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Samsung Chromebook 303C

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Samsung Chromebook 303C

Recently I bought the Samsung 303C Chromebook, which is based on the Arm processor. I bought it as a replacement for my old faith full Acer Aspire One ZG5.

The battery of my Acer Aspire One is getting old so the Aspire One can only run for a short period of time without the power supply. Also the keyboard is not as good as it once was.

Most of the work I do on my laptop is using ssh to my Linux boxes and LXC Linux containers. Beside ssh I use a webbrowser and occasionally a PDF viewer. Sometimes it can be useful to view some kind of tutorial on Youtube. I have turned to server based computing a long time ago. My stuff is on local Linux boxes and my workstations and laptops are just a means to work on them. For creating documents I mostly used Latex but recently I turned to Markdown as an universal writing ecosystem. LibreOffice and Calibre are running on xserver, so for that Xnest on the laptop or workstation is sufficient.

The Samsung Chromebook is a great candidate to replace my Acer. It is absolutely silent, boots very fast and runs very long on the battery. It has a good screen and is very light and thin. It has a good keyboard, great for speedy touch type.

Samsung Chromebook

Google Chromebook

The lightweight memory based OS makes the Samsung very fast. Being a Google Chromebook the Samsung is a zero maintenance machine. The flipside is that you surrender your life even more into the hands of Google. To counterpart this a little bit I run a ad blocking DNS server, which increase browsing speed ans also helps a bit against being tracked.

There are plenty of resources of running Ubuntu in a chrooted environment on the Chromebook or even to reboot into Ubuntu. This is still an option, although personally I prefer Debian over Ubuntu.

Keybinding problems

Because the chromebook runs the ssh shell inside a browser window, all kind of funny key binding problems rise.

In the chrome browser the key combination Ctrl-W closes the current browser tab. But in Vim the window commands start with Ctrl-W.

This can be solved with some mapping in Vim. I did put the following in my .vimrc.

map <C-k> <C-w><up>
map <C-j> <C-w><down>

Now one can switch from one window to another with either Ctrl-k or Ctrl-j.

Update: this problem disappears when running ssh as stand alone window

Bensong Leun send me a tip how to solve this problem:

Pin the ssh to the bottom menu. Then right click the icon and set the option to run the program in its own window. Now Ctrl-W does not close the window and the keys are sent to the ssh session.

Termcap problems

In the Netherlands the keyboard is default set as US International. This causes termcap problems when working in ssh on Linux box. This can be simply solved by hitting Alt-Shift on the Chromebook. This toggles between several keyboard settings.

So for working in ssh hit Alt-Shift a couple of times to choose the US setting for the keyboard. When writing stuff in the Dutch language, switch back to US International with Alt-Shift.