Asus Chromebox, how can Linux leverage this?

I just saw this from the NCIX newsletter, and it made me think.

Well with the way that Chromebooks can be used very effectively as inexpensive Linux tools, how do you guys think this can be used in the living room scenario? Would this make a cost effective HTPC with network storage? Could this be used as something like a home server control hub accompanied by a Router/Switchbox or something? 

What do you guys think Linux distros could do with something like this at this price point?

you could do a lot, from a little router to a HTPC, although I am unsure of how to get it installed, seems different with each device.

If you was to use it as a HTPC use something like Gentoo or Arch, you want as little overhead as you can get on that celeron processor, maybe a pure XBMC would work well, For network storage use Debian or Mageia 4 for it, both work well, Debian is super stable where Mageia is a bit more up to date but still rock solid, but again unsure of how they would work on these PCs.

Personally I would not get one though, If I was to get a tiny PC I would opt for a brix, Gigabyte are better than ASUS for linux, adding to that it should be easier to install Linux on than Chromeboxes.

Interesting, I was under the impression that getting Linux distros on Chomeboxes would be a more simple process than a Windows based NUC-like system.


Google CrOS-devices all have coreboot, they all are extremely hackable, and they all are very well supported in linux (meaning no binary blobs necessary to get the best performance out of them).

Arguable the single most sexy feature of CrOS devices is that they are coreboot-compatible, meaning that they are the only devices that you know you can flash with open source BIOS to have a secure system, even if before you flash them, they are full of Google spyware, Google explicitly makes it easy to go from one extreme to the other.

Do you know of a guide anywhere online that shows how to flash coreboot onto a chromebook? I've searched multiple times and just can't seem to find anything. 

Remove the read-only screw, in developer mode enable seabios, start it up the first time with ctrl-L at splash, install your regular linux distro of choice on it, then just use the standard "sudo flashrom" like on any other PC ("man flashrom" on how to use it, you'll have to install flashrom probably, and you'll also need libftdi and libusb as deps).

Don't download roms from sites, I know there are plenty out there that promise stuff, but it's most likely iffy, stick to the coreboot project provided images for your device.

Here, a guide from the Arch wiki, it's for the Acer C720 Chromebook, it should apply to you too:

I don't think 16gb drive is gonna work for htpc. The machine itself is nothing more than an overpriced glorified netflix device. Might as well spend 35-50 dollars for an hdmi dongle.

nothing would be stored locally on it other than maybe an SD card for codecs and players other than OS and browser. media files would be on a local server. Shouldn't be an issue at all.

I'm now very interested in seeing how this would fair as a router/server hub paired with a switch for a small home server for media managing.

awesome, I didn't know Chrome devices generally have coreboot. Now i fully understand why CrOS devices are so popular for lightweight linux portables. Do you know if Android has this built in too? I'm interested in what UbuntuOS for mobile will influence other Linux distros to build mobile kernels. I'd love to have something like that on my phone.