[sf-lug] Big progress on launchpad's bug number one

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Wed Jan 9 19:34:09 PST 2013

Rick Moen writes:
> Yes, it's called developer mode, and is selected via a toggle switch.
> https://sites.google.com/site/chromeoswikisite/home/what-s-new-in-dev-and-beta/developer-mode
> It's not even a 'hack' in the sense of needing to engineer a way to
> break in, but rather something deliberately built in.

Developer Mode doesn't solve the kernel problem and give you an
unrestricted machine, though it does let you boot other distros if
you have a working signed kernel. (Also it gives you access to
useful things like a console with a reasonably capable shell.)

I just checked with my Chromebook expert (I don't actually own one
of these beasts myself) and I had a few things wrong. You can boot
from your own self-signed kernel, as long as it's monolithic
(Chromebooks, or at least some of them, can't boot with an initrd).
Building such a kernel a lot of work, though, and nearly everyone
finds it easier just to use Google's kernel, which works pretty well
with nearly all Linux distros (except when it breaks, like when they
arbitrarily removed the USB ethernet drivers for a month or two).

There seems to be some disagreement on whether you can boot a
Chromebook from a USB disk that's not signed by Google. If it's
possible, it's not easy.  On some models, like the CR48, it's
apparently possible to re-flash to a normal BIOS, and turn it into a
normal laptop rather than a Chromebook. Newer models, especially
ARM ones, are presumably UEFI and don't have that option.


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