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Using a Chromebook for Web Development: Part 3

angelarae63 profile image Angela Whisnant Updated on ・2 min read

I am writing this to update readers about the fix I have found for the Arm64 architecture issue I have been experiencing on my new-to-me, linux-enabled Chromebook. If you haven't read parts 1 and 2, they are short reads and worth your time if you are considering a Chromebook for development.
I was able to easily install linux from my settings, but began to have issues finding apps (.deb files) that would work on my arm64 machine.
This has been resolved, however, by installing the Gnome Software Center on my Chromebook.
Using instructions found on Chrome Unboxed, I entered the following command at the linux terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit

Enter "y" to proceed and the packages install beautifully....

Gnome

Notice that these packages are all arm64...Whoo-hoo!
Once this has completed, run the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Wait for these to complete and restart your Chromebook. You are good to go. Here's what you should see when you open Software App in your linux files...a nice graphical interface where you can search for the apps that will run on your system and easily download them.

GnomeCenter

So this issue has been solved to my satisfaction. I hope some of you will find this helpful!

If you'd like to give this Chromebook Dev Life a try, I would like to make the following suggestions:

  1. Buy a Chromebook on the r/crostini list of linux enabled devices with the following caveat: Get one with a 64-bit architecture: amd64 and x86.64 seem to be the best choices. Or Buy a Pixelbook
  2. If you already have an arm64 device and would like more app choices, do what I did or don't. You may be perfectly happy with VS Code alone.
  3. Go for an Intel processor and get at least 32gb of drive space, more is better, and 4gb of Ram (2gb will be too slow).
  4. Reddit r/crostini and Chrome Unboxed are excellent resources for running linux with Chrome OS.

I have to say, I have been using my linux-enabled Chromebook for 2 weeks now and am absolutely loving it! My son's ASUS ROG Laptop is gathering dust. He's getting it back tonight.

Discussion

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juliang profile image
Julian Garamendy

Hi Angela,

Thank you for writing these posts. I'm also interested in setting up a lightweight linux dev machine, and a Chromebook sounds like a great idea.
I don't think I'll be trying this very soon, so I'm bookmarking your posts for the near future.

PS: Did you know you can group your posts in a series? There's a "series name" text field under "Additional Config/Settings".

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angelarae63 profile image
Angela Whisnant Author

I tried to use that option, but I must have done something wrong...☺️

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angelarae63 profile image
Angela Whisnant Author

A-ha! Fixed it! Thanks for the tip!

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doug_horne profile image
Douglas Horne

I thought I'd add on to this, since I just installed the Linux Beta that was offered inside my Chromebook. I have an Acer 14 that I bought back in 2016. This is the exact model I have, in case you're wondering: acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX...

Install and Setup

I just clicked on the Linux Beta button I saw somewhere in the settings, and it was done in a couple of minutes. In case you don't see anything like that, here are some instructions: support.google.com/chromebook/answ...

After that, I went to the Visual Studio Code site, downloaded the debian version and clicked to install. No issues. Everything works as expected (including my extensions and sync settings)

Next, I wanted to install node and npm. Luckily, I found this article (medium.com/@jacoboakley/web-develo...). I just copy / pasted, and I was up and running.

All in all, this probably took me 15 minutes. I have been using the machine for about a week with no issues. Love it!

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drew gillies

I hadn't seen your posts but really enjoyed them. I set up my wife's arm based chromebook to code on earlier this year. I also used the same install of vscode. I noticed when I npm installed packages on my projects, I couldn't delete the files through the ui file explorer. Easier to motivate there in the terminal and run an rm -rf to remove them. I'm really glad you found that arm based software center. I'm going to try it out.

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angelarae63 profile image
Angela Whisnant Author

Thank you Drew...I’ve learned a lot, but still much more to learn about Linux for sure. Glad you found it helpful!