When Jack Wallen’s Chromebook Pixel fell out of help, he needed to maintain that machine working. See what he did to eke out a bit extra time from the gear.

Picture: Jack Wallen

Lately, my Chromebook Pixel 2015 discovered itself now not supported. I actually beloved that Chromebook. The 2 of us wrote a number of novels collectively and the keyboard/display was unmatched. To at the present time I’ve but to expertise a greater keyboard/trackpad combo. However, as they are saying, all issues should finish. So, after I obtained the notification that my Chromebook Pixel would now not be receiving updates, I felt a tinge of unhappiness. Positive, I had a Pixelbook as a backup system, but it surely simply wasn’t the identical. It had a pleasant keyboard, but it surely was nowhere close to that of the Pixel. And the display? There was zero comparability.

I had a selection: Proceed utilizing the Pixel, regardless that it could now not be receiving upgrades, or do one thing about it.

SEE: Analysis: Video conferencing instruments and cloud-based options dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI much less widespread with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

Now, earlier than we get into this, I will warn you this is not a way to defeat the top of life to your Chromebook. As soon as that fateful day comes, ChromeOS will now not obtain updates, which suggests the laptop computer will finally turn into weak to safety points. That isn’t a state of affairs you wish to end up in. However if you need (or want) to eke out a bit extra life from that system, you’ve got choices. 

First, you could possibly set up a full-blown Linux distribution on that Chromebook. I’ve executed that earlier than and it really works (largely) nicely. However I needed to retain that degree of simplicity that comes with the Chromebook. Apart from, after I wish to use Linux on a laptop computer, I will flip to a machine that is higher able to powering the OS in the way in which I am accustomed to. Another choice could be to put in CloudReady, from Neverware. However that requires cracking open the chassis and disabling write safety. Nah. 

There’s another choice, one which is not almost as safe as merely buying a brand new Chromebook (one which’s really supported). However if you wish to preserve utilizing that Chromebook, and accomplish that with a browser that is not (finally) dangerously old-fashioned and insecure, you may should wander down a path less-taken. 

SEE: Why Chromebooks may nonetheless be your greatest laptop computer choice (TechRepublic) 

My resolution is not elegant, neither is it profoundly game-changing. Nevertheless, what it does is permit me to proceed utilizing that Pixel for some time longer (till I chunk the bullet and set up Linux). 

The answer? Set up and use Firefox.

That is proper. As a substitute of working with an out-of-date model of Chrome, I can set up an up-to-date model of a browser and never fear that utilizing stated browser could be weak, just because it was previous.

Now, this is the catch. The one method to get the common model of Firefox on a Chromebook is through Android apps. Sadly, that model would not play nicely on regular-sized screens. So, to get a model of Firefox that behaves as you count on, it’s essential to go the Linux app route. Even then, the one model of the open-source browser that is out there is Firefox ESR. What’s Firefox ESR? Primarily, ESR is a model of Firefox constructed for faculties and different establishments that require a extra examined, steady and safe model of the browser than what’s repeatedly launched to the general public. This model would not embody all the newest options, but it surely works very well. The ESR model additionally maintains the present safety and stability patches.

Earlier than I present you the way to set up Firefox ESR on ChromeOS, it’s essential to first allow Linux. To do this, observe the method I define in Tips on how to set up Linux apps in your Chromebook.

After you have that system enabled, you may then set up Firefox ESR.

Tips on how to set up Firefox ESR on ChromeOS

Open the Linux terminal window. As soon as Linux has been initialized, replace apt with the command:

sudo apt-get replace

When that completes, set up Firefox ESR with the command:

sudo apt-get set up firefox-esr -y

The set up will choose up all the mandatory dependencies. When full, you may discover a launcher for Firefox ESR in your ChromeOS menu. Click on to launch the browser, and also you’re able to go.

SEE: Suggestions for turning into a Chromebook skilled (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

One massive caveat

As I stated, it isn’t good. The one massive downside I’ve discovered (and I can not determine a means round it) is that you simply can not add information from Firefox. Even when you grant entry to the directories housing the information to Linux (see Tips on how to share information with Linux apps on Chrome OS), Firefox would not appear to have the ability to entry the filesystem within the file add instrument. To some, that could possibly be a deal-breaker. If you happen to’re solely utilizing that end-of-life Chromebook to doomscroll, store or learn articles on TechRepublic, you ought to be good to go.

Ultimately, in case your Chromebook has reached its remaining days of help, you must completely contemplate buying a substitute. Positive, you may be hard-pressed to discover a higher piece of {hardware} than the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, however there are some severely strong choices out there. And even when you do set up Firefox on that end-of-life Chromebook, please don’t contemplate the issue solved. You are still coping with an working system that is not get up to date, so it could behoove you to drop the coin for a brand new piece of {hardware}.

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