Thursday, 30 August 2018

The Chromebook

About 2 years ago I got myself a Chromebook, I went for an Acer R11 it would also double as a tablet, a bit heavier than a normal one but still usable. 

It will also run Android apps but it didn't do quite what I wanted, I have a number of spreadheets all created in Libre Office and although there are ways of getting Office suite installed through ChromeOS or Android they were either subscription based or didn't allow access to my cloud storage which is on my own OwnCloud server. 
Google then started releasing an option to run Linux apps and this month (August 2018) the update appeared on my Chromebook. The first thing it does is to install terminal and to get going you have to use command line stuff initially.

I thought, let's try and install a few things and to those of you used to Ubuntu it really is easy, 

sudo apt-get install libreoffice libreoffice-help-en-gb

This installs the Libre Office package, I thought I'd give the OwnCloud client a try so 

sudo apt-get install owncloud-client

Then install two very useful apps, "Nano" a text editor and "Midnight Commander", if you ever used DOS and remember XTree Gold this is pretty much the same,

sudo apt-get install mc mc

And finally, install the keyring application to save me retyping the OwnCloud password every time I start it.

sudo apt-get install libgnome-keyring0

Started up OwnCloud, connected to my server, marked the folders I wanted to sync and off it went, opened up Libre Office and loaded up my spreadsheets and all seems to work very well. It's not high performance, the Chromebook has 32Gb of storage and 2Gb of RAM but does work very well, I have to manually run the OwnCloud client as autostart doesn't work and I've found the the Chrome file manager will open the local OwnCloud folder.

I now have a nice light portable machine with excellent battery life that I can take with me and use all the apps I want to use while away.

It's not powerful enough to run Darktable to process pictures but I don't really want to carry a big laptop with me when I go away.

With this update the Chromebook has now become very useful indeed.