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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.

The Legacy Boot only works on x86, not arm.

Entering developer mode

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

Entering or leaving Developer Mode will completely erase the Chromebook's disk drive! Proceed with this caution in mind!

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

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




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"

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 super 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


How to reboot

Since there is no Delete key, it is impossible 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

Entering or leaving Developer Mode will completely erase the Chromebook's disk drive! Proceed with this caution in mind!

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