Google CR-48 Hacked, Ubuntu Installed

It was only a matter of time before someone decided to bypass Google's Chrome OS and install a different operating system on the new CR-48 laptop.

In this initial "hack," Ubuntu 10.10 was the new OS of choice, and a complete step-by-step walkthrough to get it on Google's laptop can be found here. Of course, you have to actually get your hands on the CR-48 first which is currently available in limited numbers.

"While Chrome OS verified boot protects against unintended system modification by malicious or buggy software, the ability to hack your own device is an intentional design feature of Google Chrome notebooks," the instructions read. "Some enthusiasts, however, may want to install something completely different. This page provides an example, showing how the official Chrome OS software can coexist with Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution."

According to the instructions, the CR-48's boot process does not support initrd which is required by Ubuntu. Out of three possible scenarios (two of which are followed by "ugh" and "double ugh"), hackers are suggested to use the existing Chrome OS kernel with the Ubuntu rootfs.

However the laptop will need to be switched into developer mode first before installing another OS. This is done by removing the battery, peeling off the sticker that hides the switch, and then flipping the switch towards the battery. Once that's done, the battery can be replaced.

The instructions indicate that users can install Ubuntu 10.10 alongside Chrome OS in a dual-boot scenario. To find out more, read the entire step-by-step list of instructions here. A quick video demo was also provided, as seen below.

Ubuntu 10.10 on Google's CR-48

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  • burnley14
    You throw a switch to put the laptop into developer mode? That sounds awfully rudimentary.
  • hellwig
    burnley14You throw a switch to put the laptop into developer mode? That sounds awfully rudimentary.

    It's just a proof of concept model, not a retail version. Who cares if the 1000 people (guessing) who get one of these install something else? Now, if OEMs start making these things for retail, you can bet there won't be a switch that enables developer mode.
  • house70
    the laptop was designed for developers, so.... yeah. Big surprise here.
    It's like wondering why Nexus One was so easy to unlock.