Brain Phrye

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Chromebook as dev machine

On Monday I discovered that an old Chromebook I have can now support “LinuxApps”. These are a VM + containers that one can use to run straight Linux programs. They descibe using GUI apps, but I just want compilers, vim, my shell, git and the regular crew of dev tools.

And they’re here. Is it the fastest thing ever? No. As I type this I’m having vague flashbacks to connecting up to a shell account via a 9600 baud modem. But I was able to write code just fine back then and no worries doing it now.

This particular Chromebook is still around (it’s from 2016) and it’s an Acer CB3-431 with 4g of RAM and just 32g for disk. But it’s enough room to pull down most things I work on and push them up where better machines can build and deploy them. And the battery life - even two years on - is amazing. Easily six hours. I’d like one with more RAM, a faster CPU, more disk space and USB-C charging, but for now this is good enough.

Pretty impressed. I already used it to perfect my home dir init script. So now I can just do the dreaded curl url | bash idiom to do the 20 or so commands I usually need to do for a complete new homedir. Not sure it will become a main dev machine, but for mobile coding it’s pretty damn good.