My post on why I use a Chromebox went viral on Hacker News

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By Paolo Amoroso (

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Paolo Amoroso says:

@Javo Thanks for the kind words and the encouragement.

I think it's important to explain my motivations even if many may disagree. What the tech elite doesn't realize is Linux, even when it doesn't break, is way too complex for the masses. I'm hopefully tech savvy but don't want to waste time with maintenance.

Values such as controlling one's data and privacy are no brainers. But so far only Big Tech absolutely nailed the user experience, hid complexity, and enabled billions of ordinary consumers to use a variety of advanced apps.

Javo says:

Hi @Paolo,

It is sad to read some comments on the Hacker News link you shared. As @Jake pointed out, an increasing number of people in the so-called Linux Community behave like a sect. Such close-mindedness and arrogance cause new potential users to walk away—the exact opposite outcome they try to accomplish.

I like your pragmatic approach to the use of tools, the simplicity of your writing and the patience you show in answering all those somewhat nasty comments. Everyone has different needs when it comes to software tools. And, as already mentioned, it is always a trade-off. Easy-to-use usually means less configurable. Cheap and convenient but not so privacy respecting is another common combination. It is always useful to read about others' experiences, particularly if their use case and set of principles align with our. Oddly, some people use tools based only on ideological reasons, and believe that using certain tools make them smarter, or even morally superior.

All that to say, thanks for writing these kind of posts.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are plenty of GNU/Linux distros nowadays, and I'm sometimes surprised how much progress has been done in terms usability. Some options work right out of the box and are quite stable and low maintenance—particularly when running in not-so-new hardware. But maybe not worth the exploration if you're happy with your current setup.

Paolo Amoroso says:

@Jake LaCaze Thanks!

You're right, Linux has come a long way but things still break more often than many are willing to admit.

Part of the value of chromeOS is in its tight integration with the Google cloud. So, aside from features and other technical considerations, the first thing to decide is whether or how much you're comfortable (or not too uncomfortable) with Google.

For example, with chromeOS switching to a new computer is as simple as signing into a Google account. Then all my apps, data, preferences, and stuff are instantly available. Compare this with traditional operating systems, which require you to restore your apps and data, and possibly reinstall the operating system itself. This can easily take hours or days.

A cheap Chromebook may be a good way of testing the waters.

Jake LaCaze says:

Congrats on your post getting so much attention.

Unfortunately, there is a sect of the Linux community that doesn't want to acknowledge that the OS sometimes break. Every OS or software we use comes with tradeoffs of some sort.

I've started using Windows on my laptop because I'm tired of seeking alternatives to what should be quick fixes.

Your posts have me asking if a Chrome device could be enough for me when it's time to upgrade my devices (which hopefully won't come for a while). I have my beefs with Google. And I wish I could have a device supported by every piece of software I want or need, with respect for privacy built in. But Chrome devices are quite affordable. (That Lenovo Duet looks like great bang for the buck.)

But I also have to be pragmatic and use the tools that help me get through my daily needs.