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Google Software Hardware

First Batch Of Chromebooks Reach End Of Life, To Stop Receiving Support and Updates (betanews.com) 130

An anonymous reader shares a BetaNews report:The original Chromebooks launched back in 2011 are reaching the end of their support cycle. With Google offering a fairly generous five years of support and updates, users have had a good run, but the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is the first device to drop off the support list. Having been launched in August 2011, Acer AC700 Chromebook will be in a similar position in a couple of months. Google says that after five years, automatic updates are "no longer guaranteed". Interestingly, it has continued to provide updates to at least one of its own device that originated in 2010. It's not entirely clear what will happen by the end of this month, but if the company sticks to how it handles its smartphones, you should be worried.
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First Batch Of Chromebooks Reach End Of Life, To Stop Receiving Support and Updates

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  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:26AM (#52288839)

    I hear there are lots of distros to choose from.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Don't these "Chromebooks" only have tiny 32GB SSDs?

      • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:33AM (#52288903)

        Most distros only take a few gig of space at most.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, but the thing is... If you're using a Chromebook, you're not using anything that is going to be needing all that much (Think what an RPi can do for people...the same can be said for a Chromebook)- on top of the fact that you can install Chrome/Chromium on the image, be supported and still have your Crhome experience. There's even a Community supported ChromeOS version.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The RAM and CPU are usually BGA; the SSD is complex and prohibitive to BGA, so they use an MSATA. You can always pop in a 256GB Samsung EVO 850.
        • Modern Atom CPU have eMMC support and that might be used rather often even on laptops. I'm thinking of small Windows 10 laptops in particular, they're like tablet hardware in a netbook case.
          So some laptops models or a tiny desktop may have a 32GB mSATA in there but you absolutely have to check for it.

      • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday June 10, 2016 @12:06PM (#52289117) Homepage Journal

        The SSD shouldn't matter too much. That they're often ARM laptops with non-free hardware (video/wireless/touchpad, notably) is going to be a bigger issue.

        I run CentOS 7 on my "chromebook" but it's an i3-based unit. And even at that, I have a bunch of customization on there to make the kernel/touchpad/video stable.

      • by allo ( 1728082 )

        My PC has a 30 GB SSD for my system drive and only 20 GB are used with a lot of programs installed.

      • by I75BJC ( 4590021 )
        The original ACER 11.6" came with an actual hard disk drive which could be replaced. The HDD permitted a side-loading of a Linux distro and choosing at boot time whether to run ChromeOS or Linux. It was a really neat tool/toy and I knew EEs who used the ACERs for running Linux on a light platform. The original ACER memory could also be upgraded. So some had HDDs and some had SSDs.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      The problem with running a "distro" on a Chromebook is that every time you turn it on, it displays a screen for 30 seconds that "OS verification is turned off", inviting the user to wipe the drive and reenable OS verification. Ostensibly this is to preserve the perception that a Chromebook is secure from the OS on up, but the design of the UI encourages unwitting people to wipe the thing on accident. You can press Ctrl+D to skip the 30-second wait, but if someone else turns it on, any data that you haven't

  • Fairly generous? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:35AM (#52288923)

    Since when is five years considered fairly generous? Surely that would be the absolute minimum for supporting any software, let alone an operating system.

    My aging Windows 7 notebook is still getting support, and will continue to be supported for quite some time now that I have done the free upgrade to Windows 10. Hell, even the old Vista notebooks that were passed on to me still get updates, although Windows Update is incredibly slow on them so I can't let it automatically check for them.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:39AM (#52288953)

      For comparison, MS only ended support for Windows XP in 2014. That was over 12 years after its release.

      • by ADRA ( 37398 )

        Microsoft has a paid reason to continue support long past popular support for a product wanes. Hardware vendors on the other hand have an anti-incentive to provide long term support for their products. If you had paid support for Google to continue supporting blah blah, into the future, they probably would.

        The hardware these systems run on have long run their course and have been recycled. There weren't many 14 year old XP machines that came out of the factory running XP still around during EOL. Buy new har

        • In Accounting, most computer hardware has a 2-3 year depreciation for a reason.

          And that reason is mostly that 20 years ago the useful working lifetime for a PC before either a significant hardware failure or a cost-effective major upgrade actually was around 3 years.

          However, that hasn't been true for at least a decade, with increasing reliability of hardware and reducing real world benefits to upgrading so often unless your hardware did already fail. I don't work with any accountants who would assume such a short lifetime for depreciation purposes today.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by breeze95 ( 880714 )

            In Accounting, most computer hardware has a 2-3 year depreciation for a reason.

            And that reason is mostly that 20 years ago the useful working lifetime for a PC before either a significant hardware failure or a cost-effective major upgrade actually was around 3 years.

            However, that hasn't been true for at least a decade, with increasing reliability of hardware and reducing real world benefits to upgrading so often unless your hardware did already fail. I don't work with any accountants who would assume such a short lifetime for depreciation purposes today.

            The IRS allows for a 5 year depreciation on computers and peripheral equipment. Therefore, companies use a 5 year depreciation on most computers and equipment.

        • Hardware vendors on the other hand have an anti-incentive to provide long term support for their products.

          Then explain why iOS and OS X offer one of the longest upgrade support timelines for any given Device, if not the longest, since Apple considers themselves first-and-foremost a Hardware company.

      • Mainstream support for XP ended in 2009 - 5 years.

        Extended support [microsoft.com] was available until 2014, but that basically means security updates, they keep the online help pages online, and you can pay them if you want their help troubleshooting something.

        It looks like Microsoft guarantees security updates for 10 years, but stops other updates after 5 years. Google OTOH doesn't guarantee updates (security or otherwise) after 5 years, but so far has still been providing them. Six of one, a half dozen of the o
        • by Anonymous Coward

          XP came out in 2001, stupid. Try trolling again.

      • For comparison, MS only ended support for Windows XP in 2014. That was over 12 years after its release.

        That is not the norm in the industry. Microsoft's OS is incredibly popular and thus skewed perception but part of their massive support has been their laggard release cycle and the inability for old hardware to run new software. This has died after Windows 7. Don't expect ANY Microsoft product to ever have that level of support again outside of their server software. They've already announced the EOL for Windows 8 for only 6 years after release, and extended support (security fixes only, no service pack, no

        • Apple? Well Snow Leopard stopped receiving even security updates in under 5 years.

          Yes, but they also provided a FREE "way out" of that.

          Essentially, Any Mac that can run OS X Snow Leopard can be Upgraded to the Current OS X Release [apple.com], 10.11, El Capitan, for FREE. And it will run it just fine. May even be a little faster... Due to hardware limitations, some newer features may not be present; but the OS will run and install. And be supported...

          In fact, that's what drove MS to make Windows 10 "Free". Apple had already been doing it for the past 3 Major OS Releases. (Since 10.9 "Mavericks")

          • In fact, that's what drove MS to make Windows 10 "Free".

            Causality fail. Major major causality fail.

            • In fact, that's what drove MS to make Windows 10 "Free".

              Causality fail. Major major causality fail.

              Wanna Bet?

              Or do you think it was because Linux has been Free for, um, FOREVER?

              So, if not from pressure because OS X became free, then you tell me why?

              • Yes I'll gladly bet. Unless you think that Microsoft was copying an OS strategy from a company with a totally different business model with a different cadence cycle, which isn't in direct competition due to restrictions in where their OS can be installed, and which had a different upgrade strategy.

                Microsoft went to a free model because their old model of selling OSes that drove PC upgrades doesn't work in the "good enough" world of PCs where people start working on other platforms. Their move to free wasn'

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        For POS, XP is even longer!

    • Re:Fairly generous? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:42AM (#52288971) Journal

      I agree - as a consumer it would be great to see computers (and electronics in general, including software) have to provide the same support lifetimes as, say, automobiles or aircraft. (I admit I don't know how much of this is regulation and how much is de-facto in those industries; e.g., you wouldn't last long as an auto manufacturer if you repair parts for your car were unavailable after 5 years.)

      It's kind of a shame that other industries have product support regulations, but software / computers don't seem to.

      From a developer standpoint though, I can see this being a bit of a pain, because the trend now is so much for "disposable" short-term development cycles, rather than developing for the long-term. Part of the tradeoff between fast dev cycles and robustness. I think we've swung a bit too far to the "rapid" side of things, and need to go a little ways back to robust.

      • >> have to provide the same support lifetimes as, say, automobiles or aircraft.

        The thing is, new Chromebooks don't cost what new cars or new airplanes cost. If we regulate this, should we expect $200 Chromebooks to become $20,000 Chromebooks?

      • What I'd like is a legal requirement to submit software code and reproducible compiling requirements to the library of congress in order to be sold, even if a service. There would be a five year waiting period after the end of support before the code and requirements would become public domain.

        I'd like to see the same basic idea, specs and designs would be submitted to the library of congress with the same basic guarantee, if it becomes unsupported for a period of five years, it becomes public domain.

        The pr

    • Since they're giving it away for the time being anyhow, I wonder if MS would consider getting Google's goat by offering free Windows 10 for these things. I've not used a Chromebook so perhaps the hardware is too thin, but it is funny to imagine.
    • They're still supporting ChromeOS, last I heard. What they're not supporting is some older hardware. That's fairly common in the industry, with driver updates etc frozen after a certain number of years, and more recent major operating system updates unavailable for older machines.

      Even Apple does this; they usually (but not always) ensure new versions of Mac OS X run on Macs a little over five years old, but not much older.

      • Even Apple does this; they usually (but not always) ensure new versions of Mac OS X run on Macs a little over five years old, but not much older.

        Really? You can install and run OS X 10.11 El Capitan (the most recent OS X rev.) on Macs back to 2007. 2016 - 2007 is NINE years, nearly double what you said.

        Yes, hardware limitations may make certain features unavailable; but at least Apple is TRYING.

        And keep in mind, Apple is first and foremost a Hardware company; so it is actually NOT in their best "profit" interests to extend support to models nearly a DECADE old, now is it? So, perhaps they actually DO care about their Users a bit more than Google

        • Wow, just wow.

          Dude, you need to get out more.

    • by 0ld_d0g ( 923931 )

      Well, it will continue to work, I doubt you're going to be at that much risk anyway.

  • by williamyf ( 227051 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:39AM (#52288955)

    After suitable updates (bigger storage and RAM as needed/possible) if your Chromebook is ARM based, put Linux on it. If your Chromebook is intel based, put Linux or Win10 on it.

  • I never saw the fascination with a device that had so little storage I can't even run off the whole contents of my camera onto if I'm not connected to the web.

    Cheap? Not really. Given that for another $100 I can get better specs, a real storage device, and an operating system that's $100 to buy (I realize some don't want Windows), the cost of a Chromebook is really expensive. Not to mention Google spying on you!

    • I can't even run off the whole contents of my camera onto if I'm not connected to the web.

      Sure you can. Just plug in a SD card or a USB thumb drive.

      a Chromebook is really expensive.

      I bought a Chromebook for my kid for $129. That is a tenth of what I paid for my wife's Macbook.

      • I bought a Chromebook for my kid for $129. That is a tenth of what I paid for my wife's Macbook.

        Sounds about right; since the Chromebook is about a twentieth of what the MacBook is.

        And that doesn't even scratch the surface (no pun) of the difference between ChromeOS and OS X.

    • One of the original Chromebooks had a 320GB hard drive, and also a fast CPU, sandy bridge at 1.something GHz, and one DRAM slot for adding RAM (up to 10GB).

      Funnily, years later hardware is worse :).
      Did you know a low end hard drive is much faster than small low end flash?, on writes.
      Of course it's fine if your flash/SSD/whatever is of a high grade enough. Which is easier said if you're buying a $749 phone or a desktop/laptop with the flash drive stuff on removable PCIe, SATA or mSATA.

    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      Use one as a guest user. Suddenly it doesn't matter what you do on that pc (save network activity)

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday June 10, 2016 @11:54AM (#52289047)

    TFA states that the Chromebooks will continue to function - they just won't get updates. Assuming Google told people going in what the support term would be, I don't see the big deal.

    But is is a reminder that paying $1200+ for one of those high-end Chromebooks might not have been a particularly wise choice.

    • But is is a reminder that paying $1200+ for one of those high-end Chromebooks might not have been a particularly wise choice.

      The devices that are at EOL are the cheap Chromebooks like the $200 Samsung device or the $350 Asus one.

      Google's OWN devices (the expensive ones) are still in support, even the first device which is a year older than the ones dropping out of support now.

  • That should mean End of copyright privileges so that third parties can pick up where Google leaves off.

    Regardless, what's the problem? Will it self destruct if you load a different OS? Even Windows doesn't need 32gb.

    • by markus ( 2264 )

      It's all Open Source and under a very liberal license at that. Also, the hardware can be unlocked super easily. That's officially supported by Google. So, nothing else is really needed for somebody else to take over, if they so choose.

      On the other hand, it's five year old hardware. You can pick up a replacement for less than $200. And that will be a better device. So, I don't see a particularly big and active community around supporting the old devices.

      • So, nothing else is really needed for somebody else to take over, if they so choose.

        Well, that's kind of why I wonder this makes the front page. Being open makes the issue of official support a 'non-issue'. Eh, maybe it's just a heads up.

        $200 buys lots of beans. Why should I replace perfectly functional hardware? On the other hand, it can't hurt the second hand market.

      • You can pick up a replacement for less than $200.

        Plus the cost of disposing of your e-waste.

    • ChromeOS is open source. Your major issue installing a newer version of ChromeOS will be that the OS won't be signed and so will be unable to, say, play DRM'd media, but that's a symptom of a different issue.

    • Will it self destruct if you load a different OS?

      No, but it will kill the "different OS" if you're not very careful.

      Putting another operating system on a Chromebook requires switching from verification mode to developer mode. But every time you power on a Chromebook in developer mode, it displays a screen for 30 seconds begging the user to press Space to reenable verification (which wipes the drive). The screen can be skipped by pressing Ctrl+D, but if you're not the person who turns it on, the key that gets pressed won't be Ctrl+D. If someone else (such

  • This is how the year of Linux desktop finally happens!
  • 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC should be more than enough horsepower for a basic Linux distro running an XFCE, LXDE, or Mate DE. Heck, 1GB is enough for any of those DEs on my eight-year old Atom N270-powered netbook
  • Many, many Google Software Projects get Shuttered before their time.

    IIRC, Even Nexus Phones are only guaranteed 18 months of Android Support [slashgear.com] They could get up to 3 years; but might be as little as 18 months, depending.

    Now this?

    Meanwhile, my iPad 2 and iPhone 4s can load the latest version of iOS 9, and you can install the latest version of OS X, 10.11 El Capitan, on nearly any Mac from 2007-08 up [apple.com].
  • It will get Windows 10 soon.

  • Seriously, this is an opportunity for Linux to step forward and provide lots of nice hardware for ppl.

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