Chromebooks are computers running on Google Chrome OS and Cloud storage. These devices have excellent security features and can get the work done faster and more efficiently. They are very light, much like the Ultrabook. The Chrome OS can efficiently run Android and Linux apps and other programs.
One of the significant concerns among Chromebook users is its user privacy, no Microsoft Office, and lack of customization options. Replacing or adding a different operating system sounds like a good idea to deal with these issues.
If you are wondering if you could run Linux on your Chromebook? Yes, you can. An ideal substitute for the Chrome OS would be the Linux distro.
The Linux operating systems are free and highly compatible with Chromebooks. With their lightweight operation and many features, they amp up the performance of your Chromebook. Read on to learn everything about Linux for Chromebooks.
Why install Linux for Chromebooks
Chromebooks are cost-efficient, low-power-consuming, and user-friendly laptops. Installing the Linux operating system will fill the void for customization and provide flexibility to write codes and scripts, etc.
Overall, it will enhance the Chromebooks system functionality, which is excellent. You should know that Ubuntu can run alongside Chrome OS. This allows the user to switch from the Chrome OS environment to the standard Linux desktop environment with the help of keyboard shortcuts.
So the bottom line is that you do not need to delete Chrome OS to download and run Linux; they can work side by side. To install Linux OS, you must access your Chrome device’s bootloader. You must also install Linux to enable developer mode on Chromebook for running codes and programs.
Best Linux Distro for Chromebook
If you want to install other operating systems for your Chromebook, here is a list of assembling the best Linux Distros for Chromebook.
The Gallium OS is a Xubuntu-based Linux distribution specifically designed for Google Chromebooks. It is uniquely compatible and holds well with the limited features of Chrome OS and other Chrome OS devices.
Gallium OS also provides an array of apps and features, making it the top contender for a decent lightweight Linux for Chromebooks.
This efficient operating system supports the Chrome mouse driver, improves battery life, provides an XFCE desktop environment, fixes bugs, and provides double-boot support. All this adds up to the improved and better performance of the Chromebook.
The Gallium operating system is a much able and well-performing Linux with a much more stable Linux system than the other Linux distributions.
Gallium OS has dual-booting support, so you do not need to replace the bootloader. However, if you need a faster booting system, swapping XFCE with an LXDE desktop environment is better. For all these reasons, the Gallium OS sits on top of our list.
#2- BunsenLabs Linux
The BunsenLabs Linux distro is based on Debian Linux, unlike other Linux distributions Ubuntu. It is an ideal lightweight Linux for your Chromebook as it is an upgraded version of the CrunchBang Linux distribution. It’s Open Box-based desktop provides you with only a few resources instead of burdening you with more than needed options.
BunsenLabs is a solid Linux distribution that offers rapid access to programs and minimum energy utilization. This operating system also consumes limited resources making this Linux ideal for users intending to run scripts, and codes, that need accessing resources immediately.
This is an ideal Linux for Chrome OS devices.
#3- Arch Linux
The Arch Linux distro is an ideal choice for programmers and software developers. It is lightweight as it comes with only a kernel and terminal. It is a suitable choice for Linux on your Chrome OS.
Arch Linux is highly flexible as it allows you as a user to install components or any desktop environment of your choice. In addition, it has the largest support community, which speaks much about its popularity. And the best part is that the community is ready to assist one another with queries.
The downside of Arch Linux is that it is ideal for seasoned users and is not very user-friendly. Also, it is more complex to install compared to Gallium OS.
Lubuntu is undoubtedly an amazing Linux Distro for Chromebook because of its lightweight operating system. This light Ubuntu version is highly compatible with different devices as it has basic hardware requirements.
This is the most popular Ubuntu stable distribution as it utilizes LXDE/LXQt desktop environment as opposed to the GNOME desktop. If you want to run stock Ubuntu for Chromebook, then Lubuntu would be a good choice.
Lubuntu Linux is a highly energy-efficient, lightweight operating system and an ideal distro for Chromebook. It provides a traditional desktop experience and has an arc theme that adds to its modern look, giving your system a good facelift. You also cannot ignore the Papyrus icon that fits well the theme.
Lubuntu has released its latest stable version, 20.04, which is the slimmest Ubuntu version and utilizes only 256MB of RAM.
#5- Void Linux
The latest stable version of Void Linux has been created for all-purpose distribution, making it suitable for all devices. This Linux was created with the monolithic Linux kernel.
Void Linux’s distinct features include its unique Package Manager through which you will be able to build packages from the source. It also comes with multiple desktop environments and uses a proprietary init system called runit for the initialization process.
It is comparatively more stable than other Linux distros. Moreover, even though it has a rolling release schedule, it awards its users with more customization options and better security and privacy support.
Void Linux was the first to boldly switch to Libre SSL from Open SSL; later, other distros followed its lead.
#6- Solus OS
Solus OS probably has the most simple user interface compared to the other Linux on the list. This not only makes it a great addition to the list but also makes it an ideal Distro for beginners.
Solus OS is your best option to get the Windows experience which maintains familiarity. It offers around four environments for desktops that you can choose from, each with its unique features.
Among its other variants, Plasma and Gnome are built for modern hardware. On the other hand, Solus budgie is sure to provide the best experience,, and Solus MATE is the lightest of them all, similar to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
Being user-friendly is its main forte. You need not worry about running terminal commands when installing software.
The only downfall of this Linux distro is the storage requirement. It needs 10 GB of storage space as opposed to Lubuntu and Gallium, which offer great features with 1GB and 3 GB storage requirements, respectively.
#7- Phoenix Linux
Cub Linux was a past project Linux distros for Chromebook. It gained much popularity before Cub Linux was discontinued.
Phoenix Linux is its successor. Just like Cub Linux, Phoenix Linux is one of the best Linux equivalents to the Chrome OS with respect to functionality and appearance.
Openbox window manager is the CenterPoint of Phoenix OS. Like Chrome OS, it has other pre-installed applications, making Phoenix Linux easy to use.
Even though Phoenix comes with various pre-installed apps and offers its users an intuitive interface, it should be noted that it is not very stable.
The Phoenix OS Alpha 2 has been reviewed to be unstable, unlike its previous models, especially the first Alpha version.
#8- Nayu OS
Nayu OS is a unique operating system compared to others in this list. This one is based on Chromium OS instead of Linux. Its main objective is to offer a perfect equivalent of the Chrome OS with no drawbacks.
Another fantastic feature of Nayu OS is that the chromium OS is much easier to install. All it needs is a USB stick (bootable) and a couple of commands, and you are all set.
Nayu OS is still a work in progress. Therefore it is imperative to read the instructions carefully from its website before installation. As the development progresses, the Nayu OS does not support all Chromebook models. However, its future does seem bright, which is why it deserves a place in this list as one of the best Linux Distro for Chromebook.
Is Chromebook better than other laptops?
If you did not know, there are more options beyond Windows-powered laptops and MacBooks. Chromebooks are rather excellent laptops with the Chrome OS loaded with great features. Let us take a look.
Chromebooks are geared with the latest anti-malware protection apps. If this does not satisfy your wants, you can always get a Linux to boost your security needs.
#2- Android Apps
Chromebooks are compatible with almost all Android applications. Hence you can run Android apps without issues.
#3- Cloud Storage
Chromebooks have a ready 100GB of storage space for free on Google drive.
Chromebooks are fast and lightweight OS equipped; paired with Linux, you can expect the device to run at twice the speed.
Regarding battery performance, Chromebooks have a good battery life that can run from six to thirteen hours, depending on the model. These provide better performance as compared to other laptops.
How to install Linux Distros on Chromebook
With the help of an installation helper, installing a Linux Distro to your Chromebook is not difficult.
Firstly, enable the developer mode on your system and install the Linux distro with the help of the shell command.
Once the command executes, the downloading process will begin. It will download and run software packages one after the other. This process will take a few minutes.
The Chrome OS is budget-friendly low-powered and has excellent performance to its credit. However, if you are still in need of an open-source operating system, adding a Linux distribution will enhance the total package of your Chromebook.
If you feel you need a little more out of your Chromebook, select any of the above-explained best Linux distros for Chromebook that best suits your requirements.