According to François Beaufort who is a French 'Happiness Evangelist' at Google (and no, I didn't make that up), Chromebook users will soon be able to choose what operating system they want. In a publicly shared post from last week, Beaufort states that "in order to support installing and testing custom code on Chrome OS devices, the chromium team is currently adding the ability to easily enable Debugging Features when the device is booted in Developer Mode." This will mean that such things as removing the rootfs verification top enable OS file modification will be possible, along with enabling SSH access using standard test keys and, importantly, booting from USB for installing an OS image off a USB drive.

OK, so the ability to run your Chromebook on something like Ubuntu isn't exactly new but these changes will likely make the process easier. That said, you are still talking about having to 'powerwash' the Chromebook into the Dev Channel and enable debugging features, so it's still not for the feint-hearted and there's always the opportunity to brick your device if you get it wrong.

So is anyone here already running a dual-boot Chromebook, or inspired to get rid of ChromeOS following this news? If so, let us know how you get on.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by Chromatix

I was toying with the idea before, I thought hmmm, these chrome books are cheap, reasonable spec and has an ssd drive. But for whatever reason, I think I looked at the hacks required, and decided against it, even though I'm quite familiar with hacks and linux.

Got myself a smallish notebook wiped it and put lubuntu on. Less hacking. I don't know, would be good to hear others experiences.


I'm not afraid of jumping through a few hoops to get the OS I want installed the way I want. One of the things which turned me off Chromebooks was the need to keep ChromeOS installed alongside your chosen system, eating up disk space which is already scarce. The need to manually select the secondary boot option on every boot was also nasty.

Incidentally, the whole cloud storage thing is the major turnoff of ChromeOS for me; that and the idea of the whole desktop essentially being a web browser. I habitually write more efficient software than average in my day job - I don't want to go in the opposite direction at home.

With this new option, it looks like a much fairer matchup between a ChromeBook with a different OS and a Raspberry Pi 2 adapted into a laptop form factor, now that the latter is truly fast enough for daily use.

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