It’s no secret that you can run Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, or other Linux-based software on the new $249 Samsung Chromebook. But now one of the first operating systems designed specifically for the ARM-based laptop is available… or at least an early build is available.
ARM ChrUbuntu 12.04 is a port of Ubuntu 12.04 designed to run on the Samsung Chromebook.
The operating system comes from the same developer who ported Ubuntu to run on Intel-powered Chromebooks earlier this year.
At this point the ARM version is still in the early stages. Audio doesn’t work. The touchpad can be difficult to use. There’s no hardware-accelerated graphics yet. And since there’s no Chrome browser for Linux-on-ARM yet, you’ll need to install Chromium instead.
But WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, and SD card functions all work. In other words, if you don’t need audio and don’t carry about finicky graphics and a less than reliable touchpad, you can run a full desktop-style operating system on the Chromebook.
You can find instructions for installing ARM ChrUbuntu at the developer’s website. What’s cool about this script is that it installs Ubuntu onto a partition on the ChromeBook’s 16GB solid state disk without wiping Chrome OS. That means it creates a dual boot system, allowing you to choose which operating system you want to run.
The Samsung Chromebook features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a 1.7 GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 ARM Cortex-A15 dual core processor, and 2GB of RAM. It measures less than 0.7 inches thick and weighs about 2.4 pounds. It’s a pretty great mobile computing device for $249… especially now that it’s clear you’re not stuck with Chrome OS as the only operating system choice.
I should have a full review of the laptop in a few days, but during the week and a half I’ve spent with it, I’ve been pretty impressed so far.