I’ve been using a Chromebook for a few years now, and find myself going for long stretches without needing to turn on a Windows machine or an Apple Mac. At first I was a little sceptical, since I spend much of my time developing and researching stuff, and I wondered if I’d be able to do all I needed to without a local machine.
What do you need something else for?
Another great way to wean you off needing something on your desktop is to use containers for everything. By Dockerizing projects, you can just spin up a VM anywhere and have the container up and running in no time (and take it down again when done to avoid usage charges). With the new flex environment on Google App Engine, you are no longer limited to the supported languages – you can now run any containerized project on App Engine (which has a generous free tier), although you will also need a regular VM for a while to prepare your project to deploy to App Engine.
Provide free VMs for Chromebook owners
Many are using Chromebooks exclusively, but others are reluctant to take the plunge because of the times they think they might need something else. When Chromebooks first came out, Google provided a chunk of free Drive space (I think the maybe still do), in the place of the local storage you would normally need with a desktop. I wonder why Google don’t now provide free use of a small Compute Engine VM for the odd times you need it. It would be a great incentive for those who haven’t jumped yet, and the cost to Google would be minimal given the likely infrequency of general usage. It would also lead to more compute engine consumption by regular people who don’t yet see the attraction. Google – this is an easy thing to do.