In early January I picked up a refurbished Acer C710 for a crisp and clear $189 from a local computer shop. The Sales Guy told me that there are some inherent weaknesses to the Chromebook and that if I was okay with a computer that required an always connected concept then this little 11.6″ bit of Google Goodness would fit the bill, and fit the bill it did. I purchased it for work and the only thing that I could not do with it was leverage the power of Skype (beyond the strange Office 365 integration) but for me…just good enough is not the goal…I wanted more and before I even purchased the Chromebook I had been digging around the ChrUbuntu distro to get a better understanding of what it might do for me.
Doing a search on Google for “Ubuntu on Acer C710” reveals some interesting solutions (http://bit.ly/1fqu8cu) and my day yesterday was spent gathering up some frustrations about following instructions that were out dated or in some cases just plain wrong until I dug a little deeper into the wonderful world of the home of ChrUbuntu at Chromebooks and ChromeOS as it seems that there is a new installation script that lets me install the latest version of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu or even the no GUI version of Ubuntu (aka Server) and this intrigued me.
The initial attempt(s) on Saturday afternoon resulted in a near endless download and install of the same packages that would result in a Kernel Error and no Ubuntu on my Chromebook. For those that know me…a Frustrated Krispy is not something that should be trifled with until I gathered up the strength and went searching for the solution which was right in front of me…but I didn’t realize it…you see most of the solutions that were presented in that wonderful world of Google Searches were only going to give me Ubuntu 12.04, the Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu but not exactly what I was wanting, heck with this new script I could even gain access to the Trusty Tahr version of Ubuntu but because I will be using it for work…using a Beta Release may not be the best idea.
So you may be asking, why make the switch?
Because the HDD on this svelte little machine has 320GB and as much as I tried to, I just could not fill it while using Google and the plethora of Cloud Storage options that come enabled or are applicable to this device (I still don’t quite understand why such a big HDD but hey…it is what sold me on the device). So now I can boot to a fully operational (and so far I have not found a single thing that does not work on it (Bluetooth – Check, Sound – Check, Dual Display – Check, HDMI Out – Check, Network File Sharing – Check) but unfortunately I am still struggling with getting Skype to work with this version as Microsoft has seen fit to not offer a .Deb of the file that would work with the 64Bit OS so after a little work (I had to enable the i386 repositories) all was good in the world of Krispy and I had a 150GB partition of Ubuntu at my fingertips that has full offline capabilities and still allows me to slip back into ChromeOS at my leisure (I simply turn off Developer Mode and voila…ChromeOS in all its glory).
So for those nay sayers out there who say that this surprisingly amazing piece of hardware is not worth the investment…well I say phewy on you because I just fell in love again!