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Linux ChromeBox Kodi E-Z Setup Script (LibreELEC/Linux+Kodi) [2017/02/21]
I went ahead and picked up an Acer Chromebox CXI locally for $40. Followed the steps outlined in the Kodi wiki Chromebox entry. I initially wanted to just wipe ChromeOS and install a familiar Linux (Void or Arch) but thought better of it and decided it would be less work to go the dual-boot route. So that's what I attempted. I'd understood from the fellow from whom I acquired this that the box had been factory reset, which seemed confirmed when I booted ChromeOS and was asked to enter credentials for, or to create anew, a google account (I did neither). But having gone through the steps to reconfigure the device as dual boot (ChromeOS and LE), I am confronted with the situation 'Help! I'm stuck on the black SeaBIOS boot screen, with the "booting from hard disk" text displayed' described under "5 Troubleshooting, Known Issues, Fixes/Workarounds" in the wiki article. I can still boot into ChromeOS by holding down the ctrl-D keys during boot.

Trying too figure out now how to proceed. Do I need to factory reset, as the wiki directives seem to indicate, then try the dual-boot installation again? In fact can I perform a factory reset, given that the drive has been partitioned (but that I can still boot into ChromeOS)? Further input will be appreciated.
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(2019-05-30, 15:42)wayover13 Wrote: Trying too figure out now how to proceed. Do I need to factory reset, as the wiki directives seem to indicate, then try the dual-boot installation again? In fact can I perform a factory reset, given that the drive has been partitioned (but that I can still boot into ChromeOS)? Further input will be appreciated.

Absolutely. The previous owner likely did a simple powerwash (userdata erase) whereas the Recovery Mode / full reset re-images the entire internal storage. After resetting, just redo the dual-boot setup as before, running it 2x (first to re-partition, then to install LE).
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Thanks for the further input, Matt Devo. Another thing I've noted: if I'm understanding correctly what I'm seeing at the tty, I also have the option of just enabling USB boot, thereby obviating the need to run the script, partition the drive, etc--correct? In other words, I could just run LE from USB that way, it seems. If so, what are the pro's/cons of setting up dual boot ChromeOS/LE versus just leaving ChromeOS and running LE from USB? Still deciding which course of action I'll pursue.
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(2019-05-30, 18:07)wayover13 Wrote: Thanks for the further input, Matt Devo. Another thing I've noted: if I'm understanding correctly what I'm seeing at the tty, I also have the option of just enabling USB boot, thereby obviating the need to run the script, partition the drive, etc--correct? In other words, I could just run LE from USB that way, it seems. If so, what are the pro's/cons of setting up dual boot ChromeOS/LE versus just leaving ChromeOS and running LE from USB? Still deciding which course of action I'll pursue.

regardless of whether you want to run LE from the internal SSD or USB, you need to use the EZ Setup script to update the legacy BIOS, as this updates the RW_LEGACY firmware and sets the dev_boot_legacy flag to enable the use of CTRL+L. "Enabling USB boot" is something that blogs say when they don't know anything about how Chromebooks/boxes actually boot. You're using Legacy Boot Mode either way.
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Ok. Just to be absolutely clear about what I'm describing, after booting to ChromeOS on this device, when I hit ctrl-alt-F3 to get to a tty, I'm presented with the Developer Console log-in screen, where I can log in as user chronos. Among other information appearing on that log-in screen, it says "If you are having trouble booting s self-signed kernel, you may need to enable USB booting. To do so, run the following as root: enable_dev_usb_boot." Though I'm not trying to run a self-signed kernel, this information gives the impression that booting from a USB device can be enabled by the means described. So, is what you're saying about enabling legacy boot still applicable here? You obviously have a far better technical grasp of the workings of these devices than I do, but to the more casual user such as myself, the information from the developer console screen seems to indicate that booting from USB can be enabled by logging in as chronos and running something like sudo enable_dev_usb_boot.
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(2019-05-30, 19:27)wayover13 Wrote: Ok. Just to be absolutely clear about what I'm describing, after booting to ChromeOS on this device, when I hit ctrl-alt-F3 to get to a tty, I'm presented with the Developer Console log-in screen, where I can log in as user chronos. Among other information appearing on that log-in screen, it says "If you are having trouble booting s self-signed kernel, you may need to enable USB booting. To do so, run the following as root: enable_dev_usb_boot." Though I'm not trying to run a self-signed kernel, this information gives the impression that booting from a USB device can be enabled by the means described. So, is what you're saying about enabling legacy boot still applicable here? You obviously have a far better technical grasp of the workings of these devices than I do, but to the more casual user such as myself, the information from the developer console screen seems to indicate that booting from USB can be enabled by logging in as chronos and running something like sudo enable_dev_usb_boot.

I'm saying that information is completely irrelevant -- it applies only to booting a custom ChromeOS/ChromiumOS kernel from USB via CTRL+U.

Booting LE (or any other non-ChromeOS Linux) is done via Legacy Boot Mode. All it requires is functional RW_LEGACY firmware and the dev_boot_legacy flag (not dev_boot_usb) to be set.  The EZ Setup script handles all of this for you regardless if you select to install LE to the internal SSD or to USB.
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Thanks for the explanation Matt Devo and for saving me from wasting a further bit of time trying to boot USB that way. I did the factory reset as described, then again went through the steps outlined in the wiki for installing LE alongside ChromeOS. I now have a working LE installation on this device! Doubt I'll be using ChromeOS much but, as mentioned, it was a whole lot less fidgety to use the dual-boot option than to wipe ChromeOS and install a real Linux distro. Plus, since the device is uefi, I believe I would have been unable to use my preferred boot loader (syslinux) had I done that. If one is interested in compiling his own kernel, uefi booting is great if the command-line kernel option is enabled: no boot loader needed. But I don't have time for that right now so I'll be sticking with dual-booting.
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(2019-05-31, 00:25)wayover13 Wrote: it was a whole lot less fidgety to use the dual-boot option than to wipe ChromeOS and install a real Linux distro.

I don't see how, since it involves an additional reset and a two-step install, but your call Smile

Quote: Plus, since the device is uefi, I believe I would have been unable to use my preferred boot loader (syslinux) had I done that. If one is interested in compiling his own kernel, uefi booting is great if the command-line kernel option is enabled: no boot loader needed. But I don't have time for that right now so I'll be sticking with dual-booting.

 Both legacy and UEFI firmware is available for Chromeboxes. Syslinux works fine under UEFI. LE does as well.
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(2019-05-31, 00:25)wayover13 Wrote: it was a whole lot less fidgety to use the dual-boot option than to wipe ChromeOS and install a real Linux distro.
I don't see how, since it involves an additional reset and a two-step install, but your call Smile
Quote:Plus, since the device is uefi, I believe I would have been unable to use my preferred boot loader (syslinux) had I done that. If one is interested in compiling his own kernel, uefi booting is great if the command-line kernel option is enabled: no boot loader needed. But I don't have time for that right now so I'll be sticking with dual-booting.

 Both legacy and UEFI firmware is available for Chromeboxes. Syslinux works fine under UEFI. LE does as well.
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Ok. Had not tried syslinux under a uefi scenario (yeah, I'm still sorta stuck in the BIOS stone age). I'm also subscribed to the syslinux mailing list and I've definitely seen discussions there regarding problems booting uefi systems. I wasn't really paying attention to details of those discussions so perhaps I'm misinterpreting. As the case may be, another question.

Have you looked at all into the feasibility of replacing ChromeOS with a workalike such as NayuOS (https://nayuos.nexedi.com/) on these chromeboxes? Contrary to expectations, I'm finding the ChromeOS on this system somewhat useful. I intend to use the system mainly for streaming some on-line video content via the browser, which works rather well under ChromeOS because I can minimize the browser during commercials (the Kodi add-on I use for this under LE does not allow for this sort of thing). At the same time, I don't want to use ChromeOS for this since I try to minimize their tracking of my on-line activities. As I'm understanding it, NayuOS allows one to use a ChromeOS-like system without having to authenticate to google services. Anyway, just a thought.
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(2019-06-01, 18:49)wayover13 Wrote: Have you looked at all into the feasibility of replacing ChromeOS with a workalike such as NayuOS (https://nayuos.nexedi.com/) on these chromeboxes? Contrary to expectations, I'm finding the ChromeOS on this system somewhat useful. I intend to use the system mainly for streaming some on-line video content via the browser, which works rather well under ChromeOS because I can minimize the browser during commercials (the Kodi add-on I use for this under LE does not allow for this sort of thing). At the same time, I don't want to use ChromeOS for this since I try to minimize their tracking of my on-line activities. As I'm understanding it, NayuOS allows one to use a ChromeOS-like system without having to authenticate to google services. Anyway, just a thought.

with my UEFI firmware, you can pretty much run whatever OS you want. The hardware in these boxes is all standard stuff, well supported. I've not tried NayuOS but no reason it shouldn't run without issue.
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