Back in July, my Lenovo Thinkpad -- that had made its way through four years of college, to two Wikimanias, and two screens -- finally bit the dust. I took it in for repair and got the sad news that a brand new motherboard was about the same cost as a new computer. At the time, I had stopgap employment and was looking for full time work. I needed an inexpensive computer that would just work. I had heard about chromebooks and had always been interested, so I walked into Best Buy and walked out with a HP chromebook and a $200 lighter wallet.
Since then, my Chromebook has been my only computer. I have a gaming desktop speced out, but I haven't worked up the courage yet to spend that much money on another computer.
Because this is my only computer, I have not tried installing Linux on my Chromebook. With only 2GB of RAM and 16GB of SSD, I don't think Ubuntu would do well on this machine.
For what it is designed to do, Chromebooks are fast and work well. For the average consumer that checks Facebook, reads email, and watches YouTube videos, this is really all they need. The average person just doesn't care that you can't run a compiler or GIS program on their computer. I see these machines doing well against iPads and other tablets with crowds that need keys to type.
I have never felt unsafe while browsing the web. Because Google rolls out security updates so frequently, ChromeOS is based on Linux and the fact that I am sandboxed away from nearly everything that can cause my system harm, .
Chromebooks have abysmal error handling. Pretty much the way that chromeOS solves deadlock and kills unresponsive processes is by restarting. This can get annoying if you lose work.
I am not an average consumer. The things that I want out of a computer are the normal things (netflix, web browsing, email) plus the ability to make maps and write code. Those last two things are nearly impossible to do because cromeOS is so sandboxed.
ChromeOS has a pretty good SSH client and a great SFTP client. This allowed me to piggyback on the unused computational power of one of my Digital Ocean droplets. I was able to use a local text editor to write code hosted on my server and . Not pretty, but it did the job.
All things considered
I would buy a Chromebook again, but I can't wait to have a desktop and finally game again.