Chrome OS as daily driver

Posted by Sander van Kasteel on June 27, 2017 · 505 words, 3 mins read


As a student, techhead and (part-time) web developer, I’m always on the lookout for new things. New things that will improve my life or my productivity. For the last 4 years, I’ve been using my trusty Macbook Pro 13” from 2012 as my daily driver. At work, at school and for a while as my desktop machine. I really enjoy using that machine, but it my MBP is growing old. With the upgrade I did 2 years back (a Samsung 850 SSD and upgraded to 16 gigs of RAM), I managed to extend the lifetime of my MBP with a few more years. But’s only a matter of time before my trusty old MBP isn’t capable anymore to do the tasks I require of it.

So, it’s time to look at a new machine. I’ve nearly made up my mind, my new on the go driver isn’t gonna be a OS X / MacOS based machine. Mainly due to the fact, that I can’t upgrade anything more on the machine after I bought it. Time to get my feet wet, and try something that isn’t an usual pick for a web developer.

I was talking to a friend of mine, and he graciously allowed me to borrow his “old” Chromebook. An Acer Chromebook 14, CB3-431 to be exact and I’m gonna challenge myself. I’m gonna use this machine for the next 7 days, starting today and use it as my daily driver for all my school and spare-time development work. I say spare-time development with a reason, for my work I simply cannot replace my Macbook just yet. But my experiences with this Chromebook will be taken into consideration for a new machine.

So the first task to do is get the Chromebook into developers mode and install crouton ( ). Crouton is an application which allows you to install different chroots and install applications within those chroots. Some examples of these applications are Gimp, VS Code or even a full blown desktop environment like Gnome or XFCE. Crouton even has some prepackaged chroot’s ready which includes XFCE4, but I digress.

By using crouton I’m able to setup a chroot with a base Linux distribution ( most likely Debian based), which will suit my own personal needs. My current needs are an editor, PHP, MySQL / MariaDB and NodeJS and yarn. Normally as editor I would have picked my trusty PHPStorm, but I’m starting to think that PHPStorm is a bit to heavy for the CPU that’s in this Chromebook CPU (an Intel Celeron N3160), so I’ve chosen to use my second pick editor, Visual Studio Code.

I’m imagining that will bump into some issues with crouton, but that beside that I will have little to no serious issues. Maybe some inconveniences, but that will be about it. Nothing all too serious, mainly because my 90% of the things I do are already on the web.

Alright, I think it’s time for me to switch. Bye bye MacOS, I will see in a week!