As the name suggests, a Chromebook makes its best selling point with affordability as an added benefit. Besides, despite the difference between Chromebook and other Windows and Mac based machines, the default OS is the most distinguishing feature.
However, limited features, minimal customization and vulnerability to various attacks make privacy a major concern. That’s why Chromebook users are always looking for alternative operating systems that offer flexibility and customization.
That makes Linux the most suitable choice because it offers features that the user asks for. This article addresses your concerns about choosing the best Linux distribution for your Chromebook.
1. Bunsen Labs Linux
BunsenLabs is an upgrade of the Debian-based CrunchBang Linux distribution. It offers minimal power consumption, an abundance of useful scripts and quick access to every part of the system. The Openbox desktop consumes limited resources and is ideal for power users who run scripts and need immediate access to system resources.
It is suitable for Chromebook users with configuration and packages on top of Debian Linux. That’s why BunsenLabs Linux is best for Chromebook users who want minimal resource consumption, a simple desktop environment, unlimited customization, and software availability.
To download: BunsenLabs Linux
2. Arch Linux
Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distributions. It is ideal for power users and developers as it allows for extensive customization and support due to its underlying DIY philosophy and massive online community support.
Arch Linux is extremely lightweight as it only comes with a kernel and terminal. It may seem a little intimidating to new users, but you can install any desktop environment and have the flexibility to manage any component or package you need in your system. Therefore, the functionality and features make Arch Linux ideal for installation on Chromebooks. You can download the Arch Linux ISO image from the official website.
To download: Arch Linux
3. basic operating system
As the name suggests, the elementary OS is the most suitable Ubuntu LTS based distribution for new Linux users. It has a macOS like user interface and clean design with huge support from the Ubuntu community.
Since it exports all the qualities of Ubuntu, the package management is relatively simple and you can also use snap to download third-party apps. The installation image of elementary OS can be downloaded for free from the official website.
To download: elementary operating system
4. Gallium OS
GalliumOS is an independent Ubuntu-based Linux operating system specially developed as an alternative operating system for Chromebooks. It is an efficient operating system that offers maximum compatibility and support on limited hardware.
In addition, it provides a better user experience through dual-boot support, an XFCE desktop environment, support for Chrome OS mouse drivers, and longer battery life. The best part is the bug fix feature on Chromebooks, which are not available in other distributions.
To download: GalliumOS
Lubuntu is another lightweight, energy-efficient derivative of Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment. The distribution gives a modern look with minimal hardware requirements, making it ideal for Chromebooks with less RAM and storage.
A Windows user will find Lubuntu much more familiar and easy to use. Therefore, a novice user can install Linux with minimal requirements and the feel of Windows on a Chromebook.
To download: Lubuntuc
Solus is an ideal operating system for novice Linux users who want a Windows-like experience on a Chromebook. It has been built from scratch and is aimed at newcomers with multiple features, built-in applications and its own desktop environment. The capabilities it offers don’t just end here, it’s also best for power users due to the availability of four desktop environments, each with its unique capabilities and features.
For example, Solus Plasma and GNOME are the most resource-intensive and designed for the latest hardware, while Solus Mate is the lightest. If you want a turnkey user experience, Solus Budgie is an ideal desktop environment.
The downside is that it takes up a lot of storage space and is quite labor intensive than other Linux distributions for Chromebooks. However, being a rolling-release distribution with the availability of a software center makes package management and installation easier, and the ease of use of the distro makes Solus a stable operating system for Chromebooks.
To download: Solus
7. Invalidate Linux
Void Linux offers the user a lot of customization and security support because of its huge online community. It is a rolling release distribution that boots efficiently and has multiple C standard libraries. In addition, it has a separate package management system and allows users to build packages from source.
The distribution offers eight types of desktop environments and replaces the initialization process from systemd to runit. However, it is not suitable for novice users as it has some compatibility issues. Finally, the monolithic kernel makes Void Linux best suited for Chromebooks.
To download: Invalidate Linux
8. Phoenix Linux
Although Cub Linux is similar to Chrome OS in appearance and functionality, its makers discontinued it after a year of its release. So you may not find a new stable version of Cub Linux as Phoenix Linux is the continuation of that project.
Phoenix Linux uses Openbox window manager and tries to replicate Mac and Windows, making it very easy and efficient to use on Chromebooks. Although Phoenix Linux comes pre-installed with multiple applications and offers an intuitive user interface, it is still unstable in development. Before downloading, it’s important to know that the latest version of Phoenix OS, ALPHA 2, is not as stable as it was in previous stages of development.
To download: Phoenix Linux
Why use Linux on Chromebooks?
Chromebooks are generally cheap, energy efficient and very useful because they run on a barebones operating system with only a web interface on top. Therefore, installing Linux gives you additional customization and flexibility to write scripts and develop/debug applications.
In addition, the performance and portability of Linux distributions go hand in hand with the core features of Chromebooks. Therefore, installing Linux on Chromebooks improves system functionality, and the benefits over Chrome OS outweigh some of the drawbacks.