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Chromebooks

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KBD
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Re: Chromebooks

#11

Post by KBD » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:16 pm

An Acer C720 with 4gb ram would be good at the right price. Ram is the big problem with older Chromebooks. Also stick to intel cpu for a better Linux experience. I bought a HP 14 Chromebook that looks rough for $35. Surprisingly the battery is still pretty good. I had MX on it for awhile, then Debian 10. Right now I have Cloud Ready on it. I have an Acer C720 with only 2gb ram :( For some reason you really notice the weakness of 2gb ram on that model. Luckily I flashed the bios on it back when the John Lewis firmware still worked, so it has legacy boot with a typical bios which is nice. I have MX on a 120gb flash drive, and I have Debian 10 installed on a 120gb onboard SSD on the C720. I bought it years ago refurbished for $140 from Acer. It was barely used, only had a tiny scratch on top, battery life was over 90%. It still is a solid little computer but that ram weakness really shows.
I loved m CB35 Toshiba Chromebook. I used Legacy boot which comes on board without flashing its firmware, and ran all sorts of Linux distros on it via ctrl-L legacy boot on flashdrives. It was a heart-breaker when that screen shorted out. It had great sound and that clear lcd was pretty good until the short.

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mxer
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Re: Chromebooks

#12

Post by mxer » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:53 am

I'm no stranger to using 2GB ram machines, I have a few too - this will be my first chromebook using eMMC though.

I'm interested to see how Linux/BSD work from that eMMC drive - I've read that some people have had a hard time trying to install to them, so that was why I created this post.
(FOSS, Linux, & BSD since 1999)

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Re: Chromebooks

#13

Post by mxer » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:02 am

Reading back on the thread, I see mention of ARM processors.

Gentoo has quite a good looking distro for ARM, I tried it on one of my Raspberry Pi, it even worked on 1GB ram.
(FOSS, Linux, & BSD since 1999)

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Re: Chromebooks

#14

Post by mxer » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:41 am

Update:
I got mine 'unlocked' this morning, I had to take the back off, remove a heat distribution plate, scratch off a metallic sticker, put some electrical tape on a bit of the heat plate, leave out one screw, when putting the heat plate back on, then put the back on again. :)

I nearly got AntiX 19b3 to work on it, but grub didn't install properly, so I've grabbed a copy of MX19beta1 to try next...
(FOSS, Linux, & BSD since 1999)

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Re: Chromebooks

#15

Post by mxer » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:25 am

Unfortunately, it won't install grub either....hmm...I've tried boot repair too.

I'm set up as UEFI, vfat, swap, & linux partitions....tried both ESP (& MBR just in case)....should it be root partition(?)

Edit: No that doesn't work either. :frown:
(FOSS, Linux, & BSD since 1999)

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KBD
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Re: Chromebooks

#16

Post by KBD » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:23 pm

mxer wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:41 am
Update:
I got mine 'unlocked' this morning, I had to take the back off, remove a heat distribution plate, scratch off a metallic sticker, put some electrical tape on a bit of the heat plate, leave out one screw, when putting the heat plate back on, then put the back on again. :)

I nearly got AntiX 19b3 to work on it, but grub didn't install properly, so I've grabbed a copy of MX19beta1 to try next...
The early ones were easy to disable, simply remove a screw. Except for my C710 which was a nightmare and you had to make a jumper-connection. The later ones have gotten worse, hiding the screw under the motherboard. I don't know why they feel it is so important to lock these down in unreasonable ways. Glad to hear you got it disabled. Did you use the MrChromebox firmware? Just remember to set it up to boot efi with boot flag.

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KBD
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Re: Chromebooks

#17

Post by KBD » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:26 pm

mxer wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:25 am
Unfortunately, it won't install grub either....hmm...I've tried boot repair too.

I'm set up as UEFI, vfat, swap, & linux partitions....tried both ESP (& MBR just in case)....should it be root partition(?)

Edit: No that doesn't work either. :frown:
Did you check to be sure write-protection is fully disabled? I had to unplug my battery then plug it back in and run the firmware to be sure I had properly flashed the bios. But if you are seeing the MrChromebox info at boot you should be OK.
Here is the general procedure I found online and used to deal with efi boot on MrChromebox:
Use GParted from the Ubuntu installation media ... in case it does not work you can
download GParted from the project website and create a bootable DVD/USB media.

Boot from GParted Live media, once on the desktop GParted opens automatically.
Choose the disk you want to work on from the application menu on the top right.

Click on Device → Create Partition Table → Select gpt → Click Apply

Click on Partition → Create new Partition:
New size: about 500 MB - File system: fat32

Click on Partition → Create new Partition:
New size: amount of RAM - File system: linux-swap

Click on Partition → Create new Partition:
New size: minimum 20 GB - File system: ext4

Click on Apply after checking that everything is correct, wait until GParted completed the tasks.

Right-click the fat32 partition → Manage flags → Select boot and esp.

Now close GParted, shut down the computer, remove the GParted Live media.

Boot from Ubuntu installation media and select Try Ubuntu without installing.
On the desktop click Install Ubuntu and when asked, choose 'Something else'.

Select the ext4 partition you have created with GParted for Ubuntu before.
Select / as mount point and ext4 as file system ... start the installation.
https://askubuntu.com/questions/743095/ ... for-ubuntu

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KBD
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Re: Chromebooks

#18

Post by KBD » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:34 pm

PS--one other thing, if you are using the original SSD there are like 12 partitions that ChromeOS puts on it. I had to remove each one and format the SSD before installing anything. Some installers don't know how to deal with all those partitions automatically.

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mxer
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Re: Chromebooks

#19

Post by mxer » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:25 pm

Thanks for the hints KBD, I wasn't to sure about whether I needed to use the boot flags, but I think I tried to add boot to the DOS partition, but it wouldn't take, I presumed because it wasn't a Linux filesystem, but didn't think to activate esp, I'll give that a try next.

I think it is creating the partitions alright, as I could copy in a couple of files to the DOS partition when I mounted it on /mnt.
(FOSS, Linux, & BSD since 1999)

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Re: Chromebooks

#20

Post by KBD » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:30 pm

mxer wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:25 pm
Thanks for the hints KBD, I wasn't to sure about whether I needed to use the boot flags, but I think I tried to add boot to the DOS partition, but it wouldn't take, I presumed because it wasn't a Linux filesystem, but didn't think to activate esp, I'll give that a try next.

I think it is creating the partitions alright, as I could copy in a couple of files to the DOS partition when I mounted it on /mnt.
efi is a bit more involved than legacy boot. Let me know how it works out. It will be a nice machine once you get it running Linux.

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