A few months back I picked up a refurbished Dell Chromebook 11 (with 4GbRAM /16Gb Flash) to carry with me to the ranch (where I wouldn’t carry my trusty old ZenBook). Being designed for the Educational market it is relatively tough while still being quite light and easy to carry. I replaced ChromeOS with GalliumOS (which unfortunately is no longer under development) and found it to be quite a capable little machine. I will likely try running Debian on it in the near future, but I am not sure how well the hardware will be supported. GalliumOS was supposed to have tweaks that work with the Chromebook hardware and it all worked for me (even the touchscreen).
So if you are looking for a linux laptop on the cheap (I paid about $50) or a rugged little machine to carry into the wilderness, you might consider a refurbished Educational Chromebook.
My previous beater laptop was an old HP Stream 14 (2Gb RAM/32GB Flash), which wasn’t as rugged nor as zippy.
One of the reasons GalliumOS was discontinued was because hardware support was pretty decent in recent versions of the kernel. In me experience, there’s always something that doesn’t quite work right out of the box, like audio or trackpad, but I got really good results with MX Linux, Endeavour OS and recently Debian 12.
I installed Debian 12 (with LXDE) on the little beater last night. The only issue I have come across, is the touch screen no longer works, but since I am not a fan of fingerprints all over my display I doubt I will worry about that. I haven’t tried the camera, but I am not a fan of streaming my ugly mug across the Internet so no worries there either. The track pad actually works better (recognizes left and right clicks) under Debian, so that was a bonus that will allow me to lose the mouse.
Those are two things that I also never cared for, so I never tested if they worked. In fact my Chromebook didn’t have touchscreen at all, I don’t find it appealing in any way for a laptop computer. All in all, it’s a good way to bring an old machine back to life.
I love this post, its a sleeper laptop. Isnt the distro antix made for this type of application?