Install Lubuntu 14.04 on the Acer C720 Chromebook

  Last modified on Saturday 02 May 2015

Ubuntu Trusty Tahr

See: Chromebook to Lubuntubook for more details on replacing Chrome OS with a full-featured Linux on Chromebooks.

Ubuntu 14.04 "Trusty Tahr" is a Long Term Support (LTS) release of the popular Linux operating system. I use Ubuntu's minimal install image to setup the lightweight Lubuntu (Ubuntu + LXDE desktop) distro on the Acer C720 Chromebook.

Below is a visual walk-through of a sample install that makes use of an entire storage device divided into 3 partitions: a boot partition, and LUKS encrypted swap + root.

Let's go!

0. Prepare install media

Download the 64-bit trusty minimal installer and flash the image to a USB stick. An alternative (my choice) is adding the image to a USB stick with multiple Linux installers. Using the minimal console installer vs. the graphical Lubuntu installer provides more options during setup [1].

1. Configure

Connect the USB stick and boot the installer [2]:

Install Select Language Select Location Configure Keyboard Configure Keyboard Configure Keyboard Hostname Mirror Country Mirror archive Proxy Full Name Username User password Verify password Encrypt home Configure clock Select time zone

2. Partitions

In the example below we create 3 partitions on the disk:

  • sda1 is a 300MB boot partition
  • sda2 is a 512MB LUKS encrypted swap partition using a random key
  • sda3 uses the remaining space as a LUKS encrypted root partition using a passphrase
Partitioning method Partition disks Partition table Free space New partition Partition size Primary partition Beginning Mount point Mount point Mount options

Setting Mount options to noatime decreases write operations and boosts drive speed:

Mount options Done setting up partition Free space New partition Partition size Primary partition Beginning Use as Encrypt volume Encryption key Random key

If the hard disk has not been securely wiped prior to installing Lubuntu (using a utility like DBAN) you may want to configure Erase data: yes. Note, however, that depending on the size of the disk this operation can last several hours:

Done setting up partition Free space New partition Partition size Primary partition Use as Encrypt volume Done setting up partition Configure encrypted volumes Write changes to disk Create encrypted volumes Devices to encrypt Finish encrypt Encryption passphrase Verify passphrase Configure encrypted volume Mount point Mount root Mount options noatime Done setting up partition Write changes to disk Confirm write

3. Install packages and finish up

No automatic updates

Select Lubuntu Desktop. This task menu can also be accessed post-install by running:

$ sudo tasksel

Alternative: Or select a different desktop: the Ubuntu flagship release (Unity), Xubuntu (XFCE), etc...

Software selection GRUB UTC Finish install

System will display a passphrase prompt to unlock encrypted root partition:

Enter encrypt passphrase Login

Happy hacking!


[1]Specifically in this instance, the Ubuntu console installer provides a random key option for the encrypted swap partition.
[2]Installer gets stuck at boot on Switched to clocksource tsc for a minute or so before resume. This is fixed post-install by modifying /etc/default/grub with kernel option tpm_tis.force=1.

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