I now have the Acer C7 Chromebook which is a great second device to have offering a nice screen in a highly portable 11 inch, 3 pound package. If you would like a little more functionality, you can install on your Acer C7 Crouton, a change root (chroot) Ubuntu environment which provides easy switching between Chrome OS and Ubuntu. I like to try things in a virtual machine before going on the real deal. Crouton requires developer mode which will erase the user accounts before you enter into it. I do have many things setup such as OpenVPN and many images stored locally. The Virtualbox configuration will let me play around enough to really determine if I will try out Crouton on my Chromebook.
You can play around with Crouton in a virtual machine before trying it on your Chromebook and I have found it works fine, as expected, but the screen changed modes to the hideous garbage on the left during the install and the good news is there is no need to worry. I pressed CTRL-ALT-F2 followed by CTRL--ALT-F1 to get the screen back to normal. So, install Chromium using Hexxeh's instructions on his site. Then follow the Crouton install guide and if you get the garbage screen, you'll know what to do.
Here is the CTRL-ALT-F1, or normal Chrome OS view showing Crosh in developer mode shell right after entering the Crouton change root (chroot) environment.
Here is the screen of CTRL-ALT-F2
Crouton Xfce4 in Virtualbox
Here is the Xfce4 session running in Crouton. Note that switching between windows doesn't always work. Sometimes getting here requires CTRL-ALT-F2 and then CTRL-ALT-F3.
The default KDE theme is nice as it is, but it can also be customized in just a few easy steps. First, I like to copy my applications into the panel. You can drag them from the launcher to the panel and select link here.
Next, add some widgets using the Plasma control in the top right of the screen.
Right click desktop area and select Default Desktop Settings. Install a background and select it after installation completes.
Applying the desktop picture.
Well go to System Settings from the Launcher and we'll use Application Appearance and Workspace Appearance.
I chose Krita Dark, which comes with Kubuntu 12.10.
Add a theme in WorkSpace Appearance like Slim Glow And Activate
So, now you have a modified Kubuntu 12.10 KDE desktop in a few easy steps minus the time to download the custom backgrounds and themes. Hope this helps.
Optware is like a power pack for DD-WRT enabling the user to enhance the functionality even further by adding even more services to the router. I wanted guests to have write access to the public volume and FTP access. I also wanted non-privileged access to DD-WRT so I created more users for /etc/passwd. I installed a custom S99Local script to keep the custom user database up to date, Proftp to get my own configuration options that the GUI didn't support, and I deviated from the typical Samba config to enable guests to have write access.
Here, you can see my S99Local file which adds users and groups from /opt/etc to the main password database. I gave the users their own id and group.I also moved the local user's home directory from /opt to /mnt/home so they could use Samba and the larger filesystem. I used smbpasswd -a to add the users to /opt/etc/smbpasswd.
Proftp and Samba enable anonymous write permission to /mnt/public. This is so the guests who come over can have access to the share volume and transfer data without using sneaker net. The Proftp config file is modified to allow guests to write the public share. I enabled the firewall to allow guests to have FTP and SMB access from the guest LAN.
There are many sites about making bootable USB pen drives with Ubuntu Linux and most of these sites have the user put the ISO on the thumb drive instead of actually installing a Linux distribution onto the USB flash drive. I like to actually place the whole operating system on a USB flash drive so I always have the full operating system available. Many sites will tell you the ISO install is best but I disagree. Flash drives are much cheaper today and you can split an 8 GB drive into a Linux and a VFAT partition.
I prefer using a virtualizer that offers USB support to do the install. I have used a real PC with data on it while fatigued, entered in the wrong partition, and ended up with a really bad week of restores. Virtualization allows you to only load to the USB drive and keeps your PC protected from accidents. I like to use the virtual machine with no hard drive, which makes the install simpler especially when the USB flash drive is connected before install. You can't mix up partitions or boot areas with only one drive in the virtual machine.
Begin your install by selecting keyboard type and entering your host name along with other information until you reach the partition screen.
The flash drive used here already had two 8 GB VFAT partitions and I erased the second one and use it for Linux. I usually select the Ubuntu alternate CD and manual partitioning but if you have only one USB drive in your VM, then you can use auto install and the whole flash drive if you won’t need the VFAT for sneaker net with other computers. It is a good time to note the path of your USB thumb drive if you have multiple drives in your system. It is /dev/sda in the virtual machine and typically /dev/sdh on my physical desktop. You might need that for the bootloader install later if you are doing this on a physical machine with multiple disk drives.
Ensure the partition type is primary and bootable then select your filesystem type. I have used ext4 and ext2 succesfully. You may wish to read the benchmarks and to determine your filesystem choice then work on performance later.
Note that I create the system with no swap space since the computers I would boot from typically have 2 GB of ram which tends to be enough for my needs. Also, I use a USB disk drive with 200 ms write speeds but I have found paging to slow the system down. I used to turn off browser caching and the syslog service in the past but I find newer systems perform fine with these on.
Commit your changes, create the filsystem, and begin the user creation process. I like to encrypt my home directory with the built in ecrypt filesystem which leaves me feeling comfortable should I lose the USB key disk.
The next step is the one that can be a nuisance should you use a physical PC. If you have only one disk, the Ubuntu installer will place the boot loader on the master boot record of the disk. If you have multiple drives, then select manual and enter the drive name on that page. On my desktop, the drive usually appears as /dev/sdh so I use that for physical installs. You must be careful not to override a bootloader on a machine you are using just for installing to a USB disk drive.
You can see in the picture with the drive booted that I am using a Patriot XT flash drive on /dev/sda running Ubuntu 11.10 Oneirc Ocelot.
This is the place for notes and updates.