Monday, May 18, 2015

Chromebook Crouton

Spoiler alert. I tried to install crouton but it failed.
  1. Put Chromebook in developer mode
  2. Download crouton (link)
  3. Execute crouton (sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce) from the shell (Ctl+Alt+t)
Step 1 it tough. There are multiple ways to put your Chromebook into Dev Mode and the dev mode should not be confused with the ChromeOS dev channel on the about page in the settings. It seems that each manufacturer has a different way. On many ARM processor devices it's a keyboard shortcut and on my ASUS Chromebox it seems to be a recessed paperclip button.

Step 2 is a snap and with any luck the short URL is legit.

Step 3 failed to complete the first time. I have no idea what went wrong but it failed to download a package that subsequently failed to install and so the process stopped.  I was able to restart the installer but had to add the -u option. This option should have been used to update an existing installation but in this case I was hoping it was going to resume my current install.

During the installation I was prompted for a username and password; which subsequently never worked; although it could have been user error on my part. When the installation finished I tried to ssh into crouton but failed. I tried "enter-crouton" in the shell. I tried the other window (Ctl+Alt+ <-) and (Ctl+Alt+ ->). My user and password did not work here. And after I tried 3 times the monitor went to sleep and I could not wake it up. I rebooted and tried again with different uid/pwd and again it slept.

PS: In the ChromeOS WebStore there is a Crouton extension. This extension is supposed to let the user launch an X11 session in the browser; connected to the crouton instance. This is probably just a virtual terminal in the form of VNC or similar.

I don't know that I care anymore. I thought dev mode was going to let me run some apps that I needed to offload from my MBA but now I'm thinking I should just have purchased something completely different. And now I have returned my ASUS Chromebox back to it's original state.

PS: It was really annoying to be faced with the "dev mode" screen every time I rebooted while I was trying to get to proper login.

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