.
A wealth of information is at http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/developer-information-for-chrome-os-devices/samsung-sandy-bridge#TOC-Entering-Developer-Mode . The notes below are primarily taken from there.
The first step is to enable developer mode on the Chromebook system. Be aware that although everything in the "Downloads" area goes to your online google drive account, this will delete all stored data.
A script referenced from http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/chrubuntu-1204-now-with-double-bits.html points to the shell script at http://goo.gl/i817v and discusses repartitioning. The script should be run as the chronos user.
You'll save your self a lot of time if you understand this command before you attempt to install Arch on a chromebook.
This is NON-EXHAUSTIVE but it'll help most people reading this. cgpt --help is nice too.
cgpt showpartiton /dev/sda
to list all partitions on disk with boot information for each.
cgpt add [options] /dev/sda
used to modify boot options
cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 0 -T 1 /dev/sda
Example: modify partition #6, set priority to 5, successful to false, and boot tries to once(1), on device /dev/sda
cgpt add -i 1-12
- Partition number to change
cgpt add -P 9-0
- Priority 9 > 1 (Higher number will try to boot first)
cgpt add -T 0-99
- Tries, used with the successful flag. Will try to boot this partition x times until tries = 0 then it will try next lower priority partition.
cgpt add -S 0-1
- Successful flag, if 1 will try to boot this partition forever. Be careful with this one! If 0 and tries > 0 it will try to boot this partition until it' out of tries.
If installing yourself, don't forget to copy this onto your arch partition!.
Samsung Series 5 550
Developer mode on the Samsung Series 5 has two levels of access, "dev-switch on" and "dev-mode BIOS". With the first level you enable a command line shell, which lets you look around inside the GNU/Linux operating system, but does not let you run your own versions.
The second level of access installs a special BIOS component that provides the ability to boot your own operating systems from either removable (USB/SD) or fixed (SSD) drives. Both levels of access are completely reversible, so don't be afraid to experiment.
The second level (described above) is what we want in order to install Arch.
The switch is behind a little door on the right-hand side of the chromebook (as linked above). To enable the developer switch you open the door, use something pointy (paperclip or toothpick) to move the switch towards the back of the device, and reboot.