Saturday, April 26, 2014

ARM Chromebook for Amateur Radio

A while back I bought a Samsung Chromebook, the one that runs a non-Intel ARM processor. I see they are AU$320 and work nicely as a low cost web browsing laptop. Just the thing to take away if there's a risk of it getting lost or stolen.

It turns out they can be encouraged to run Linux along side the normal operating system and it seems it's quite practical to run software like Fldigi.

The trick is to put the Chromebook into developer mode and install the crouton chroot software. There's plenty of instructions around the web so I won't repeat here except to say that I first tried the xfce target but fldigi crashed on startup. Installing unity did the trick.

Fldigi finds the Signalink USB adapter just fine and all seems to work nicely.

There is a bug where the linux environment doesn't do tap to click or right mouse button, but if you switch to Chromebook and back again all is well (there's a whacky key command for this). It seems like this bug was fixed a year ago but has returned.

These laptops are very light and have a keyboard better than most of the old "netbook" class machines. Very low power consumption too.

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