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Installing Ubuntu Linux on a Chromebook

So you bought yourself a nice new Chromebook. It's a tremendous little machine, fast and responsive, quick to boot, and quick to shut down, as in closing the lid, and really simple to use. Plus the batteries last a long time on a charge. But maybe you want to see if you can put it through it's paces. Maybe you want to see how another OS might work on it.

This outline gives an idea what I did to install Ubuntu Linux on an Acer C720 Netbook. I chose a dual boot setup, which offers me the option of using either the original Chrome OS, or Chrome Ubuntu, a distro designed for Chromebooks.

To do all this, you'll need a wireless connection, and a USB thumb drive

Make a recovery drive

Make a recovery drive for your Chromebook

Do not skip this step – you have been warned. In the Chrome browser enter chrome:imageburner, and follow the instructions to make a USB flash recovery drive. Now if you bork it, you can recover.

Boot into developer mode

With the Chromebook turned off hold down the escape and refresh button, and press the power button The refresh button is the fourth button from the left at the top of the keyboard on the C720.

The Chromebook will display the recovery screen.

At the recovery screen press Control+D, then press enter after you release Control+D The system will reboot. Be patient, this will take a while. After it reboots, your system has been reset.

Set up the wireless connection Accept the EULA When the Google login screen come up, do not log in.

Press Ctrl + alt + → Note this is not the right cursor key, but the key at the top of the keyboard where the F2 would be on a normal keyboard.

You are now presented with the ChromeOS command line. Type Chronos and hit enter. No password is needed at this point. You are now in developer mode.

Installing Ubuntu

You have to get to the site to get the software, download and install it. There are two steps to this install process.

curl -L -O; sudo bash 9sgchs «⇐== NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED

Now it will ask you to set a size for the Ubuntu installation. It will give a minimum and maximum size, and tell you what size should work for you. I used 9 GB for the installation. Remember that the drives on the Chromebooks are not large.

After you type the size of the installation and hit enter, the machine will reboot a few times. Be patient, there are a couple occasions where it doesn't look like much is happening, but that would be an incorrect conclusion.

After the Chromebook has done it's thing, it boots into Chrome again. It looks like you are right back where you started. It will even seem more like it soon.

Set up the wireless

Set up the wireless – again Accept the EULA – again At the login screen do not log in Press Press Ctrl+ alt+ → to enter developer mode – again Type Chronos at the command line to login – again

Then you will want to type - again:

curl -L -O; sudo bash 9sgchs «⇐== NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED

This time lots of stuff will be happening, as the Chromebook downloads, decompresses. and installs Ubuntu. Be patient, this takes a while.

Press enter, after it tells you to do so,and the machine will reboot. Remember, this is now a dual boot machine.

When it boots, it will tell you that OS Verification is off. Do not re-enable it.

Dual Boot

If you want to boot to ChromeOS, press Control+D If you want to boot into Linux, press Control+L

note: you don't need to do this control + letter keypress in caps. I just used caps because that lower case L looks a lot like an I.

At the any login, for Ubuntu, you are

username: user password: user

Do I have to tell you about changing that?

You now have a nice dual boot machine, either side has full functionality.

if you don't choose an OS to boot into, it will eventually boot into Chrome. Also, you'll need to re-enter your Google cred on the ChromeOS. Everything else is automatic, mail and other functions and settings as quickly setup without much further input. The Linux side is a more traditional non-cloud OS. You might look into Ubuntu1, the Ubuntu cloud, in order to manage drive space.

Some folks have had trouble doing the install. I'm pretty certain that this is due to impatience. There are some parts of the install where the laptop does not appear to be doing anything. It is doing something.

Installing fldigi

This portion assumes that you want to install fldigi, and control your rig with it. If you aren't doing rig control, the job is a lot easier.

I will outline my setup, which in part will be determinant of my setup.

I have an Icom IC-761 radio, that uses a CI-V interface for rig control. I have a Belkin (Staples) USB to Serial adapter. And of course, the Chromebook running Ubuntu.

There are some things that we tell Ubuntu to make sure the computer is talking to the radio. Since you are using a serial port adapter, ability to use the port is known as “dialout”. Short story – it's a security thing.

We'll need to add you to the dialout group.

When starting the laptop, at the first screen, hit Control+L to boot into Ubuntu.

Open a terminal window. If you aren't used to Ubuntu mouse over to the top icon on the left side of the screen. Click on it now you can search for your applications (and other stuff)

start typing “terminal” in the window. The program will be the first thing that shows up. Do yourself a favor, and drag that Icon to the dock on the left hand side so it will be readily available.

From within the terminal window, add yourself to the dialout group:

$ sudo adduser (username) dialout

The part in paren is your username but with no paren.

Sudo will ask for the password type that and enter. You are added.

Just as a check, let's make certain you are added. Type groups at the command prompt, and you'll see a number of groups that you belong to, in my case, I get adm dialout sudo. All is well as long a you see dialout.

Next, make sure your adapter isn't plugged in yet. We will see what is on the USB busses.

Type lsusb in the terminal. Ls means list, and Usb means just what you think it does. You

You'll get a response something like this:

Bus 001 device 002: ID 8087:8000 Intel Corp.

and a number of other USB devices on the system.

Next, plug in your USB to serial adapter. Wait a minute. Ubuntu will gather data about the adapter.

I have a four port USB port with which I have an outboard sound card that is automatically recongnized by the system, a USB mouse, and the USB to serial adapter we are interested in. Use the setup you want, it will work out, the only caveat is that if you use more than one USB to serial adapter, you'll need to know which one is which for rig control, and the other is for whatever you are using that one for.

Type in lsusb again.

Something has changed in the results. Read through the listing, and you'll see the adapter in there. In my case, I see:

Bus 002 Device 12: ID 050d:0109 Belkin components F5U109/F5U409 PDA Adapter

To be certain the the right driver is loaded, we want to use the ID numbers for the device The ID numbers in this case are the 050d and the 0109.

note: the numbers are in hexadecimal format, and the first number is the manufacturer, the second is the particular device.

note: you likely have a different adapter, many of the adapters out in the marketplace are using the Prolific chipset. In that case the information to the right of the ID numbers will read as something else. The important thing is the ID numbers.

$ sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=050d product=0109

So now it should be all ready, but let's check to be sure.

$ Dmesg | tail

You'll get info on the USB devices, but what you are interested in is the last line, which in my case reads

USB 2-2.2: MCT U232 converter now attached to ttyUSB0

Okay, now to get fldigi to install.

If you aren't familiar with modern Linnux a word on installing programs with Ubuntu or other Linux systems. We'll be talking about getting software from repository’s the simplest way to do it. But there is a problem when dealing with rapidly updated software like fldigi, and that is that the standard repository's are often behind with the latest updates. What to do?

Here is what I do. It isn't the only way, but it works. Ubuntu has a program named “Ubuntu Software Center” a nice program, but a little limited. I prefer a program named “Synaptic Package Manager” Install that. When you open it, it will ask for your password.There are a huge number of programs available for installation, so search for “synaptic”, and You'll see it tell it to install it. But we aren't going to actually use it quite yet.

There is a PPA that does have the latest versions of fldigi. We'll set up your Ubuntu to get those.

It's back to the terminal first


$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kamalmostafa/fldigi

This is telling Ubuntu that you want to add a repository to the places it will look

$ sudo apt-get update

Just what it seems

$ sudo apt-get install fldigi

Now it will do the install of the program. There are some other programs for fldigi in that repository also, so if you already know what you want, go for it. It's another sudo apt-get install (program)

If you go back to Synaptic, you'll now be able to see the Kamal repository. You don't need to do anything with that right now.

You are now ready to work with fldigi.

howto/install_ubuntu_fldigi_on_a_chrome_book.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/11 04:19 by m0ift