Tuesday, October 5, 2021

rootstrust Genealogy Software on a Chromebook

 I received this from rootstrust today:


rootstrust on a Chromebook 

The Chromebook and Genealogy 

Say, you want to buy a laptop computer for email, Facebook, web surfing and genealogy. You could get a MacBook for $2000+, or an HP Chromebook for one tenth the price. But what about the genealogy software? The big-name genealogy programs cannot run on a Chromebook, however now rootstrust can. rootstrust has always been able to run on Windows, macOS and Linux. Now Chrome OS, the operating system of the Chromebook and the Chromebox, has been added to its OS compatibility list. 

Chrome OS and Linux 

Early versions of Chrome OS supported Linux only in a dual boot environment. However, since the advent of Chrome OS, version 69, an implementation of Linux called Crostini is available as an app within Chrome OS. Since it is not enabled by default, you must turn it on before you can use it. Crostini is not a full-blown Linux implementation: all you get to start with is the Linux terminal app which provides you with a command line interface to Linux. By typing a few simple commands, however, you can set up a file manager with a graphical user interface on which you can install rootstrust the way you would on any other Linux system. 

You can download a PDF file from the Download page of the rootstrust.com website that contains detailed, step by step instructions (with copious screenshots) for enabling Crostini Linux, installing a file manager and all the apps that rootstrust could invoke during its execution (LibreOffice, text editor, PDF viewer, image file viewer, video player, calculator, etc.). It also shows you how to install rootstrust and how to set up separate virtual desktops for Chrome OS and Linux. 

The Linux File Manager and its Desktop 

The apps that you install from the command line (LibreOffice, Text Editor, image viewer, etc.) do not have desktop icons the way they would on a full-blown Linux implementation. However, from rootstrust.com you can download a small set of clickable desktop icons (the ones you see in the following figure) that you can easily install on your desktop. Here is how the Linux Desktop will appear in nemo, the file manager app, after rootstrust and the supplemental icons have been installed: 

In the figure above, you will see Konsole, Gimp and VLC. These apps are not used by rootstrust but can be useful. You too can install additional Linux apps from the command line, but you will have to create your own clickable icon files for your desktop. You might ask why we installed Konsole when we already had the Linux terminal app. When you launch the file manager nemo, you do it via the command line in the terminal. Thus, as long as nemo is running, the terminal is tied up, and you do not have access to the command line. Having Konsole on your desktop remedies that. 

rootstrust on Chrome OS 

The appearance and functionality of rootstrust on Chrome OS is virtually identical to rootstrust on any other operating system. 

Chrome OS will remember rootstrust once you have run it. It will thereafter be available on the Google Search Bar that appears when you press the search button. 

Cloud Storage and External Storage 

Google Drive is integrated into Chrome OS, and its files are virtual, i.e., they reside in the cloud. Obviously, the advantage of that is they do not take up valuable file space on your Chromebook or Chromebox. The disadvantage is that if you have no Internet access, you cannot access to your files. Most Chromebooks have a microSD card slot. By storing your rootstrust File Cabinets (document and multimedia files) on an SD card, you potentially free up a large chunk of internal file space while ensuring that you can work with rootstrust even when you have no Internet access.


Disclosure:  I have received no remuneration or considerations for posting this information.  I have downloaded a free version of rootstrust in recent years but have done very little with it.  This is very good news for genealogists with a Chromebook!

Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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Fax said...

Oh wow. This is getting closer to my dream solution: Having my genealogy software in the cloud and needing only a keyboard and monitor to use it. My family has moved on from Windows and uses their iPhones and iPads for everything. I want to make it easy for them to use my database when I'm gone. (I still use TMG and Second Site.)

Thank you for keeping us informed.

Doris W.

steve said...

Augean.com - which I wrote is also designed to run on a Chromebook
It's currently in Beta, but progressing.