Posts Tagged ‘ chrome os ’

Installing Arch Linux Toolchains, Utilities, Applications to Your Cr-48

When reading how to remount the Chrome partitions to grant myself read/write privileges, I ran across wh5a hinting that the Cr-48 might be able to run Arch/Debian/Ubuntu binaries.  That suggestion was later affirmed when he managed to get mlocate running as well as when reddog176 was able to install nano amongst other things.

So today I had some spare time and I started probing around the Arch package list to see what I might be able to install.  I took reddog176’s success with nano as an inspiration to install my favorite command line text editor, vi.  In his description of the nano install process, reddog mentions using another linux box to unpack the .xz files.  I was in a coffee shop, with only my Cr-48, and I want to be able to do everything natively anyway, so I set out to find a workaround.  Licky for me, xz is included in the Arch package list.  Downloading the package and unpacking it with ‘tar -xvf’ I was presented with a ‘usr’ folder.  Copying all of its contents into my /usr directory using the somewhat risky  sudo cp -rf * /usr I “installed” xz.  Sure enough, typing xz into my terminal I was greeted with a message to try xz --help .  So now with tar already on the Cr-48 and xz successfully installed, I should be able to unpack and install whatever I want from the Arch package list.

After unpacking the vi.xz file using my newly installed xz tool, I simply repeated the same steps to install vi.  Sure enough, upon completion, typing ‘vi’ into my terminal I am greeted with my old friend vi!

I suggest everyone start looking into the list of packages available from Arch Linux.  Together we can probably come up with a comprehensive list of what can be easily installed directly from the Arch binaries.  Let me know what you have success with.


Browse Local Files on Your Cr-48

There has been a lot of buzz around the internet about the Cr-48 and one of its major weaknesses, the inability to browse the file structure on your SSD.  The problem is that the “file:///” method in your search bar that you would use in the browser version of Chrome is only allowed access to your ‘Downloads’ directory in Chrome OS.  The content Browser is similarly restricted.  This means that the only way to navigate your disk is by using the shell.  But even then, there is no way to open and view files such as images and audio files (at least I haven’t found a command line image viewer that is installed).  This also means that the only way to browse USB media and your SD card is through the terminal.

Until now, the only solution I’ve seen is to navigate to a site like Aviary which uses the SWFUpload file browser.  SWFUpload manages to get access to the entire file structure and let you browse your whole device.  This is a step in the right direction, but it is still limited because you can’t really do anything with your files using their browser (like open them to view without uploading).

By enabling the “Advance File System” option in Chrome://flags, and SD card will show up in your content browser but cannot be opened or browsed.  Even pointing “Chrome://slideshow” to the media directory only results in files that are incapable of supplying a preview.


Here you can see the SD card in the content browser. However, at this point, clicking it does nothing

Today I spent some time trying to figure out how I could deal with this problem.  After spending some time trying to point the “Chrome://slideshow” and the “File:///” utilities to different locations with no success, I had an idea.  The only directory that anything in Chrome OS can see is “Downloads”.  If only I could somehow move EVERYTHING into the Downloads folder.  Clearly that isn’t really possible, or preferable.  BUT, a symbolic link might achieve the same result.

So I opened up the terminal and created a symbolic link from my “~/Downloads” directory to my “~/”  and called it home.  The command looked something like this “ln -s ~/ HOME”.  Switching back to the browser view and pressing ctrl + o I was greated with a link to HOME in the content browser.  Clicking it resulted in this:

Excited from my success, I went ahead and added symbolic links to the “/media” directory as well as the “/” directory, naming them “media” and “root” respectively.


Now the view inside my Content Browser looked like this

Navigating through the media link that I now had in my Downloads folder I was able to access my SD card.  Clicking on the image file name I was greeted with this:


A file on my SD card successfully browsed to and opened with the "chrome://slideshow" utility


It is also worth noting that the content browser isn’t necessary for all of this either.  Using the File:/// utility, the symbolic links show up as navigable folders.  So you can browse your content, and clicking on images opens them in the browser window for preview.

So there you have it, a way to navigate and view files from your storage, both local and usb/sd.

So far, I haven’t managed to get anything to download directly onto the SD card (or any folder other than Downloads).  The symbolic links do not seem to have solved that problem.  I plan to spend some time later this evening and tomorrow seeing if I can figure out why.  And hopefully solve it.


Thanks to PabloBasico I now know that my symbolic link hack above opens up a really great function, drag and drop onto your flash media!  As he pointed out in a comment below, when you have two content browsers open, it is possible to drag and drop files between them.  Navigate one to SD card via the symbolic link and you can quickly drag files from your downloads folder onto your SD card or vice versa.  This is a really great feature allowing me to download files onto my Cr-48 and then move them to my SD card without ever opening up the terminal!


So a lot of people in the comments have been having small issues getting this to work.  I’m not really sure why, but sometimes the links are showing up as files and not folders in the content browser and other problems.  Today I had to redo the setup on my Cr-48 because I recently booted from recovery to fix a messed up partition table.  I figured I’d take that opportunity to take a screen cap of my terminal inputs for clarification.

So, to revamp:

You MUST be in developer mode for this to work.  Directions for transitioning into dev mode can be found here.

Then enable advanced file system.  Type about:flags into the address bar and then click enable on the AFS option

ctrl+alt+t gets you to a terminal

‘shell’ takes you to a bash terminal

‘cd ~/Downloads’ navigates you to the Downloads folder

‘sudo ln -s /media MEDIA’ creates the symbolic link in your downloads folder to your mounted media


Hope this helps you guys out, I’m probably going to re-write the whole post more specifically and concisely when I get a chance.