8 minute read

Following an apt upgrade on GalliumOS which updated GRUB, and it would seem I selected the wrong location to install the bootloader (hint: next time, select /dev/sda, not /dev/sda7!..), GalliumOS now won’t boot up. Unfortunately, this guide for fixing the problem didn’t work for me, so I’m re-installing GalliumOS (again), and taking notes this time on what I do to get things the way I like it, just in case I need to do it all again sometime… :-)


First up, install GalliumOS with chrx! Following the chrx install guide I did the following:

crosh> shell
chronos@localhost / $ cd ; curl -Os https://chrx.org/go && sh go -H gallium -U dave -L en_GB.UTF-8 -Z Europe/London

Which installed GalliumOS, taking about 14mins. (note: Installation log files are preserved in /var/cache/chrx)


Once logged in to GalliumOS, update keyboard settings:

  • Menu -> Settings -> Settings Manager -> Keyboard -> Layout
  • Set “Keyboard model” to “Chromebook Falco/Pixel/Pixel2 / Search overlay / F keys mapped to media keys” (see here for more details - Right alt as overlay doesn’t work with some programmes (eg. Chromium takes the Right-Alt press as a start to keyboard navigation of the browser toolbar…))
  • Also add “English (UK)” to “Keyboard layout”, and remove “English (US)” Note: On the initial login screen, the Keyboard layout will (always?) be “English (US)” - therefore be wary of special characters / punctuation like "£@#~\|¬ in passwords…


Don’t forget to change the default password - use passwd in a terminal window.

Login Screen

Add the option to change the keybaord layout on the initial login screen:

  • dave@gallium:~$ sudo mousepad /etc/lxdm/lxdm.conf
  • Scroll down to the [display] section
  • set bottom_pane=1 and keyboard=1

Desktop preferences

Change Window Manager theme, mainly to give thicker borders on windows:

  • Menu -> Settings -> Settings Manager -> Window Manager -> Style
  • Set “Theme” to “Daloa” or “Kokodi” - some of the others have thick borders too.
  • More details here and here

Generally tweak various settings:

  • File Manager settings:
    • On the Display tab:
      • Set “Date” format to “Today at 20:21:11”
  • Screen Saver settings:
    • install missing screensaver modules with sudo apt install xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-gl xscreensaver-gl-extra
    • On the Display Modes tab:
      • set “Mode” to “Random Screen Saver”
      • These are the screen savers I’ve got active at the moment: Abstractile, Anemone, Atlantis, Attraction, Atunnel, BinaryRing, Blaster, BlinkBox, BlockTube, Bouboule, Boxed, BoxFit, Braid, Bumps, Cage, CCurve, Celtic, Circuit, Cityflow, CloudLife, Coral, Crackberg, Cynosure, DecayScreen, Deco, Distort, Drift, Eurption, Euler2D, Fiberlamp, Fireworkx, FlipFlop, FlipText, FluidBalls, FlyingToasts, FontGlide, Galaxy, Gears, Geodesic, GeodesicGears, GLHanoi, GLKnots, GLMatrix, GLSchool, Goop, Grav, Halftone, Hilbert, Hypertorus, IFS, IMSMap, Interaggregate, Interference, Intermomentary, Jigsaw, Julia, Kumppa, Lavalite, Loop, Maze, MetaBalls, Mountain, Pacman, Penrose, Petri, Piecewise, Pipes, SlideScreen, Slip, SplitFlap, Sproingies, Squiral, StarWars, Surfaces, Wander, Wormhole, XMatrix
      • set “Blank After” to 10 minutes
      • set “Cycle After” to 1 minute
      • set “Lock Screen After” to 1 minute
    • On the Advanced tab:
      • set “Image Manipulation” to “Grab Desktop Images”
      • set “Text Manipulation” to “URL” - “http://feeds.bbci.co.uk/news/rss.xml” (according to the man page the URL can be HTML, RSS or Atom (or plain text))
  • Window Manager settings:
    • On the Keyboard tab:
      • set “Toggle Fullscreen” to F4 (the fullscreen button!)
      • set “Tile window to the left” to Ctrl-Alt-[
      • set “Tile window to the right” to Ctrl-Alt-]
    • On the Focus tab:
      • turn on “Automatically raise windows when they receive focus”
    • On the Advanced tab:
      • turn on “Window snapping - to other windows”

Power settings

My Chromebook seems to be developing a fault on the screen/lid, so it sometimes thinks that the lid has beeb closed (and opened again) when just moving the laptop around - with the default settings, this gives several seconds of black screen, and then you see the lock screen and have to type your password in, which rapidly gets annoying…

  • To prevent the laptop going to sleep when the lid is closed: Power Manager settings -> General -> When laptop lid is closed: set to “Switch off display”, for both On Battery and Plugged In
  • To add a keyboard shortcut for “Suspend” (aka. “Go to Sleep”): Keyboard settings -> Application Shortcuts -> Add. Set the command to xfce4-session-logout -s, then click OK, then choose a keyboard shortcut (I went for Ctrl+PowerOff)

User’s bin

  • make new directory ~/bin
  • copy timer.sh from Moneta into bin
    • rename to timer
    • make executable with chmod a+x ~/bin/timer
  • I think you’ll then need to log out and in again to see /home/dave/bin appear in $PATH


Check the current timezone settings:

dave@gallium:~$ timedatectl
                      Local time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:13:47 UTC
                  Universal time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:13:47 UTC
                        RTC time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:13:47
                       Time zone: Etc/UTC (UTC, +0000)
       System clock synchronized: yes
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
                 RTC in local TZ: no
dave@gallium:~$ cat /etc/timezone 
dave@gallium:~$ ls -l /etc/localtime 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 27 Dec 17 16:41 /etc/localtime -> /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/UTC

Set timezone to Europe/London:

dave@gallium:~$ timedatectl set-timezone "Europe/London"

(or you can do it graphically - see below)

Check the new settings:

dave@gallium:~$ timedatectl
                      Local time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:16:48 GMT
                  Universal time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:16:48 UTC
                        RTC time: Fri 2019-12-20 22:16:48
                       Time zone: Europe/London (GMT, +0000)
       System clock synchronized: yes
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
                 RTC in local TZ: no
dave@gallium:~$ cat /etc/timezone 
dave@gallium:~$ ls -l /etc/localtime 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 35 Dec 20 22:16 /etc/localtime -> ../usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London

Clock settings

  • Right-click on the clock, then choose Properites
  • Change Clock Options - Format to Custom Format
  • Set the format to %-l:%M:%S %P (or whatever…)

If you haven’t set the timezone yet, you can do it by clicking on “Time and Date Settings…” (or Menu->Settings->Time and Date):

  • Click “Unlock”
  • Click on the Time zone at the top
  • Click on London in the map, or pick “Europe/London” from the drop-down menu

Note: The Time and Date Settings window shows Configuration as Manual, and if you try to change it to “Keep synchronised with Internet servers” it complains that “NTP support is not installed”. However timedatectl reports that systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes… Not sure what’s going on there…

Install NTPd

As mentioned above, the Time and Date Settings window seems to think that the time configuation is manual, even with timedatectl set-ntp on. This seems to be similar to the issue here, although it’s maybe not described very well… Following the suggestion(s) there don’t seem to help (ie. time is synchronised by systemd-timesyncd, but the Time and Date Settings window doesn’t know it…).

Installing NTPd (and turning off timedatectl set-ntp) seems to make Time and Date Settings happier!:

  • Install the NTP daemon:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt update
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt install ntp
  • Confirm it’s installed:
    dave@gallium:~$ sntp --version
    sntp 4.2.8p10@1.3728-o (1)
  • Update the config file:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo mousepad /etc/ntp.conf
    • Look for the details for nearest NTP Server pool here: https://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Servers/NTPPoolServers.
    • Fill out the details in the ntp.conf file - note, the support.ntp.org website suggests that the config file lines should be something like server 0.uk.pool.ntp.org, but the version of ntp I have installed seems to use pool 0.uk.pool.ntp.org iburst.
    • Save ntp.conf when you’re done!
  • Re-start the NTP server:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo service ntp restart
  • And check that it’s running, if you want:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo service ntp status
  • Turn off the systemd-timesyncd service:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo timedatectl set-ntp off
  • Check if the local clock is synchronized with an NTP server:
    dave@gallium:~$ ntpdate -qu 0.uk.pool.ntp.org
  • View the Time Synchronization Queue:
    dave@gallium:~$ ntpq -p

Now the Time and Date Settings window should show the Configuration as “Keep synchronised with Internet servers”! :-)

Remove AppGrid

Remove the AppGrid ppa repository:

dave@gallium:~$ sudo rm -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/appgrid*
dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt update

I’ve also removed AppGrid, as I don’t use it, and I hope this might prevent the repository from reappearing…

dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt remove appgrid
dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt autoremove

Install additional software

Libre Office

  • The main Gallium/Ubuntu repositories only have an older version available (v.6.0.7, as of time of writing) - a more up-to-date version (v.6.3.4) can be found at ppa:libreoffice/ppa
  • Add the repository:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
  • Install:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt install libreoffice

    (took a couple of minutes)

RealVNC Viewer

  • Doesn’t seem to be available via apt repositories, so download and install from the website:
  • Download the Linux / DEB x64 version of the viewer from the RealVNC website
  • Open the Downloads folder, right-click on the VNC-Viewer .deb file, and choose “Open With “GDebi Package Installer””
  • Click on “Install Package”
  • If that doesn’t seem to work, try in a terminal instead:
    dave@gallium:~$ cd ~/Downloads
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo dpkg -i VNC-Viewer-*-Linux-x64.deb
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo apt install -f

    (the last line attempts to fix any broken dependancies)

  • Open up VNC Viewer (in Menu->Internet) - sign in (needs Authy for an authentication code)


  • Following the official instructions for Ubuntu:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:remmina-ppa-team/remmina-next
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt update
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt install remmina remmina-plugin-rdp remmina-plugin-secret

    (install took about 40s)
    (I’m not sure how essential the sudo apt update is - it looks like apt-add-repository does it too)

LXFree for Java

  • Download the Linux 64bit dpkg from the downloads page
  • Then, in a terminal:
    dave@gallium:~$ cd ~/Downloads
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo dpkg -i lxfreeforjava_x64.deb
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo apt install -f

    (LXFree for Java appears in the Menu->Other)


  • Download the “Ubuntu 14.04 or higher (.deb) - 64-bit” file from the installation page - this installs a helper application, which in turn installs the main application!..
  • Then, in a terminal:
    dave@gallium:~$ cd ~/Downloads
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo dpkg -i dropbox_*_amd64.deb
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo apt install -f
    dave@gallium:~/Downloads$ sudo apt install python3-gpg

    (note: python3-gpg was needed for the helper app to verify signatures)
    (Dropbox appears in the Menu->Internet)
    Run the helper app to install the main application, then sign in to your Dropbox account when prompted.


  • Install:
    dave@gallium:~$ sudo apt install qdirstat

Application Menu

Change Favourites in the application menu - something like this:

  • GalliumOS Update (System)
  • Synaptic Package Manager (System)
  • Settings Mamanger (Settings)
  • Task Manager (System)
  • Chromium Web Browser (Internet)
  • Mousepad (Accessories)
  • VNC Viewer (Internet)
  • Remmina (Internet)
  • Calculator (Accessories)
  • LXFree for Java (Other)
  • LibreOffice (Office)