Through the Looking Glass

Some Notes on Developing on the Chromebook

Posted on March 15, 2013

I’ve reinstalled ChromeOS on my Samsung Chromebook (the Series 3 ARM version). There were two reasons I wanted to give this a shot: first, because I like having access to a few things like Netflix and Google Music; and second, I plan on getting a Pixel in the not-so-distant future (hopefully), and I assume it will be sometime before Ubuntu has full support for the hardware, so I’d like to give the OS a serious evaluation. One of things that’s very important to me in a laptop is good power support (primarily suspend), as I like to be mobile.

My use case is such that I like accessing consumer services, but I also want to be able to hack on Go code and work on blog posts.

So, here’s where I am right now with the native ChromeOS:

Many of these problems are alleviated by my crouton chroot. I have a full Ubuntu development environment (which I primarily use console-only) set up. The only downside is that the Google App Engine SDK doesn’t work on ARM hardware; I have one project that I’d like to be able to work on but find myself unable to. I’m looking at ripping the GAE components out into a standalone HTTP server system and running the project on one of my VPSes. Another issue that’s common to all ARM platforms is that I don’t have Dropbox support, so I can’t work on my Leanpub book.

In general, however, I’ve found myself fairly productive on the Chromebook; probably half of my commits to Github this week (primarily Go and CoffeeScript) were done on the Chromebook. I’d love to see Dropbox support (and not via a browser plugin) with selective sync support.