Install Debian on chromebook with crouton

What is Debian Linux and why do I want it on my Chromebook!

Debian on chromebook

Debian on Chromebook

Debian is a Linux distribution comprised of open source software that is the bases of a large variety of Linux distribution. Kali, Ubuntu & Mint are a few examples of linux distors built on-top of Debian. Debian is also widely accepted as the solid linux.

How do I install it?

To install Debian on Chromebook you must be in developer mode. please reference the following page to learn how to enter  developer mode.

Once in developer mode you need to download crouton.

Open the crosh terminal (CTLR+ALT+T).

enter shell mode by typing shell / enter.

from shell type sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r debian -t kde -n debian

-r is the release. We need to set this to debian. If the -r switch is not passed Ubuntu will be installed.

-t is the target command that specifies what GUI interface you want installed by default. Gnome is the default gui for kali however it does not work on my HP Chromebook 14″. KDE works and is a  good alternative to Gnome.

-n is the name parameter. We define the -n switch here so we can give the chroot a custom name of debian.

As of this article I do not recommend gnome for the target gui on the HP Chromebook 14.

The process will run and install debian on the system.

at some point you will be prompted for a user name and password.


How do I start Debian on chromebook?

Once the install is complete from the shell type sudo startdebian. (This is also known as chroot)

this will start the Debian instance.

To transition seamlessly from chromeos and unity press CTRL+ALT+<=(backward) for chromeos and CTRL+ALT+=>(forward).

if the machine is rebooted you will have to enter shell and type sudo startdebian again.

it is possible to install multiple chroots.

Want to know more?

To learn how to install Ubuntu on a chromeook

To learn how to install kali on a chromebook


11 thoughts on “Install Debian on chromebook with crouton

  1. Hi,

    I had never tried coding before, and clearly, there is something I am not doing right. Could you upload a video, or simply a more detailed explanation please ?

    Thanks !!


  2. First, thanks for this great tool. I doubt I could have got this running without it.

    I installed on an Acer Chromebook 13. It’s archv7l (not archhf or i386). I wonder if that’s why crouton only knew about Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. None of the Debian options discussed on this page was available.

    I then installed update-manager and used it to rev Ubuntu to 14.04 Trusty Tahr. That worked, but graphics performance degraded enough that I’m going back to 12.04 to figure it out.

  3. Alex…
    1. Make sure you are in developer mode, you need to enable developer mode and then also boot into developer mode
    2. ctrl – alt -t gets you a crosh tab; typing shell starts a shell; then typing sudo -s makes you root.

  4. Nice article, and the install procedure works on my Acer 720 Chromebook. I installed Debian/KDE and may try XFCE4 for lower overhead.

    Unfortunately the Ctrl-Alt-forward and -backward arrows don’t work. When either is pressed, a progress ribbon comes up showing 37% complete, and then it goes away with no other change.

    Before finding your article, I had previously installed Kubuntu, and with it, I could use tapping on the touchpad to execute a right-click. Unfortunately, this function is not present in the new Debian/KDE install. This is a big nuisance with which I’ll have to deal with some way.

  5. ‘debian’ doesn’t work as the release. Should be release name: eg lenny, wheezy.. If you type:
    sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r help
    you’ll get a list of available releases.

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