Google's new Chromebook Pixel computer is all about the cloud -- but it doesn't have to be.
One thing I've heard from lots of folks in discussing the Chromebook Pixel is a desire to run a more traditional Linux OS on the system. Google's Chrome OS certainly has its advantages, but for some users, a dual-boot option is even more appealing.
Well, gang, if you're among the Linux-hungering crowd, I've got good news: The Chromebook Pixel, like other Chromebook devices, is fully hackable -- and it's relatively easy to get Ubuntu or other Linux environments up and running on the device.
To be clear, this is very much power-user terrain; the vast majority of users won't want to venture down this road. If you're familiar with Linux, though, and comfortable tinkering around with command prompts and all that fun stuff, this might be just the project for you.
The first step in any Chromebook hacking exercise is putting your device into developer mode. You can find a simple guide at the Chromium website. Once developer mode is enabled, you can get to a command prompt and play around with the system all you want.
To get Linux loaded on the machine, follow this handy guide assembled by Google Chrome Hardware Engineer David Schneider. It'll give you a fully functioning dual-platform environment in which you can switch between regular Chrome OS and Ubuntu in a flash.
If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even give Linux Mint a whirl; thanks to a hidden copy of SeaBIOS in the Pixel's firmware, it's entirely possible to do. Chrome OS Staff Software Engineer Bill Richardson put together a detailed description of the steps you'll need to take on his Google+ page.
Again, I want to emphasize that these are advanced procedures for power users only. As with any hacking endeavors, if you aren't comfortable with the steps involved (or don't understand what they're talking about), it's probably best not to mess with them.
For the tech-savvy crowd, though, the options are out there -- and waiting to be embraced.