Submit A Tip Alternative Tip Form

Ubuntu 12.04 Up and Running on Samsung ARM Chromebook

Series 3 Chromebook ARM

Ubuntu 12.04 has been successfully made to run on the new Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, which has been on sale for less than 2 weeks.

The ARM powered device, priced cheaply at $249/£229, boasts a dual-core ARM processor clocked @ 1.7Ghz; quad-core Mali-T604 for graphics; a thin and lightweight design; an 11″ (1366 x 768) screen; 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB SSD.

‘ChrUbuntu 12.04‘, the name given to the project by its developer Jay Lee, was made available for all existing models of Samsung’s Chromebook and Chromebox line earlier this year.

This release, in alpha, is separate to those versions.

It’s Alpha, Dummy

As this is the first release of ChrUbuntu it’s not perfect. Various bits and pieces don’t work well:

  • Sound doesn’t work
  • Touchpad not perfect
  • No GPU acceleration

All of these are solvable; as soon as Google open-source the relevant parts of the ‘stack’ for the new Chromebooks developers will be able to patch these up.

In somewhat of a contrary twist, Google don’t provide a version of Google Chrome for non-ChromeOS ARM devices so you’ll need to use the open-source version, Chromium should you want some Chrome-browser goodness.

Bits that do work fine out-of-the-box with this alpha build:

  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Battery monitor
  • Card Reader
  • USB detection

Not An Easy Task

Getting Ubuntu up and running on a Chromebook – ARM or Intel – is not a straightforward process. It requires effort on the part of the developer in customising and compiling the Chromium OS kernel to work with Ubuntu.

Installing Ubuntu is not easy , either. By default the bootloader of Chromebooks are signed and locked. You can’t use a live USB and install Ubuntu, Knoppix or Hannah Montana Linux in the ‘typical’ fashion.

But Google make it very easy to switch the lock off (and enter ‘development mode’), allowing you to dual-boot between Ubuntu and ChromeOS.

Install Ubuntu on Samsung Series 3 Chromebook

If you’re a Series 3 owner and want to give the alpha a whirl you can find all the information you need on Jay Lee’s Chrubuntu blog linked below.

How to Install Ubuntu 12.04 on ARM Chromebook

Like Chrome? So do we. So much so that we have an entire sister site dedicated to it over at omgchrome.com