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Docker Tip #6: Installing Docker on a Chromebook

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With a little bit of elbow grease you can get Docker running on your Chromebook, which can be a very affordable and portable dev machine.

This isn’t a traditional Docker tip but I’ve had a number of people ask me if I knew of a cheap and portable device that they can use to develop web applications on.

One of my criteria for developing web applications is that I’m able to run them with Docker.

Normally, a Chromebook cannot run Docker because it runs ChromeOS. However you can modify your Chromebook by installing Linux on it natively.

Here’s what you can get for about $350 USD:
  • 1.7 GHz Celeron 3215U (it’s better than you think)
  • 128GB SSD (you can pick a bigger drive if you want)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 13.3” 1920x1080 IPS display (165 PPI)
  • Full size SD card
  • Multiple USB connections (I know, who would have thought)
  • Weighs 2.9 pounds
Here’s what I comfortably run on it without issues:
  • Docker
  • Large Ruby on Rails and Flask applications within Docker
  • Sublime Text 3 with about 30 plugins
  • Multiple terminal windows
  • Multiple work spaces
  • Chrome with ~10 tabs
  • Streaming music through Youtube

It’s a very usable set up.

For a complete guide on how to set it all up, and some recommendations on which Chromebook to buy then check out the full write up here: Transform a Toshiba Chromebook CB35 into a Linux Development Environment with GalliumOS.

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