Chromebook (Acer R13) as developer computer

I got myself a Chromebook (Acer R13 with ARM CPU, because I like to make it difficult for myself) quite a while ago, and it has been a mixed experience.

Now, however, with Chrome OS 76, I am actually rather satisfied both the the Acer R13 and with Chrome OS and the things I want to do finally just work!

General Laptop Aspects

Thinking about my Acer R13 as a laptop, it is quite decent:

  • very good battery time (although it drains when left it sleeping for long)
  • very quick startup/shutdown
  • simple to use Google login and Google docs
  • display, keyboard and touchpad is fine, weight is low, it is silent
  • chrome OS works well
  • performance is acceptable (mostly web browsing)

Developer and productivity aspects

I do web development, using Node.js, Vue, git and a web browser (it is a quite simple and limited toolset). This now works very well.

  • “Linux (beta)” works out of the box for my purposes (it is now finally stable on R13).
  • lxterminal gets me a simple tabbed terminal application.
  • Chrome OS 76 comes with virtual desks (very convenient).
  • nodejs (for ARM8) works perfectly

A few things to note about the Linux environment

  • it runs in a container, you can run more than one if you want, but the default container is Debian stretch (9.9) which is all good for me
  • since it is a container, you don’t access it at “localhost” but rather an IP that you get running “hostname -I” (for web development purposes or admin-UI)
  • the files in your linux home directory are accessible directly from ChromeOS under “Linux Files”, if you want to open something in Chrome, use Ctrl+O and just browse normally (it just works, it is just simple)


If you need a decent laptop at a good price, and you want Linux on it, a Chromebook is a very realistic option.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.