Wai Hon's Blog

From Linux to Chrome OS

2023-04-01 #linux

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own, not those of my company.

I thought I would always be a GNU Linux user but I switched to Chrome OS early this year.

Why Switch to Chrome OS?

There were multiple reasons why I switched.

  1. My company builds Chrome OS and I was interested in trying our own dog food.
  2. Chrome OS can run Linux (via Crostini) which allows me to use Emacs and keeps my workflow.
  3. Every new year need some changes and I believe the variety is worthwhile.

As a result, I started to use my spare Chromebook more often and it has been 3 month already. I loved it. Light and thin. Fanless and silent. Long battery life. Bluetooth just works.

What Changed After the Switch?

Let’s talk about what I have changed after switching from Linux to Chrome OS.

Less Bias on Tiling Window Manager

I thought tiling window manager is superior to stacking window manager. After using Chrome OS, I think both are fine. I am not less productive with Chrome OS’s stacking window manager than my beloved i3wm. It works well for most daily scenarios:

However, I still complain the overuses the Alt key in Chrome OS’s system keybinding which can conflict with the underlying application. Hope that it will be improved soon.

Less Time Tweaking Dotfiles

I am spending much less time tweaking my dotfiles like i3wm, rofi, randr, wayland, ibus and so on. I might still configure the Crostini like the sommelier daemon, but on average, much less often. As a result, there is more time for other things, the family, the kids, real work, and even just taking rest.

More Okay to the Google Eco-System

There are advocates to reduce the dependency on big tech for privacy and autonomy. I love this vision and also self-hosting some services to own my data. I tried to self-host Google Photo and/or Google Drive with an open-sourced alternative, I don’t find a good solution as these two services require backing up a large amount of data, and need a special setup for transcoding video.

The idea of self-hosting Drive and Photo fades away after using Chrome OS more often. It makes sense to use Google Drive on Chrome OS because the integration is so good. The more I use Chrome OS, the more I am okay to use the Google eco-system.


I am very happy with Chromebook and Chrome OS so far. I even switched my work laptop to Chromebook a few weeks ago so now I am using Chromebook for both personal and work. I don’t know how long I will stay. Likely until there is a decent Linux laptop with great hardware and driver supports.