> Is there a viable pocket-sized, battery-powered server that one could carry in order to use "a terminal and a web browser" with a Chromebook?
It's Linux. A terminal is the native interface. What makes it a Chromebook is that rather than a standard server-side install of Linux (no GUI) or standard desktop install (lots of GUI shit I don't use anyway), it has a web browser a couple other things in a small, very efficient GUI. No GUI for partitioning hard drives, no pre-installed solitaire game. Which is fine for me, I don't partition drives in a GUI anyway.
Then you asked if browsing the web works without an internet connection? Huh? No, I don't do a lot of web browsing work without WiFi.
If you want to, you can install as much as you want of the Ubuntu or Debian userland on top of the ChromeOS-provided kernel. I've not seen any need. My work as a programmer / hacker basically uses a text editor in the terminal, ssh, and a browser.
People who have never tried a Chromebook like to say things like "they are for dummies who don't know anything about computers. A power user would never use one.". One guy I've spoken to, whom I consider to be a power user, had this to say about his new Chromebook:
"suspect I'll make this my primary laptop. I tend to like my laptops slightly smaller, but I think I can lug around this 1.5kg monster"
Maybe someone thinks that guy, Linus Torvalds, is a newbie, and doesn't understand the needs of power users like themselves. Okay, fine, lug around something that weighs three times as much and takes six times longer to boot if you want. Linus and I can look at kernel patches on our Chromebooks.