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[liberationtech] Chromebooks for Risky Situations?

micah anderson micah at
Wed Feb 6 19:09:16 PST 2013

Andy Isaacson <adi at> writes:

> On Wed, Feb 06, 2013 at 10:52:23AM -0500, micah anderson wrote:
>> > - ChromeOS's update mechanism is automatic, transparent, and basically
>> > foolproof.  Having bricked Ubuntu and Gentoo systems, the same is not
>> > true of Linux.
>> I would be surprised if you actually 'bricked' these systems, since
>> neither operating system you mention involves a procedure that has the
>> risk of bricking a device. I suspect this is hyperbole?
> I've had dist-upgrade (or the GUI equivalent) make an Ubuntu system
> unbootable and unrecoverable without recourse to a rescue-image and deep
> magic grub hacking, etc.  That counts as "bricked" when the easiest
> course of action is to simply reinstall the OS from scratch.  It's not
> "bricked" in the sense that an Android install gone awry can require
> specialized hardware (JTAG dongle etc) and crypto keys to fix, but it's
> equivalent from a user's point of view.

I understand where you are going with this, but when it comes to
terminology, I think it serves to confuse the issue to misuse the term
'brick'. You cannot, as you say, "simply reinstall the OS from scratch"
on a device that has been bricked.

I can't wait for the day when Google accidentally pushes an update out
that actually bricks their devices, because when that happens, there is
no way to "simply reinstall the OS from scratch".

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