January 17, 2019

As a Developer and DevOps you can work on a chromebook

My technical colleagues never got why I wanted to work on a chromebook, they said, why limit yourself when it isn’t needed? People get it when I’m always in search for the hottest peppers or like to have muscle fatigue after exercize, but not when working with less specs.

Initial setup

Almost everything that I do, can be done in a browser or on a CLI (i.e. on my Linux VPS over SSH). Before getting my chromebook, I already worked in my cloud based IDE for months, which opens in your browser and provides a CLI and IDE.

Most of the programs I use can be ran inside a docker container, even compiling my LaTeX documents.

Getting my chromebook

Around black friday 2018, I got my Acer 14 CB3-431 chromebook (4GB ram, 1080p, matte screen) for 220EU. When migrating my data from my old laptop to my VPS, I also made sure everything is backed up.

The transition from my macbook pro to my new chromebook + VPS went smooth, just one thing I forgot; my installed chrome-extensions.

My experience so far

The chromebook pushes me into the cloud, making it save to lose my chromebook, since no data is stored on it. Some argue that Google watches my every step, but just search for ‘Windows pre-installed spyware’ and you know that Windows is even less safe.

My chromebook is two months old now and I’ve used it every day. Love the battery life and the unlock via phone option.

The build in Linux (comes pre-installed now!), which can be found by typing chrome://settings/?search=linux in the address bar, is also a nice feature. Never used it since I prefer my VPS.

Note: I looked for a chromebook with an Intel CPU, which has Linux mode.

What it cannot do

The following obvious things I do not do:

  • gaming (UPDATE see Stadia)
  • video editing
  • CAD (UPDATE see OnShape)

which all will not work on a chromebook.

When it failed me

In just two cases,

I used my pinebook (linux) instead of my chromebook;

These two cases are things a normal user would never encounter. The VPN could probably work on a chromebook, but getting it to run on my pinebook was faster.

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