Of all companies, Lenovo gave me an idea.
They mentioned GalliumOS as a potential Chrome OS replacement on some of their own Chrome devices.
These are considered low end by PC standards, but they run Chrome OS fine because it’s a stripped down GNU/Linux system. Not some bloated 100 GB+ Windows horror that has to trap every file system call in case it’s a virus.
The Intel-based ones, mostly, should run a normal GNU/Linux distro, but they occasionally have odd hardware in them that’s not well supported by the vanilla Linux kernel, and GalliumOS steps in to add those.
Many years ago, there was a guy running a charity in Texas that took old computers that were not able to run Windows anymore, and re-imaged them with a minimum GNU/Linux distribution, which they were able to run okay.
Somewhere, out of the blue, Texas sent the police in to enforce “environmental standards”.
You know, the same ones they waived so that Trump and Abbott could blast endangered species habitats so they could build a border fence that doesn’t work and is falling over after just a year or two. They care a lot about the environment in Texas and I’m sure Microsoft had nothing to do with the raid.
But I got to thinking.
Most of these devices, like the Lenovo Chromebox ThinkCentre, have enough hardware to run GNU/Linux comfortably. GalliumOS for sure. I ran into a used 2016 model with a Celeron 3205U, 4 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of flash internal storage (though you could easily add more by plugging a thumb drive into it), and it was going for $50 on ebay. Nobody thinks anything of them because they were cheap to begin with and can’t get Chrome OS updates now.
I’m certain that if one were to set up ZRam, this thing would work like a dream with XFCE.
And if you already own one and it doesn’t get updates, basically you have nothing to lose by accidentally hosing it somehow, which probably won’t happen, but you could potentially gain years of service life.
My sister-in-law, a materialistic nitwit, quipped that Chromebooks are trash because they lose their value quickly.
Like most Apple cultists, she wouldn’t know the value of a dollar if the lesson came up and bit her on the ass. In fact, that’s why they have six figure incomes and drown in debt.
Percentage-wise, Macs lose a ton of value. More actually, than a PC, because they cost so much and then nobody really wants anything that’s not the latest model with some minor and unimpressive new feature. Round and round we go. It’s Shiny Thing Syndrome with thousand dollar bills flying in every direction.
While few people actually “love” their abuser on the Windows side of the fence, it’s much the same. It starts off on a new computer being pretty depressing and then gets worse until it’s unsupported in a few years.
With GNU/Linux, maybe not everything is all in place on launch, but it gets a lot better each time you upgrade.
Save your money. Stick it in a 401(k). In 30 years when the in-laws are still drowning in debt from trying to keep up with the other folks at church, you can just laugh at them.