Re: Software Junk
For a rock-bottom price bracket, cheap consumer laptop, 6 years is a pretty long time. I suspect a great many of them will be clapped out or broken by then.
The Chromebook was positioned as an internet appliance rather than as a laptop. That is, it's a piece of kit sold for doing pretty much one thing — running a browser — rather than as a general-purpose computer.
Most appliances, once purchased, can be used in their original state until they do fall apart, because they have one thing to do and they don't get any worse at doing it until they begin to fail mechanically.
A Chromebook, though, is unlike most traditional appliances in that it does need occasional updates to correct security failings in the original programming.
My Chromebook is about a dozen years old (it's one of the original Acer C720s) which means it's been out of support for almost half its life. It isn't clapped out or broken, and it does still work well as a browsing tool ... but I wonder whether it is as secure as it was or as it should be.
They won't suddenly stop work working. They just stop getting OS updates. They may continue to get browser updates for a while.
Which is really not good enough. A device that is used as an interface to the wild and hostile world of the internet really needs its security to be up-to-date.
... it *is* possible to "root" most ChromeBooks and install your own OS. If you do that and install ChromeOS Flex, you get OS updates again.
That's true. One of the things I had in mind when I bought the C720 was that if I didn't like ChromeOS I could just install Debian/whatever instead. Unfortunately although Acer did make a 4GB version of the C720 I couldn't find one in the UK, so I have a 2GB machine. I could run a normal Linux distro on it, but that's a bigger system than ChromeOS and I wonder how usable it would be in that little RAM? I've never tried.
I shall have to look into ChromeOS Flex when it becomes a little less "early access".