If you use a Chromebook and feel somewhat limited and tied down to Google's cloud, things are getting a little easier here in the near future. It looks like Google is allowing the ability to boot into a sort of debugging mode where you'll be able to boot an image - or a different OS from a USB stick and even be able to install that OS. Of course, you'll be on your own if you happen to hose the system, but if you're brave, it will be a little bit easier.
The chromium team is currently adding the ability to easily enable Debugging Features¹ when the device is booted in Developer Mode. These features will allow enthusiastic developers like you to:
- Remove rootfs verification² so you can modify OS files
- Enable SSH access to the device using the standard test keys so you can use tools such as cros flash
- Enable booting from USB so you can install an OS image from a USB drive
- Set both the dev and the system root login password to a custom value so you can manually SSH into the device
Source: François Beaufort (Google+)