cheap & lightweight linux laptop?

Soen Eber

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I'm having great fun with the big dev laptop everyone helped me buy, it's big, it has a huge display, and will last for several years...

But it's big. I use it daily, but only if I'm in someplace for more than a couple hours. Now I need something lightweight (< 3 lb/1.5 Kg) to carry around, I'm thinking 4Gb (wish list: expandable to 8) with just enough SSD or firmware memory to support Fedora or Xubuntu and a half-decent tool chain for continuing into full stack development at the entry-level to intermediate stage with the "usual" suspects as well as .NET Core ... and an excellent touch-typing keyboard, and enough screen resolution to work effectively, no huge power requirements or charging brick ... all under $200 used.

So ... do I go Chromebook, like R11 or Acer 15 (I've tested both keyboards and yes, I know Chrome OS and Crostini containerization will steal a bit more than a Gig of RAM, but CB uses some fancy compression to make 4GB act like 8GB and developer forums says it's workable if you're realistic), or are there cheap lightweight "chromebook killers" on the MS side (which I would prefer, especially used in good shape, or new without an OS installed)? Should I stick with an Intel chipset? Is Crostini mature enough on the CB side? Is Google locking everything down and refusing to play nice? I know I can't just wipe and install like with Windows laptops.

I don't need power (no visual studio or SQL*Server, but there are enough lightweight IDE's and databases I can learn for resume fodder), I just don't want a bully telling me what I can and can't do while I'm getting better with E6, picking up C# and some new databases, learning the ropes with Fedora beyond basic user functionality, contributing to open source or taking an online class while I'm on a lunch break or hanging out someplace after work. Doesn't need to be particularly rugged, either - light & disposable is fine. Also, not a question on what tool chain to use, that's pretty well laid out with my other resources. Just something I *will* pull out for 15 minutes to work on something without needing a Sherpa to carry the oxygen bottles.

Thanks again :)

ETA: After 45 minutes I *think* I'm finally done editing this...
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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You could probably look into a used Dell Precision or Latitude laptop. We use them here at work. They're lightweight, compact, and their batteries last forever. I have no experience running Linux on one, but I can't imagine it would be unusually difficult.

My current Linux beast of burden is a well-used HP Envy 15. It's fairly compact, though a bit on the heavy side, and it runs quite hot. But it handles Mint with Cinnamon admirably. One of these is worth considering if you need a laptop with some oomph and battery life is not a major factor.
 
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Clara D.

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You should be able to get a refurbished Lenovo Chromebook 11e for under $150 (caveat is only 4G of ram, non-upgradable)



And you can put Linux on -- dual-boot/linux-only/linux-in--chrome (Crouton)

 
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