The RDP apps on Chrome OS left me wondering if my Chromebook would be useless. Then I found crouton and installed Debian Linux in a chroot to expand my options.
This is the 2nd post in a 3-part series on using a Chromebook as a power user. Part 1 gave a high-level overview of how I'm using my Chromebook and some basic Chrome OS configuration steps. This post digs deeper to show advanced users how to use crouton to install Debian Linux in a chroot. Part 3 finishes up by configuring LXDE and connecting to a remote FreeBSD desktop running xrdp.
As discussed in Chromebook for Power Users: Part 1, the primary use for my Chromebook is to act as a dumb terminal to remote my FreeBSD desktop. I run xrdp on the desktop, which allows me to securely connect to an X session using a standard RDP client. That's why I was disappointed to find that none of the popular RDP clients for Chrome OS were able to connect to xrdp. In an effort to settle for less, I enabled a VNC server and tried connecting. While VNC "worked," the experience was unacceptable due to keyboard issues related to uppercase/lowercase letters and the shift key. That was a deal breaker for me: if I couldn't remote my desktop with it, a Chromebook would be almost useless—just an oversized tablet weighed down by an attached keyboard. Luckily, crouton came to the rescue by enabling me to install Debian Linux in a chroot on the Chromebook.