I’ve been running Arch linux on an Acer Chromebook 14 (specs and price point similar to the one in the article) for a while now and I’m pretty happy with it. A decent level of security can be achieved by using full disk encryption, especially if storing your LUKS key on a USB stick. And I strongly believe that not running ChromeOS with a google account is way better for privacy.
Interesting to read, I very nearly went the Chromebook route instead of iPad recently. Certainly easier for local development than I’d realised it could be on a Chromebook - as the article says, all other Chromebook-for-development workflows have you rebooting into Linux.
I gave this a try for a while on the Chromebook Pixel. I was honestly very surprised at how well it worked for the “ssh into a server and do all the real work there” model (which is what I do normally on my thinkpads anyway for the most part).
Honestly the only reason I got rid of it was that I couldn’t stand the glossy screen. (I thought the impressive brightness stats and excellent aspect ratio could make up for the glossiness, but I was wrong.) Though the fact that Chrome doesn’t allow you to rebind the ctrl-n key meant that I opened seventeen new windows by accident a couple times every hour when trying to scroll down, and that was pretty infuriating too.
edit: nice to see that Samsung’s model recommended in the article has a non-glossy screen, but the aspect ratio would be a deal-killer for me. Why can’t we have nice things…
I installed nixos onto my acer chromebook, it was… painful as I had to compile the kernel on that anemic little beast but its not too bad.
I don’t use it a lot but it comes in handy every now and again.
This is a really nice article - I had been kicking around the idea of putting together a setup much like this for a couple of months now. I had been thinking it’d be nice to have a cheap, light, and small laptop-like thing to carry around casually and surf the web and occasionally hack on projects on. ChromeOS goes along with the idea of being nearly disposable - if it gets trashed, all of your data is in the cloud, so get a new one, log in, and you’re up and running again. A totally locked-down OS basically invulnerable to malware is a plus. The main hangup is whether I could get some kind of real local linux-y environment without hacking the thing up and bypassing all of the security, and risking the device breaking in strange ways on an auto-update. I don’t like that idea very much, and I’m not thrilled with depending on cloud IDEs or staying SSH’ed into a server to do the real work on all the time.
This Termux thing seems to be the key to this whole mess. Looks like an Android app that holds like a VM or something? I’ll be checking that out. And it seems to be open-source, so hopefully won’t go away when some company gets tired of it or decides to put ads in the console or something silly like that.
At $170 for pretty decent hardware, this seems cheap enough to get just to play around with, whether or not it turns out to really work well. I think I’ll go for it if I don’t convince myself not to in a couple of days.