ChrUbuntu Transforms $199 Acer C7 Chromebook Into a Cheap Linux Laptop

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The $199 Acer C7 Chromebook may not be the best Google-powered laptop around, but its port options, Intel processor, and 320GB hard drive make it more like a traditional laptop than Samsung’s ARM-powered alternative. In fact, an operating system called ChrUbuntu can kick the cloud to the curb and turn your Chromebook into one of the lowest-cost Linux laptops around.

Building alternative operating systems for Chromebooks has proven difficult for a couple of reasons. The laptops utilize specialized BIOS and bootloader software, for one thing, and they’ve traditionally had very limited flash storage space – good for the cloud, but bad for traditional operating systems. Acer’s model skirts those hampered hardware issues, and in fact, it’s easily upgradable if you want more RAM, a speedier SSD or a roomier HDD.

ArsTechnica installed ChrUbuntu on an Acer C7 Chromebook and reports that the operating system works like a charm on the device, aside from missing two-finger scrolling and HDMI audio support. Virtually all of the other hardware works just fine, however – including Wi-Fi and the webcam – and you have full access to the OS file system and the Ubuntu Software Center, which lifts the laptop from its cloud-limited Chrome OS roots and transforms it into a full-fledged computing machine. (Don’t worry, ChrUbuntu keeps Chrome OS around in a second hard drive partition.)

Setting up ChrUbuntu on the Acer C7 takes a bit of technical skill, but Ars walks you through the entire process step-by-step. ChrUbuntu should work fine on other Chromebooks, as well – there’s even an alpha ARM-based version available – but as we said earlier, you might run into problems with the limited hardware found in the other Google-powered machines.

Interested? Check out the ChrUbuntu blog for even more info about the operating system.

via ArsTechnica

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  • John P Says:

    What if I want to remove Chrome OS entirely? Is that a possible choice?

  • James Says:

    Two finger scrolling works fine out of the just have to turn it on in the mouse settings- it's not enabled by default. Not sure when we're getting a fix for the HDMI audio- but you can use HDMI video and a standard 3.5 to RCA adapter to supplement the video. Linux is all about the workarounds...

  • Jack Says:

    but the HDMI Audio Out (for presentations) is what I need.

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