Absolute beginner looking to get into linux

Hi guys,

As stated, I’m an absolute beginner to the command line. I just got an HP Chromebook model 11a-na0021nr and the hardware comes up as Mediatek MT8183 ARM. Idk what version (I think 8?) it is but so far I installed the basic linux terminal, put it in dev mode, gpu accelerated, and turned off write protection. I’m looking for a way to erase the Chrome OS and add a new OS (preferably linux). I’d like for this computer to have fully customizable software that uses the hardware to its fullest if possible.

I’m looking for help to get started. I bought this just because it was cheap and I wanted something to play around with. I knew nothing about ARM vs Intel and I think taking something on like this could be fun. So…any suggestions on how to proceed? Thanks in advance.

Just choose a OS(like manjaro ARM) and install. You can choose where to install when install. I think you need to look for a video about how to install linux system.

If you are interested in the command line, I can highly recommend William Shotts “The linux command line” the pdf version is available for free on his website. And it is phenomenally good. as often as I recommend it, I should perhaps finally buy a bound version.


About this :

I’d like for this computer to have fully customizable software that uses the hardware to its fullest if possible.

You basically want to use gentoo but you are clearly not ready for this yet.

What I suggest is just install a beginner friendly distro like manjaro and experiment with the terminal. You will find tons of resources on the internet that explain the basics of command line, how to write your own scripts and customize your Desktop environment/window manager/any software you use actually. Also the forum can help.

Have fun =)

I’d say:
find out whether or not it is Intel …
and then install
or try to install
any Linux distribution
fit for that platform
… and see how far you really want to pursue that goal of

… anything - “get your feet wet first” … then decide what you might want and why …

Just checking … you DO have another computer for doing things like paying your bills, checking email, surfing pron … while you fall into a huge hole wiping an HP laptop to experiment for the first time with Linux … yes?

Chromebooks are special - while the OS is android and per definition LInux - it requires extensive preparation to be able to install anything but chomeos.

When you state you are

Absolute beginner looking to get into linux

I say - do not persue this goal of wiping a chromebook

1 Like

Chromebooks run ChromeOS, not Android. ChromeOS is based on Gentoo, but heavily modified.

Review the Interwebs for MrChromebox. He makes a bios that some older Chromebooks can use to boot Linux. However, newer (and especially cheaper) Chromebooks are much harder or impossible to install Linux on. If it’s ARM, that will potentially be difficult. You’ll need the board name for his table to really know if you can do it.

It might be better to get a used laptop in a form/size that you like, then put Linux on it. Much higher chance of success.

I’d recommend getting a Chrome addon that lets you backup your ChromeOS image. I forget the name, but Google makes it. In the case you can’t get Linux installed and haven’t bricked the device, you should at least be able to get ChromeOS back.

I have Arch running on a 2015 era Toshiba Chromebook. The smaller keyboard plays hell with my mind/memory and dwm/vim keybindings.

Good luck.

1 Like

Triggered by the statement

I know that devices based on Chrome OS is intended as a cloud device and from research years ago I know that most Chrome OS based devices is a pain to install a standard Linux distribution on.

But I also realized I dont knew that well the origins of Chrome OS and went out to look for info.

The most enlightening pieces were Chrome OS - Wikipedia with the Chromium OS - Wikipedia counterpart.

The initial builds of Chrome OS were based on Ubuntu, and its developer, Canonical, was an engineering partner with Google on the project. In 2010, Chrome OS moved to Gentoo Linux as its base to simplify its build process and support a variety of platforms. Sometime in 2013, Google switched Chrome OS to its own flavour of Linux.[8]

My advise still stands - unless you are prepared for some serious head dive into the intricasies of this specific hardware - you should drop the idea. Too many unknowns - and an unpredictable outcome.

I have been working with computers since decades and fairly proficient with hardware and trouble shooting but when I learned what is required to convert a Chromebook I decided it was not worth the effort - as the outcome was unpredictable - much like the conversion of Apple branded hardware to Linux system - it is simply to unpredicatable - too many unknowns - too many uncertainties.

1 Like

Hi @watrewks,

I think you’ll find this handy:

1 Like