Monday, February 13, 2012

Developing on a Chromebook - Part 4: Back to the past

Ok, it seems like I'm still forced to go back to old clunky tools like Eclipse, because I'm still a Javaianer. For Java, there's still no perfect cloud solution available. Cloud9IDE hast syntax highlighting, but it's definitely missing instant compilation and execution of my code.

So, because the previously mentioned methods to use Eclipse on your Chromebook don't work that great I've decided to somehow boot Ubuntu from my Chromebook. At first I've stumbled upon articles telling describing how to install Ubuntu on a USB stick. That's actually pretty cool, but the idea of relying on a little stick I have to keep with me all the time turned me off. Another possibility is setting up dual boot: re-partitioning your Chromebook and installing Ubuntu next to Chrome OS. This method fits my needs, because I don't have to rely on another device, and I don't need that much free space for local user data on my Chromebook. There are several articles out there describing this process step by step. I've used this one, since it seems to be the root of all of them. There's just one little, very important thing it's missing: after rooting your Chromebook, you have to do this:

  • Press CTRL+ALT+=> (=> is the forward arrow where the F2 key used to be)
  • Login as user chronos, no password is needed
  • Type "chromeos-firmwareupdate --mode=todev"
  • Wait for it to reboot...
If you don't complete these steps, the whole thing is going to fail.

It's possible to install operating systems other than Ubuntu too, like Gentoo and Debian. Watch chromebook-linux.com for more to come soon...?

After following the steps provided by the article, I recommend you to do this. It helps you switching between Chrome OS and Ubuntu (if you want these tips to work using ctrl+alt+t too, please star this issue).

Now google (or bing, yahoo!, blekko, or duckduckgo) for good Ubuntu forums and wikis if you don't know how to install eclipse yourself. (tip: sudo apt-get install eclipse)

Want to read more about this topic? Check out the other posts of this series:
Part 1: Chromebook
Part 2: Cloud
Part 3: X-Forwarding