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Chrome OS: Ready for Web Development [video] (youtube.com)
211 points by espeed on Nov 14, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 220 comments

Anecdote: I stopped using OSX for primary development about 7 months ago and started using a Pixelbook + Crostini exclusively.


  - Hassle free desktop experience on par with OSX
  - Password managers, music apps, etc available via Android appstore

  - Fast time to productivity because Crostini takes a few clicks, then apt-get everything
  - Native "File Manager" integration makes it painless to move files to and from VM
  - Desktop apps in the VM appear in ChromeOS apps menu without hassle of X11.app, SSH forwarding, etc
  - Android integration to unlock the laptop, etc works great
  - Hardware built-in FIDO U2F device

  - ChromeOS 70 still crashes once and awhile inexplicably (weekly)
  - Android apps can be janky to resize
  - Multi-display with Android apps sometimes doesn't work
Overall I feel more productive on my Pixelbook vs OSX.

I'd try using firefox instead of chrome for your development browser, I do a lot with webrtc and find myself in permissions hell with chrome so my main system is ubuntu with firefox rather than chrome these days. I use a mac for mobile development because its handy to be able to handle ios and android with the same system.

I installed Firefox on the ChromeOS Crostini VM for similar reasons and it works great. The app icon even shows up in ChromeOS and I clickable.

I just used a release binary and copied the .desktop file to /usr/share/whatever as described on the Mozilla wiki.

I found that Firefox via flatpak works very well on my i5 Pixelbook

You can also add to home screen/install Progressive Web Apps from Android Firefox, and they'll appear in the Chrome OS launcher. Should've demo-ed that during the talk :)

PWA's used to be one of the few truly desktop feeling apps on Samsung DeX but as of today their beta of WSL for Android [1] has dropped an it makes every samsung flagship s8 and up a computer to develop apps on.

its like crostini but a little worse since it fills your screen with a graphical ubuntu 16.04 with latest chrome, VSCode and other toys to get you started. Really awesome they are doing this and I look forward to the future of linux on galaxy devices.

[1] https://linuxondex.com

9/10 times when I experience a bug while doing front-end, it's only in Chrome.

Because of this I had to switch to Chrome for my default dev browser purely to save time and catch bugs early. I hate it...

My solution to permissions hell is to create a separate "unsafe" launcher for a version of Chrome that uses a profile with some security features disabled.

Why not Firefox in Mac for web development as well? What's Ubuntu offering more in here?

I've been using the Pixelbook i7 16gb/512 SSD as a travel machine for native Android development. Some other con's I've noticed.

1. Multi-monitor support can get a bit flaky when using more than one monitor. 2. While is is pretty speedy, you do run into performance limitations due to it only having a dual core processor. 3. Many Android apps are not as fully featured as their OS-X counterparts. Yes you could use them all in Crostini, but now your going through another virtualization layer, plus the integration is still not fully there.

All of that being said, I used to be a crouton user and it is stable enough that I am not longer doing that....though the lack of USB device support is a bummer (and was supported in crouton).

My understanding is that USB support is feature flagged in the dev channel, so it’s on its way.

Fingers Crossed!

I was given one of the recent MBPs with touchbar for work at a client and from my consulting company. I really don't like the new MBPs and didn't like the prospect of carrying around two laptops so I used my personal Pixelbook for as my consulting company's laptop. They use GSuite so isolating accounts was a breeze. I was able to install IntelliJ and do full-stack Java development with no problem. Window management was surprisingly nice. I agree with all of your points BTW.

It's real annoying when Chrome crashes (which it does once or twice a week on average) because it restarts all your Android apps as well !

Flashbacks to Internet Explorer crashes taking out your desktop.

thats the irony here... so much of this thread just reminds of of windows XP

More productive in what exactly? What are you developing? What problems you had with OSX? (not meant to be offensive, just curious)

More productive because I don't spend time fighting all of the little silly OSX to Linux incompatibilities in a dev environment. Things like:

  - sed / grep flags
  - path issues compiling some C module or node module
  - homebrew missing obscure package
These aren't things that kill productivity on the regular but once a month I found myself going down some rabbit hole or another fixing things like that.

I develop a range of stuff from the Kubernetes ecosystem, etcd, frontend software, and the occasional embedded side project.

Also, I rarely use any OSX native applications outside of a browser, password manager, and music app anymore. So, none of these workflows changed and some improved since now I have identical apps on my phone and laptop thanks to Android.

fair point, I can't tell anything other than that I was so far lucky. I do a lot of web/node development and none of the issues was yet related to OSX (for the whole 4-5 years I'm on mac).

you're 100% correct that apple has crippled version of some tools but it's possible to replace them from brew but I think I know where you're heading - it's probably just easier to use linux when you're doing these things - just like I was switching to mac when I wanted to do node.

BTW: I was switching from windows, not from linux, I actually think linux is fine and I'm happily using it on other machines, just not on this one :-)

I wish I could make the switch. New MacBooks are costing our company 4500+ each, but most of us don't want to go to Windows.

This sounds like a good solution, but I'd probably miss out on a good alternative to Sketch or Zeplin which is an important part of our development workflow.

If anyone is looking to pick up a chromebook, I maintain an ongoing list of chromebook black friday deals that includes most of the relevant specs (except linux/android support)


That's great but could you make me a coffee so I have something to drink while I read it?


Can you add a column for whether or not these have cellular data capabilities? The HP Chromebook I bought in 2014 has cellular data and if I ever replace it I'll probably want one with the same.

Processor architecture would be helpful as well. Many games and other closed source applications don't work with ARM processors even though they support Linux.

I've been anticipating the Acer Chromebook 13 (CB713) but they've been very off on their announced released date with no followup commentary.


That's great, but it would be nice to add a column 'could you install other OS on it'.

Thank you for this public service!

Thanks for making that list. I guess there will be more requests but a battery life (real if possible, not factory indications) column would be great.

Been using edge releases on my Pixelbook i7 for a few months. Much of this is pretty baked. I wish USB support was here so I could use my Yubikey 5c to do SSH, but otherwise it's fine.

From my experience Docker works fine. VS Code works well. You can install your own Terminal if you want.

Note for the demo in the video they ran Chromium inside the VM so localhost would work. Otherwise you need to use the penguin.linux.test domain which was pretty hard to find out about when they made that change. Another thing is you really should default to binding to$PORT because that makes your life easier as well.

For those not enjoying MBPs and their keyboards the Pixelbook's keyboard is pretty good.

If I had to make a recommendation I'd say that getting a lower -end pixelbook would be a great buy. Not sure my i7 or extra SSD space has really been worth it.

You can use Secure Shell for SSH with your Yubikey in the meantime: https://chromium.googlesource.com/apps/libapps/+/HEAD/nassh/...

Certain ports are bound to localhost from the container for "popular applications"


> Not sure my i7 or extra SSD space has really been worth it.

.. worth it for what purposes, it would depend. I write Haskell and compile that to JavaScript (using GHCJS), so i7 with 16 GB memory (more would be better here) would help.

> For those not enjoying MBPs and their keyboards the Pixelbook's keyboard is pretty good.

I really enjoy the Pixelbook's keyboard. It's definitely better than the MBP's and is sometimes more pleasing to use than my mechanical keyboards (Cherry red/brown switches).

I paired a Dell Chromebook 13 with SSH to a permanently on desktop for my senior year of college. Worked great: 12 hours of battery life, light, cheap laptop and the development environment was the same on the move or at home. Tmux sessions with Vim means I could keep my laptop in my backpack and pick up where I left off on the desktop. SSH tunnels allowed any web dev work to be painless too. I would recommend if you have a desktop and just want a cheap long battery life computer with decent build quality. Almost all my work could be done this way.

I actually do something similar with my tablet as well. Mosh + tmux is insanely powerful. Even when I'm using my laptop, I have a more or less persistent SSH+tmux session open.

It's nice being able to kick off long-running tasks and still able to just shut the laptop and walk away.

Can you expand on this? What OS were you running your desktop?

Ran Ubuntu Desktop, nothing fancy, just had it always on and I never even worried about doing dynamic DNS, my internet provider basically never rotated IP's. Experimented with Crouton on the Chromebook but the switching and experience wasn't as great as just using pure ChromeOS. Surprisingly fast development environment for being off the host but college Wifi was reliable and fast and there weren't many hops to my desktop.

This is exactly the reason why I decided to order a Pixel Slate, and leave my beafy Thinkpad (P71) plugged-in back at home like a "server machine".

Before Crostini this is exactly what my setup was, just using a droplet on DO.

Around this time: https://youtu.be/QTmAtXoPkgw?t=256 (4:16 into the video)

it talks about how ChromeOS runs Android, Linux, and ChromeOS apps natively, in a performant and secure manner, without emulation using a combination of containers and hardware virtualization.

This strikes me as very similar to Qubes' security model. Very interesting to see this architecture developed by a company like Google.

What do you mean by "without emulation ... using hardware virtualization" ? Is the difference that hardware of the VM has to match the one of the real hardware ?

Yes. In emulation, you have one chip architecture trying to mock the behavior of another chip architecture (like running ARM code on x86). In virtualization, you're setting up secure contexts, but sending the instruction for the code in the container straight to the CPU without translation.

Good question. I don't know the official difference between emulation and virtualization. I do want to point out that these were the words of the presenter, and not my own:

“So, Android and Linux support don’t do any emulation. By using lightweight containers and hardware virtualization support, your code will run natively.”

I find the picture they're showing also quite confusing, my guess is that they're using some kind of a hardware hypervisor and that runs different VMs.

What still pisses me off on this, is that even a flagship, great recent product like the Asus C302CA Chromebook (intel chip and all) is not supported. All of the drawbacks of the android ecosystem - inconsistent versions, inconsistent deployments of versions - but on my desktop. Yay.

I was really positive about ChromeOS, but this has soured me on it incredibly.

They require a recent Linus kernel for crostini for some virtualization feature and vendors ship some Chromebooks with old kernels without that feature.

There are hopeful rumours that it might get support. It is one of the few 'top-end' Chromebooks that can be purchased in Australia.

Some counterpoints -

- Crostini is only for a limited set of Chromebooks. I have an Acer 15 with Intel Broadwell, which is extremely powerful and not that old, but Google won't support it for whatever insane reason they might have

- Chromebook keyboard is lacking. You cannot program without a del key

- They aren't cheap. Only the low end low powered 2GB models are and they are unusable, as well as not supported by Crostini. For this kind of money I can get a Windows laptop with almost equiv battery life

- or even better, a used Thinnkpad + Linux which would be better than almost anything for 1/2 the cost.

> You cannot program without a del key

As a programmer who switched to a mac (without a delete key), I also used to think the delete was crucial. I'm curious, what are you using the delete key for? I've only ever used it as a backspace-but-reverse when typing, and to delete things like files in GUIs. The workarounds for these issues are trivial (change your cursor's position for the typing issue, and GUIs respond to backspace with a modifier key), so I'm wondering what other (not-as-easily-emulatable) functionality the delete key gives

By the way, Fn+backspace on a Mac does a delete. Not just in GUIs, either.

> - or even better, a used Thinnkpad + Linux which would be better than almost anything for 1/2 the cost.

I do have a Thinkpad (running NixOS), however the battery life sucks. 2 hours for P71 (or 4 hours for X1C6). And hardware support is not perfect (I simply cannot figure out yet how to connect my Bose QC headphones via bluetooth).

So I have high hopes for chromebooks (like Pixel Slate) because then you can have best of the both worlds.

The year of Linux desktop is arriving, but not as directly as we have all thought it would.

> I do have a Thinkpad (running NixOS), however the battery life sucks.

Do you have tlp set up?



It's one-line config in NixOS (`services.tlp.enable = true;`).

Alt + Backspace should work for the delete key.

I agree with you on the pricing and Crostini support though.


Any advantage of using Chrome OS for Web development compared to just any plain Linux distro (e.g. Ubuntu)? Or, even more interesting, compared to MacOS? Because from the video, it feels as if Crostini is a second-class citizen on Chrome OS (all that talk about Linux in a container). Why choose Chrome OS at all?

I use my Pixelbook for development when I travel.

* I didn't have to set it up, install an OS, or anything. It was trivial to get Linux working (one click - hard to beat that) and I can use intellij and all the other stuff I'm used to.

* I get Android Apps, which is actually pretty neat - some good video players with touch screen support, for example. A fair number of games work, which is cool.

* Touch screen in general is actually awesome, maybe less for development but I find myself touching my screens when I walk away from my Chromebook and go to another computer. I never thought I'd enjoy a touch screen at all and now I want every future device I buy to have one.

* Safer than most systems. My dev environment is sequestered to a container, everything else stays in a sandboxed browser - my workflow on my Ubuntu system (main computer) is virtually identical to this already, but ChromeOS is designed for it.

Biggest problem is I compile my Rust programs in a docker container in the Linux environment and it brings my computer to a crawl. I can't develop or watch TV while compiling Rust.

(I'm crostini developer) Chrome OS has some natural advantages as an OS e.g. it's always updated and secure, device drivers just work. Chrome OS is also the only desktop OS with Android support maintained by Google. Because Crostini uses Linux containers, more Linux programs can be used in development than MacOS, and any linux distribution that runs under LXD can be used. Chromebooks can also be found in certain places more commonly than macbooks, e.g. at schools or as part of a company's fleet of hardware.

That's all well and good, but doesn't answer the question. Why would I use Chrome OS rather than another Linux distro for web development?

My Ubuntu instillation is also always updated and secure. Device drivers also just work. The android support sounds great for android development, not web development.

> Why would I use Chrome OS rather than another Linux distro for web development?

You shouldn't. It's in Google's best interest to get people to use their products. It's in your best interest to avoid Google whenever you can.

I see that ditching Google has become a popular past-time here in HN, however avoiding Google is surely not even close to my best interest.

So you think there is some special Google spying of what you type in bash in chromeos? Ain't happening

:-) I love this answer

> device drivers just work

Hm, I've got an ASUS C201 where I use crouton to run Debian Stretch.

* audio craps out after three or four switches between Stretch and ChromeOS. It craps out in ChromeOS such that it locks up videos and they won't play. I have to restart to get it to work again.

* the animated spinning wheel cursor in XFCE4 somehow locks down the entire input. Luckily it usually displays only in a file dialog so I can just mash <ESC> for awhile and break out of the loop.

* I can't use the hotkey to switch between ChromeOS and Debian because it locks down on a blank screen and I have to hard reboot.

* I can't leave XFCE4 on the screen because when it tries to wake back up from the blank screen it locks down and I have to hard reboot.

* hot keys for audiolevel up/down sometimes don't work. Usually it makes me anxious that audio is about to crap out on ChromeOS. Then in the next few minutes... audio craps out in ChromeOS.

Now, with crostini can you get GPU-acceleration with the Linux distro inside the container? Because with crouton it doesn't seem possible. (Rankly speculating that the XFCE4 spinning wheel cursor lock-up has something to do with lack of GPU-acceleration, but could be wrong.)

If I want to run NixOS using crostini on my (upcoming) Pixel Slate, would it be run at an inferior performance compared to running NixOS natively on the device? Because it is all virtualized?

Crostini is a VM solution (the container is in a VM). It's by no means a second class citizen. The Files app for instance shows Linux apps along side your Chrome OS apps. Other integration pieces are in the works. Why choose Chrome OS? It's the only mainstream OS with security at it's forefront and 6 week release cycles. Also, the battery life is amazing and there are a range of devices from low end to the higher end pixelbook. (some of the low end ones may not get Crostini yet). If you want a nice travel device you can get a low end Chromebook. If you want a no hassle internet solution you can get a cheapo Chromebook for your folks. Now if you want a Dev environment you can get a higher end Chromebook as well.

Support window for older devices is questionable. I own a Generation 1 Pixelbook and it has stopped receiving updates (including security updates). Dropping security updates after a couple of years in fact is worse than other operating systems. Am unsure if users are alerted that their devices will not be updated anymore.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are my own and do not represent my employer.

Chromebooks have a 5 year support policy. It's not a couple of years.

That is worse than other alternatives - PCs and Mac machines.

Not if you measure in $/yr of service.

Also... you've got to treat a laptop pretty gingerly to have one last more than 5 years. Mine are in pretty rough shape by then.

> Also... you've got to treat a laptop pretty gingerly to have one last more than 5 years.

Well it's 5 years from launch which is a big problem in my opinion. For example, they didn't replace the Pixelbook so if you are, like me, considering buying one for Black Friday, you only get 4 years of (guaranteed) support. It also probably harms resale value.

5 years of support from the last day of sale would be much more acceptable to me.

I work for Google but opinions are my own.

Except the laptop that got stolen and one which the GPU kind of blew up, all my other laptops had an average life of 10 years.

I use laptops as main computers since 1999.

Maybe I try to take good care of them?

On the price front - https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/inspiron-11-300... - that is a windows laptop for $180. Do you think a chromebook will have better $/year than that?

On the durability front - I guess you dont use thinkpads :)

I picked up one of those for Black Friday last year.

Nice little machine, but the 32GB drive is not enough for Windows - Windows update failed within 6 months because of disk full - even with no user data. Way too much hassle

I ended up putting Linux on it - faster and could keep it updated. But still quite a bit of hassle.

It's sitting in a drawer now. But my old Samsung arm Chromebook XE303C12 still gets used. I do miss the more complete keyboard on the Inspiron, though.

Good luck with Windows on 32 GB.

This has 64 GB for ~260 - http://plugandgear.com/lenovo-ideapad-120s-11-6-inch-hd-lapt...

At any rate I hope you agree that 5 years (from launch) is not a long time to support a device. This policy is wasteful to the environment and not empathetic towards a large section of users who would find it challenging to divert a few hundred dollars every 3-5 years.

They have a declared support plan and follow it. I do wish they'd support crostini on my 2015 pixelbook but it has the old Linux on it.

Disclaimer I work at Google

My own personal reason is that I have never had an ideal experience running Linux on laptops.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tinkering and it was fun when I was in school, but nowadays I don't have much time so if I want to develop something I don't want my time to be spent fixing technical difficulties.

With Chrome OS the main benefit to me is the same as running OS X or Windows: you don't have to worry about your stuff working.

I also personally really like Chrome OS for it's simplicity and speed but of course you could say I'm biased. Indeed I like it so much I transferred to work on Chrome OS a couple months ago.

Compared with OS X.. that really just depends on your preference. I have nothing bad to say about it and enjoyed using my MBP when I had one. I just like having a really lightweight OS but again that's really subjective and for many people the right answer is OS X! I'm just happy we have the choices now.

> With Chrome OS the main benefit to me is the same as running OS X or Windows: you don't have to worry about your stuff working.

Has not been my experience with either of these three. There are plenty of Linux distros that are miles more stable.

That's fair I should have prefaced by saying I have only used the Pixelbook and my experience on Linux is limited to Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Mint, and Slack.

I've only really used a Thinkpad and MBP for the laptops so of course your experience may differ depending on your hardware.

Also when I said things work I didn't mean stability/crashes which I admit do happen. I was referring to hardware (wifi) not working which in my opinion is much more annoying.

Yep, I've heard so many people complain about Windows subsystem for Linux that I am terrified of even touching Windows.

It's been mostly a smooth ride on MacOS for me, but there were some minor quirks that I encountered on MacOS that were not even an issue on my Linux machine (an example most vivid in my mind is how the default ssh client broke on High Sierra: https://superuser.com/questions/1279450/ssh-could-not-resolv... or how Docker on MacOS could not resolve ipv6 addresses).

Chrome OS has a better Window manager, better monitor support, better polish in general as a Desktop.

Compared to MacOS, I'd say probably just cost.

After watching this session and having seen the focus on making Android apps better citizens shown at Google IO and Android Developer Summit, I got this gut feeling that Chrome OS might actually be where Google is heading to, and not Fuchsia.

I don't envision they will keep three development teams doing OSes for the same hardware form factors.

Now regarding ChromeOS vs plain GNU/Linux, macOS or Windows, I don't see a value, specifically given the prices of Chromebooks able to have Crostini enabled.

Or it may be that Chrome OS runs on fuchsia, and the 2nd linux kernel runs side by side for Crostini. But even if it did, this is at least a couple of years away, I think.

Any or almost any recent Intel based Chromebook with recent kernel does crostini.

Didn't watch the video, but partially this is interesting due to cheap hardware. There are a wide variety of Chromebooks available.

Also, in a way, running Linux as a "second class citizen" seems like an interesting way to do it since you could experiment more while knowing you'll always have a browser available.

Maybe ask the opposite question: what's the advantage of running Linux outside a container, versus inside?

Cheap, light, low powered/long battery life.

Yes, security and integration. You can have secure crostini shells that can't infect your main os yet share UI and files. You can integrate data by copying files, cut and paste too, but it's light weight like docker. You can at the same time use the secure chromeos.

I'm thinking of getting a Chromebook for dev work, with the view of just using it as a dumb client for terminals and browser to cloud servers. I'm worried I'll buy then wish I bought a proper machine. Anyone thought the same then regretted it?

I'm currently doing it.

Crostini, the linux VM layer, is very much still a work in progress. If you are doing your development in hosted VMs, then this isn't so much an issue. There are some minor nits around key mapping issues, but I'm looking to evaluate Android-based terminal apps to get around those (since they are mostly related to Chrome taking priority for certain key combinations when using an embedded shell).

I love certain things about the keyboard, but absolutely miss little things from MacOS, like their support for easily entering accented characters by holding down a letter for a moment and then selecting the desired accent.

Being able to powerwash your laptop, and then login to see everything basically the way you left it, is pretty powerful. As someone who has to also support the IT needs of a small team, the potential peace of mind this offers is huge.

But it's not 100% just yet, so I haven't rolled it out to the rest of the team.

I will be honest. I bought my Pixelbook mostly due to the aesthetics and features(most of which I no longer use e.g. tablet mode and pen support). I loved it for a long time. My laptop was mostly a browsing machine anyway so ChromeOS was perfect. I did use it as a dumb terminal to remote into my main dev machine. Then Crostini came around and I do enjoy being able to just develop on my Pixelbook. However, for some reason I keep wishing I had bought a Macbook instead. While I do have a soft spot for Macbooks (had two previously) there are just certain things that are limited in Crostini, and it is far from a finished product yet. If I were making my choice today I would definitely get a Macbook even with crostini on Chromebooks.

> for some reason I keep wishing I had bought a Macbook instead

Do you know what those reasons in fact are? Or is it just a gut feel?

I've used chromebooks as my primary laptops for dev stuff for ~7 years now. No regrets, but there are tradeoffs that are worth considering.

Things in my situation that I think make this work well are: I have a "real" machine in a desktop (or a work laptop, if that's what an employer gives me), I don't consider any laptop my primary personal machine in any case. I'm happy running what I want in a linux CLI-only environment. (You _can_ do gui, but you start pushing the hardware limits of the lower end machines pretty hard.) I want a light, cheap, reasonably secure, and ultimately disposable machine that I'm not concerned about tossing around, throwing in my backpack, leaving out on a coffee shop table while i use the restroom, etc...

Issues I've hit: Poor/no docker support. I've just remoted back to home for things that need it and that works, but isn't ideal if you want to work disconnected. Occasional linux apps that require an X server -- either don't offer a CLI or do something stupid where even the CLI tries to connect to X. Internal storage tends to be limited and non-upgradable, SD cards are the portable option, but slow, and lugging around an external HD is a pain.

(Also, I haven't actually played with the new crostini stuff at all yet. I'm still on an older machine with crouton.)

Google announced in the talk that Docker is now working and said to reference this Reddit thread for details...

Docker now working https://www.reddit.com/r/Crostini/comments/9jabhq/docker_now...

AFAIK that's only true if you're using crostini. I think older machines that don't get crostini support also won't get docker support with the standard kernel, so not a solution if you want/need to stay with crouton.

Isn't crouton support being deprecated in favor of crostini?

Before linux support (crostini) yes. Now, for personal use, I've started using my pixelbook more than my Mac/Windows machines.

I've got a cheap (now $149) Samsung Chromebook 3 that I use daily for its long battery life and matte display (seriously, laptop makers! do more matte displays!)

My stable channel just got Crostini support, but I found that it takes up 25% of my storage space and it's been flaky to install. Instead, I use Termux.

I still have to visit my Mac/Linux boxen often for graphics editing, a proper editor/IDE like Atom, and certain other apps like pandoc. But as a daily browser and command-line runner, it's great. (Okay, some web sites are still really slow due to the underpowered CPU on this cheap model.)

Re. Atom, have you tried running it on Crostini? Or running VS Code?

My suggestion would be to get a cheap one if you're on the fence. Make sure it supports all the features you want. If it doesn't work out it can be an excellent daily device for any non-dev relatives.

My suggestion right now(from a Mac user), is a Windows 10 machine with the Linux subsystem installed. You'll have an entire Linux environment integrated into Windows, giving you the best of both worlds. Supported software, hardware, and your natural development environment. Honestly, I'm weary of moving anything to Google with their track record of just abandoning projects, and privacy concerns.

If you're unhappy with Google's surveillance surely you'd want to avoid swapping that with Microsoft's surveillance/telemetry?

MS Security have the right to dip into you machine anytime they fancy it too.

Don't have a choice if I want to play games. Might as well make use of the machine when I'm not, otherwise I'm on my 10+ year old MacPro because Apple decided they are abandoning the developers that made them billions.

Have you given Steam Proton a chance? I don't play PC games but it seems pretty stable.

> ... developers that made them billions.

Those are the developers creating macOS, iOS and watchOS applications in Objective-C and Swift, not the ones using macOS as pretty UNIX.

Crostini isn't as mature yet as WSL is, but Crostini is better in my opinion.

If Crostini gets USB support before WSL, though...

Once they add this and fix the lack of GPU support, I'll finally be down to one travel laptop.

Remind me, what's best about the Windows world again? Games?

Games, a 3D API that doesn't suck, an actual OO ABI, a kernel that isn't yet another UNIX clone, one of the best IDEs on the school from Xerox PARC workstations, a shell that uses structured data and integrates with OS APIs, user space drivers.

Pretty much. Does Visual Studio run well on a Mac or is it hot garbage like Office?

Is Windows 10's Linux subsystem capable of doing real development works yet?

With all due respect WSL will always be behind Google's implementation. WSL implements a subset of linux syscalls to get compatibility. Crostini's guest OS is a Debian image so there are less compatibility challenges than WSL.

Let's compare apples to apples, then. I can run a full Debian guest in a VM on Windows, too. That's not new, but that appears to be the demonstrated capability of ChromeOS here. WSL is a step further in that it's _not_ virtualized.

apples to apples- WSL is the implementation that's integrated with Windows not a random VM running Linux. Chrome OS has a VM solution that's integrated with Chrome OS (files, apps in the same menus). The comparison is fair.

I haven't run into any compatibility problems, and was able to get my environment running identical to the production server. So how does what you said affect my experience? It works without jumping further into Google's uncertain ecosystem. And when I'm not working, I can fire up my Steam library, all on the same machine.

And that's great. But there will be edge cases when it won't behave like stock Linux. If you do give Crostini a try would love to hear your views :) cheers

The only issues I have found that are inconsistent with stock Linux are on hardware and X11 support. For rails/node/Vue development, WSL is Linux through and through.

I don't mind my Chromebook, but I don't think I'll ever go back to Chrome OS.

I purchased my Chromebook Pixel (2015, codename Samus) with the same idea, and it was great for the first few months: I slowly started using Google products for everything, so my development work usually meant using the SSH extension[0] and connecting to a Google Cloud machine I rented. It appealed to my "digital nomad" tendencies, and really made me feel like I could work from anywhere.

Unfortunately, the "digital nomad" tendency is often expensive and unsustainable, and I found myself spending $50/mo for a VPS with sufficient resources and storage that I didn't even own. I was excited that Chrome OS and Android are open source, but when I looked into making changes I quickly realized that the core was open source while most of the actual applications were proprietary (from the clock to the calculator to the SMS app, everything).

I started down the road to Chrome OS because I thought it would be a liberating exercise in minimalism, but it turns out that I was overpaying to rent a server so that I could use an often-proprietary OS from a gigantic corporation funded by adtech. Bad.

It took some time, but I eventually figured out how to install another OS on my machine (Arch Linux) and I've seen a boost to both my productivity and my computer knowledge. A VPS is a great place to learn the basics of Linux, but I've learned a ton just managing my own device and understanding how all of the various pieces work together.

Plus, now I can run applications on my computer (!) without the requirement that they're Android apps (!!) or Chrome extensions (!!!). Sure, the UX isn't quite as polished as Chrome OS, but who cares?

Chrome OS aside, the Chromebook is fine. Sure, it was a massive pain in the ass to realize that Google doesn't run mainline Linux, so it took about a year or two to get Google's patches merged into mainline so I didn't have to use a fork[1], but for the most part the device itself is fine. I've had some weird impossible-to-debug issues (e.g. half of the screen going dim) and a handful of annoyances (e.g. you can never remove Google's "WARNING: THIS IS NOT CHROME OS" warning on boot), but I can live with them.

In the future I'll never buy another Chromebook, and I'll likely never buy another Google product, but at the time it was what I wanted and I learned a lot from my experience.

Good luck!

[0]: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/secure-shell-exten... [1]: https://github.com/raphael/linux-samus

$50 buys you a very beefy VPS, IMO overkill if you're just trying to learn Linux. Digital Ocean and Linode both have $5/mo VPSes with 1GB of RAM and 25GB of SSD storage.

But yes, as the other commenter said, your experience might be different if you tried Crostini. I use a Pixelbook at work (I'm one of the speakers) daily and have abandoned the MBP.

I develop using GHCJS, so 32GB memory is recommended. But there is no Chromebook with that much RAM, is there?

I have been coding on a ThinkPad t460p with an i7, a 1GB SSD, and 32GB Ram for the past two years. I loaded it with Ubuntu Gnome and most everything I use it for just works. I also opted for the larger battery so I can easily go 4-7 hours unplugged, depending on usage. I got the matte 4K screen and all these maxed out specs for around $1800 new.

ThinkPad quality isn't what it used to be, but if you just want a solid, no-frills, easily upgraded Linux laptop, the thinkpad t-series and x-series laptops are still the best option out there, in my opinion.

16gb seems to be the current max ram. Only way to get 32 gb in Chromebooks would be to take one of the rare beefy 32gb laptops and run one of the private chromeos distributions.

Do you think your experience would have been different now that crostini is a thing?

In case you're interested in the technical guts of crostini, I gave a recorded talk to the NYLUG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwrXqDERFm8

Happy Chromebook user here. I use the Asus c213 as my daily driver now. I do the heavy lifting on a Linux server.

Crostini made it all click for the mobile development environment. VS Code was the last piece of the workflow that I was missing.

Now, I've got a rugged laptop with rubberized edges and some water resistance. I take this thing into environments I would never have taken any other laptop. I don't worry about this laptop and I love that.

So do we still have to be in developer mode with new chromebooks to do this?

Currently, I have a semi-old chromebook with crouton, which means I have to be in developer mode, which means I risk deleting my entire disk at every boot. Someone else erased it some years ago, thinking that hitting space at boot was the right choice when prompted with "This system is unsafe, press space to erase entire disk"...

No. This all runs in regular mode.

The remote debugging part does require developer mode.



I am really happy with ChromeOS + Debian Stretch (via crouton not crostini) running on my Macbook Pro Retina.

It has taken away all pains of macOS, the screen estate and keyboard (2015 model) are great. What's not to like?

But what I like most is the ability to re-create my working environment on any hardware from USB key in 15 minutes.

> what I like most is the ability to re-create my working environment on any hardware from USB key in 15 minutes

Could you elaborate on this?

Well, I keep an install of ChromeOS on USB flash drive and I do regular backups [1] of crouton partition with Debian (cli only - 3.4 GB currently in my case).

If I do not have my laptop with me I can install ChromeOS on any machine which takes maximum 15 minutes [depending on flash drive and USB speed]. Log in and entire ChromeOS graphical environment (bookmarks, Chrome extensions, ChromeOS apps, Web apps) is re-created automatically by ChromeOS from my Google account.

Then re-creating crouton partition with Debian takes another 5 minutes. And I am good to go, because this is exact 1:1 copy of my Debian terminal environment with Vim, mutt, Mail folder, all project folders, npm packages, pip packages, git and everything.

On new machine the screen could have different resolution, perhaps I have to login into few webpages in Chrome but it is generally my full environment.

I did so in summer when I have not taken my Mac to vacation and also I often move to spare Lenovo laptop if I need to.

[1] https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton/wiki/Backups

I read about the Chromebooks being a huge market especially in education, so I bought a Chromebook and made a app targeted for education. The market is however a ghost town, it seems I'm at least 5 years behind, most old apps have 10ˇ5 users, but new apps, those only one or two years old, have less then 10ˇ2 users ... What happened? Are schools only using pre-installed apps? Or did they stop using Chromebooks? How does this market work!? Besides being only a Chrome browser, the Chromebook is actually very nice! It's fast and battery last for two or more days. It's perfect for browsing HN, but for developing I'm using another machine with Ubuntu. Also I have not got support for Android and this Crostini thing on my Chromebook. Ohh and you need a Google account to login, although both Apple and Microsoft does this now a days, so even if you bought your computer, you are not really owning it, just pre paid rent, unless you install another Linux distro on it.

> most old apps have 10ˇ5 users, but new apps, those only one or two years old, have less then 10ˇ2 users ... What happened? Are schools only using pre-installed apps?

Schools and school systems don't buy software directly from app stores, like consumers do. Generally, they decide to use a particular piece of software based on public standards, best practices within the educational community, or academic research on efficacy. Then they will usually buy a site license or subscription that provides access for all their students.

If you are trying to get schools to use your software, it probably makes sense to explain its value via the channels that schools are paying attention to.

US education system mostly, so if you are located in another country, you aren't going to get much customers anyway.

I was excited by this prospect mainly because of battery life, but I have a recent Thinkpad and with Ubuntu 18.10 battery life is quite good, even though I have 32GB and a zillion tabs open. This i7 Thinkpad is more expandable and serviceable and still cost less. Probably some of the improvements are due to ChromeOS Kernel improvements, so thanks for that!

Did he say 75% off? Can some elaborate the discount?

I was at the Chrome Dev Summit - we got 75% off coupons at registration, so it was advertised as for attendees only. Even so, it wasn't a real coupon code - you go to a site, enter the code, and tell them what app you're working and they get back to you. Not quite sure how "required" that is, but they were required form fields

Was that a personal coupon code or a generic one? In other words, can you share it or not? :)

Speaker here. The discount codes were intended for the attendees, are unique, and they can not be redeemed twice. That said, I'd keep an eye for any Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

Link to the website?

Who is this really for?

Students who have a cheap Chromebook and couldn't write / test code due to OS restrictions?

Developers who have a Chromebook (and love it) and wanted to use it for everything?

I got a chromebook because I needed a device with a keyboard I could use from my couch/patio.

I've been extremely impressed - I can use Android apps, and they work well, due to tablet mode support. Being able to have a Linux laptop that just works is really awesome.

I think you could make the argument that ChromeBook is just as versatile as Windows now - huge app store (Play), great browser, and a Linux terminal. So I guess its for everyone that Windows is for.

>I got a chromebook because I needed a device with a keyboard I could use from my couch/patio.

That's a laptop, right? Were you in search of a form factor other than laptop? What about the Chrome Book's form factor was more appealing to you than that of the "standard" laptop?

>Being able to have a Linux laptop that just works is really awesome.

What Linux distribution were you using that didn't work to your liking? What were the pitfalls and what did Chrome Book do different to mitigate the issues you were having with other versions of Linux?

It's really cheap and really rugged. I didn't think I'd like the tablet/tent modes, but I actually do find them convenient and do them a lot.

Really I needed a device exclusively for light browsing and writing - and what I got was actually more powerful than I realized; they snuck a full laptop into what used to be an internet appliance.

I don't have time to watch the video at work, but doesn't this usually come down to battery life? I.e., the subset of developers who want an all day battery in an untethered workstation that's streamlined for their development tasks.

People who want usability without security being an afterthought.

You need a flagship Chromebook for proper Crostini support.

What's not supported on my $280 Acer Chromebook 13?

Not having 8GB and a powerful enough CPU?

OK, is Crostini different than the Linux VM? 'cause that does work.

Having a proper battery friendly dual core GNU/Linux laptop with 8GB, which sometimes struggles to load everything, having seen the hardware specifications of Pixelbook, the testing platform for Crostini, I have some doubts anything less powerful can take the load of Chrome + Android containers + Linux VM/containers, including the required harddisk space.

Crostini is the codename for the official Linux VM support.

I used Crostini without issues on an Acer Chromebook 13 while traveling for a week or so. The performance was as good as you would expect for a laptop in that category. I didn't find it noticeably worse than when I used Crouton (which isn't behind a virtualization layer).

Crostini also works just fine with 2GB on a Samsung Chromebook 3 (a.k.a.'Celes' which is available for $100 on a Black Friday special[1] - the 4GB version is $30 more). It's does swap to disk if you too many Chrome tabs open, but it runs ssh, vim and VS Code like a champ. I have not attempted to run the Android build-chain.

1. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12L9SM7k-Z6LSsGvdi7do...

Thanks for the feedback, was it the 4 GB or 8 GB model?

A 4GB model I bought in 2016.


Why do you think this? Crostini works fine on low end Chromebooks.

I answered on a sibling thread.

Yeah, but I'm saying your answer was wrong. It works fine.

I don't do any web development but I think this will be very interesting when they bring the Android development tools to Chrome OS.

There are some very nice Chromebooks out these days that have more than enough power to offer a decent-to-good Android development environment it just lacks an OS that can run the required tools out-of-the-box.

I hope to see a true developer Chromebook in 2019 :)

I think I'll install Chromium on my old notebook that hasn't died yet (Samsung R40, that old).

But if I decide to buy a new one I'd make sure that VFIO works on it, once you cross that bridge there's no reason to go back. And I suspect that Chromebooks don't support VFIO.

So, I assume everything is streamed back to google for ads? Files, clicks, network configs?

Ready for web development just as it starts to achieve price parity with a macbook. I'd argue that this is largely a failure of the initial vision of a lightweight OS that can run very well on low cost hardware.

Only the Google Chromebooks are priced high, and still isn't even close to the Macbook.

There are many offerings from other company for just a few hundred dollars that run Chrome OS.

But those cheap Chromebooks won't run Crostini right?

It depends on the kernel version and the CPU's virtualization support. I have a C101PA that I got before the price hike, and use it for hacking in lisp during my commutes.

It can likely run well on low-cost portable hardware.

But the web development tools likely won't run well on it.

(You can get plenty of power using a now low-cost box of Xeons from two generations ago. Likely not your use case, though.)

I'm still waiting on good Docker support. Word is it's close, but I don't know if it's there right now. Really all I need in a dev machine is a Unix + docker + IDE, so this is pretty interesting.

A patch has been merged to fix an issue that was preventing docker from working. I don't think the patch has made it's way into a proper docker release yet but I am using a custom build and it's been working fine for a month on my pixelbook. I do container development and control a GKE cluster with kubectl as well. More details on the docker patch here:


Nice, thanks for the info!

If that's what you're waiting for I'd say it's ready. Although you have to run Docker inside the host and I don't think you can run privileged containers (don't have in front of me to test).

I'd consider switching if I could get that 75% discount.

Same here, I'm considering this, but the price point doesn't make sense for now. You could get a used ThinkPad with better Dev env support.

For what it's worth, Lenovo is running a 40% discount on the X series this week (Canadian EPP).

Me too. But I couldn't find where was that %75 discount?

only for attendees, doesn't seem to be any loopholes

I once had plans to do dev work on a chromebook. I even installed gallium on one.

BUT,the biggest problem for me is the keyboard and missing a bunch of essential keys.

Not having proper function keys means it's faulty by design for me, or can I remap those Chromebook keys to f keys somehow?

Yes, the top row of keys map to F1 - F10. You can activate them if you hold the Search key while pressing them, or you can have Chrome OS "Treat top-row keys as function keys" (Settings -> Keyboard).

Pixelbooks: https://support.google.com/pixelbook/answer/7504061 Chrome OS in general: https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/1047364

I liked the Spotify progressive web app they demoed.

I wish Mozilla would compete against ChromeOS and release a similar OS. Too bad FF OS is dead.

Will it happen to Chromium OS for normal laptops too? As a heavy Linux desktop user this looks quite interesting.

The actual ChromeOS (not Chromium) in a VM would be nice to try things out.

So it does everything that Linux does, but you can also send all your personal data automatically to google.

Wow, what a value proposition!

Just pointing out that windows and Mac collect comparable amounts of personal information, especially if you want to use their app stores.

Oh, and Ubuntu siphons data to Amazon.

So - if you really want no one snooping around by default, you should be on a more obscure Linux distro, that so devs don't support out of the box. For instance, one can find a Spotify app for Ubuntu/Debain, but you'll have to struggle on ArchLinux, or Suse

I have literally found anything, 100% of what I needed, available for Manjaro/Arch. Your mileage will vary, but installing spotify takes one command.

My point is that in Linux Ubuntu has the best support from mainstream app devs.

> Oh, and Ubuntu siphons data to Amazon.

Does it really?

I made a separate account for the Chromebook. I don't associate any personal info with this account. Of course, most people will reuse their existing accounts, but it's not strictly required to provide personal details in order to use a Chromebook.

Do you have an example of when your were personally attacked with you private data by Google? If you're going to say ads in general, you know targeting can be disabled? I see all this constant distrust towards Google, but they're probably the best example of keeping your data secure. (According to market share) 99% of people are running an OS that collects some amount of telemetry data about them already, but Chrome OS, with a <1% market share is the real offender? People are less vocal about companies that actually lose your data, like Equifax, Facebook, and even Canonical had a data breach. I know it's fun to pick on the biggest players, but mid size and small companies have atrocious security practices that are actually abused.

It's naive to think the data that is collected about you is harmless if it is secure.

Standard economic theory suggests that precise knowledge about your properties and preferences will, in the future, allow firms to extract the maximum profit from you, to your detriment. Google is already heavily investing the health sector, for example.

Not only does Google have a lot of broad data associated with your person, for example, any symptoms of disease you ever plugged into search, but we are also talking about an OS, which has absolute supremacy about anything you do on that computer.

That is why we should care, and that is why a comparision even to amazon or facebook is not accurate here. In this particular case, the breadth and depth of the possibilities to get data about you are unusual.

And keep in mind we are arguing about an OS that is technically not even open-source.

Privacy is not just some vague 'great to have' value. The opposite of privacy is surveillance, which democracy by its very definition excludes, but happens to be a key feature of totalitarianism.

Everyone knows the consequences of surveillance, there is no need to wait for consequences to be concerned. The casual disregard and lack of appreciation of the values that make modern societies possible is concerning.

Hand waving away surveillance infrastructure and seeking to normalize invasive surveillance is in the interest of companies like Google who profit from it, but for citizens to be blase suggests a reckless disregard of historical record and the societies they live in.

It still sounds like something I’d not be interested in: having to be so defensive around the os. Apps are already annoying, but if you can’t trust the OS itself, then why bother with it at all?

That's the reality I feel every time I boot into Windows to be honest. I work at Google so I am definitely biased but candidly those OneDrive ads in Explorer pissed me off pretty badly, as does start menu ads, Cortana notifications, automatically installing Candy Crush, and so many other things. You can disable most of that, but then I hear there's still telemetry getting sent back to MSFT even after you disable every tickbox in site.

Of course, the obvious solution is to run a good Linux distro or OpenBSD, but frankly it's hard to live with purely just Linux for me. ChromeOS has the advantage of things like near perfect High DPI support.

For what's it worth, I have been using Linux as a side-OS since pre 2000, and only in the last two years has it become really good. It's now my main driver on all my machines and frankly I have started to prefer it.

This has never happened in the ~20 years I have been using Linux and other OS. Linux went from "meh" to just as good pretty recently, imo.

Furthermore, this is just a usability consideration. Don't forget that all other OS become more and more closed, more and more about collecting private data, and more and more about proprietary app stores.

My experience too, we've just started switched 100+ PCs at work over to Linux Mint as a result of this maturation - it's just plain better than Windows now, no ads, no upgrade ruining everything, no telemetry, no ignoring and resetting of user settings. Best of all: consistent software deployment via package management that actually works and does not include malware, adware and other janky sideloaded stuff.

Wayland is still a mess. And I can't share my screen via WebRTC in Wayland, and mixed DPI is still not as functional as Windows and Mac and ChromeOS are. I use Linux regularly, but I don't feel like it's really making much forward progress anymore.

Exactly. I only use Windows for gaming from time to time and I have to be careful about other things on it. No way to work though so I am happy that Steam is making lots of progress on their wine fork.

I did this for years until Google demanded a phone number in order to log in. (HN thread about it in my history.)

Really? All of your personal info? Like what?

What info from within my Linux container is being sent to Google?

You'll probably never know exactly.

Better be safe than sorry.

You could say that about Ubuntu or any other operating system. "Better safe than sorry" abused this way will lead to no more computers - not the worst future, but I'd at least be out of a job.

You can definitely use Ubuntu without it having to "phone home". That is probably not the case for Chrome OS.

By the way, interesting thing is that for Google employees, it is explicitly forbidden to use software that phones home (read that a while back, can't find the link, sorry).

> You can definitely use Ubuntu without it having to "phone home".

How do you know? You're assuming they aren't phoning home, probably because it's open source, but you've probably never verified it. And you're unlikely to be enforcing that or proactively monitoring it. So how do you know an update didn't change the rules?

You don't. You just have trust.

And you can equally use Chrome OS with the same level of trust that it's not phoning home after you turn off the analytics that tell you they are phoning home. It's not actively malicious spyware. The settings aren't ignored.

Google have actually been fined for circumventing privacy settings more than once.

    In addition to the civil penalty, the order also requires
    Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it 
    would not place on consumers’ computers.  


Google made no promises on that setting. Apple offered a setting, failed to implement it properly, and Google got fined for it. That's what happened there.

But regardless what clearly did not happen in that case is Google violating one of Google's own settings. Which is what we're talking about here - the settings Chrome offers being violated. There's no evidence of that.

The problem is incentives. Ubuntu has no incentive to take your information. Google has. That means that even if you change the settings, you don't know if they will ask you in some obscure dialog box to turn it back on, etc. Or they will say "you upgraded, but you didn't turn off the setting again? that's your fault then". Sneaky tricks like this are happening all the time. Only if the incentives are right I can begin to trust that they will not abuse my information.

And if Ubuntu starts to abuse my trust for some reason, I will switch to a different distribution. I can already say that I don't like that Amazon shopping logo in the Unity interface.

> Ubuntu has no incentive to take your information.

Of course they do, money. Why else do you think they sold out to Amazon and sent them all your search data? https://www.zdnet.com/article/shuttleworth-defends-ubuntu-li...

What's the old saying, "if you didn't pay for it you are the product"?

How much does Ubuntu cost again? Oh, right, you don't pay for it.

Ubuntu backed out of the Amazon search deal after community pressure:


But you're right, if they pull another trick like this in the future, I'm switching to a different distribution.

I think the comparison with Google is still way off, by the way. Android is basically ad/malware, and there is no reason to believe ChromeOS will be much different.

It would be disingenuous to say that about Ubuntu and all other operating systems when Google is the only one willfully and proactively abusing privacy all over the globe and aspiring to go even further to help China crush dissidents.

Unless you can point me to instrumentation on ChromeOS that I should be concerned with, I'm going to not assume that "all of my data" is going to Google.

Thing is, whether its ChromeOS or Windows, you are not allowed to look at what exactly they are sending or not sending, and you literally sign a contract saying that they can collect whatever they want and use it however they want.

Google has a history of downright ignoring your privacy setting for the benefit of getting more data. And they are aggressively trying to associate you with more devices. It's also not even that they want usage data specifically, they are in the business of building data rich personalized profiles of you, for whatever use they decide on later.

Whether or not you are concerned is up to you. I don't see any advantage of ChromeOS over Linux that would, for me, be worth the risk.

> you are not allowed to look at what exactly they are sending or not sending

What? I can absolutely look at network traffic on my device. People do this... all the time. There are plenty of reports of Chrome traffic - many of them being people mistakenly believing that Chrome is doing something malicious when it isn't.

I don't believe that Google is incentivized to use host-based instrumentation to do their collection. The cost is quite high for them to do that. Much easier for them to rely on Google Analytics, Search, and various other web-based tracking mechanisms.

Chrome OS is open source. So is the browser on it.

Violating your privacy does not require all of your data.


My android phone (which I have stopped using) sends ads as notifications based on my location. Usually it's just asking me to review something nearby but they have suggested that I visit somewhere (McDonald's, for example) then leave a review. If I turn off location services Google Maps pretends that it cannot access information like my saved addresses even though I can see them on the map. It will not allow me to use them to set a route or refer to them in any way, they are only visible as pins on the map. If Chrome OS becomes as ubiquitous as Android I'm sure such "features" will be soon to follow. People who are cynical about taking seriously Google's harvesting and usage of user data are delusional to have so much faith in them. Our last hope is that many developers still care about privacy and security. Chrome OS for web development is an unacceptable proposition.

You can send your data to Google with anything.

I patched my firmware and installed GalliumOS[0], which is basically a tweaked version of Ubuntu. I was previously using crouton[1], which functions similarly[3] to Crostini. On ChromeOS, I was using the Cloud9 Web IDE (which has since become an Amazon service), and on the Crouton/GalliumOS side of things I've been using ST2/3, but have essentially switched completely to SpaceVim[3].

ChromeOS is fine for web development, except that it started killing tabs after you open ten or more. I liked Cloud9 for the most part, particularly that it saved its state all the time: you could close your browser window, and come back to that project a few days later, and all of the same files would be open, and any terminal commands still running.

Both NetBeans and Atom were painfully slow, regardless of system configuration.

Switching to a docker-centric (i.e. HDD-heavy) workflow has meant switching to a remote server -- for now, a VPS, at least until I get my local server a new HDD. So ChromeOS is perfect for my needs, in that it has a full-color terminal with ssh, and a web browser for documentation. However, that's kind of a low bar. On the plus side, ChromeOS is quite secure. On the minus side, it's not "real" Linux in some relevant senses. Auto-updating is nice, and also being able to unbox a new machine, sign in, and automatically have your local apps and files start appearing. Heavy Google Apps integration is probably more of a feature than not. However, the rate at which the OS would kill tabs (including the terminal!) made the system quite unpleasant to use. Yes, the problem here is me: the hardware can't easily handle a large number of tabs, and it's a perfectly valid decision to kill tabs quickly rather than let the system become unresponsive. Probably it was even mostly effective at that. Probably a better-spec'd machine would have fewer memory issues. However, I have consistently gone to considerable lengths to avoid using ChromeOS: replacing the firmware requires disassembly and the removal of an internal screw, and risks bricking the machine. Enabling developer mode prevents the system from booting normally: instead, a white screen appears after power-on which says something like "Press spacebar to restore ChromeOS". I believe that it does let you know that this will wipe the user partition, after you've started. It does not tell you the key combination required to boot the machine. Loaning out a Chromebook in developer mode is therefore not recommended.

I'm shopping for a replacement for the chromebook I'm typing this on. It cost $115, I've used it for a couple years, the second power cord seems to be giving up, and the screen is partially held together with electrical tape: I think it gives it a bit of character. I've had at least two other (cheap) Chromebooks before this. I don't think I'm in the market for another. At the moment, I'm probably looking for a (Linux) Dell XPS 13, or similar: I would appreciate any suggestions.

  [0] https://galliumos.org/
  [1] https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton
  [2] https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton#what-about-dem-crostinis-though
  [3] https://spacevim.org/

Tabs being killed is most likely due to the low RAM on your Chromebook. I've been having 100+ open tabs for several weeks on my 8GB RAM Pixelbook, without problems.

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