Chromebook/Google Hardware Capabilites Question

  • Moderator

    Not really a feature request, more of a probing question. Can someone describe any and all capabilities FOG has with Chromebooks if any? This could be construed as a stupid question, but like I said, just probing. The reason I ask is our district is moving to more Chromebooks for students (eventually a 1 to 1 program). I know and trust FOG and it would be great if there was a way to automatically register them with our network and Google Console. I know FOG has been embraced by school districts as the largest demographic, and the climate at both districts I have worked at has been that Google is the future. GAFE, chromebooks, chrome bases, etc. Feel free to be blunt with me, if this isn’t the direction FOG is going, no love lost. We will still have plenty of PC’s in our district for the foreseeable future.


  • @fry_p My department manually enrolls over 1K Chromebooks about every semester.

    That easy compared to putting the carts for them together and wiring them, figuring 30 power adapters in a space the size of a mini-fridge. If it’s not done thoughtfully, the carts will be completely destroyed by usage - cables strung everywhere. Sometimes we use 100 zip ties per cart.

  • Moderator

    said in Chromebook/Google Hardware Capabilites Question:

    register them with our network and Google Console

    Understand I don’t have a clue about chromebook management so take this with that understanding…

    First you can get FOG to capture/deploy these chromebooks as long as they are on r41 or newer. You will just have to make an iPXE usb boot stick. From there you can pxe boot into the fog menu and do your business.

    On the chromebook registration I’ve found two documents.

    And it appears that google does have some APIs that you can call.

    If you can find the right API, you can call them with a fog post install script assuming you can collect the information needed in the post install script.

  • Moderator

    Thanks everybody for your thoughts. We rely heavily on the Google Admin Console, so I think we are going to do it the old fashioned way for now. We will also pay for the White Glove on them for the time being. I did hear about an interesting method for automation of the registration to google console and wifi. There are USB devices called “rubber ducky” sticks. They are keystroke injectors that if used for the powers of good, can help you. Theoretically, once you capture the desired clicks and keys, you can plug it into chromebooks and the process will be replicated. They run for about 50 bucks a piece, so we may get 5 or so to save white glove money in the future.

  • @fry_p

    We have Chromebooks in our district. 120 of them. We are putting all of these into service this coming Fall. That said, we are new to using FOG too. We did a small test in our district with 40 of them this past Spring. It went so well that we decided to obviously move forward.

    That said, Google has a great management console that allows you to control what is on them all from a web gui within their Google Account framework. They offer a management console that allows you to control printers and apps along with many many other things. We did opt to pay the 5 dollar per unit fee to use those features. It’s well well worth the money. Unlike Microsoft that licence carries over even if the chromebook gets destroyed or lost.

    Hope that helps.



  • Moderator

    @Wayne-Workman Great find.

    It looks like Chrome OS r41 (as noted as a requirement in the linked article) was released in Mar 2016 so it should be available on new Chrome books (said never touching a chrome book). So it looks like the OP is one step closer to getting what is needed. The next issue is to determine firmware mode bios/uefi and then if/when booting from a usb drive, see if the nonvolatile storage is enabled to update/change.

  • Moderator

    @Tom-Elliott You are right I forgot about no pxe booting. But we do have 2 solutions for systems that don’t have pxe booting capabilities, but they do rely on being able to boot from usb flash media. It would be interesting to know if the F10/F12 keys will bring the prebooting computer into a boot menu. Unless they load the hard drive outside of the system, they need to be able to boot the chromebook through some other method when building the darn thing.

  • Theoretically FOG will work on chromebooks, but chromebooks do not have a means to boot across PXE. There’s no “BIOS” persay so there’s no simple way to boot via other means. You can try a USB Flash drive to see if it can even be booted to iPXE/FOS though, but I suspect this will not work.

  • Moderator

    First let me say I don’t have a clue about chrome books.

    With that said, if they are Intel x86 compatible and are supported by the linux kernel then FOG should be able to image them correctly. If I remember right chrome uses ext2 formatted disks so that shouldn’t be a problem for linux. Chrome is a customized form of linux so you should be OK there too.

    What I don’t know, what are the steps required to register these chrome books in the Google console. I would say if there is a way to do it with linux then you can process that request in a FOG power download script. Where you would call a magical linux application or bash script to register the device with the Google Console. On the surface it would seem possible.

    I know I’ve seen other posts in the FOG forums where people have successfully imaged them with FOG.