Adventures With My New Chromebook

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Jun 10, 2024 12:49 PM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (San Diego, U.S.)
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LXer Feature: 10-Jun-2024

A friend of mine helped me buy a new Chromebook a few weeks back. These are my adventures in getting to know what it is like to use and see if I could get it to do some extra stuff too.

I recently got a brand new Chromebook off of Amazon with the help of a good friend. An HP with a 120-gig HD and 16-gigs of RAM, 2 USB ports,HDMI port and an SD slot to go with the free 64-gig Micro SD card and adapter that came with it for free all for about $280 altogether. Not a bad deal if you ask me. Considering the price range of Chromebooks these days it's right down the middle, not too expensive, not too cheap. I got it out of the box, set up and logged in with my Google account within a matter of an hour or so and Bang! I had a new computer.

It made me feel better knowing that I could still get things going without any issues since I hadn't sat in front of a computer for a while. For someone who is online all the time when using a computer like me ChromeOS initially didn't feel much different than any other OS. The biggest difference is that there aren't many (if any) programs on the computer. Everything is done through the browser.

It came with most of the usual Google apps installed on it like Gmail, Drive, Docs, YouTube, Calendar and such. But if you're looking for the kinds of things you would get, or be able to install with a Windows or Mac computer, you're not going to get it. But for someone like me who has had a Gmail account since you needed an invite (some 20 years now) and have all your stuff online in your Google account anyway, you don't need it.

I manage my e-mail, store my pictures and documents, write new documents, spreadsheets and manage my pictures and everything else through my Google account as it is, so it works out just fine for me. Heck, I wrote this article as well as many that came before using Google Docs.

Being a Linux guy at heart I know I want to install Linux onto my laptop eventually. But I want to be sure it's going to work first, I'm not going to blow up my new computer trying to do something without making sure its safe first. With an Intel Celeron N4120, 16-gigs of RAM and a 120-gig Hard Drive I have more than enough for my needs to install the Linux I want. All I have to do is see if I can run a 'live' version of it on my laptop and I'll know pretty much for sure if I'm safe to install it alongside ChromeOS or not.

After doing some research I read that I needed to enable 'Developer Mode' on the Chromebook which was rather easy to find in the settings. By enabling developer mode it will allow me to access the bios options at start up when I want to do a 'live' session and/or when I finally decide to install Linux alongside ChromeOS.

So, after all the research and setting up developer mode I downloaded the Linux version I have been wanting to check out for a while, Linux Mint. Their latest version 21.3 is named "Virginia" and it comes with the Cinnamon 6.0 desktop environment, the 5.15 Linux Kernel and is based on Ubuntu's 24.04 LTS that comes with support until 2027. What that means is that it will continue to receive security updates for another three years so you don't have to worry about falling behind on the overall security of your system.

On a side note, I have been hearing a lot of good things about and looking at Zorin OS a fair amount but decided I wanted to go with Linux Mint because of my past experiences and familiarity with it. I plan on checking it out along with Peppermint, Endeavour and several others later but I'll save that for the future.

My laptop came with a 64-gig Micro SD card with an adapter so it would fit into the slot on the right side and I also have a 64-gig USB stick. I had plugged both of them into my laptop previously so I knew that they worked, as in the computer saw them and I could save stuff to them. But I didn't know if I could set up a 'live' .iso onto either of them yet.

I got Mint downloaded onto my laptop which is 2.9-gigs in size and then opened the recovery application through the settings and clicked on the gear in the upper right-hand corner and chose "Use local image". Then I found the .iso in my downloads folder and just like that, it started to burn to the USB.

It took about 10 minutes to burn it, re-read it to verify it had not made any mistakes and then say it was safe to remove it from the computer. Not too bad for never having done this before on a Chrome machine. Whew!

Well, in my next article I'll go into what booting into my new Linux Mint live USB stick was like as well as seeing if I could burn a .iso onto my Micro SD card along with whether dual-booting Linux along side ChromeOS turns out to be a good idea. Or even possible.

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» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features; Groups: Chrome, HP, Linux, Mint

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A Google blessed Linux development machine tomwitt2 1 423 Jun 11, 2024 10:03 AM

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