Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chromebooks - Utility and Adaptations

Chromebooks - Utility and Adaptations 

  • Availability at Amazon.com
  • Ultrathin laptops
    • Small form factor
    • Limited power consumption
    • Lightweight computing
  • ARM platforms available 
  • Stocked with Chromium OS
    • Chromium OS development
    • Web-oriented architecture
      • Google Chrome browser
      • Google Chrome app store
      • Google docs, etc
      • Dissimilar to a conventional desktop environment
    • Chromium OS is locked into platform
    • Alternatives to ChromiumOS?
      • With some modifications to the platform, a complete OS installation can be made
        • ...in chroot (e.g with Crouton)
        • ...in dual boot (e.g with ChrUbuntu)
        • ...or "bare metal" 
          • Bare metal installation with original BIOS
            • 'Developer mode' still enabled 
            • OS can be wiped inadvertently
            • Legacy BIOS must be accessed for each boot
          • Bare metal installation with custom BIOS
            • Flashing the Chromebook BIOS - non-trivial
            • Hardware modifications then required
              • Vendor-specific
              • Proceed at own discretion
            • Allows for further flexibility in applying the Chromebook as a hardware platform
      • Documentation: Installing Bodhi Linux on a Chromebook [Bodhi Linux wiki]
        • Option 1: Install for dual boot [Bodhi Linux Wiki]
        • Option 2: Bare metal install with upstream  BIOS [Bodhi Linux Wiki]
        • Option 3: Bare metal install with custom BIOS
          • Not documented at Bodhi Linux Wiki
          • Hardware modifications previous to flashing BIOS
            • Proceed at own discretion
      • Documentation: Coreboot and Chromebook platforms
      • Documentation: flashrom utility
      • Documentation: Developer information, Chromebook hardware
      • The "Bricked Chromebook" - proceed at own discretion
  • Case Study: Samsung Chromebook (Exynos 5250)
  • Further resources: Custom firmware images for Chromebooks, pre-compiled
  • Further wrench-turning may be required.