Video: Chromebook Pixel running Chrome OS and Linux simultaneously


Credit: Google

My daily use of Google’s(s goog) Chromebook Pixel is working out like a charm for what I do, nearly all of which is web-based. Yet, there are still times when a native app is better, or even required, to get the job done. My weekly podcast and videos are perfect examples, although I have found a number of web app options to test out for content creation.

As I noted last week, the Pixel has more flexibility than you might think because there are a number of ways to run Linux on the laptop. I opted to install and use crouton, a set of scripts that set up the Pixel to run Chrome OS and Linux at the same time. Here’s how it looks and works after the setup; you can get the crouton setup steps at this link so I don’t show those on camera:

The one-time setup was simple and now all I need to get Linux up and running is a quick set of commands in a terminal. Then it’s just a matter of switching between Chrome OS and Linux as needed. You can see in the video that the same app I use on a Mac for my weekly podcast, Audacity, runs just fine so I’ve got the podcast issue licked. And I’m going to test some video apps for occasional use as well.

Oh, and if you want to run Skype(s msft) on the Pixel, you can do that to with this method: Check out how I stay on a video call while switching back to Chrome OS to check something on the web!



I would like to see a video running MS WOS at QEMU or Virtual box under XFCE – what you call Linux at the headline – even better if it is possible to install Xen

The question is that virtualization can make the Chrome Pixel an all in one OS machine if you want to.

Also MS WOS 8 virtualized with the Chrome Pixel screen should work

And OSX can work too

Miquel Mayol

Try kino and cinelerra, and other packages you can find at Ubuntu Studio distro.

Video editing at Linux has not a lot of users, and some video showing this would help some people to learn that it is not so diffcult to use Linux open source and free editing video tools


Could you confirm that netflix won’t play in developer mode? (This is the case on my CR48)

Kevin C. Tofel

Confirmed: once I put the device in developer mode for my Linux activities, I lost the ability to play Netflix; the error message specifically states that it sees the device is in developer mode and will not work.


Thanks. It’s a shame – I wonder why a local administrator is considered so dangerous to Netflix on ChromeOS, when they’re permitted on Windows, Mac OS, and Android.

Robert Nicholson

Why don’t you perform some kind of decent benchmark like trying to compile a linux kernel on it or something.

Kevin C. Tofel

Yes, but only for taps and such as far as I can tell. I haven’t tried to tweak any settings yet. I can’t use the touchscreen to scroll; only to tap, select text, move windows, etc….


Great video – inspired me to have a go. I managed to install Audacity but Skype is a no go. Did you compile from source or use a repository or download? I cannot find either method to work.


A great video which inspired me to have a go. Installed Audacity and Eclipse fine, but I would also like to know how you got Skype installed – did you compile it specially or get it from a repository somewhere? None of the repositories or downloads I have tried will work – so far.


“Isn’t 4GB of RAM too little?

Hoping this isn’t a duplicate, as I’m having some authentication issues between WordPress and GigaOM.

4GB of RAM should be more than adequate. I have been running Ubuntu 10.04 on an Acer netbook with 2gb of RAM, and in more than 2 years, I have never seen it invoke swap, no matter how many windows, tabs, or programs I have running.

Chrome OS supports zRAM swap, which extends memory with no noticeable performance penalty — even on a Chromebook with an Atom processor.


This is fantastic! Couple questions. I am a java/android developer. I am looking for a new laptop and I’d like to get this one. My concern is the 32GB model.. it’s very little space. IS there an option to replace the 32GB drive with say a 250GB SSD drive so I can run both OSs and store some projects, local database, etc?

How’s the performance? I have a quad-core AMD laptop that’s quite fast for development.. curious if this dual-core i5 is fast enough for daily use development while running a container server, database, etc?


Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks much! Unfortunately, there’s no expandability here, save for the SD card slot. Everything is soldered to the board.

Christopher Sherman

Also do you think this would work on a CR-48?

Christopher Sherman

It must be a Chromium thing, I watched the video in the Chrome browser on Linux, but can’t watch it in Chromium.


“Oh, and if you want to run Skype on the Pixel, you can do that to with this method: “…

what method? was there supposed to be a link there?

Steven Roose

“This video isn’t encoded for your device”
Running Chromium on Ubuntu Linux with Flash installed; I never have trouble watching any kind of video.

Duane Bekaert

It’s really really nifty… but I don’t really see the point.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is nothing that you can do on Chrome OS that you couldn’t do on a regular Linux distribution using Google Chrome, right ?

I don’t really see the point and the appeal of Chrome OS, but if you have to switch back to a full fledged Linux distro to get your work done why not simply get rid of it ?

Also, I noticide that ChromeBooks in developer mode didn’t boot right away, that was the case of the samsung one, where you need to do a keystroke each time you’re booting, is it the case with the Pixel ?

Kevin C. Tofel

Duane, except for 2 specific activities, that I do once per week (a video and a podcast), ChromeOS is what I use full time, i.e.: for 99% of my week, I use the web only. The appeal is that it’s just me and the web; there’s nothing in terms of an OS or any related overhead to get in the way. It’s not for everyone, I get that, but for me, it’s an outstanding and productive setup.

Yes, the Chromebook must be in developer mode; you can do a keystroke when booting or wait 30 seconds. I find that I boot the Chromebook maybe once ever few days; 2x a week at most.

Kevin C. Tofel

Too little for ChromeOS or for ChromeOS and Linux at the same time? I’m not finding it to be detriment in either case.

Gabriel Lawrence,CMA

I imagine you could do a RDP session in the Linux environment?

My biggest issue is not having microsoft office available; however, if I could log into my work desktop it wouldn’t be so bad I guess. I also hear rumors of a Linux version of Office, but that’s just a rumor at this point.

Thanks Kevin

G. Paul

Hey If you Log into your Hotmail. You would access SkyDrive and be able to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note for free.


I think you can install wine QEMU or Virtual Box or XEN under XFCE to run MS WOS programs or even the entire OS virtualized.

I would like to see a video with virtualizations and OSX and MS WOS inside and perhaps the MS WOS 8 touch screen works virtualized too

Lucian Armasu

Have you tried for Skype calling on the web? I haven’t tried it myself, since I don’t like using Skype, but I think it may work. I noticed they have Video Call in there.


I just wanted to let you all know that you can run crouton on the other chromebooks. I have it running on my Samsung series 5 550.

Kevin, I really like your reviews. I was wondering if you were going to play around with some of the experimental flags before submitting your official review. There are some very useful features like additional multi gestures for the touch pad. I think it would add much to your review as I haven’t seen anybody else really address them.

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks, Jason: good to know about crouton. I’ll have to get it going on my Samsung Series 5 550 now! :) I did play with some of the flags so maybe they are worth a mention. The upside of those is that they obviously can add functionality. The downside is that folks reading the review often say “you shouldn’t have to do that” when they hear these aren’t enabled out of the box. ;)


that is really neat. waiting on my pixel to arrive right now. i live in the cloud, but its fantastic to know this option is available. ps thanks kevin for the the ongoing great coverage of chrome os. been following your reviews of chromebooks for a while.


Pretty cool , would this work on my Samsung chrome book too ? And you seem to like webOS a lot :D

Kevin C. Tofel

Pretty sure it would work, but of course, if not, you can easily wipe/restore Chrome OS in just a few minutes. :) And yes, I realized afterwards that I let webOS slip out of the mouth. UGH!

Comments are closed.