Chrome OS SSH Client – Now my ChromeBook is a Legitimate Work Machine

May 2, 2012 11 By Tad Reeves
Chrome OS Aura UI with SSH Client Plugin

Chrome OS Aura UI screenshot with SSH Client Plugin

I wrote a few days ago that with the Chrome OS 20 dev release, old ChromeBooks like the CR-48 now get the new fancydancy Aura UI.  This basically handled my biggest complaint about the Chrome OS, in that it didn’t ever feel like it had a “home” – there was an insufficient origin point in the UI to fall back to or to start from.   The OS became a much more engaging companion, especially combined with its already-good combination of fantastic battery life and instant-on performance.

But that led me to my next complaint, which was that I couldn’t do any real work on the machine – i.e. I had no SSH client.  I had found some Java-based SSH clients before, but that is no good on Chrome OS as obviously CrOS doesn’t run Java.

But then, in reading Linus Torvalds’s post on Google+ today on what he thought of the new Aura UI, a commenter led me to the amazing Secure Shell for Chrome App.

The app is fast and clean, and allows one to use the normal Chrome bookmarks function to bookmark your SSH connections. SSH connections are made straight to the target machine (no proxy or server-side SSH client action here) which is perfect.  This means that when cruising around to the bazillion meetings I sometimes have at my IT job, I can use the corporate wi-fi to SSH in to local computers and still do work, leveraging the portability and battery life of the ChromeBook.  Nice to then not have to tote around a full-size laptop.   And also, to note, as the CR-48 is basically just as portable as an iPad but has a proper keyboard makes it so that I can actually work and type, and not be hobbled like a tablet user.

Makes one finally think that the Google boffins were on to something with this Chrome OS thing.  It’s absolutely not a replacement for a desktop OS at all, but for portability and instant-on use cases like meetings like this, it’s starting to be quite nice.