Chromebooks: Linux on a budget, and how not to hate them - Hardware talk
Houseoftea
Since the arrival of my chromebook, I've had some mixed feelings


Let me tell you about the things I can't stand.

First is the keyboard. It works fine I guess, after all I am typing all of this out on in.
After using it for awhile though, you start to miss what it lacks.
Not to mention start to despise what it adds.
While I typed that last sentence I misspelled despise, luckily I pressed backspace a bunch of times and fixed it. The issue is that If I missed the backspace button and hit the button above it, my computer would shut off.
It's like suicide linux but with poweroff.
Second, missing fuction, del and meta keys make text editing and window controlling more annoying.
There is nothing more aggravating than learning all the key bindings and then having to remap them all to alt.

Second, chromeos has proved to be quite frustrating.
When I heard about its gentoo base I was excited to dive in and mess around.
The thing is, diving into chromeos is like diving into a swimming pool that has no water.
Core tools are stripped away, functionality and openness lost, I had no compiler and no essential cli tools. Instead I had a bunch of apps on the chrome app store.
I started to regret not buying a used thinkpad.

Realizing how much I hated chromeos I set my sights on installing native linux. While it was not very difficult, it does void the warrenty. Lucky for me, I didnt have a warrenty to start with.

Installing native linux is a pain and really boils down to this:
- boot into dev mode (lose everything saved)
- navigate the chrome shell (miss actually useful shells in the process)
- remove all 5 million screws (rip the thing apart)
- take out hardware screw (The warrenty is sooo dead at this point)
- change gbb flags (shorten annoying boot screen & seabios)
- boot from live linux cd (append mem=1024mb else it wont boot)

as opposed to just skipping to the last step


I used native linux for awhile but it really started to become an issue.
I went back to school and had issue upon issue with CUPs and Networking with the school equipment. Spending time trying to resolve these things and fighting the school to changing the printer settings was too much work.
Especially since this year has already been a boatload of work.

It was with great regret that I returned to chromeos.

Chromebrew makes things a little better, its worth a look but the packages are limited.

crouton is a life saver right now, whenever I am not typing up some school paper I can escape to the ivory tower of my debian sid chroot.

I still miss my old laptop.
vypr
Surprisingly the steps to do this on an Acer C710 is much simpler.

- Enable dev mode.
- Disable the hardware lock (by opening the computer [which doesn't have many screws]) and putting a piece of foil in there to complete a circuit.
- Flash http://johnlewis.ie 's custom SeaBIOS (which comes with a custom NetinstCD)
- Use the custom NetinstCD to install a distro of choice (Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, etc.)
Code:
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
G d s+:++ a--- C++ UB P+ L+ !E !W+++ !N !o K--? w++ !O M++ !V PS+++ PE-- Y++ PGP+ !t !5 !X !R tv b+ DI D++ G e- h r y--
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

buddhist ~ esperantisto ~ communist
venam
It's always nice to read about different people's point of view on a subject.
In this thread we are presented with the opinion of a Unix lover using a Chromebook.

Reading online reviews can help in your choices but opinions are biased. I prefer asking people who have the similar needs I have.
NetherOrb
Im running Arch on top of Johns seabios for an acer c720. I cant remember when Ive ever had an issue with hardware which has been used as a daily driver for atleast 2(?) years.
hades
I run Arch on my Samsung Chromebook (the older one), and it's not that bad as far as compatibility goes, and was relatively easy to install (no removing screws on this one). The part that troubled me at first was the terminology of "flashing" the image on the 16GB SSD - until I realized that this was basically an SSD that was being handled like firmware and that what I was doing was no more harmful than partioning a regular SSD.

The only persistent problem I have is with sound - opening the ALSA mixer reveals several dozen toggles, most of which aren't helpfully named. I still have yet to figure out what magical combination I did once upon a time to (temporarily) get the speakers working. Headphones just work when I plug them in, though, and the volume on them is easily controlled via the master volume toggle. But the speakers are either dead silent or emit a harsh noise when unmuted.

The real issue: It's ARM, so software is relatively limited. That's part of why I chose Arch - the AUR has pretty much everything I'd want on an ARM device.
Mafia
"backspace button and hit the button above it, my computer would shut off.
It's like suicide linux but with poweroff.
Second, missing fuction, del and meta keys make text editing and window controlling more annoying."

that alone devours my interest completely, especially when you can get an x230 for like $120-$200 on ebay. why bother with a chromebook? at one point i saw the appeal but now? not even a little.
kyberkhrime
(01-07-2017, 02:28 AM)Mafia Wrote: that alone devours my interest completely, especially when you can get an x230 for like $120-$200 on ebay. why bother with a chromebook? at one point i saw the appeal but now? not even a little.
I have to completely agree here. Laptops that have more power (or the capabilities to add more hardware down the road), have a better build quality and often enough better battery life are available for the same price, or even less. So if you're comfortable outside of a Google environment, which probably everyone here is, there's not much to them. If it was for $insert_computer_unsavvy_relative, that would be a completely different story.




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