Chromebook

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This guide details the generic part of installing Gentoo on a Chromebook

Developer mode

All Chromebooks have a so-called Developer Mode allowing to boot on something else than ChromeOS.

This mode allows to use the so-called Legacy Boot, which is a regular BIOS boot (booting from a MBR), this is NOT a UEFI boot.

Note
The Legacy Boot only works on x86, not arm.

Entering Developer Mode

The procedure is detailed here, find your model in the table and click on the link in the Model column.

Warning
Entering or leaving Developer Mode wipes the Chromebook completely !

Flashing the firmware

The stock firmware should allow the Legacy Boot, but is sometimes bugged, requiring flashing.

There are various levels of flashing available, the most basic just allows the Legacy Boot, while the most complex turns the Chromebook into a regular PC, completely wiping any trace of ChromeOS.

The whole procedure and its various options are all detailed on MrChromeBox's site

Note
Depending on how much you want to modify the firmware, you might have to open your Chromebook to remove a special screw which prevents the firmware from being modified

Installing Gentoo

Once you have the Legacy Boot working (or the UEFI boot if you flashed a full firmware), installing Gentoo is rather straight-forward: boot on a liveUSB and follow the Handbook as if installing on a regular x86_64 or arm machine.

Instructions for specific models

Keyboard

Xorg

Layout

The layout is supported by Xorg

FILE /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-keyboard.conf
Section "InputClass"
  Identifier "Keyboard"
  MatchProduct "AT Translated Set 2 keyboard"
  MatchIsKeyboard "on"
  Option "XkbModel" "chromebook"
EndSection

The MatchProduct section might not fit your hardware, to check the correct name, use:

user $grep "Using input driver" /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(...)
[617682.560] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'AT Translated Set 2 keyboard'
(...)

Missing Keys

Since some keys are missing, they are emulated with Right Alt:

  • Right Alt+Backspace = Delete
  • Right Alt+Left = Home
  • Right Alt+Right = End
  • Right Alt+Up = PgUp
  • Right Alt+Down = PgDn
  • Right Alt+Search = Caps Lock
  • Right Alt+F1 to F10 = F1 to F10

Extra Keys

Search is treated as a windows key (Super_L)

Multimedia Keys

The multimedia keys should works as expected, except:

  • fullscreen (in the F4 spot) will be treated as F11
  • next tab/window (in the F5 spot) will be treated as F5


When used with Ctrl or Alt or Shift, these keys will behave as F1 to F10

Example: Alt+Reload = Alt+F3

Troubleshooting

How to reboot

Since there is no Delete key, it is imposible to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete. There is also no Sys key, making it impossible to use the Magic Keys.

Fortunately the firmware has a few keyboard shortcuts available:

  • Power for several seconds = power off
  • Reload+Power = instant reboot

Stuck at the warning screen

Try using Esc+Reload+Power to force a firmware reset

Warning
This can wipe the Chromebook completely !

If that is not enough, follow the official procedure

Unexpected reboot when coming out of suspend to ram

This can be caused by a missing TPM (Trusted Platform Module) driver in the kernel, see in Drivers → Character Devices

External resources