OXT Lite On Chromebook

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TerryL
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OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by TerryL »

I've been reading about newer Chromebooks able to run Linux programs and recall tPerry mentioning running OXT Lite on a 'hacked' Chromebook. Could he give more details on the 'hack'? If this is possible, shouldn't we be promoting Chromebook as another OXT compatible platform? As I understand, Linux programs are installed through the Terminal or by double-clicking a .deb (Debian) file bundle containing the program. Couldn't Chromebook help extend our reach? Attached is a ComputerWorld .txt article how to enable Linux and install Linux programs on a Chromebook.
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

My hack was a very unofficial hack and involved removing the Google OS at the firmware level (by shorting two jumpers on the motherboard), then uploading replacement custom firmware using an Eeprom programmer.

It was done on an end-of-life (non supported by Google) Chromebook, so I wasn't going to lose anything doing it. This process is non-reversable, and not something I'd recommend anyone try if they don't want to risk bricking their Chromebook.

If you can install deb files in ChromeOS now, that's great. That didn't suit my purposes at the time, as I wanted to fully remove ChromeOS and update it to a minimal debian distro.

You may also want to check out this alternative method:
https://mrchromebox.tech/
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by TerryL »

I checked the other forum and while maddingly close, there must be some missing dependencies, as recent as July/2023. It installs but with window (card?) problems. It's Debian-based, and Linux OXT is supposed to work in Debian. Could MWeider comment with fix ideas? There are a lot of chromebooks out there. This is a missed opportunity.

"--Post by jacque » Sun Jul 30, 2023 6:20 pm
I Iove my Chromebook and a couple of years ago I tried to get LC on it. You do need a Linux partition, which is dead simple to do, it's a one click thing in system settings. I know nothing about Linux so Mark Weider helped me with the command line to run the installer. That worked. But ChromeOS treated every window as a separate app, or at least they didn't talk to each other, so it didn't work. I wish we could do this because my Chromebook is my laptop now. I don't know enough about Linux to install whatever I need.
BTW, Chromebooks run Linux in parallel, you don't need to reboot. You can run Chrome apps, Android apps, and Linux apps as if they are all native. ChromeOS manages the correct emulator. Also: Chromebooks are heavily dependent on internet access. They will run offline but you will be constrained in what you can do. Apps that don't need internet access will run, but many are web apps that require access. Android apps that are self-contained will work, for example. I like ChromeOS a lot and there are some nice features I don't find on my Mac. I also like that ChromeOS is probably the most secure OS around these days. Besides the monthly updates, it checks on every startup to see if the OS has been altered. If so, it repairs itself. Malware can't live there very long.
Unfortunately, if you want to use it to develop LC software, I can't find how. Since it's got Linux I'm pretty sure there's a way but I don't have the knowledge. If you go down that path, I'd love to know."
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

Debian-based linuxes vary greatly. Although ChromeOS is based on Debian Linux, it's definitely not Debian and there's been a lot of kernel changes.
In the same way that MacOS is based on BSD Unix, but it's not BSD Unix.
It is a shame, because a lot of these Chromebooks will be paperweights or e-waste when Google stop supporting them. I don't have the time (and patience) to go through the 140(ish) in the building and de-google'fy them into 'proper' Debian 12 Distros.
(It would take months, and I'd need a special jacket with straps afterwards).
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by richmond62 »

Surely a paper weight Chrome book can be reformatted with a Linux distro and a sensible sized HD or SSD attached or bunged inside the box (is there space?).

I assume Chrome OS inside a Chrome book runs off a small SSD, and not off a ROM chip.

Unless Google are doing their bit for landfills. :(
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 7:40 am I assume Chrome OS inside a Chrome book runs off a small SSD, and not off a ROM chip.
They are indeed off a chip.
Image
Also, they are firmware locked so you need to deal with that issue first. Hence the link to the mrchromebox.tech site above.
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richmond62
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by richmond62 »

Holy "fudge" buckets . . .

So:

1. Is there space for an SSD?

I cannot see an obvious space in your photo.

1.1. How many USB connexions does the thing have?

1.1.1. USB 1, 2, 3, 4, USB-C? Can it boot from a disk connected via USB?

2. Is there a way to dual boot, with one of the options being from that SSD?

Once had a PPC iBook that went screwy, and I could NOT hoick out the hard drive; so superglued (well, to be honest I used Araldite 2-component glue as I have had a 'thing' about Araldite since I was about 14: and to my mind super glue is rarely 'super') an external case to the underside of the laptop and my wife worked perfectly happily with that for another 5 years. 8-)
firmware locked
B*gger me with a shovel. Although life has taught me that where there's a will there's a lot of time wasted . . . err, no: a way. 8-)

If you can cope with this bloke's s-l-o-w wibble . . .

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richmond62
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by richmond62 »

Actually your photo is well-wierd as All the guff about Chromebooks I have looked at suggested they DO have an SSD: and 'that thing' is the RAM which is "soddered on" (as the Americans say when they mean 'soldered' 8-) ) to the Mother-F-Board so you cannot upgarde the memory (prob, 2 GB) . . .

Poke around for an SSD . . .

Can you lob me the ACER model number of the 'victim in question'?

https://libreboot.org/docs/install/chromebooks.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/chrultrabook/c ... ?rdt=57656
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SShot 2024-06-18 at 14.19.25.png
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

That's not my photo, but:
richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 10:51 am 1. Is there space for an SSD?
Nope, not a conventional SSD (like one with a SATA connection)
richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 10:51 am 1.1. How many USB connexions does the thing have?
Normally 2
richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 10:51 am 1.1.1. USB 1, 2, 3, 4, USB-C? Can it boot from a disk connected via USB?
Normally USB 2 minimum, more commonly USB 3. Not USB-C unless a more recent model (about 4 years old, or newer)
richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 10:51 am 2. Is there a way to dual boot, with one of the options being from that SSD?
No, as the bootloader is locked to firmware - unless your Chromebook is on the list over at mrchromebox.tech
Once unlocked though, you get a simplistic BIOS where you can boot off USB or anything.
richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 10:51 am
firmware locked
B*gger me with a shovel. Although life has taught me that where there's a will there's a lot of time wasted . . . err, no: a way. 8-)
Precisely. It's doable if you have time with a soldering iron. However the software unlock of the bootloader is by far the easier approach IF your Chromebook is on that supported list.
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

The other type of storage you might be thinking of is more an nvram SSD module: (16GB one pictured)
nvstorage.jpg
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In which case, yes - there's room for that. Chromebooks are 70% battery inside, so assuming they've left enough space - but not all manufacturers leave enough room - and some don't even have a swappable storage medium.

But you need the firmware unlocked to boot a custom OS from it. See point above :D
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

richmond62 wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 11:07 am ...and 'that thing' is the RAM which is "soddered on" (as the Americans say when they mean 'soldered' 8-) )
You mean "Sorjered" - yeah, I hear that a lot. :lol:
That first pic (with the pointing finger) isn't a ram chip, it's a NAND storage chip. A single one admittedly, like you find inside a conventional SSD sata drive:
nand-in-SSD.jpg
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OpenXTalkPaul
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by OpenXTalkPaul »

Besides eMMC/NAND, m.2 or external USB, don't they all have have SD Card slots too?

Anyway if you're in there shorting jumpers and installing modding firmware on an otherwise piece of eWaste, and depending on the hardware, you might want try out Hackintoshing your Chromebook. I've seen people doing this with certain Chromebooks, here's one:
https://www.reddit.com/r/hackintosh/com ... hromebook/
I can't imagine performance would be very good for any sort of intense work (like mixing a bunch of tracks in a DAW), but for basic tasks they're probably fine. I used 7th ad 8th gen-'Core' series Chrombooks are pretty darn cheap on eBay nowadays.
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by TerryL »

Thanks for the comments...fascinating. I suspect ChromeOS's sandbox feature is causing the "window (card?)" problem, so a one-card stack should work, just not multi-card stacks. Still, a lot can be done with one-card stacks toggling object's and group's visible true/false, tab panel button, and custom properties. I'll keep on it. Thanks again.
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by OpenXTalkPaul »

TerryL wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2024 9:58 pm Thanks for the comments...fascinating. I suspect ChromeOS's sandbox feature is causing the "window (card?)" problem, so a one-card stack should work, just not multi-card stacks. Still, a lot can be done with one-card stacks toggling object's and group's visible true/false, tab panel button, and custom properties. I'll keep on it. Thanks again.
Terry it sounds like the OS is launching multiple instances of the app. If I recall correctly, this can happen on Linux if the app doesn't have a proper .desktop file. https://specifications.freedesktop.org/ ... ec/latest/

Apparently there's a port of HomeBrew/LinuxBrew called Chromebrew, and it seems to still be in active development:
https://chromebrew.github.io
https://github.com/chromebrew/chromebrew
https://medium.com/@dihuta/chromebrew-c ... 1e56a3d898
I imagine once Chromebrew installed you could use it to install Linux apps and packages more easily. Homebrew (the Mac version) can install pre-compiled binaries ('Casks'), which is nice since some of these things take a long time to compile from source.

You guys have me considering picking up a Chromebook to play around with, if I can find a cheap one in good shape. Maybe I'll see how good jBidWatcher is now days, it's been. long time since I've used it: https://www.jbidwatcher.com
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by richmond62 »

Why do I have a funny feeling that Googley-Woogley are indulging in monopolistic doodahs which might break quite a few laws in quite a lot of countries?
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by richmond62 »

https://www.wikihow.com/Enable-USB-Boot ... USB%20disk.

Sorry about that: Android phone at breakfast on second cup of coffee.

1. Details about how to boot from a USB drive.

2. One comment suggests you can boot into a non-Chrome system . . .
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

Just to be clear, this is exactly what is possible with an unlocked bootloader, and is what I'm on about above...
Hang on, I'll go take a photo of a Chromebook I've done already:
boot-unlocked.jpg
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No google anywhere on the OS, so you can run any full linux distro you like. As I'm doing here, with MX Linux (Debian)
I can boot off a USB stick, I can boot off the eMMC storage controller, I can boot off a SD card... but, ONLY once the bootloader is unlocked.
As good as that wikihow article above is, that will only boot another copy of ChromeOS from a memory stick. Not another OS type from USB, whereas the fully unlocked method will allow you to boot any OS (as long as the architecture of the processor is compatible).

Demo video of the boot process, taken a while ago - but while I was testing this at the time.
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by mwieder »

I see my name get mentioned in this thread :shock:

I've got LC 9.6.11 running in Chrome linux on my Lenovo 300e intel.
Picked it up refirbished for about $100 to play around with.
LC pretty much works as expected and of course standalones are linux apps.
Nothing to write home about.
TerryL
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by TerryL »

Thanks Mark for that encouraging comment!

I sent a private msg to Jacque inviting her to describe her chromebook experience in more detail. I've gone round-and-round with hopes up then hopes dashed. I'm presently more optimistic. From Jacque: "The issue involved the IDE, I never got as far as testing a stack. The tools palette, toolbar, message box, etc. all acted as though they were separate apps, or at least they couldn't see each other. That was on an older Chromebook though, maybe that's changed now or maybe LC has improved the Linux engine."

So she had significant unresolved problems and gave up. I'm hoping maybe Mark has some ideas for her and us too.

--I checked. Python, Jupyter Lab (the IDE), and their editor install and run just fine on Chromebook with Linux enabled. So why can't 9x LiveCode/OpenXTalk? Jupyter Lab is online, but they have a JupyterLite for offline that works too.
From skillreactor: Python development on a Chromebook is possible by leveraging the Linux environment available on many Chromebooks. With the proper setup and tools like Python, Jupyter Lab, and popular text editors, users can code, run data analysis, and perform educational tasks. Cloud resources and offline development options further enhance the capabilities of Python on a Chromebook. https://www.skillreactor.io/blog/python ... ng%20tools.

--@ Paul: "sounds like the OS is launching multiple instances of the app. If I recall correctly, this can happen on Linux if the app doesn't have a proper .desktop file." Nice idea. Replacing a corrupted desktop file (like a shortcut/alias) should be easy. In Win it's right-click the program and choose 'send to desktop (create shortut)'. And about ChromeBrew, it looks like that can't be used on newer versions of ChromeOS, so maybe not a universal thing.

--Third clue, must set up a 'Linux files' folder for all Linux files/stacks? from ComputerWorld "Linux On Chromebook":
"ONCE INSTALLED, LINUX APPS LIVE INSIDE THE REGULAR CHROMEOS LAUNCHER — ALONGSIDE ANDROID APPS, WEB APPS, AND ANYTHING ELSE ON YOUR DEVICE.
At that point — regardless of which approach you took for installation — you can use the app like any other program on your device. The one caveat is that for security reasons, Linux apps can’t access your Chromebook’s full file system; they can see only a special “Linux files” folder within the local storage along with any folders you explicitly approve for Linux app access.
So anytime you need to pull up an existing file — be it from your local storage, an external drive, or any connected cloud storage services — you’ll first need to open the ChromeOS Files app and copy the file into that “Linux apps” area. Or, if you want to designate an entire folder on your local or Drive storage as being accessible to Linux apps, right-click it in the ChromeOS Files app and look for the “Share with Linux” option."
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tperry2x
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Re: OXT Lite On Chromebook

Post by tperry2x »

I'll gladly do you a step-by-step guide, but the key is first getting hold of a Chromebook that's firmly on that list of supported hardware.

Paying attention to the WP method column on that page. That's the "Write Protect" method used to hardware lock the bios to ChromeOS, and it's an exhaustive list of what changes you'll have to make to the hardware. (small set of screwdrivers and patience required). This is what I mean by it's a manual process. Not something that you can just plug-in and go. Google don't want you removing their OS. Like Sony with Playstations, they make a loss selling each unit - you couldn't build the hardware for the cost of the devices, but they make their money back with ads and microtransactions. (They don't if you remove ChromeOS).

From there, it's just a matter of running multiple commands, ultimately giving up the possibility of ever going back to ChromeOS on that Chromebook, then picking a Linux distro of choice (lightweight ones are best) - so not ubuntu.

I'll elaborate tomorrow with a list of commands and steps required, as I've done this multiple times :D
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