I've been on kind of a Chromebook kick lately and I must say I love this Acer C720 even more than Samsung Chromebook. Why you ask? Well - the primary reason is the processor architecture. The Acer C720 is a traditional x86 processor, meaning you are able to easily boot alternative OSes on it.
This also means that under a Linux OS I am able to run applications like the latest Google Chrome browser, Google Hangouts (or Skype), Steam, and even Netflix.
I plan on writing a formal review of the C720, similar to the one I did for the Samsung Chromebook, later next month. Today however I would like to share how you can go about installing Bodhi Linux on the Acer C720 Chromebook.
Step 2 - Enable SeaBIOS
After changing to developer mode, configure Chrome OS so that you can log in.
To enable the legacy bios:
- Open a crosh window with Ctrl+Alt+T.
- Open a bash shell with the shell command.
- Become superuser with sudo bash
- Enable legacy boot with:
crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1
Step 3 - Create a Bodhi image for the C720
While the C720 uses an x86 processor, some of the hardware it uses doesn't have drivers in the mainline Linux kernel yet. Because of this you need to download a custom ISO image I've prepared for the C720 from here. You then need to write it to a flash drive using the dd command.
Change to the directory where you have downloaded the ISO image to and run:
dd if=bodhi-c720-chromebook.iso of=/dev/sdX
Where X is replaced with the drive letter of your USB stick. If you prefer a GUI tool or are using OSX/Windows to create the flash drive you can find detailed information on this process here.
Step 4 - Boot and install Bodhi
Plug the USB stick you prepared in step 3 into your Chromebook. At the startup screen press the key combination ctrl+l (that is a lowercase "L") to tell the system to boot from the legacy BIOS. Then press the escape key to select to bring up the boot menu, select your USB device from the list it provides.
From this point you can follow the normal Bodhi install instructions.
When your Chromebook starts up you will need to press ctrl+l to boot into the legacy BIOS/Bodhi. Still looking for a work around to remove this step - if you know of one please let me know!
When I installed Bodhi on my Chromebook I wiped out all the Chrome partitions and gave Bodhi the full drive. I've not experimented with a dual boot setup. I don't really have a need for ChromeOS with how functional Bodhi is on this hardware.
The custom ISO image for the C720 differs from the normal Bodhi desktop release in a few ways. First is that it utilizes the 3.11 Linux kernel with a few custom patches to support the C720 hardware. Second is that it utilizes pulseaudio for the default sound system as alsa has a few issues. It has slightly newer Intel/Mesa drivers to support OpenGLES on the C720 by default. Finally, it comes with a custom E17 profile that has key bindings for Chrome OS function keys configured.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the default desktop you will see on your Bodhi Chromebook install:
Finally, if you have any issues getting Bodhi setup/installed on your Chromebook I would ask that you please open a support request on our user forums as opposed to simply pasting a comment below.