Ruth John moved to Chrome OS (temporarily):
The first thing, and possibly the thing with the least amount of up to date information out there, was enabling Crostini. This runs Linux in a container on the Chromebook, something you pretty much want straight away after spending 15 minutes on it.
I have the most recent Pixel, the 256GB version. Here’s what you do.
- Go to settings.
- Click on the hamburger menu (top left) - right at the bottom it says ‘About Chrome OS’
- Open this and there’s an option to put your machine into dev mode
- It’ll restart and you’ll be in dev mode - this is much like running Canary over Chrome and possibly turning on a couple of flags. It may crash, but what the hell you’ll have Linux capabilities
- Now you can go back into Settings and in regular settings there’s a ‘Linux apps’ option. Turn this on. It’ll install Linux. Once this is complete you’ll have a terminal open for you. Perfect
Ruth has a great write-up of moving to Chrome OS because her main machine broke.
I moved to Chrome OS full-time 4 months ago (before Google I/O) and only moved to the Mac because I broke my PixelBook (now fixed).
For me it’s one of the best web development machines out there today. It’s the only device that I can test ‘true mobile’ on - you can install Chrome on Mobile on it, Firefox Mobile, Samsung Browser, Brave etc via the ARC platform. Crostini is also a game changer for Chrome OS as it brings a lot of the Linux App ecosystem to Chrome OS and it really starts to fill a huge app-gap for me on Chrome OS; I’ve got Firefox, vim, git, VS Code, Node, npm, all my build tools, GIMP and Inkscape… That’s not to say it has been perfect, Crostini could be faster, it’s not GPU accelerated yet and it could be more integrated with Filemanager etc, and finally the PixelBook really needs more physical ports - I can attach two 4k screens to it, but I can’t charge at the same time.
I think Ruth’s wrap up is also quite accurate, the PixelBook is an expensive machine, but I am very very excited to see this coming to more and more devices (especially those at vastly lower price points.)
Would I pay full price for it? I’m not sure I would pay full price for anything on the market right now. Point me in the direction of a system that will run my graphics software and makes a good dev machine (with minimal setup) and lasts more than 18 months, point me in the direction of a worthy investment and I will pay the money.