… but OpenBSD doesn’t support Bluetooth.
Huh? Was this statement intended to be a bit more specific, or is this really the case?
Bluetooth was disabled by default in 2011 and then the code was purged with fire in 2014.
Love the commit comment:
“general consensus says to whack it so as to not mislead the unwary.”
Does this mean there’ll be a new episode of garbage this week? ;)
Great work though @jcs!
Are any chromebooks worth using as dev machines? I have never actually seen one in person, but I know of people doing it.
You wouldn’t typically want to do local development on one, though things like this make it possible. It’s much more useful to use them to develop remotely via ssh. Any recent model is pretty usable in that modality. When buying one, you do want to look at benchmarks before you buy, since you can’t really tell which are last year’s models just from the price, and older ones will have significant trouble with current websites.
The Pixel - what the article is discussing, otoh, is really an Ultrabook wearing Chromebook software and annoying firmware lock screw. It’s a far more competent developer machine, and its steep price reflects that.
A coworker of mine calls it “the ultimate on call machine”, because it’s super lightweight, and he can ssh into whatever boxes he needs when on call.
I used one for a little while in college for development, just because it was lighter than anything else I had, but the only programming was for data structures, which on the whole doesn’t really require a lot of computing power for.
That said, today, if I were looking for a dev machine that I was going to run linux on, I’d probably go with the XPS 13. The only reason I’d consider getting a chromebook is weight. I’d rather be able to run things locally (even if it’s through containers or VMs) than offload that to the “cloud” like most chromebook-as-dev-machine people do.
I’d probably go with the XPS 13. The only reason I’d consider getting a chromebook is weight
The XPS 13 is lighter than the Chromebook Pixel fwiw (2.7 lbs vs. 3.3 lbs), so if that’s your main reason, I’d go with the XPS. :-) The real winner in that category though is the newish 12" Macbook (2.0 lbs), if its CPU is fast enough for your needs.
Yeah but if you’ve used one of the newer Macbooks you’d know they’re disgusting - it’s surprising Apple even puts their name on them. They’re flimsy, the keyboards are horrid, they’re dog slow…it just screams cheaply made. The 2016s may be better - but I was so turned off by the model before them that I’d never go down that avenue again.
I bought a Chromebook Pixel before going to DefCon and I’ve been decently surprised by it (though I’ve only used Debian Linux on the machine). I haven’t braved the “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good” screw yet, but that’s because in the entire time I’ve owned it I think I’ve only rebooted it half a dozen times (and most of those were in the first few hours) - otherwise it’s suspended (which thankfully has worked flawlessly on Linux). I had to build my own kernel since Google wasn’t so kind as to upstream their audio drivers for the machine, but that only took a few hours on the machine. Audio still doesn’t work perfectly - the driver exposes far too many of the implementation details of the audio chip and getting it configured correctly is wonky (and headphone jack sensing still does not work properly), but I’ve gotten it to where I can live with it… at least for a few hours at a time.
The weight is similar to any other ultrabook, the keyboard is surprisingly a lot better than most ultrabooks in its class (but not having a dedicated “function” key on the keyboard to switch back and forth between the F# and media/screen functions is very annoying), but the real selling feature is the screen - the 3:2 screen is an absolute dream to use and makes me dearly miss 4:3 laptops. I’m a bit annoyed they bothered to make it a touchscreen since the only time I ever remember it is a touchscreen is when I’m trying to brush schmutz off the monitor and I end up selecting everything or closing windows or something else I never intended to happen. The screen also showcases the embarrassing state of HiDPI on Linux quite well to my dismay.
I can’t quite say I’d recommend it at its current asking price - it’s very expensive for having so little local storage and needing so much handholding - it’s probably just not worth your time and you might be better off owning a machine with proper Linux support (sorry Google, you’ve failed on this one, and I have no idea how or why you’ve managed to let this happen given it was a device whose sole purpose is to run Linux…) But I’d consider it a fun toy/tertiary machine, and a decent developer’s travel laptop since it’ll eventually drive you nuts and you’ll do better things with your travel time than sit on the computer all day, but you won’t mind lugging all of its three pounds around. If I were to buy another one, and had time, I’d try to find one secondhand… but good luck. I tried for about a week before pulling the trigger on a new one and all I saw were Amazon resellers marking them up 10% arbitrarily, making it even less attractive than similarly priced ultrabooks. My roommate’s a fan of the Razer Blade Stealth - I’d give that a once over before treading here again.
Yeah but if you’ve used one of the newer Macbooks you’d know they’re disgusting - it’s surprising Apple even puts their name on them. They’re flimsy, the keyboards are horrid, they’re dog slow…
It’s funny that people can have the exact opposite experiences. I have owned many MacBooks (white polycarbonate, Pro, Air) and the MacBook 12" (2015) is the best MacBook I ever had (bought in December). The build quality is solid as usual (aluminium brick) and I like the keyboard (the keys feel much more stable than other MacBooks, but you have to like short travel). And even though I went from a Core i7 MacBook, I was surprised how fast it actually is. Of course, you’re not going to do machine learning on it, but we’re past that station anyway (I need a fast GPU or Tesla). Though the actual killer feature for me is the weight - it’s extremely light for what it offers. I cycle to work virtually every day, so not having to drag a 1.5-2kg laptop every day is a big win.
They only thing that I dislike is the single USB-C port and the 80 Euro connectors this requires to hook it up to a screen or beamer.
Type C is a standard, so you can always buy cheap cables from someone else. Once other major makes start using it commonly, the prices will collapse.
Just be careful buying el-cheapos - just ask Benson Leung, who’s been reviewing them for the past while now.
Once other major makes start using it commonly, the prices will collapse.
Definitely. But I bought my MacBook in December, all other connectors where still unicorns back then.
Well, you’re discounting the weight of Dell’s 13" chromebook (I don’t actually know the weight, but I would hope they made it lighter than the XPS). I don’t think I’d ever go for the Chromebook Pixel.
On the macbook front, every time I’ve used one of the new ones I’ve never really wanted to use it again. Spec-wise it seems like a huge cop out, especially compared to the MBPr. But also, if I’m putting linux on a laptop, I’m not going to do it with a macbook. Dealing with the slightly different keyboard isn’t worth it to me, and takes a lot of cognitive overhead for me to adjust (speaking as someone who uses OS X almost exclusively at this point, and previously dual booted Arch).
I use an iPad Air 2 with a keyboard case for that. Prompt is one of the nicest ssh clients I’ve ever seen.
But you’re still paying for server time, and maybe you’d be doing that regardless of what machine you’re physically using. but I’ve personally yet to hit the boundary where I think it’s worth it to do my personal development work on a server over locally.
All comes down to what’s important to you and where the cost/value line sits. Yes, I’m paying $10/mo to Digital Ocean for a VPS.
No spinning disks at home to worry about and babysit? PRICELESS.