The Dell Chromebook 11 is one of the better chromebooks available and crucially is available with 4gb of RAM, which makes it a much better proposition for installing Chrubuntu on. The other requirement is an Intel processor; the first generation of Chromebooks had ARM processors.
A chromebook is essentially the netbook idea come of age, i.e. a small and cheap laptop which is more than adequate for the majority of general purpose uses like email, editing documents, web access etc.
No doubt in part because of the (small) SSDs that come with these laptops, the performance is surprisingly good. Another benefit is driver support, which also has a bearing on performance with a graphical desktop like Unity.
I took the steps below to install Ubuntu on the Dell Chromebook:
1) Activate developer mode
I found the answer to this in the Arch linux documentation at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Chromebook
- Turn on
- Press and hold
Esc + F3(F3 is the one with the refresh circle on it), then while continuing to press down press the power button
- This will enter recovery mode – then press
Ctrl + D
2) From there on I followed the instructions at http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/chrubuntu-for-new-chromebooks-now-with.html
Once Ubuntu is installed, hit
Ctrl-Alt-L at the developer mode boot screen to boot into it.
So far it works well. My only gripe with the Dell Chromebook 11 is an aggressive (and slightly noisy) system fan, but this feels like a minor criticism given how fast and cheap it is.
3) Add trackpad support
Update: as at 3 Mar 2015 updating in the usual way suddenly fixed the trackpad.
4) Sort keymaps
This actually worked fine as soon as I changed the input to English (UK) from English (US)
I thought about changing the search key to do something else per http://askubuntu.com/questions/105558/how-do-i-disable-the-super-key but I then found out that if you hold it down, it gives you a keyboard shortcut overlay. Given that the trackpad doesn’t work, this is pretty useful, so I decided to keep the default bindings.
5) Sort locale
I added to /etc/environment
LANG=en_GB.UTF-8 LC_CTYPE="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_COLLATE="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_TIME="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_NUMERIC="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_MONETARY="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_MESSAGES="en_GB.UTF-8" LC_ALL=en_GB.UTF-8
sudo locale-gen en_GB.UTF-8 sudo update-locale
This will sort the locale for the system with the exception of the system console (accessible through the ttys with e.g. Ctrl-Alt-1). To sort that out
sudo apt-get install console-common
will set up.
I then had to do the below to make consistent across reboots:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-data sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
6) Add flash in Firefox
Not a big fan of Flash but Plex uses it so
sudo aptitude install flashplugin-installer
7) Stop Ubuntu phoning home
This is after all the whole point of an open source operating system, that it should not phone home. I use the script at https://fixubuntu.com/ but I changed the iptables tweak to the /etc/hosts one by commenting-out and un-commenting-out lines in the script as appropriate.
8) Stop bluetooth being turned out automatically
sudo sh -c "echo 'rfkill block bluetooth' >> /etc/rc.local"
9) Set correct region for wifi
sudo vim /etc/default/crda