Gallium OS is an Operating System based off Ubuntu designed to run on Chromebook hardware.
If you like your Chromebook, but wish it could do more, try out Gallium OS. It’s a Linux distro that gives you full control over your hardware. As an added bonus, it’s based off of Ubuntu, so it’ll probably feel familiar if you’ve used that before.
Unlike crouton, it can overwrite Chrome OS, or dual boot. But, it can’t run within Chrome OS. That being said, it takes less than a minute to boot, so switching between them shouldn’t be that much of a hassle.
My first impressions of Gallium OS, was that it’s an amazing OS in general, let alone one designed for Chromebooks. After preparing your Chromebook(enabling dev mode and installing the BIOS thingie), all you need to do is boot from a Gallium OS flash drive, and follow the install instructions(you could also run it live, but I wouldn’t recommend it). The install was easy, and the live desktop is a great way to test it out before installing. As promised, all of the hardware, down to the brightness buttons on the keyboard, worked just fine. It did come with the Chromium browser installed, which I replaced with Google Chrome, and that actually ended up using less disk space.
You’re probably wondering why anyone would ever want to replace Chrome OS. Well, I did it to get more out of my Chromebook. I can now work on my C and Python programs without needing an internet connection(with Chrome OS, I had to SSH into my server to work on programming). I can even mess around with Swift if I wanted to, which I couldn’t do before. Also, you get full control over pretty much everything about the OS. If you want to change Desktop Environment you can, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Also, the OpenVPN client you can install on Gallium OS is far superior to the built in ChromeOS one, as I can use TCP port 443, which Chrome OS’s OpenVPN client doesn’t support.
What if I want to go back?
If you like Gallium OS, install it, and end up changing your mind, then all you need to do is create a Chrome OS recovery flash drive, which there are many tutorials on how to do. Switching back isn’t that hard, but if you think you’ll still use Chrome OS, then consider dual boot instead of overwriting.
Why not crouton?
Crouton is great if you want Chrome OS, and want to mess around with another Linux distro every now and then. But, if you want to have full control over everything, then Gallium OS will probably be the best solution for you.