I am a huge fan of low cost computing. Recently, I picked up a Dell Inspiron 3181 Chromebook with a Celeron processor and 4GB of ram. With the recent addition of Linux to the ChromeBook I was intrigued and curious as to how a budget PC would work in the enterprise. Number one on getting there was SAPGui.
I didn’t see much on Chromebooks and SAPGui other than a few articles on using the WebGui on the web. However, there were a number of articles on SAPGui for Java on Linux. Since Google is rolling out a Linux container on newer Chromebooks with the latest round of Chrome OS updates, I gave it a go.
Following a combination of search results on installing Java on Linux and SAPGui for Java, I got the Gui running on the ChromeBook and was able to execute some transactions in an ECC6 system.
Here is what I needed to do on the Chromebook to get there:
- Flipped the OS to the beta channel and Linux showed up (as of this post, the Dell is not one of the machines on the current list of ChromeBooks where Linux shows up on the stable channel).
- After messing with the OpenJDK Java implementation (issues wih missing AWT libraries), Oracle 64 bit Java SDK for linux was downloaded onto the Chromebook.
- From the Linux terminal, a directory called JAVA was created.
- Using Files, the downloadeed Java tar file was copied to the Java directory and untarred.
- Next, JAVA_HOME and PATH environmental variables were set following some Linux install directions on I found on Google.
- SAPGui for Java 7.5 was downloaded from SAP. Since the Chromebook was running a Debian derivative I used the Ubuntu variant of the Gui.
- A Windows machine was used to pull the download. The SAP Download Manager wasn’t wired up on the Chromebook.
- The SAPGui zip file was copied to the Chromebook and unzipped.
- A directory called SAP was created using the Linux terminal.
- Using Files, the unzipped files were copied to the Linux file system and dropped in the SAP directory.
- Back in the terminal, following the SAP install instructions the Gui installation was launched and the directory SAPClients was created as part of the Gui install.
- Inside the sub-directory “bin” is the file “guilogon”. Launch this file and the java Gui fires up as below.
- Next the logon parameters were configured and logon completed. VA01 is shown below.
All of this was installed in user space in the Linux container.
- JAVA_HOME and PATH were set using the user bash profile for persistence.
- There is a “feature” in the Linux implementation on ChromeOS that prevents a remote network from being accessed when connected to a VPN. When connected to a wireless or wired network where a VPN is not required the SAPGui is able to establish a session with the target system (See follow up below).
- The Chromebook doesn’t bring a boatload of resources to the table. Performance is adequate for this sort of exercise. It is questionable whether it would cut it as a daily driver running the SAGui for Java.
The Dell ChromeBook is a nice piece of kit for what it is. It could certainly benefit from more resources to run the Java GUI. As a low cost, occasional use machine, it might cut it in a pinch for SAP access, barring the remote access VPN/Linux subsysten problem. That said, I am not sure Dell intended this device to be running SAPGui and Java, inside a Linux container, on top of ChromeOS, when they pushed it out. However, Google is definitely on the right track with ChromeOS.
Follow up 2019.05.06:
The Beta channel of ChromeOS just dropped Version 75.0.3770.19 (Official Build) beta (64-bit).
I installed the Cisco AnyConnect Android client on the ChromeBook and can now connect to the backend SAP system from a remote location using SAPGui for Java.