Chromebooks - Intel® XDK

Chromebooks and the Intel® XDK

The Chromebook is an amazing device for Intel XDK development. Today we’ll show you how to install the Intel XDK on a Chromebook using Crouton. Crouton utilizes a chroot environment to install a guest operating system along side Chrome OS. There are a few easy steps involved to accomplish this.

First, you must get your Chromebook in developer mode. You can find instructions for your specific device here. Developer mode will turn off OS verification and wipe all your data. Make sure that you have everything backed up on an external drive, or in the cloud. You will need to stay in developer mode to run the guest OS installed by Crouton. If you leave developer mode at any point, you will lose all your data again, including the guest OS. Because of this, we recommend installing your guest OS on an SD card.

Once you are in developer mode, you will need to install Crouton. Log into Chrome OS and then download the latest Crouton install script found here. When you have download that, open up a “Crosh” shell by hitting Ctrl+Alt+T on the keyboard. Once the new tab opens, type “shell” to launch a basic shell and then run “sh –e ~/Downloads/crouton –t _os_” where _os_ is the guest OS you want to install. We will install Ubuntu with XFCE, but you can choose Unity if you’d like. You can find all the targets supported by Crouton by running “sh –e ~/Downloads/crouton"


sh –e ~/Downlods/crouton –t xfce4

This process takes a while. This will download everything and install the guest OS in the /usr/local/chroots/* directory. Once everything is installed, it will ask you to create a user account on the guest OS. Once installation is complete, you can launch the guest OS from the shell by typing in


sudo startxfce4  // for unity use sudo startunity

This will launch Ubuntu with XFCE in another window along side Chrome OS. You can switch toggle Chrome OS and Ubuntu by hitting Ctl+Alt+F3(refresh) to get to Ubuntu, or Ctl+Alt+F1(left arrow) to go back to Chrome OS. You now have a full featured Ubuntu install on your Chromebook. You can install the Intel XDK from this link. Follow the instructions to install the Intel XDK. You must run “sudo install.sh” due to permissions needed.

You can now use the Intel XDK to build your cross platform hybrid apps. Earlier I mentioned you should install your guest OS on a SD card or USB Drive. Some machines are fairly easy to take out of developer mode so we do not want you to lose your data. To install on a SD Card, you simply add a parameter during the Crouton install. You must make sure your SD card is mounted with exec privileges.


sudo mount -o remount,rw,dev,exec,suid '/media/removable/_mountname_'

Now we will run the install script (-p sets the directory to install to)


sh –e ~/Downloads crouton –txfce4 – p /media/removable/_mountname_   

After it is installed, you can launch your Ubuntu install by referencing the full path in the bin folder of your SD card.


sudo /media/removable/_mountname_/bin/startxfce4

If you receive any errors about execution, remount the SD card.


sudo mount -o remount,rw,dev,exec,suid '/media/removable/_mountname_'
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