Is it possible to install Ubuntu 13.04 and later releases on a Chromebook 550 like you would on a Windows laptop etc? I'm thinking of getting one of these Chromebooks to do this and run it alongside Chrome OS or maybe replacing Chrome OS. Thanks all!

  • Installing ubuntu with xfce on my samsung ChromeBook worked pretty perfectly! The one thing that got me is having to install 12.04 first, then upgrade to 13.04. Also, I was unable to run unity and had to install xfce. I followed this chromeos-cr48.blogspot.com/2013/05/…. Then I followed the directions at craigerrington.com/blog/…. I'm on it now and it is working pretty perfectly.
    – daboross
    Sep 25, 2013 at 4:31

1 Answer 1


Source: http://zoomq.qiniudn.com/ZQScrapBook/ZqFLOSS/data/20130524230746/index.html
Actual source is http://www.whatthetech.info/installing-ubuntu-13-04-samsung-chromebook/, but the link is dead. The above link is a cached copy.

  • This ONLY works for the ARM Samsung Chromebook. Do not attempt on any other device.
  • You must be in developer mode to follow this process. See here for instructions.
  • Where mentioned, “mmcblk1″ indicates an install on an SD card in the SD slot of the laptop. This can be changed to install on the internal SSD simply by removing the “/dev/mmcblk1″ flag from the shell command. THIS WILL WIPE YOUR INTERNAL SSD.
  • This process will delete all data on your SD card.
  • As always, everything is “at your own risk”.

Now, on to the tutorial! I’ll be using a 16GB Sandisk Extreme SD card for this tutorial. At 20MB/s it’s not the fastest out there, but my Extreme Pro cards are all filled with important pictures so I couldn’t use one this time around. As a side note, 99% of the problems I have had with installing ubuntu have been to do with SD card formatting and partition labels. The best thing to do is simply to use a brand new memory card that has no leftover junk on it. I have had success with formatting a memory card in a camera. If you have any issues, please email me using the contact page and I will help you figure it out. For good measure, I like to format the card in the ChromeOS file app too:

Step 1: Download the script

Simon has created a .sh file (shell script) that does a LOT of the work for you. This script can be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6ujqV3C76WhaktVbEFuanNQN2s/edit?usp=sharing or http://paste.ubuntu.com/6148392/

Download to your “Downloads” folder on the chromebook – do NOT rename it (or name it install-ubuntu-core-chromebook.sh).

Step 2: Running the script

Head over to your console by pressing Ctrl+Alt+. Log in as “chronos” (simply type chronos on the first line and hit enter).

Now you want to unmount your SD card so it can be worked on, by typing sudo umount /dev/mmcblk1* (note the asterisk should be typed).

Once unmounted, it’s time to run the script!

sudo bash /home/chronos/user/Downloads/install-ubuntu-core-chromebook.sh /dev/mmcblk1

You may need to hit enter a couple of times to get it running. If you see a “/dev/mmcblk1p7 is mounted” error, you forgot the asterisk. If you have any GPT labeling errors, you didn’t format correctly. Once started the process will take about 10 minutes depending on the speed of your card. During the process you have to input a few options, including keyboard layout and encoding. Simply choose the ones that best fit you (U.S. keyboard, UTF8 formatting etc.).

Let the install process finish out.

Step 3: Reboot

As instructed, it’s time to reboot. Simply type exit in console then hit Ctrl+Alt+, or hold down the power button. Once you’re at the “OS Verification is Off” white boot screen, hit CTRL+U to boot into your new Ubuntu install.

Step 4: Installing Ubuntu

You’re VERY nearly finished. It’s time to get Ubuntu up and running. The first thing you will want to do is log in as root. Simply type root and hit enter. Let’s take a minute and set the root password, by typing passwd ROOTPASSWORDHERE. Now simply type adduser YOURUSERNAME so you can add yourself as a user. So for example, I typed adduser whatthetech. Make sure it’s all lower case without spaces. Enter the info and password that you want, and confirm.

Here’s a picture of the full process (including where I tried to add a password before having a user, and tried to add a user with an uppercase letter – I’m human too…lol):

Now let’s get connected to wi-fi so that you can finish the install. Type sh quickwpa.sh myssid mykey where “myssid” is the name of your wi-fi network and “mykey” is the password. It will take a few seconds to connect.

FINALLY, once connected to the internet, type apt-get install ubuntu-standard xubuntu-desktop chromium-browser and hit Enter. As Alex says “go get a coffee, because that will be a while”. It’s not a joke….this will take a LONG time. Your chromebook is now downloading and installing over 1GB of system files, but it’s the last thing you need to do! Once finished, it’s time to log in to your brand new 13.04 installation.

Enjoy!! Many thanks to Alex for making me aware of the script that automates this process, as well as outlining the shell commands to get operational! You can thank him on Twitter @androidfilehost or by heading over to www.androidfilehost.com

Our sincerest thanks to Simon Porter for creating the script in question – you can thank him on Google+ here.


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