On a metal web - chromebook tips - GNU/Linux

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Long time nixers
As many of you may know I recently bought a refurbished acer c720 Chromebook.
And, I love it.
This thread is a collection of cool things, tips and resources for your next cheap, portable and even powerful Linux machine.

Not that I'm still using chrome OS anymore so if you have questions about that you should ask pockets69

The best thing I think about Chromebooks is the affordable price to get Linux hardware. You don't need to pay for the packaged os, and I don't think anyone on here is dying to install Windows anyways.
You get a nice little Linux machine.

If any of you are looking for a new machine and don't have deep pockets I would totally recommend a Chromebook.

With that recommendation comes a warning though.
Be careful about which one you buy because:

ARM vs x86 architecture
Most Chromebooks are ARM and while a lot of Linux distros can be installed on ARM it does complicate matters a little

Some Chromebooks have locked down bios and to install Linux you'd have to flash. Risk voiding your warranty and bricking your computer


A lot of Chromebooks are small 11-13"
The largest are around 15"
If you're someone who hates small screens they might not be for you. (Or any laptop for that matter)

Most Chromebooks pack 2-4g of ram with the outlier being the pixel with 8
A lot of you run minimal setups and 2-4 should be fine. I'm not sure if you can upgrade the ram on other models but in my laptop the ram is soldiered down making such an upgrade impossible.

Processors range from i3 on the acer c720 to an i7 on the pixel. Many others pack lower end processors.

I don't know about you guys but I am perfectly fine with a 32 gb ssd drive. I don't have a huge picture collection or music library.
For many of you 16-32 gb is simply not enough. On the acer c720 you can upgrade the ssd.

Some neat resources and links I'll add to:

This is a package manager that I found out about on irc, once again thanks to pockets.

The arch wiki has a LOT of good stuff on the subject

More later!
Long time nixers
One can compress a directory just in case 32GB is not enough. But the lower end processor may not be able to handle the de-compression.

Also I believe on all the models you can upgrade the SSD. Remember though that the SSD used are M2 type.

Great article tho! I'll never use a chrome-book until the price for the Pixel comes down. I may buy a Chrome-box to connect to a bigger monitor
There are already a lot of articles on Chromebook tips for those interested,
such as this one and this one.

Houseoftea added emphasis on the important points.

What I'd like to know is if there's anything specific that isn't mention but that is important when using a Chromebook. Interesting things you've discovered.
Long time nixers

(11-08-2015, 02:10 AM)venam Wrote: that is important when using a Chromebook

The answer to that question has a couple layers. You need to keep in mind hardware level and the software level also.

Hardware things to keep in mind:
I was reading the forums and someone had just made a post about alternative keyboard layouts. This got me thinking about keyboards and just how important they are. Chromebooks are unique in the fact that they do not have the mod4 key. A lot of window managers will use this key by default. The night I got it I was up at around 4 in the morning trying to get everything set up and I was wondering why my old config wasn't working for frankenwm. Fixing it required cracking open the config and changing all of the MOD4's to MOD1's.
On the upside it did force me to use vim and learn a little bit more about the deeper features besides opening, switching modes and saving.
On the downside though my muscle memory for using the wm has been messed up a little and since I had to change some controls around sometimes there are pauses in my workflow.
Other minor annoyances about the keyboard are the following:

-Powerbutton is right about backspace and if you miss backspace you're pretty much powered off already
-No del key
-only some of the function keys (f1-f12) and they have different symbols making them annoying to press

On a software level you need to keep this in mind: Yes it is technically linux, being made from gentoo and all.
but no it is not the linux that you are used to. on a linux system you are a free bird in the sky, and on chromeos you are a bird in a cage, being shown pictures of the sky.
for sake of usability and design they have taken away almost everything that linux is known for.
originally I had planned on using chromeos for school things and basic web browsing and then jumping into linux with something called crouton. Crouton is a neat little program that allows you to chroot into another linux setup.
well I ended up not doing that because I cannot stand chromeos. As many of you pointed out to me in my initially thread on the subject.
Switching to linux is not as easy as you might think as well.
No cd drive is usually no problem, just use a usb. But on a chromebook you need to wrestle with things like developer mode and GBB flags and flashing the bios or if you dont do that then be prepared to press control+l every time you want to boot into legacy bios.

More to come!
I am typing this from a livecd right now and once I get settled Ill get some more written
(11-08-2015, 10:34 AM)Houseoftea Wrote: on a linux system you are a free bird in the sky, and on chromeos you are a bird in a cage, being shown pictures of the sky.

Great analogy.