This is a mirror of DaveM's guide at / - It's assumed to be GPLv2 licensed, as it's part of a repository, and accompanies GPLv2 source code.

        Installing Linux on the Chromebook Pixel.

These directions are provided AS-IS, if you lose all of your data or
brick your machine, it's not my problem.

Quick pre-requisites:

A) You should (optionally) have a USB mouse you can plug into the
   Pixel for when you first boot into Linux as the touchpad and
   touchscreen won't work at the beginning.

   You can forego this bit and work from the VC console instead
   while performing the steps to get the touchpap/touchscreen
   operational but you'll need to get wireless up so you can
   install some packages over the network so keep that in mind.

B) You need to have a USB device (or Android phone, see below)
   to boot from, and a way to get a Debian ISO image onto it.

C) REALIZE that this will blow away Chrome OS from your drive.
   It's easy to restore the machine with Chroms OS again using
   one of the restore images found at:

With that out of the way, here is what you do:

1) Put your Pixel into developer mode, you should really do this
   as the first thing when you use the laptop for the first time.

   Hold down "ESC" and "Refresh" at the same time while powering
   on the machine.  BTW, those keys on the top row after ESC are
   just F1, F2, F3, etc.  The F3 one is the "Refresh" key I

   Hit Ctrl-D then Enter.  It's going to take 5 minutes now
   as it's going to wipe the entire stateful (ie. user data)

   From this point forward, every time you boot, it's going to say
   that Chrome OS can't be found or something similarly alarming like
   that, just ignore and hit Ctr-D or wait 30 seconds to boot into
   Chrome OS.  But that won't be relevant for long as we're going
   to wipe it off the machine below :-)

2) Boot into Chrome OS and configure it enough so that you can
   login.  Start a shell:

   a) Hit Ctrl-Alt-T, this brings up the chrosh window, from crosh
      you can do things like spawn a shell, use SSH, etc. type "help"
      if you're interested in more.
   b) Give it the "shell" command.
   c) Get root, "sudo bash"

3) Configure it so that we can boot into Linux images via SeaBIOS
   and boot from USB devices.

   crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1

   and then power off the machine.

4) Get yourself a Debian 7 image, I used:

5) Put that image onto something you can USB boot.  You can use a USB
   stick, but I've been using the DroidDrive app on my Galaxy Nexus
   and Nexus 7.

6) Plug the USB image in, and power on the Pixel.  When the boot
   screen appears hit Ctrl-L, SeaBIOS will come up and say "Hit ESC to
   choose boot device" so hit ESC and choose the USB device you
   plugged in.

7) Highlight the "Install" choice and hit TAB, add "mem=4G" to the
   kernel command line.

8) Do an install, tell the partitioner to use the entire SSD drive and
   do things automatically.  I'd recommend enabling the installation
   of the desktop packages so that it's easier to configure wireless.

   Tell the installer to use the MBR of the entire disk for the boot

9) After the install finishes the reboot will bring you to the
   boot screen again, hit Ctrl-L to get into SeaBIOS and then ESC
   but this time select the interal SSD drive.  It should boot up
   just fine.

10) Outside of the touchpad/touchscreen everything should work fine.
    You do have a USB mouse to use for this part right?  Plug it in,
    your life will be simplified.  Alternatively "Ctrl-Alt-F1" to get
    into a VC and just do all of your work from there.  You have to
    bring the wireless up somehow so you can install packages, and
    it's just so much easier to do that from the graphical desktop.

    Anyways, let's get the input devices working.  Install 'git' with:

        apt-get install git

    as root.  You'll also need the kernel headers package installed
    in order to build kernel modules, for this install this package
    should be "linux-headers-3.2.0-4-amd64"

        apt-get install linux-headers-3.2.0-4-amd64

    You'll also have to make sure you have the necessary tools to
    compile things.  A safe way to ensure this is to install the
    tools necessary to build the debian kernel package, like this:

        apt-get build-dep linux

    And you should be good to go.

11) Clone my chomebook Pixel driver repo:

        git clone

    You might even have the repo already and be reading this text file
    from it.  :-)

    Now build:

        cd chromebook_pixel

    this will leave you with "chromebook_laptop.ko" and "atmel_mxt_ts.ko"

    The chomebook_laptop.ko driver will instantiate the I2C devices hanging
    off of the i915 graphics device, these will then be seen by drivers like
    atmel_mxt_ts.ko which will talk over I2C to drive your touchpad and

    The chromebook_laptop.ko doesn't exist in any form in the debian
    kernel package you have installed on this machine, but the
    atmel_mxt_ts.ko does exist there but we need this newer version of it.
    So just keep that in mind.

12) Right now you can load these modules to see your input devices working.

        insmod atmel_mxt_ts.ko
        insmod chromebook_laptop.ko

    But you're going to want this to happen automatically when you boot up.
    I was super lazy and just copied the modules down under:


    specifically to:


    and then I added one line saying:


    to /etc/modules

13) So you should have a fully functioning Chromebook Pixel running
    Linux at this point.  Enjoy.

    Every time you boot up you'll need to do that Ctrl-L song and
    dance, since unfortunately you can't make SeaBIOS the default
    30-sec timeout selection.  Just deal with it.