Xander explains how to add Croutons to a Chromebook

I currently use a Chromebook and I have installed Crouton on it.

Having limited experience in Linux before doing this, I had to (and have to) check websites to ensure that I have remembered how to do the various install procedures and commands. Frankly, I’ve been unhappy with most of the explanations. They mostly assume I understand Linux on an elemental level, which I do not and even though I’m understanding it better after several months, you can’t just throw out random words and expect me to know exactly what you mean or what I’m doing (which is scary considering what Crouton is).

What is Crouton?

ChRomium Os Universal chrooT envirONment. This doesn’t make sense does it?

Crouton is a file that tells Chrome OS that you want to access the ‘Change Root’, or ‘chroot’, command, which is a really high level administrative command used by developers, which is present in every distribution of Linux including Chrome OS.

By adding a chroot, you effectively add a second operating system that can run simultaneously and can be switched to with a keyboard shortcut.

How do I run Crouton?

  1. Back up any files currently on the Chromebook
    1. You’re adding a new OS. This should be standard procedure to back everything up.
    2. Create a Recovery Flash Drive with the Chrome Recovery Utility.
      1. Some sites will tell you that Powerwashing will remove a chroot. It will not. Powerwashing removes everything Chrome OS can see, Chrome OS cannot see the chroot, because it’s a different ‘root’. There is a command which can delete-chroot (s), and if that doesn’t work, you’ll have to recover the Chromebook.
      2. You should have one of these ready anyway. It requires a 8 GB flash drive. At least when I did it, Sandisk was discouraged.
      3. If you forget to do this, you can make a Recovery USB on any computer with the Chrome Internet Browser installed.
  2. Enter Developer Mode (if you aren’t in it already).
    1. Doing this will disable OS Verification and Google requires that you Powerwash upon doing this – all your local files and settings will be removed
      1. But through the magic of the Cloud, almost every setting will return within five minutes of rebooting.
    2. Enter Recovery Mode buy pressing, Esc + Refresh + Power.
      1. Admire the scary warning. Press Ctrl+D
      2. Accept the consequences.
      3. Wait for the Powerwash.
    3. At restart, skip the 30 second warning by pressing Ctrl+D
      1. You will have to do this every time you turn on your Chromebook unless you really want to disable it.
      2. Log back into Google. Watch your settings return as if by magic!
        1. Some apps and extensions may prompt you to reauthorize them.
  3. Download Crouton
    1. https://goo.gl/fd3zc
      1. This file should live now forever in Downloads. It’s small, you’ll never notice it.
  4. Install Your New OS.
    1. Enter Crosh (Ctrl+T)
      1. Type shell
      2. Type sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -e -t xfce,extension -r trusty 
        1. This is saying,
          1. sh ~/Downloads/crouton = Run crouton,
          2. -e = encrypt my chroot.
          3. -t = target, which means a couple things such as which desktop you want and how it interacts with Chrome OS. ‘xfce’ is the default, light speedy desktop. ‘extension’, with a Chrome OS extension, allows you to share a clipboard between Chrome and Ubuntu.
            1. If you have a Chromebook Pixel or other device with a touchscreen, add ,touch to the extensions for touchscreen support.
            2. To see the full list type: sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t list
          4. -r = release, which version of Ubuntu you want. Default is ‘precise’, but ‘trusty’ is the newer release with Long Term Support (LTS)
            1. To see the full list type: sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r list
      3. Crouton installs your new Chroot.
        1. You will be asked for a Chromium Root Password. Type it twice and remember it.
          1. Linux does not show anything while a password is being typed. It’s getting the characters, it’s just not showing them, even as asterisks, to that asshole looking over your shoulder.
        2. If you asked it to encrypt it, you’ll be prompted for an encryption key, Choose well.
          1. Go crazy with your mouse to assist the encryption.
        3. Lastly you’ll need to choose a password for Ubuntu. I suggest using the same password as Chrome Root, just to avoid confusion
  5. Enter and set up Ubuntu.
    1. Type sudo startxfce4
      1. This might vary if you have a different target. It might be startunity.
        1. It’s really sudo enter-chroot startxfce4.
        2. If the target breaks you can enter is as a terminal prompt by using sudo enter-chroot [your-chroot's name] (the chroot is probably named trusty, or whatever version you have).
    2. Shiny new OS. Very empty.
      1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift + Back OR Forward to switch to Chrome OS and back.
        1. The Crosh tab will still be open and showing random events happening on the Ubuntu side. Feel free to close it if you want (crosh always gives that warning about closing the tab).
      2. In Ubuntu, open a Terminal (looks like the Crosh window).
        1. It’s easy to manage Ubuntu via the Terminal. The most important things are ‘sudo’ ‘apt-get’.
        2. sudo is the admin command.
          1. It tells Ubuntu you are the boss and are operating as ‘root’. Really should only be used if you’re editing settings, not to run basic programs
          2. It will prompt you for your password
        3. apt-get gets you apps (and can update Ubuntu).
          1. Important Commands
            1. sudo apt-get update = updates the local list of available files and where to find them.
            2. sudo apt-get upgrade = upgrades any out of date files, whether they are core, or some random required file for something. Also removes unneeded files.
            3. sudo apt-get autoclean = removes packages it downloaded to install or upgrade files.
            4. sudo apt-get install [program] = installs the program and any other files the program says it needs to run.
      3. There are really no programs automatically installed. This is a feature, not a bug, they didn’t want to fill up your tiny harddrive with programs you wouldn’t use.
        1. Use sudo apt-get install to install programs.
          1. You can list multiple programs at once by placing spaces between them.
        2. This is a list I suggest.
          1. bash-completion | auto complete for some terminal commands
          2. vlc | media player
          3. ubuntu-restricted-extras | pretty standard things that they can’t give you automatically.
          4. ttf-ubuntu-font-family | True Type Fonts
          5. msttcorefonts | Microsoft Fonts, so the internet looks normal.
            1. Requires authorization, If you install via terminal, use the tab key to move to the okay button.
          6. software-center | Graphical interface for installing programs from online. Can be sluggish.
          7. synaptic |  Package Manager, basically the same thing as Software Center, but faster and sometimes seems to have a better selection…
          8. firefox | Internet Browser. The preinstalled sucks and Chromium is massive.
          9. libreoffice | the entirely of Libre Office. You can also just get libreoffice-writer, but the suite shares so many files, it doesn’t really save space.
          10. gimp | think Photoshop for free. Harder to use than Photoshop, but just as powerful.
          11. inkscape | Vector graphics program. Like Adobe Illustrator.
          12. Scrivener | Cannot be apt-get ‘ed. You have to download it from the L&L forums (for free!) and tell Software Center to open it. Software Center should open it.
    3. Other settings
      1. Go to Settings Manager >> Appearance >> Fonts (They hurt the eyes!)
        1. Enable anti-aliasing
        2. Enable hinting.
      2. Go to Settings Manager >> Screensaver (it can cause issues with Chrome OS)
        1. Disable Screensaver