Friday, December 7, 2012

HOWTO: Start an SSH Session from ChromeOS

My lovely fiance knows how much I love my toys and opted to get me one of the new ARM based Chrome books as an early Christmas present. I'd been talking a lot about the device because the hardware on it is fairly fantastic for the 250$ price tag it comes with. At any rate - I'll be writing up a full formal review of the device at a later date (once I have had a chance to use it more). I also plan to create Bodhi ARM images for the device once time permits.

Until I have time to get Bodhi running on the device though I am stuck with ChromeOS - which while interesting leaves some to be desired. At the very least I need my operating system to have a web browser and a ssh connection - the former ChromeOS provides very obviously (the whole OS is one giant web browser). Getting an SSH connection from the device was not as straight forward however. I started by searching for a terminal emulator on the Chrome Web Store. As you can see - there are a few options there, but none of them would successfully open a ssh connection to my build servers from my Chrome Book.

A little bit off searching on the Linux answer machine yielded me a proper solution from the comment section of a posting. To get a SSH connection on ChromeOS you do not need to add any software! Pressing the key combination:


Will open a browser based terminal emulator called "crosh" in a new tab of your browser on ChromeOS. Now my build servers are accessed from a non-default ssh port. On any Debian based operating system I would use the following to connect:

ssh -p

The ssh client on ChromeOS doesn't seem to like the -p argument for a port number though. I found two ways to connect to a ssh server using a different port number. The first is simply:


The second is a whole lot less intuitive. In order you type:

user username

Have fun sshing from ChromeOS!
~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Google recommends against doing in the debug shell and instead suggests the Secure Shell app. It's really put together well and you can save sessions as browser bookmarks.

    1. Yep and as I mentioned in the post that shell application fails to connect to my server and gives nothing in terms of useful debug out to figure out why.

      Not a big deal - chrome os won't be on here very long.

    2. That's because you have an arm chromebook. You need to subscribe to the dev version of the ssh application, and then you can install the pnacl (bytecode) version instead of the nacl (intel code). It's worth it, it really works well.
      This arm chromebook really rocks, even webgl outperforms desktop webgl browsers because of the superior 3D hardware. (Unless you are talking about a gaming pc).
      And yes, I am typing this on an arm chromebook ;-).

  2. I'm keeping ChromeOS on mine, Ubuntu (and thus anything else) lacks hardware acceleration drivers for the graphics and that makes it pointless to me unless you're a developer.

    1. Really have to disagree on this one. I've been using a netbook daily for years and I never do anything 3D on it. Simply web work, school work, and basic programming. None of which requires 3D.

      Are you doing some heavy gaming on your Chromebook?

  3. I installed Crouton alongside my Chrome install and it unlocks the full potential of my Acer C7. If there is something I cannot do in ChromeOS I simply switch to xfce4 and do whatever I need.