Installing Debian on a Chromebook (Samsung Series 5)

The short of this is taken from the Chromium staff itself, which made my work significantly easier.

You can certainly go down the steps suggested for intsalling Ubuntu, which works fine and dandy, borrow my scripts (the complete image is no longer available because of bandwidth costs).

The Cebran image contains a handful of games,, Iceweasel (Mozilla Firefox), Chromium, Evolution, Icedove, GIMP, Freeciv, and a collection of other programs. It uses the Compiz window manager.

Getting started

I did not automate the initial segment, entitled "Free up some SSD space" in the Ubuntu page. You need to do this exactly once, unless you make changes to it on your own later. You will not need to redo this for future re-installs of Cebran or for new Chrome images.

  1. umount /mnt/stateful_partition
  2. cgpt add -i 1 -b 266240 -s 12103680 -l STATE /dev/sda
  3. cgpt add -i 6 -b 12369920 -s 32768 -l KERN-C /dev/sda
  4. cgpt add -i 7 -b 12402688 -s 10485760 -l KERN-C /dev/sda

Using your own image

You can follow the instructions on the Ubuntu article to build your own Debian image (or any other GNU/Linux distibution). If you would like, you may download my own version (which is about 5GB, so please only download it if you're serious ... if you'd like to donate to offset bandwidth, you can try the PayPal link on my projects page. If you can host a reliable and fast mirror, and would like to, contact me via eMail (local: cebran-mirror domain:

Copy your image and the contents of the scripts tar file to a USB drive you can mount from Chrome/ChromiumOS. Name your image rootfs.bin, and place it on the same drive (your drive should be larger than 5GB). Then run sh install_cebran from the drive. This should automate the rest of the install process.

Using the Cebran Image

Download, decompress, and extract the contents of the Cebran archive (nb: you'll need to create this yourself, I can't afford to keep hosting it) to a USB drive or SD card that is at least 6GB and which you can use with your Chromebook. You must already have prepared your system by executing the commands from Chrome/ChromiumOS in the Getting Started section.

Mount the drive to which you have extracted Cebran, and mount this from Chrome/ChromiumOS. Run sh install_cebran once the drive is mounted.

The password for the cebran user (needed for sudo) is cebran.

Installing with only a 2GB SD card/USB drive

The archive containing the compressed image should fit on a 2GB SD card (just barely, about 1.9GB). You can mount this drive inside of ChromiumOS (dev mode) and extract the contents to the persistent-state drive after you've resized it.


If you'd like to keep Cebran as your default system, you can run the file sudo /usr/sbin/cebran-successful-boot. If you did not install using the Cebran Image, you can run the command sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 1 /dev/sda

You may need to run this every boot ... until the image is updated, I'd suggest adding a link in /etc/rcS or otherwise adding it to the start-up.

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