Linus Torvalds really likes Google's Chromebook Pixel

Linus Torvalds really likes Google's Chromebook Pixel

Summary: Torvalds may have come to terms with the Linux GNOME interface, but what he really, really likes is his new Google Chromebook Pixel's display.


Linus Torvalds, Linux's primary creator, may have come to terms, reluctantly, with GNOME 3 for his Linux desktop, but what he really likes is his "new Google 'Pixel' laptops (aka Chromebooks)."

Linus Torvalds thinks that the Chromebook Pixel's display is "beautiful." (Credit: Google)

To be exact, he likes being one of the "cool kids" with a Chromebook Pixel because It has "a beautiful screen." I can't argue with that. It's what I love about the Chromebook Pixel too.

Torvalds added that the display is so nice that "suspect I'll make this my primary laptop. I tend to like my laptops slightly smaller, but I think I can lug around this 1.5kg monster despite feeling fairly strongly that a laptop should weigh 1kg or less." Why compromise on weight? "Because the screen really is that nice."

It's not just the screen; he also likes "the form factor. I despise wide-screen displays, but I had gotten resigned to them. Until now. 3:2, baby!"

For the time being, he's also going to be "running Chrome OS on this thing, which is good enough for testing out some of my normal work habits (i.e. reading and writing email)." Torvalds has long liked Chrome OS's interface.

Eventually, though, he expects "to install a real distro on this ... For a laptop to be useful to me, I need to not just read and write email, I need to be able to do compiles, have my own git repositories etc.." It's been possible to install Linux in place of Chrome OS on Chromebooks or to set it up to dual-boot a mainstream Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu, with Chrome OS for over a year now.

Torvalds concluded: "One thing that the Chromebook Pixel really brings home is how crap normal laptops have become. Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more? No wonder the PC business isn't doing well, when they stick to just churning out more crappy stuff and think that "full HD" (aka 1080p) is somehow the epitome of greatness."

High price-tag and all, it's clear that at least one top developer has decided that the Chromebook Pixel is exactly the laptop he needs. I wonder how many others -- especially considering the included free terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage -- will decide that $1,299 isn't too much for a top-of-the-line laptop, especially one that doesn't come with Windows 8 Secure Boot impairing its functionality.

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Topics: Linux, Google, Hardware, Laptops

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  • who the hell is linus

    Oh, that's the stupid kid who wrote a program call Linux. what a joke?
    • Who says it?!

      You are pretty brave, I give you that, but I'm afraid you are just going to sound silly... Maybe you can tell about your background :-)
      • your posts talks volumes about your 'back'ground

        your arguments total rubbish. Linux couldn't get past one percent market share even after 20 years. now dream on with the silly chrome book and pixel...
        • You're limiting yourself

          The Linux kernel is in far more than just 1% of computers.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • I was referring to Linux on desktop.

          • Exactly!

            The Pixel is likely better placed as the first attempt at a Chrome OS hybrid.

            Michael Alan Goff
          • According to Steam

            According to Steam, the game people, for the last two months, Linux has been offered, and has accounted for around 10% of all game purchases. That is as compared to 12% Apple, and 78% Windows.

            It's time to put the stupid .01% thing behind you. That was last true in 1996.

            Gartner puts Linux so low because Gartner follows the Microsoft line that all PCs wind up running only Windows. That hasn't been true for many years now. Even Microsoft is now moving it's Office to a form that is Linux compatible.

            Now, I don't expect Microsoft to slip below around 60% of the PC market, but, that's where it's going to settle. Most Linux users on PCs are still dual booting, but that percentage is dropping slowly but surely. The fall for Microsoft will come when some big PC vender refuses to pay Microsoft the Windows fee for every PC shipped because the Linux PC's will make up enough of the margin to matter.

            We aren't there yet on laptops, but, servers that happened with almost a decade ago.
          • You think Linus build just Linux Desktop?

            Right now in order for you to even send see this message, more than one devices influencing the process is linux box! and its % is far from your imaginary 1%!
        • What?!

          I suppose you misplaced that post, it's completely out of subject... and once again you are wrong :-P
        • Just the most used OS

          Honestly, I don't know why I bother to argue, but here it goes.

          Linux has in some 20 years captured the following markets:
          - supercomputing: Linux powers some 95% of the world's most powerful computers;
          - webservers: about 80% of the internet is served up by Linux systems;
          - routers and networking: all advanced and even some home equipment powered by Linux;
          - smartphones: Linux powers over 75% of phones now sold;
          - personal computers: Chromebooks being most sold laptops on Amazon;
          - others as integrated systems, scientific and industrial computing;

          Combine these figures and see that Linux devices easily outsell Windows.
        • Linux owns super computer, mobile, embedded devices...

          AleMartin's arguments is not rubbish at all.
    • It’s so fun to watch you guys

      Popcorn for all……

      Linus enjoy the Chromebook.
      • It's a nice piece of hardware.

        Still, I'm guessing the last thing Google wanted Linus to say was he wants to "install a real distro on this".
        William Farrel
  • especially one that doesn't come with Windows 8 Secure Boot impairing...

    1) Secure Boot is not a Windows specific. It is a UEFI protocol
    2) Because of point 1 Windows 8 cannot impair anything.
    3) Steps to install a Linux distro on Pixel are more complicated than turning of secure boot switch in the bios.

    Taken from Bill Richardson's post on Google+:

    1. Enter developer mode (hold Esc+Refresh, poke the Power button). When you see the recovery screen, press Ctrl-D, then Enter.

    Remember that in dev-mode, you'll see the scary boot screen at every boot. Just wait 30 seconds or press Ctrl-D to boot from the SSD. The first boot in dev-mode will take 5 minutes (so someone doesn’t flip it while you’re up getting your coffee).

    2. Log in, download the latest 64-bit USB image from

    3. Get a root shell: Press Ctrl+Alt+T, then run "shell", then "sudo bash".

    4. Use 'dd' to copy the image onto a USB stick or SD card. For example

    cd /home/chronos/user/Downloads
    dd if=linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-64bit.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

    The standard cautions about picking the correct /dev/??? apply!

    5. Run

    crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1

    6. Power off, then on again.

    7. This time, when you see the scary boot screen, press Ctrl-L instead of Ctrl-D

    8. When you see the SeaBIOS screen, press ESC

    9. Pick the drive to boot from

    10. When you see the "Automatic boot in 10 seconds...", press ESC

    11. Highlight "Start Linux Mint", press TAB

    12. Replace "--" with "mem=4G"

    13. Press ENTER

    The keyboard and WiFi works (for open access ports at least), but the trackpad doesn't. You'll have to connect a USB mouse.

    Installing it on the SSD is left as an exercise for the reader. :-)

    No, there's no way to set the legacy boot as the default option.
    • Flash Back

      Ouch I just had a Dos flash back
  • Cue the 50c party

    Come and get your Yuan
    Alan Smithie
    • talking about 50c

      With younger generation using dumber devices like ipad and chrome books and kids falling behind in science and math compared to their international counterparts it won't be that long that people will prefer to get paid in Yuan
      • the younger generation

        With the younger generation rooting their Android devices, flashing new ROMs, creating their own distributions, America is well positioned to compete in the new economy.
        • lol

          actually rooting your device is a pretty simple affair. after all most of the work is already done they just basically do a one click wonder and boom phone is rooted. there's nothing intricate and complicated about it. and flashing new roms....I had to laugh at that.
          creating their "own" distributions? um no they just put their stamp on something someone else did.
  • Stop the Presses : Linux Inventor Like The Chromebook

    This is hardly an impartial person. Most users will regard the ChromeBook Pixel for what it is and Ugly Overpriced way to run a Browser!!!