2013
01.31

So… Samsung has a cool chromebook laptop for 250$, which has a decent processor. It has the same cool look as the small mac-air. Of course, Chrome OS is a useless OS if you want to do real things (i.e., run emacs, latex, ipe, etc). Fortunately, there is a way – get a good SD card (you want a fast one), get the chromebook into developer mode, then download openSuse image, and install it on the SD card. Now, you can boot either to ChromeOS or linux. I compiled ipe to it without too much pain. Latex, emacs, okular all work without too much pain. This laptop takes 12 seconds to latex my book – my monster computer in the office does it in 3 seconds. Pretty impressive!

Things to know:

– I did not check carefully, but KDE window manager seems too heavy. You can install KDE programs, which I did, but use XFCE for window manager. It is decent.

– You need to move all the power-management options to suspend instead of standby – the computer gets stuck on standby.

– sounds and Camera currently do not work under linux. But if you really need them you can always reboot into ChromeOS (it is still there).

– You get 100GB of Google Drive space from google as a deal if you get chromebook. It is for two years. The linux program for google drive, called grive is not as nice as dropbox, but it works. No clue why google did not release linux driver for google drive – it is really not that hard…

– Bad: The SD card sticks out. It is probably safer to remove it when traveling.

– Price: 315$ = 250$ + 50$ [64GB fast SD card] + 15$ wireless mouse.

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