Using the $249 Samsung Chromebook as a Linux notebook

Samsung’s $249 Chromebook is a notebook designed to run Google Chrome OS. But that’s not the only operating system that the laptop can run. We’ve already seen Ubuntu installed on the new Chromebook… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Chromebook with openSUSE

ARM employee Andrew Wafaa has ported openSUSE to run on the Samsung Chromebook. And developer Christopher Hewitt has figured out how to boot Fedora from an SD card slot.

Here’s another little secret: Chrome OS is actually based on Linux. Blogger George McBay has posted a guide for accessing some of the underlying features and installing software without affecting the Chrome OS user experience.

For instance, you can bring up a Linux terminal and install the Go programming language or other software. Under the hood the new Chromebook is running a specialized version of Gentoo Linux.

One of the key advantages to Chrome OS is that all of your settings, apps, and other preferences are automatically backed up online and synchronized with your other devices. If you start making changes to the Gentoo system you lose those synchronization features… but you keep the ability to use Chrome OS while also getting an opportunity to run some other Linux software.

The Samsung Chromebook features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a Samsung Exynos 5250 ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.

While it doesn’t have as much storage as a typical laptop, it’s not a bad piece of hardware for $249 — even if you have no interested in the Chrome OS operating system.

via Olof Johansson

  • michel memeteau

    You’re kidding when saying that “chromeos is based on linux” was a secret ?

    • CyberGusa

      Literally, no, but to the average consumer, yes!

      Google hardly advertises the fact after all and most people don’t know much of anything about OS and what really makes each of them unique and different.

      • ebanza

        the average consumer doesn’t know what linux is

  • CampGareth

    Gentoo based, ha! I’d love it if in a factory somewhere chromebooks were rolling off the production line and compiling their own copies of chrome 😛 Takes an age on fast machines let alone netbooky things 😛

    • Ryan Northrup

      That thought makes me giggle, too.

      More likely, the factory has premade images of Gentoo+Chrome that they just flash onto the machine all at once.

  • sola

    I hope Google starts selling this machine worldwide.

  • darkangelights

    Anyone know how to install opera on a samsung chromebook?