STH Article: Google Chromebook Pixel Running Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

by Jack @ UNIXPlus March 12, 2018

Are you itching to try the new Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release codenamed Bionic Beaver? Are you also itching for an inexpensive development platform? Enter the Google Chromebook Pixel which runs Ubuntu 18.04 LTS beta 1 flawlessly. While this may not be the newest technology, it may be a borderline perfect device as a dedicated administrative node or just to try what using an Ubuntu Linux based desktop environment is like.

Why the Google Chromebook Pixel?

This is a somewhat odd platform at the outset. It is a 2013 era product based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture. The RAM content is a paltry 4GB. We have a 32GB boot drive which is just barely enough to be worthwhile on the lower end unit. Even with that, the Chromebook Pixel has a few great features that make it relevant in 2018:

  • Keyboard: Still very good even after over four years of industry advancement
  • Trackpad: Still the quality of > $1000 notebooks
  • Display: 2560×1700 and very sharp
  • Touchscreen: It has one which even more expensive laptops today do not have
  • Battery: Not great by 2018 laptop standards, but this is good enough
  • Build quality: Still better than any sub $800 notebook today.

We got our 32GB model from UnixPlus and at the time of this writing, the units sell for around $319. They also have the 64GB LTE model in stock for a few dollars more. If you are looking for dirt cheap performance and 32GB works for you, then go with the 32GB we used. If you are looking for a remote KVM terminal to sit in your data center and act as a local KVM for your visits. Remotely you have a battery-backed admin box, with the potential for LTE OOB management which is a really intriguing option if it is instead in a remote office location rather than a data center.

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Jack @ UNIXPlus
Jack @ UNIXPlus