User:0xdc/Drafts/HP Chromebook 11 G1

From Gentoo Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The HP Chomebook 11 G1 is the first generation of 11.6 inch Chromebook laptops built by Hewlett-Packard, "Made with Google".

The laptop features:

  • a dual-core Samsung Exynos5250 ARMv7-A (Cortex-A15) CPU with virtualisation extensions, clocked at 1.7GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB eMMC flash
  • 11.6", 1366x768 (16:9 ratio), 200 nits, IPS panel
  • Two USB3 (Type-A) ports
  • One microUSB port
    • charger (up to 3A)
    • HDMI via 5-pin Slimport

At the time of writing, the ChromeOS Auto Update Expiry date was October 2018.

Installation options

You need to have the Chromebook in developer mode to run a custom Linux distribution.

Developer mode includes a shell that can be used to install a Gentoo system to a USB drive.

By default, most of the ChromeOS filesystem is mounted read-only. While it is possible to make more of the system writable and persistant, locations such as /home and /mnt/stateful_partition are already writable.

If you have a prepared stage4, or are willing to build upon the upstream stage3, a bootable disk can be prepared from another machine. Once unpacked, you can chroot into the environment to customise it.

Hardware support

These instructions target ARM Chromebooks running the Samsung Exynos 5250 SoC in 11.6" laptop bodies, specifically the following:

Name a.k.a. codename/dtb board name base board
Samsung ARM Chromebook XE303C12, Series 3 snow daisy daisy
HP Chromebook 11 HP Chromebook 11 G1 spring daisy_spring snow

First time setup

Entering developer mode


This action causes the laptop to wipe its disk and disable security protections

Instructions can be found on the chromium website.

Once rebooted, enable dev_usb_boot=1 with:

# enable_dev_usb_boot

Once set, operating systems can be booted from USB storage device by pressing Ctrl-U on the startup warning screen.


If you want the Chromebook in Developer Mode but not run a custom kernel (e.g. crouton, which isn’t covered here), set dev_boot_signed_only=1 with crossystem.

Getting a shell

You can access a console window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2. The top row of function keys is equivalent to the Functionkeys, so it may be labelled as a Forward arrow (→). You can use Ctrl+Alt+F1 (Back, ←) to return to Aura. You can do this at any time once ChromeOS has booted.

If you log in as a guest (Browse as Guest) or with a Google Account, you can open a shell with Ctrl+Alt+T. From the crosh shell (prompt crosh>), use the shell command to get a shell as the user chronos.

chronos has sudo access to gain root privileges.

Neutering the warning screen (optional)


This requires the removal of the firmware write-protect screw

By default, the "scary" developer screen has a 30 second timeout and a loud beep. These can be neutered to a 3 second delay and no beep.

These changes persist even if the laptop is taken out of developer mode (i.e. back to secure ChromeOS mode).

Model Firmware write-protect screw location
Samsung ARM Chromebook Inside the case, near the HDMI port; remove the 5 visible screws on the bottom of the case and the 4 screws under the feet
HP Chromebook 11 Inside the case; remove screws from under the soft padding on the bottom of the laptop and pry open

The easy way


# /usr/share/vboot/bin/ 0x11

Run without arguments for a description of available flags.

The hard way

For full instructions, including backing up the firmware flash data, see these instructions (


# crossdev -S -t armv7a-hardfloat-linux-gnueabi

When building the kernel, set the following environment variables:


To change the version of gcc to install, pass the flag --gcc <version>. See crossdev --help.

qemu user-mode emulation

# emerge --buildpkg -a qemu[static-user,qemu_user_targets_arm]
# mkdir stage3-armv7a
# tar xf stage3-armv7a_hardfp-latest.tar.bz2 -C stage3-armv7a
# ROOT=stage3-armv7a emerge --nodeps --oneshot --usepkgonly qemu

Because arm has a variety of possible CPU emulations, you will need to use a wrapper script to customise the CPU.

I recommend unpacking qemu into its own directory and copying that prepared directory into any arm chroots that you need (if you need a lot).

# ROOT=qemu emerge --nodeps --oneshot --usepkgonly qemu
# cd qemu
 * pass arguments to qemu binary

#include <string.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv, char **envp) {
        char *newargv[argc + 3];

        newargv[0] = argv[0];
        newargv[1] = "-cpu";
        newargv[2] = "cortex-a15";

        memcpy(&newargv[3], &argv[1], sizeof(*argv) * (argc -1));
        newargv[argc + 2] = NULL;
        return execve("/usr/bin/qemu-arm", newargv, envp);
# gcc -static qemu-wrapper.c -O3 -s -o qemu-wrapper
# cd ..
# echo ':arm:M::\x7fELF\x01\x01\x01\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x02\x00\x28\x00:\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\x00\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xfe\xff\xff\xff:/qemu-wrapper:' > /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc/register
# rsync -a qemu/ stage3-armv7a

You can then chroot, pychroot or systemd-nspawn as normal.

Building a kernel

Build requirements: @system bc u-boot-tools vboot-utils dtc

Kernel version Snow (Samsung) Spring (HP) config command
linux-4.14.y Yes No make exynos_defconfig
chromeos-3.8 Yes Yes (gcc-5.4.0-r4) ./chromeos/scripts/prepareconfig chromeos-exynos5


ChromeOS 3.8 requires additional patches for gcc 4.9.4, 5.4.0-r4, 6.4.0 and 7.3.0.


However, a ChromeOS 3.8 kernel must be built with 5.4.0-r4.

# make zImage
# make dtbs
# make modules
/ {
        description = "Chrome OS kernel image with one or more FDT blobs";
        #address-cells = ;
        images {
                        description = "kernel";
                        data = /incbin/("arch/arm/boot/zImage");
                        type = "kernel_noload";
                        arch = "arm";
                        os = "linux";
                        compression = "none";
                        load = ;
                        entry = ;
                        description = "exynos5250-snow.dtb";
                        data = /incbin/("arch/arm/boot/dts/exynos5250-snow.dtb");
                        type = "flat_dt";
                        arch = "arm";
                        compression = "none";
                                algo = "sha1";
                        description = "exynos5250-spring.dtb";
                        data = /incbin/("arch/arm/boot/dts/exynos5250-spring.dtb");
                        type = "flat_dt";
                        arch = "arm";
                        compression = "none";
                                algo = "sha1";
        configurations {
                default = "conf@1";
                        description = "snow";
                        kernel = "kernel@1";
                        fdt = "fdt@1";
                        description = "spring";
                        kernel = "kernel@1";
                        fdt = "fdt@2";
# mkimage -f kernel.its kernel.itb
# tee cmdline <<<"console=tty1 debug verbose root=/dev/${DEVICE}2 rootwait ro"
# vbutil_kernel --pack exynos5.kpart \
  --keyblock /usr/share/vboot/devkeys/kernel.keyblock \
  --version 1 \
  --signprivate /usr/share/vboot/devkeys/kernel_data_key.vbprivk \
  --config cmdline \
  --bootloader cmdline \
  --vmlinuz kernel.itb \
  --arch arm
# dd if=exynos5.kpart of=/dev/${DEVICE}1

Prepare installation media

  • GPT partition table
  • USB storage
    • Device is /dev/sda
  • Internal Storage
    • Device is /dev/mmcblk0
    • Factory shipped with ChromeOS

The minimum required partition layout is as follows:

Partition number Type Size
1 ChromeOS kernel ~8M
2 ext4 >3G

8MB is the size of a bootable kernel image. Additional space may need to be allocated to support an initramfs.

Depending on your partitioning tool, the type of the ChromeOS kernel partition may differ:

Tool ChromeOS kernel type is
fdisk 66
gdisk 7f00
* FE3A2A5D-4F32-41A7-B725-ACCC3285A309

Booting with nv-u-boot / upstream u-boot

While the stock firmware is capable of booting custom Operating Systems, it can have a number of strange quirks:

  • updating a kernel requires overwriting a ChromeOS kernel partition, which (depending on your partition layout) may be limited in number, or cause your system to fail to boot
  • in addition to the configured kernel command line, the firmware prepends the string "console= cros_secure"
  • embedded (e.g. ARM) developers may be more familiar with a u-boot environment to boot payloads

Google provide a version called nv-u-boot that can be booted like any other ChromeOS kernel, that boots to a u-boot prompt. Upstream u-boot also contains support for these boards.

The default nv-u-boot environment assumes a layout like this:

Partition number Type Size
1 ChromeOS kernel ~1M
2 ChromeOS kernel ~8M
3 ext2 ~256M
4 ext4 >3G

More info:



CFLAGS="-mfloat-abi=hard -mfpu=vfpv3-d16 -mtls-dialect=gnu -march=armv7ve -mtune=cortex-a15 -fstack-protector-strong"
CPU_FLAGS_ARM="edsp neon thumb vfp vfpv3 vfpv4 vfp-d32 v4 v5 v6 v7 thumb2"

Wireless networking

  • Driver: MWIFIEX_SDIO
  • Firmware: mrvl/sd8797_uapsta.bin
  • Software
    • iw
    • wpa_supplicant


ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=wheel

You can customise wpa_supplicant further or use wpa_cli as root or, if configured like above, as a user in the wheel group.



Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Keyboard"
        MatchProduct "cros-ec-i2c" #XXX: Confirm product name
        MatchIsKeyboard "on"
        Option "XkbLayout" "gb"
        Option "XkbModel" "chromebook"

Multi Format Codec (Hardware Video Encode/Decode Acceleration)


This has not been tested by the author and is here for reference

The Samsung SoC contains a hardware accelerated video encoder and decoder which requires a firmware blob and compatible software.

Firmware: s5p-mfc-v6.fw


Doesn’t boot from USB

USB sticks can have different "modes" that enable feature detection. The HP Chomebook 11 seems to have difficulty booting from some USB devices.

One way to check that the USB is not being booted is if the GPT attributes are not being decremented. Set your partitions to Priority=15,Tries=15,Successful=0. After every boot, Tries should decrease by one every time the laptop beeps.

Check dmesg when plugging in a USB stick into a Linux computer (or chromeOS’s chrome://system dmesg).

  • Bootable USB: Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
  • Unbootable USB: Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00

Blank screen on boot

If you are building the chromiumOS kernel (3.8.11) source with gcc 6.4.0, when booting the kernel the screen will stay lit but blank.

Build the kernel with gcc 5.4.0-r4.

Kernel modules won’t load

If you are building a kernel with gcc 7.3.0-r3 and can’t load modules with modprobe, and dmesg mentions:

Unknown symbol _GLOBAL_OFFSET_TABLE_ (err 0)

Build the kernel with gcc 5.4.0-r4.

A message regarding Chromium LSM module locking is probably a red herring, but you can disable module locking with the kernel command line:


or by disabling the sysctl during runtime:

# tee /proc/sys/kernel/chromium/module_locking <<<0