MyScratchNotes: Installing Linux on #Chromebook

Next week, we'll be giving out laptops--considered obsolete in school settings, but that work fine with a copy of LubuntuLinux running on them--to students. After giving a quick tour of Lubuntu on the laptops, I suddenly had 6 "how to" videos to create. Of course, I could have made the videos on a Lubuntu laptop but I wondered, What if you installed Lubuntu on your Chromebook, then made the videos there? Could I use something like Screencastify (which has "picture in a picture," BTW) to get the job done?

Naturally, the question going around in my head required some fun experimentation. As you might guess from the picture below, yes, it worked.

Running LXDE on an Acer C720 Chromebook
Although I've loaded GNU/Linux on a Chromebook twice before, I have to admit that this was the easiest and most pain-free. That is due in large part to the instructions provided online here, and which I've customized below (these are my scratch notes)...the customization involves LXDE in lieu of KDE or XFCE (neither of which I like much) AND loading the right audio drivers to ensure I can record.
Read the Original - How to Easily Install Ubuntu on Chromebook with Crouton | Linux.com
As mentioned in the article above, one of the main benefits:
Some of the advantages of Crouton are that unlike other methods, you don’t have to reboot your machine to switch operating systems; you can switch between them using keyboard shortcuts as if you are switching between two apps.
Here are the relevant excerpts that I followed...again, you may want to read the whole thing. These are just my notes should I have to go through this again.

Part 1 - Install Ubuntu with LXDE GUI interface on Chromebook with Crouton

1. "Install Chromebook recovery utility from the Chrome web store. Open the app and follow the instructions to create a recovery drive." This is an important step in case you mess it all up.

2. Enable the developer mode by holding Esc + Refresh keys and then push the ‘power’ button. The recovery screen will show a scary warning. Just ignore it and let Chrome OS wipe your data. The process can take up to 15 minutes, so don’t turn off your Chromebook.

3. Log into your Chromebook and open the GitHub page of Crouton and download the latest script.

Check the download folder to see if crouton is downloaded.

4- Open the terminal in Chromebook  by hitting Alt+Ctrl+t

5 -Type this command to open shell: shell

6 - Install Ubuntu with LXDE GUI (the -e option will encrypt your drive, which is good)
sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t lxde
This process will take about 15-20 minutes depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

7 - Type sudo startlxde
This will start LXDE GUI interface to Linux.

8 - Update Your Linux installation. At the command line (Go to the START button in the bottom left-hand corner, then Accessories, then LXTerminal), type the following, pressing ENTER after each command:
(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get update
Then...

(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get upgrade
9 - Install your favorite apps...here are a few of my favorites:
(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get install shutter firefox keepassx mc 
Of course, you don't have to install these programs at all. I usually also install Google Chrome browser, and Dropbox.

Part 2 - Setup Audio
One of the things I noticed when I installed Screencastify (check out some other solutions that work on Chromebook) in GoogleChrome on Linux on Chromebook was that the microphone wasn't detected. To get it working, I followed these steps at the Terminal (LXTerminal):

1 - Install pulseaudio
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

2 - Install pavucontrol and pavumeter
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol pavumeter

Restart to get pulseaudio running

3 - Start pavucontrol, setting input/output is set to Audio Stereo Duplex


Part 3 - Install Other Programs
As you might imagine, there are tons of great programs you can install. I've usually found that you can install 4gigs of programs on a GNU/Linux machine and you still have tons of space left over. As I write this, I've loaded programs like LibreOffice, Audacity, Keepass2 (password management) and many others that I need access to periodically.

Since I can jump from Chrome to Linux and back again with just a key combination (Ctrl-ALt-Shift-Forward arrow across the top of your keyboard), I tend to avoid installing stuff on Linux that I can do on the Chromebook.

Still, if you need to install software, here are a few ways to do it:
  • Use the Lubuntu Software Center (it's in Preferences of your installation). It works great if you don't have any particular software titles in mind and need to install those.
  • Use the command line...here are a few examples:
    • sudo apt-get install audacity (this installs the audio editing program you just can't find anywhere online for Chromebook)
    • sudo apt-get install vlc (this installs VLC Media Player, which is a great cross-platform audio player that works without ads)
    • sudo apt-get install keepass2 (this installs a password manager you can run on your own computer)
    • sudo apt-get install secure-delete (this installs a utility to securely wipe files)
    • sudo apt-get install cryptsetup gnome-disk-utility (this enables you to open encrypted external USB drives; by the way, there are a few other steps to open an encrypted drive...need to include those notes at the bottom of this blog entry!)
There are many more programs you can install that just won't work in Chrome environment, such as torrents (Transmission usually standard on Linux), Minecraft, and others...a short list appears online.

Adjust the Time/Date Settings
Right-click on time/date in the bottom right-hand corner, then adjust the CLOCK FORMAT to change: %a %d-%b-%Y %I:%M %p

This will give you  a day - day-month-year - time AM/PM type format.

That's pretty much it! Now I have a Chromebook that can switch to LXDE (LubuntuLinux) for audio editing when I need it using Audacity, as well as access my Keepass password file. And, I can record the video tutorials for getting around in LXDE!

The video quality--and sound--is actually better than doing the recording on my Macbook Air...still haven't figured that one out!


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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