February 27, 2014

How to Install Linux on an Acer C720 Chromebook

Chromebooks are amazing little machines. They are a marvel of speed and simplicity. The Acer C720 Chromebook is certainly near the top of the list of Chromebooks to be purchased (next to the Chromebook Pixel, of course). It's speedy and it's inexpensive. But for some, the simplistic nature of the devices doesn't Acer c720 Chromebookoffer enough power or flexibility. For those who need more from this Acer platform, I have the answer – in fact, I have two answers:

  •  Install Ubuntu.

  •  Install Bodhi Linux.

Both solutions will land you with a full-blown Linux set up, ready to do what you need to do. But the process isn't exactly as simple as slapping a USB flash drive in, booting, and installing. There are a few tricks to get this working. In the end, you'll wind up with either a dual booting Chromebook (in the case of ChrUbuntu) or a single boot system (with Bodhi). With the dual boot, you retain the simplicity of ChromeOS, with the addition of the power and flexibility of Ubuntu. The Bodhi installation will give you more space for your Linux needs, at the cost of ChromeOS.

First things first

Before you install Linux, I highly recommend creating a recovery USB flash drive. Chromebook offers a simple solution for this. Just follow these steps:

  1. Boot up your Chromebook and login

  2. Plug in a spare ~2GB+ USB flash drive

  3. Open the Chrome browser

  4. Go to chrome://imageburner

  5. Follow the simple instructions.

When all is said and done, you'll have a recovery drive to use to get your system back where it was (should you not like either Linux install or something goes wrong).

Now, it's time to start the process.