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Playing around with the new Chromebook, was trying to get Make working to the end of installing other software.

However, can't seem to get Make anywhere near to install; ./configure doesn't generate the needed build.sh.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can go about doing this, or installing Linux software on ChromeOS in general?

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Could you post the last, say, 10 lines of output generated by configure? –  Flup May 3 '13 at 11:26
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Set up Crouton which is a chrooted environment using the chromeos kernel but you can do whatever you like with. Imagine a really thin virtual machine... kinda...

Anyway, you can pop between the standard chromeos and crouton (I use XFCE on crouton) sessions with kbd shortcuts and it acts exactly list a standard machine

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