Want to Boot Desktop Linux on Google Chromebook Pixel? Well its Possible

By Monday, February 25, 2013 0 , , , Permalink 0

Google unveiled its touch screen equipped Chromebook Pixel just last week and has priced it rather steeply at $1449. The device has a 13” touchscreen capable of 2560×1700 pixel resolution; is powered by an Intel Core i5 1.8GHz processor and 4GB of RAM and comes in two variants Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + LTE. The thing that is a major differentiating factor between Pixel and its predecessors is that the latest Chromebook supports third-party bootloaders thereby enabling users to load and boot Linux operating systems.

Bill Richardson, the software engineer at Google, detailed in a Google+ post how a user can load a conventional Linux distro onto the Pixel. Unlike its predecessors, Pixel’s BIOS comes with a fourth slot where users can load a third-party bootloader – SeaBIOS in this case, which is pre-installed. Richardson details how one can enter the developer mode; install Linux Mint 64-bit image onto a USB stick or SD card; and boot through the boot drive selector from the SeaBIOS. Richardson hasn’t covered the method to install stock Linux onto Pixel’s SSD but, he does indicate that this is possible.

Richardson notes that there is no option to set a default boot option and that users will have to boot the Chromebook by manually selecting the boot choice each and every time the Chromebook is powered on. As of now there are a few things that don’t work – trackpad, touchscreen, light sensor. Patches have been submitted nonetheless that would enable the functionalities of all three components along with other non-functional hardware components.