Sep 13, 2013

Installing Pantheon Theme on Chromebook

I discovered Elementary OS a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with this distro and wanted to install it on my chromebook. I soon discovered it wasn't possible to install the full Elementary OS on my chromebook, so the next best thing is some sort of theme.

This blog post details the steps I took to install XFCE on my Chromebook and tweak it to look like the new Elementary OS!

  • First you'll need to enable developer mode on your chromebook.
    • Note: this will wipe all your local data, most of your stuff should be in the clouds anyway, but quickly backup your local data first.
    • Press and hold Esc and Refresh and then press the Power button.
    • Your Chromebook will reboot into Recovery Mode.
    • As soon as you see the Recovery Mode pop up, press Ctrl+d. Press Enter.
    • This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
    • Eventually it will reboot into Chrome OS and you are now in developer mode.
    • Note: some older chromebooks have a physical switch that enables developer mode. If you're not sure just do a search on how to enable developer mode for your particular model.
  • Now download the crouton script from this page:
  • Press Ctrl-Alt-t to start a new crosh session (chrome os terminal)
  • shell
  • sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce
    • this will run for awhile
    • it will prompt you for a username / password
  • sudo startxfce4 
    • this brings you into your new linux install.
  • Here's what it looks like so far: 

Note: Ctrl-Alt-Back and Ctrl-Alt-Forward will toggle you between Chrome OS and XFCE.
  • sudo apt-get install vim python-software-properties
    • vim for editing
    • python-software-properties is added to get add-apt-repository
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/stable
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install wingpanel slingshot-launcher plank elementary-theme elementary-icon-theme
Ok, so now that all the programs and themes have been installed, it's time to start adding some tweaks.

Window Manager:
  • Select Greybird theme
  • Increase font size to 12
  • Change button layout to Close - Title - Maximize

Window Manager Tweaks:
  • Check Enable display compositing
  • Check the options you want under compositing.

  • select elementary style
  • select elementary icons
  • increase font to 12 and tweak to your liking.

Session and Startup:
  • remove xfce4_panels from Session. you can't really delete it so just select Never for Restart Style.
  • add wingpanel and plank to Application AutoStart

Now logout and login. It should look a lot better now!

At this point you've disabled the default xfce panels and replaced them with the wingpanel and plank programs. The slingshot-launcher works from the wingpanel applications link. Now just cleanup the Desktop and add your own custom tweaks.

  • remove icons by unchecking all the Default Icons
  • change wallpaper

Now you should have something that looks a lot like the Elementary OS!


Please write your comments, I'd love to hear how you like your new "Luna Chromebook"!


  1. thanks! everything works great, except I can't log out of the crouton session using the log out buttons. switching back and forth is fine, but sometimes I like to log out properly and shut down the session.. any thoughts? thanks again for the guide!

    1. Awesome! I'm glad it worked for you. I noticed the same problem with the wingpanel system menu, the logout doesn't work. The xfce logout still works though... open your applications and look for the "Log Out" application. Drag and drop that app onto the plank at the bottom and you will have a logout function that still works.

      Don't do a search for the Log Out app because it won't let you drag and drop the app, you have to just page thru your apps until you find it.

      Hope this helps.