2 nights ago ChromeOS V70 landed on my Acer R11 bringing linux in its Crostini variety to my chromebook. I’ll share a bit of my tips and experiences, I hope you will contribute too.
I like Manjaro so much because it saves time on tech admin, compared to W10 or other linuxes. I like chromebooks because they require least tech admin of all computers I’ve owned and are capable enough to serve almost all of my needs. I was delighted about Crostini because it would remove some of the limitations.
I more or less followed https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/08/19/install-linux-applications-chrome-os/
I then experimented by installing several packages to see if Crostini would bring me the additions I wanted/needed most.
I identified these two needs/problems.
- Docxs being sent that are too confidential for the cloud and too complex for G Suite.
- Folder-synchronization of larger sets of folder trees with docxs of projects.
- Embedded Java based software I need to use for my work.
The top 2 of these were slightly possible using Android software using Total Commander with plugins and WPS office, but the experience on linux was better. The third point necessitated Linux (or Win or a Mac).
Experiences so far?
Generally speaking: activatiing Limux rook a couple of minutes. I installed the gnome software centre, flatpak and Libreoffice 6.1. These should all be automatically updated. They are a bit slow, but perfectly usable.
I downloaded Onlyoffice and installed with sudo dpkg -i ‘onlyoffice-desktopeditors_amd64.deb’
On Linux I use the snap version of Onlyoffice, but that is not available for Crostini. So I will occasionally have to upgrade this package.
I tested Onlyoffice and Libreoffice with some documents and they worked very well. So the experience is identical to other linbuxes.
I installed Doube Commander and copied some of the folders with documents and the embedded jave software I need and it all worked in one go, though I had to manually set the default editor for docx to be /usr/bin/desktopeditors.
I was delighted that everything worked so well. I can truly compare it to a rolling version of linux except for Onlyoffice which needs to be manually updated occasionally.
Double Commander does not work with SMB files on Crostini and there is no webdav plugin for linux. On Manjaro I use Gigolo to set gvfs connections to various networks/clouds, but these, predictably, do not work on Crostini. Gigolo cannot assign or allocate file-systems.
I then started looking for a filemanager that uses panels and can get access to both the linux filesystem and the networked SMB and webdav sources.
I trid and failed with Dolphin, Nautilus, Thunar, PCmanFM (which did allow webdav), Konqueror, Gnome Commander, etc. etc.
Then I tried Krusader: Krusader was the first to simply allow me to detect workgroup-names on the LAN and select NAS’s. It asked for my pwd and just worked. This means I caqn synchronize the folders between my NAS and my Chromebook for private backups. Brilliant.
I then started experimenting with krusaders webdav abilities (I remembered from the past that it does not allow webdavs to be selected in its gui, but it allows direct paths to be typed to webdav sources. ).
I tried: krusader works. I can type webdavs://[username]@dav.box.com/dav and it will ask for my password and just work. I can synchronize trees between my NAS, Chromebook and webdavs sources.
Kate, Krusader and Ark work very well.
The sound does not work in Crostini Linux, so for media we still have to wait. Audacity and Avidemux would be welcome. Many will also install Firefox, I may when I need it. I will probably try to replace most android browsers (Brave, Firefox, Vivaldi, Chrome Beta) with linux ones.
My daily driver is maturing to do almost everything I want from a computer. For heavy lifting I will keep Manajro on an i7 based Lenovo (which even runs W10) , but for most of my use I can now do with my chromebook. When my 8 year old, tattered Acer with a wonkey key and water-damage to its screen conks out I can just dump it and use my chromebook. No need for a second Linux laptop as a backup.
- Some linux apps can only run maximized, but if you move the mouse down the panel does become visible and you can minimize or switch away.
- After uninstalling dolphin, nautilus, thunar etc. several remained visible as installed until I rebooted.
Do you appreciate the tips of Onlyoffice, Libreoffice, Krusader and Gnome Software Centre? Do you have tips yourself?
What are your experiences?
Generally speaking, If a family member or friend wants to buy a computer I might recommend Manjaro, but I would probably recommend a crostini-capable chromebook. They will have very few issues and be secure. Without having to know much. Highly confidential docs and objects can be used separately in Crostini with backups on the NAS which are comparable experiences to Win, MAC and Linux.