I recently posted about the possibility of making use of old PCs by installing Chromium OS. After a few hours of tinkering, a few downsides became apparent:
- Finding a version of Chromium OS that updated automatically was fairly difficult.
- Enterprise management of Chromebooks was a whole other set of issues that I hadn’t thought of the first round.
I came across Neverware, a NYC company that has been around for a few years helping schools find a way around these issues. They offer a version of Chromium OS that works on 200 different devices, updates automatically, and can be managed by the Google Admin Console. You can get a free trial for 5 devices here. If successful, we’ll be able to use old PC laptops to backfill class sets of Chromebooks. Our current options are to replace the Chromebook ($250+) or repair it (pricey due to the cost of replacement parts). If a single license is $25, that is less than the cost of a typical repair for our existing Chromebooks. Ideally, retired laptops of all builds will be put into rotation in our 1:1 Chromebook program, enabling the waste of one device program to become the feeder source for another.
**Update November 20, 2015**
It was very easy, using the CloudReady instructions, to install ChromiumOS on a Dell Latitude e6420. After a few BIOS tweaks, I was able to boot the laptop to the log in screen in 40 seconds. CloudReady also worked well with an HP dc7900 and 2009 iMac.