My “go to” computer at home is a Google Chromebook, because it’s fast, it lasts for ages on a battery charge, and it “just works”. Here’s the thing though – if I had a choice, I would run full-fat Linux rather than ChromeOS – for all sorts of reasons I won’t bother going into here.
Maybe I will a little. I grew up using computers where you had to type things in to make them happen – before graphical user interfaces existed. I still do it at work – I’m kind of a dinosaur in that regard. When other developers load some gargantuan development environment to check their code in, I just pop open a terminal window and type in a few commands.
So anyway – I have an old netbook that was supposed to have been given away years ago, but that I held onto. It’s slow, and it doesn’t last that long on a battery charge, but I can dual-boot it between Windows and Linux, and I can nerd-out with it because there are no restrictions on what I can do with it. I’ve broken it more times than I care to mention, and re-formatted or flat-out re-built it again and again.
There’s something else that’s been bothering me too though. Browsers. On the Chromebook you only get one option – Chrome. In Windows, Linux, or MacOS, you can run any browser you like. It just so happens that as of last week, Firefox became the best browser on the block by quite some distance. The results of an 8 year development project came to and end, and it overtook all the other browsers in lots of interesting if nerdy ways.
I can’t run Firefox on the Chromebook, and that makes me sad.
I also can’t run all the command line crap that I love in Linux, such as text adventures, IRC clients, and such like. It’s probably worth mentioning that once you understand the “git” text commands, you’ll never touch it from a dev environment ever again.
Anyway. I told you not to listen to me. If you read this far, you’ve probably started to ask yourself “what the hell – he seemed like a regular guy!?”.