back to article Google's ChromeOS Flex turned my old MacBook into new frustrations

I spend a lot of time in a browser – for years I've used half a dozen pinned tabs to provide easy access to web apps like The Register's CMS and TweetDeck. But when I tried Google's browser-centric ChromeOS Flex I immediately lamented the lack of apps and came to despise Chrome. Google bills ChromeOS Flex as a "cloud-first, …

  1. ThatOne Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Modern Computing

    > Google says this is ‘modern’ computing – if so it feels like a backward step

    Welcome to the 2020ies. "Modern computing" nowadays does indeed mean "backwards step", at least from the user experience point of view (and sorry, as a user that's something I care strongly about).

    Windows is a nice example, progressively getting worse version after version, but others just jumped ahead: More pretense, less usability, less freedom, more monetization (and please make it as annoying and counterproductive as possible to show the lusers who's boss).

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Modern Computing

      Logged into a laptop today for the first time since a colleague had upgraded the poor beast to W10. Icon (shortcut) on desktop I didn't much care for, so right-click, "delete". Instead of just disappearing, up pops a dialogue box with something like "removing file, please wait..." Took a couple of seconds. Should have been instantaneous. Why?

      M.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Modern Computing

        > Instead of just disappearing, up pops a dialogue box with something like "removing file, please wait..."

        You're lucky. When I tried deleting an unwanted desktop shortcut on a new Win11 computer, I got a dialogue which managed to confuse me, who has been using MS products since DOS 2.x! Something about this not actually uninstalling the app (?!), when all I was trying to do was to delete this darn shortcut from my desktop.

        What happened to just doing what I asked, without trying to second-guess my actions? Jeez, will I be happy when I get back to Linux where the computer does as I say, not as I subconsciously wish according to some brain dead MS marketoid.

    2. Naich

      Re: Modern Computing

      *CoughLinuxcough*

  2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Joke

    moving back to Windows was a relief

    Damn, that's harsh.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

      The harsh reality is Google are a Linux shop - mostly - and so anything that is marginally better than the typical user experience their developers encounter on a daily basis is assumed to be the best experience possible.

      When in reality desktop Linux is (more specifically its UI offerings) still woefully lacking on the user experience front and at least a decade behind MacOS and Windows.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        Well, the first step backward in IT was thinking an OS designed at the end of the Sixties was the cool new thing.... till then people used to think forward, not backward.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          Do you have the same backwards opinion on staff "designed" at the end of the 60's?

          Newer doesn't necessarily mean better. It should do, but the world is getting dumber not brighter.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        Google Chrome OS is nothing like real Linux.

        But you probably know that?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          I never said it was. I said (or rather implied) that because Google developers mostly use Linux in their day to day operations they are exposed to a sub-standard experience that (I suspect) affects their judgement when it comes to seeing what's appropriate for release.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        > The harsh reality is Google are a Linux shop

        Yet when I was a Googler the standard-issue laptop was a Mac. How quickly things change?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          That's interesting to know. I seem to recall back in the day all their job ads were very adamant that you would be working with Linux and that's what your background should be. (I could be entirely mistaken, of course, and am happy to be proven wrong.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

            "Mac is Google’s preferred desktop operating system for its employees, not Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS. This shocking discovery surfaced at the LISA 2013 conference when Google stated that it manages over 43,000 Macs for its employees without the assistance of Apple."

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        "When in reality desktop Linux is (more specifically its UI offerings) still woefully lacking on the user experience front and at least a decade behind MacOS and Windows."

        It's always easy to spot those who haven't used it.

        It's also easy to spot those who regularly use it; they're the ones who get roped in to sort out friends and family with Windows woes.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          I use it most days when I need to test new functionality in our software or fix a Linux specific bug.

        2. FIA Silver badge

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          It's also easy to spot those who regularly use it; they're the ones who get roped in to sort out friends and family with Windows woes.

          It's also worth pointing out that Windows has improved in this area too.

          My mum used to know how to re-install Windows XP; as she needed to do it every 6 months or so.

          She's not had to do anything like that since Windows 7 came along.

          Her current machine runs Windows 10, and does what she needs it to do, reliably and without me having to go round at all really. (Last thing was setting up a new printer, and even that was setting up the printer, Windows just saw it and worked).

          True, it's got all the MS telematary in, but she doesn't care about that. She just wants to be able to print off the odd sewing pattern, and for that it does the job well.

          I know a linux distro would do all this too, not favouring one over the other, just pointing out that if the data collection aspect of windows isn't an issue for you then it's not quite the clusterfuck of crashes that XP was.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        Not my experience. I am primarily a Windows admin, but have also managed linux servers running various distributions. I have tried various Linux desktop installs in the past to see if it was ready to give to a non technical person. They always failed the non techie end user test. Things like the wifi not working without too much messing around or having to drop into the shell to do stuff.

        However, I recently had an old Lenovo laptop I was giving to someone who needed a machine after their PC died. I couldn't supply the installed version of Windows so I thought I would give Linux another go and threw the latest Ubuntu on there.

        It just worked. All internal devices detected and working. Two printers detected and working. All the applications they needed could be installed through the GUI.

        They are happy with it. It does the job they need to do.

      6. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

        Just curious, have you actually used Linux? I've been using Mint since 2006 and Slackware before that, maybe it is a case of 'I don't know what I'm missing', but I'm afraid my occasional foray into Windows or Apple World makes me think 'thank Christ for that.'

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

          I use it most days. My primary machine is Windows, obviously, but I have a Linux machine sitting under my desk that I use for debugging Linux specific issues and/or testing new functionality in our software.

          Outside of the woefully lacking settings panels, my biggest gripes are:

          Not being able to use Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V to copy and paste in the console - you know, like you do in every other application on the planet. (This was a pre-Windows 10 gripe too.)

          The file explorers that come with Ubuntu are fucking awful. (If there are better ones available - and I dread to think that there might be worse ones out there - why isn't one of them installed by default?) One of them doesn't even support copy/paste to another file explorer ffs.

          The number of flaming hoops needed to jump through to connect to a shared Windows drive. (Admittedly I'm still waiting for a fresh batch of sacrificial goats to arrive, so that could be why.)

          Not being able to switch between local and remote desktop sessions without first logging out (the logged in session just refuses to let another session take control) and praying each time - half the time the local session just gives me a black screen and I have to reboot the machine. (I need to be able to test our software in both circumstances - and no, they're definitely not the same when it comes to OpenGL and/or XWindows.)

          And the biggest gripe of all: No Visual Studio. VSCode is just fucking terrible, and I've yet to find an IDE that even comes close to VS. (Not technically Linux's fault, I know, but it's still a daily annoyance.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

            On all systems I've used, ctrl c and ctrl-v do other things (as they did long before windows started using them)

            Therefore, you use ctrl-alt c or ctrl-shift c instead, or you configure the console to indeed let you use ctrl-c and ctrl-x as you wish.

            Ignorance is no excuse!

          2. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

            > The number of flaming hoops needed to jump through to connect to a shared Windows drive.

            Really? In my experience Linux (on my laptop) has less problems seeing and connecting to various Windows (XP, 7, 10) shared folders than the Windows boxes themselves.

            To the point that often in meetings my Linux laptop is used to copy files from one Windows box to another, just because we don't want to wait the 5 minutes or undergo the 2-3 reboots until the Windows box in question finally acknowledges the other's shared folders...

          3. FIA Silver badge

            Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

            And the biggest gripe of all: No Visual Studio. VSCode is just fucking terrible, and I've yet to find an IDE that even comes close to VS. (Not technically Linux's fault, I know, but it's still a daily annoyance.)

            Now, I will caveat this first.. I do like VSCode, for the low low price of 'free' it works well, and it allows me to do remote development with a fairly esoteric build system. (Running VSCode on windows and developing on WSL).

            However, I will wave the Jetbrains flag if you're after an alternative IDE. I use Ryder instead of VS for C# development, and would hate to have to return to VS.

            Weirdly, because of the afformentioned odd build system I haven't managed to get CLion working for my C stuff at home (It's remote stuff isn't quite as configurable that I've found) so can't comment on it's suitability, but if it's as good as the Java and C# IDEs then it's well worth a trial.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: moving back to Windows was a relief

      I am happy with Linux Mint but I understand is not for everyone.

  3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Linux

    Alternatively

    I do real work on an older lappie than that, and far from top of the range even when first built. Maximum RAM, an SSD and a lightweight Linux desktop make it better than new. The one I replaced with this is still doing sterling work for a friend at 11-12 years of age.

    Mind you, nobody has been attacking the mains lead on those.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      Even on Windows (and ignoring the rubbish built into Windows 11 to try and make users upgrade their hardware), the addition of an SSD (and possibly a bit of RAM) to any older laptop will make it feel like new. Or even better than new.

      I've suggested to many friends and family that they really should save themselves the cash and upgrade to an SSD and all, so far, have agreed.

      Those heady days of the late 90's and early 2000's where every new generation of CPU made huge leaps in terms of performance are long behind us and it's rare for your average user to need or even care about the latest and greatest developments in hardware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternatively

        Those heady days of the late 90's and early 2000's where every new generation of CPU made huge leaps in terms of performance are long behind us

        .. but unfortunately, the degradation of performance with every Windows update marches on unabated. I swear it's like they are showing their investors just how strong a grip they have on their users by getting away with selling, no, licensing them crap while far better and more economical* alternatives are readily available.

        "It's worse than that, it's crap, Jim, crap, Jim, crap Jim" (to the tune of The Firm's Star Trekking in honour of the late Nichelle Nichols).

        * If you add wasted manhours to the cost equation.

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Re: Alternatively

          .. but unfortunately, the degradation of performance with every Windows update marches on unabated

          Do you really find that?

          I must say since Windows 7 I've not really noticed. The XP days of a 6 month re-install to make things usable again are long gone.

          These days I find the only thing that slows windows down is whatever virus software is added.

          I've just got my latest corporate laptop, I'm a dev, however the image seems to be a very generic 'Office user' one.

          The new laptop benchmarks at double the speed of my previous laptop. (Which is a 3 year old core i7 and is still fast by most standards).

          In use, it's maybe 2 or 3 times slower, as... well... sophos.

          I've de-camped to a VM on my desktop with a vanilla Win 11 install and it's lovely.

          It irritates the crap out of me though every time I look at what is now an expensive paperweight sat on a self, it's only purpose in life to change a password every 3 months.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Alternatively

            > The XP days of a 6 month re-install

            Are a legend.

            As I've already said repeatedly, we have at work an XP computer in a corner which has been running just fine for (IIRC) 17 years, without a single re-install. It's just that it's a work computer doing serious stuff and we don't fool around with it.

            At home the 2005 XP computer I used for games had never been re-installed either when it died of hardware failure some 4-5 years ago. My aunt's XP laptop also lasted 6 years (with one re-install due to a HD failure, not XP).

            So, either I'm incredibly lucky, or XP can indeed be stable over quite a long period if you don't install/uninstall junk to it.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      "I do real work on an older lappie than that"

      Well, I recently changed from a 15-years old 2-core CoreDuo to a modern Intel i7-12700H with 32 GB of RAM and PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs. Yes, it definitely is faster, but better? I don't know. The older one had definitely a better keyboard. Also the old screen was 1920x1200, while the new one is only 1920x1080, so I definitely lost some real estate to the common misconception that laptops are only used to watch movies.

      My point is, "new" doesn't necessarily mean "better", no matter the money you put into it.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      My backup Mac is 2016 MBP with a new battery. It's perfectly serviceable for everything I do, but, having to hand Macs over for a couple of days servicing a couple of times, I now always have a second one ready to go.

      Sticking anything other than MacOS on a Mac is pretty pointless and usually an exercise in frustration. There are some fantastic native MacOS apps and all the posix stuff is available and there a choice of VMs if you need them.

    4. unimaginative Bronze badge
      Linux

      Re: Alternatively

      Pretty much my first reaction.

      The only advantage of ChromeOS Flex over a more normal lightweight Linux is the familiar Google branding. A lot of people who are scared of Linux will be happy with ChromeOS.

      Against that there are many disadvantages: the reliance on web apps instead of local software, the worse performance and resource usage because you are not using native applications, the UI has been designed for different hardware, you are very tied to Google and so on.

  4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    "I never understood why SSBs didn't take off,"

    They're alive and well. They're called PWAs. (Progressive Web App.)

    1. Hawkeye Pierce

      Err no they are not. PWAs are not SSBs and vice versa.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Aren't Electron based apps the SSB equivalent of today?

        If so, they should have stayed dead.

        1. Spazturtle

          No, with electron you have a copy of chrome running per electron app you have running, with SSBs they just told your browser to spawn a special window and used your browser engine to power it and they told your browser to stay alive in the background as long as the window was open.

          Notice when you pay with PayPal on some sites a new window pops up that has no URL bar or buttons at top, that is close to what a SSB was.

          In fact Firefox itself is an SSB, the whole UI is a webpage rendered inside a window with no decorations.

    2. Uncle Slacky
      Linux

      Peppermint OS promotes them as a feature: https://peppermintos.com/guide/ice/

  5. Lazlo Woodbine Silver badge

    Beta worked fine, full release not so much

    I tried a couple of Beta versions of Chrome OS Flex (via USB 3 sticks) on my 2012 Mac Mini, they worked fine, once I'd fed in my Google account everything just worked.

    The full released version though hung after I'd entered my account and flat out refused to boot fully.

    Maybe they don't support 10 year old Minis, which is fine I suppose, but it's odd that the Betas were fine but not the final version

  6. Jason Bloomberg

    Making a bed to sleep in

    I think "a slightly posh version of Chrome OS" is a more accurate description.

    I haven't tried it yet but that is what I would be expecting, not even "posher" to be honest.

    Google also reckons the OS offers "a sustainable way to modernize devices that you already own."

    Seems reasonable where "modern" means an OS which launches a browser which is "all you need".

    I also came away thinking that Google's claim that ChromeOS Flex is an ecologically responsible alternative to junking old endpoints is optimistic. My MacBook's power supply has kinked cables: how long before they give out? And how long will the rattly and floppy hinge remain viable?

    Keeping something going till end of physical life where it would have been binned otherwise seems reasonable to me.

    Chromebooks, ChromeOS, Flex, and all the rest, are fine if they suit your needs and, for many people, they will. But not everyone.

    This is not for you. Simple as that.

    Paris Hilton has no angle when wearing a cloak of invisibility ->

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Making a bed to sleep in

      Linus also reckons thet Linux offers "a sustainable way to modernize devices that you already own."

      There fixed it for you...

      Remember Google giveth and Google sucketh your life from the re-purposed machine.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Making a bed to sleep in

      You could install a later version of macOS onto a Mac forced into obsolescence by Apple by using a patcher from DosDude1, otherwise you could install Windows or one of the more polished Linux distros.

      And all three would be better options than turning it into yet another Google data endpoint by installing ChromeOS.

      1. Smirnov

        Re: Making a bed to sleep in

        "You could install a later version of macOS onto a Mac forced into obsolescence by Apple by using a patcher from DosDude1, "

        Don't do it! Even DosDude1 (the creator of the installer patches) now advises to not use them anymore.

        There's really no need to go patching macOS installers anymore when OCLP (OpenCore Legacy Patcher) allows installing an unpatched install on unsupported Macs, which then can then run regular OS updates from inside macOS like a supported Mac.

        That's how I am running macOS 12 Monterey on an obsolete Mac Pro 2010.

        1. VicMortimer
          Flame

          Re: Making a bed to sleep in

          OCLP won't let you put 10.13 on a 2008 Mac Pro. Those patchers are still VERY useful.

          Don't get me wrong, OCLP is great for what it does, but it's not always the right choice, particularly if you need to run 32-bit software, making 10.15 and later not an option.

          (Yes, I am VERY angry at Apple for dropping 32-bit support.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox still my browser of choice

    Has a "Take a screenshot" button built in (which is hidden away in items you can add to toolbar via Customise Toolbar...).

    I also like that there are RSS feed Extensions available (which used to be built in), but not in Chromium Browser [at least not last time I looked]).

    Was going to try ChromeOS Flex on an older Dell Optiplex that's supported, but won't bother now.

    Probably better using a lightweight X-Windows based desktop variant from Linux Mint or Xubuntu or Debian etc.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SSB Features are in Chrome

    You can create an SSB Shortcut in Chrome by going into the application menu, more tools, "create shortcut" and then check the box for "open as window". This will create a shortcut in the launcher that will launch a website as a primary window.

    1. Dave Fox

      Re: SSB Features are in Chrome

      I was about to ask the question as to how SSBs are different to ChromeOS shortcuts.... saved me a job! ;)

  9. Def Silver badge

    Google creates substandard user experience shocker!

    I'm shocked, I tell you.

  10. DougMac

    Not sure what was expected..

    To me, ChromeBooks already seem like fisher-price systems to give to the kids to write their school report in Google Docs on and nothing else.

    Not sure why anybody would expect more out of it than that.

  11. ITS Retired
    Big Brother

    Keep in mind that 'The Cloud' is someone else's computer.

    Someone else owns it. Someone else controls it. Can someone else look at your data? The police and alphabet agencies think they have a right to. I prefer to keep control of my own data. Not everybody is doing something dodgy. Most of us are reasonable honest, regardless of what the paranoid control freaks in charge think.

    Backups for your data are as simple as a flash drive or a portable hard drive. Interment or no Internet can be a pain when everything is cloudy.

    As an aside, everything computering, including the Internet thingies, have has a UPS on the mains powering them. Around here (US of A), area wide power failures don't seem to affect the Internet feed.

  12. WolfFan Silver badge

    I’ll take that MacBook off your hands

    It’s newer than my main Mac desktop machine at home…

    1. VicMortimer

      Re: I’ll take that MacBook off your hands

      I know, right? My NEWEST laptop is a 2018 MacBook Air. A 2017 is a fully functional modern laptop that can run current macOS. There's absolutely no reason to even remotely consider recycling it.

      I know the article was really about how ChromeOS is crap, but that line was just offensive.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: I’ll take that MacBook off your hands

        If the author wants to get rid of it, send it here. I'll even pay for the shipping. My latest laptop is a brand-new Lenovo, but I'll gladly take (and use!) a 5-year-old MacBook in preference to it. (The Lenovo isn't bad, it's just a Lenovo and runs (ick!) Win11, but it's not great. And it runs Win11. It could be worse. It could be a Dell.)

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: I’ll take that MacBook off your hands

        My NEWEST laptop is a 2018 MacBook Air

        Up until recently my main machine was a 2016 Macbook Pro (with the infamous butterfly keyboard - I missed the deadline cutoff for getting it replaced by less than a month :-( ).

        One incident involving a cat, a glass of orange juice and said keyboard later, I was looking for a new machine. Yes, I probably could have tried to sponge out the keyboard but, considering that the keyboard and battery are all pretty much one unit, I didn't fancy that option. And the keyboard was pretty crap to start with...

        So I now have a nice shiny M1 Macbook Pro 16". It's very, very shiny. And Gog/Steam are good at trying to present Apple Silicon versions of my games (although Baldurs Gate 3, on startup, offers the Intel or Apple choice and warns that the Apple version doesn't yet have full Galaxy integration - which I can live with because it's a *lot* faster.

        The only fly in the ointment is that Parallels doesn't support x86-64 bit VMs (understanable) so I had to put by inherited Windows stuff into a Windows 11-ARM VM.

        1. VicMortimer

          Re: I’ll take that MacBook off your hands

          See, I just don't understand that mentality at all. That repair is MUCH less expensive than a new machine, and I'm pretty happy about NOT having an M processor because my VMs all work flawlessly.

          I'm typing this on my favorite laptop, a 2012 15" MBP with 16GB RAM and 4TB SSD. I'm probably going to put a new keyboard in it soon, the 'e' key is being slightly annoying.

          (FYI, the keyboard on your 16" is kind of a pain to replace, but it's very doable, and the battery is actually pretty easy, I've done a few of them. If you don't want it, feel free to send it to me.)

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    No thanks

    For all the horrible things that Google has done to break cellphone features, I'd only take steps to remove their software. Google wants a walled garden like Apple despite that being beyond their skills and against what everyone without iOS wants.

    Did Flex incapacitate your internal storage? That's Google's favorite feature of Android 11 and 12.

  14. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    2017?

    Should be very fast with macOS. As fast as when new, in fact.

  15. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I don’t buy Google hardware or use their OS after their first shiny new 7 inch tablet turned into a POS after only about 16 to 24 months of usage. Apple never screwed me over like that.

    1. ThomH

      Then you clearly didn't buy the original iPad, which is the semi-recent Apple device with the shortest useful lifetime.

      Released in March 2010, support was dropped for it in iOS 6 of September 2012, and running 2011's iOS 5 on it leads to an incredibly slow device.

      The iPad 2 of 2011 improves on the original with twice the RAM and twice the bandwidth, two processor cores instead of one and a greater-than-33% improvement per core, and what Apple claimed was eight times the GPU power though I can't still find a benchmark on that.

      So I guess Apple just figured they'd brush the original under the carpet?

      (Though I'm only now about to retire my 2015 iPhone 6s and Retina MacBook; the first-generation iPad is the aberration)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        But buying the 1st iPad gave the owners bragging rights which was presumably the whole point,

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        And the first-gen Intel Mac mini could have been better. Launched 2006, in original configuration it will only run up to 10.6 which had its last proper update in 2011 (5 years), though remained in support until 2014. Increasing RAM to 2GB (the maximum supported) allows 10.7, which was last updated in 2012. It can't go further because the Core (not Core 2) processors used were 32-bit only. A few devices had socketed processors and can theoretically have a processor swap, which is a tad annoying because the next model - 2009 - can run up to 10.11 officially (last release 2018) and possibly later versions unofficially.

        I suppose I am just annoyed that Apple fitted a 32-bit processor, when the big change was PPC to Intel and going 64 bit-capable at the same time surely wouldn't have caused any greater issues. Still have an Epson scanner which runs best on the Mac - the slide & negative holders aren't properly supported on Linux, nor the extra dust-removal scan function and auto colour-restoration.

        Similar problem with my EeePC901, which has a 32-bit Atom. Easier to find a reasonable Linux for that, though as the keyboard is a bit borked (<tab> key stuck down somehow) the point is moot.

        M.

        1. VicMortimer

          I mean, 10.6 was the last really good Mac OS release, it only went downhill from there.

          Also, I'm pretty sure the 1st gen minis all had socketed processors, it's an easy swap for a Core 2. The laptops OTOH you needed a hot air rework station to change the processor.

          And any Linux that'll run on the eeePC will run on the early Intel Mac mini, so it's not "easier" to find one.

          1. ThomH

            I had a first-generation MacBook Pro with its Core Duo, and used it up until probably about 2010; it is unfortunate that Apple needed to jump ship during Intel's temporary regression to a 32-bit ISA but at least no Apple laptop ever saw a single-core x86. The original low-end Mac Mini was a Core Solo.

            The PowerPC was so far behind at that point that I doubt Apple could have afforded to wait much longer, but at least SSE3 was present right out of the gate, providing a smooth transition for things like the Accelerate framework.

  16. Jim Birch

    ChromeOS for who?

    Around 0% of the Reg readership would want a locked down browser-based OS. You can't do a whole lot of "normal" stuff.

    OTOH It seems like a good option for low-tech people who just want to read their email and visit a couple of websites. That's where I'd recommend it. Nothing is perfectly secure but this is a much safer than giving an idiot windows/linux/mac.

  17. Richard Remmele

    First one correction to the article. You can use the Linux add-on in the Advanced - Developer area if you have the right somewhat recent computer and you have Virtualization activated. I tried it on one computer that didn't have that and one that did but the Core 2 Duo was just too old. I have seen YouTube videos where it did work.

    I tried the Flex because I don't want to upgrade more than one computer to Windows 11 or 12 eventually. My laptop and another active computer can just use the Chrome Browser and Gmail. You can also add a non-Gmail account to Gmail which I needed to do. If you need to do more than that and the few available Chrome apps, then you are out of luck unless you can get Virtual Linux to work. I would imagine that that is another project if you can get that to work.

    I have been using Flex for about 2 weeks and everything works fine. It is a suitable replacement for Windows 10 because of my narrow needs for that computer. My main computer is another thing. I stream, I record streams, I playback with adSkip, I do 5 tax returns for my family with Turbotax and I do some video editing. So that computer will have to be upgraded to Windows 11 or 12 eventually.

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