How to Run Linux on a Chromebook for Programming Purposes

Chromebooks are being used for programming more and more. Developers find it light, efficient, and cost-effective to use Chromebooks. However, Chrome OS does not have all the features and tools that a developer needs. You will have to install Linux to run side-by-side with Chrome OS or instead of it.

Here are a few tips on how to run Linux on your Chromebook to enable software development:

Leverage cloud-based environments


You can use the preinstalled Chrome OS successfully as it is a restricted Linux operating system. To make it ready for use for programming, leverage cloud-based development environments like Cloud9 and Nitrous. This should make your system ready for software development.

Switch between Chrome OS and Linux

If you install Linux through Crouton you should be able to use both operating systems side-by-side. You can jump between the two by using simple shortcuts.

Learn to use Linux apps in Chrome OS

If you do #2 + xiwi you should be able to use Linux apps in Chrome OS. This may not be the best option for all Chromebooks as they may run slower or have other performance issues. Find out if this is a possibility and a good idea for your specific Chromebook.

Do a dual boot with a compatible Linux distro


A Linux distro like GalliumOS may be the answer to your Linux and Chrome OS problems. You will have to bypass the Chrome OS restrictions to do this and you will need to check the hardware compatibility list to make sure that this will work.

Some people may just remove Chrome OS and install a Linux OS to run the Chromebook. However, we still prefer the dual-boot approach. It is handy to keep Chrome OS to do simpler everyday things like watching Netflix. Every developer will have a preference. These are just different ways to approach programming on your Chromebook.

Tips and Shortcuts to Make Your Chromebook Use More Efficient

Chromebooks are another one of Google’s genius inventions. They are great for efficiency and ease. Chromebooks were designed based on the idea that simplicity is the key to efficiency. Most Chromebooks offer the necessary features and tools you would need for normal use. However, if you would like to improve the efficiency and performance, especially as a programmer, you may want to try these tips.

  1. Quickly see how much space you have left on your drive. A simple way to see how much space is available on your local drive is by entering chrome://quota-internals in the URL bar of your Internet browser. Strike enter and you will see a quick report on where you stand with space.

  1. Use the Alt key to open apps faster. The apps that are pinned to your taskbar each have a numerical value. From left to right they will have values from 1 to 10 (in this case 0). If you want to open the apps quickly without letting your fingers leave the keyboard, use Alt and 1 or Alt and 5 to open the apps.
  2. Re-enable tap dragging. In some versions of Chrome OS the ability to drag and drop may be disabled. There is an easy way to re-enable it. Go to Settings and look for tap dragging. Click to enable the feature and you will be back to drag-dropping in no time.
  3. Learn to work offline with web pages. Chromebooks are generally aimed at working only while on the Internet. This may not always be possible. There is a way to save web pages that you want to read offline. Hit Control and S to save the web page that you are on. Go to the File folder to find your saved site and double click. Now you can read offline.

These simple tips and shortcuts should help you work more efficiently and with less frustration on your Chromebook. A Chromebook can be a great tool and can make your work feel much more efficient if it is used correctly and with a few clever tweaks.

Facts and Other Information About Chromebooks Used for Software Development

Many people have asked whether a Chromebook is good for programming. The simple answer is ‘yes’. The more complicated answer includes a few conditions. A Chromebook can absolutely be used for software development but if you want to be effective, you need to look for certain features. We have looked around and tried out a few Chromebooks. Here are the things that are important to know for developers.

Developers need specific tools. Not all the tools you may need or want will be part of Chrome OS. This means you will have to choose a Chromebook that will run Linux as well.

Check for the right processor. Developing requires specific programs and these programs will not run if the Chromebook doesn’t have the right processor.

You will need specific hardware. Many Chromebooks offer the necessary hardware, but you need to make sure before buying. You will at least need a powerful processor, a high-quality screen, a full-sized HDMI video output port, and a keyboard that is comfortable to use.

Models to avoid. We have eliminated a few Chromebook models based on performance and whether they offer the necessary hardware for developing. You should steer away from the Lenovo 100S, the HP Chromebook 11 G4, the Samsung Chromebook 2, the ASUS C201, and the Acer Chromebook 11.

Factors that determine the best option. There are four factors to consider before buying your Chromebook for developing. Consider the overall value, the portability, the screen, and the power of the computer.

The best Chromebooks for developing. Through a process of elimination, we have settled on a few Chromebooks that will work for developing. They include the Toshiba Chromebook 2, the Acer C720-3404, the Acer Chromebook 15, the Dell Chromebook 13, and the Google Chromebook Pixel.

A Chromebook can be a great tool for developing anywhere you are. They are portable, compact, light, and generally inexpensive. If you choose the right one, your Chromebook may become your favorite computer for developing.