I am gonna preface this post with a statement (before going on about why I want to try ChromeOS) – Neverware’s CloudReady OVA image does not work on Windows. It does not work on Linux as well, but this is to be expected. The weird thing is that I get the exact same error message on both OS. Which makes me think it is a hardware compatibility issue. And, yes, the Intel hardware virtualization feature is already turned on in the UEFI settings. Of course, this is just MY experience. Your mileage may vary.
There was this Ubuntu PPA back then that lets you login into a ChromeOS desktop (ChromiumOS would be the correct one, since it is the open source base, but I’ll keep on saying ChromeOS because it sounds better). I think. My memory of this is very hazy. Don’t know if this is still around now. You use it with your Google account, then you are brought into the ChromeOS desktop, Aura shell and all, after. Let’s you do that straight from the login screen too, although you can run it in windowed mode. It is a separate environment so your Ubuntu/Linux files are safe. This was so long ago. Progressive web apps (PWA) was not even coined yet. I installed it for curiosity’s sake. Deleted it after a few logins because it was basically a glorified browser. Boring in other words. Why would I want to waste resources on that?
Having read a lot of good things happening on ChromeOS recently has piqued my interest in it. I know it can run Android apps for a long-ish time now. But who cares? I got an Android device for that. The one thing that has really got me curious about ChromeOS is the support they have brought in for running Linux applications without having to resort to hacks (though that is always something fun to do). This is not something I just recently learned. I think as far back as 2018 I have already heard about the Crostini project started out by Google. Android on ChromeOS started 2 years earlier (2016). This is like Linux on top of Linux. Runs as a container. If I’m not mistaken it uses Debian by default. That is like 3 Linux distros in there – ChromeOS, Android and then Debian. 4 if you count the original Gentoo, its parent. Back then Project Crostini was but a name. 2 years and some months later it appears that this project has matured so much. Now ChromeOS can do a lot more things than just web apps, with more ChromeOS hardware supported for letting native Linux apps run on it.
Traditional Linux desktops were never good with battery life for as long as I can remember. It is still true now. At least for every laptop I’ve had running Linux on it. There are a lot of tweaks around that boast that they can extend battery, but in my experience these did not do much. Hardly even notice any improvement at all.
Then there is the “not enough apps” thing. Folks from Windows-land will always say something like, “Can it run Photoshop?”.
So if the answer to this battery issue is ChromeOS, plus having tons of apps pulled from Android/Play Store, I am considering on getting one.
The other reason would be that Linux desktop has been boring of late. Ubuntu’s Unity 8 is gone. Its cousin – Unity 7 – is on life support. Still not convinced with the Gnome Shell way of things. I have it on VMWare for office-related stuff (not the actual work) so I have been using it the past few weeks since I have been working from home.
This has got me thinking. Maybe it is time to trade in my ASUS K401U laptop which is by now over 2 years old. Probably close to 3 years already. It has been rock solid running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus all this time. Dual boots a Windows 10 too. I have zero complaints. If I sell it soon before it coughs out, at least I get something back, then get a new one but an ASUS Chromebook instead. Not that the hardware is deteriorating for this baby. This ASUS is still doing pretty good.
On the one hand, I get a new device. Get to play with a new toy as well. In the other I will lose my ability to dual boot with Windows. There are really times when Linux will not cut it no matter what, and VM is not an option.
That is why I have been looking around the Internet trying to get as much information about ChromeOS. Reading is okay, but it would be better to get a hands on experience with it. Even virtually. As I have mentioned from the start, my experience the past week is that Neverware’s CloudReady OVA image does not work at all on my machine. This is like a VMWare image of their version of ChromeOS minus all the proprietary stuff. They are always recommended based off my readings.
Neverware has this option to put it in a bootable USB stick. Alas, I don’t have a USB flash drive lying around. Tough luck. It used to be that I had like 3 to 5 of those. So I cannot try this option now. Let me tell you too that at the time of this writing it is in the middle of the Corona virus lockdown here in Metro Manila. So no stores, or generally almost all stores, are closed.
While Project Crostini is open source, the Google Play Store, and thus Android apps, is not. That means I cannot install Android apps because its proprietary. Still, I would really wanna see how Linux native apps perform on it. If that can be managed in a VM situation. I heard it can be quite demanding.
Anyone out there willing to loan me a Chromebook for a few weeks? Hahaha! Before investing into one I would like a trial run first.
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