Hey guys one of my friends is looking for a new cheap laptop that could run Linux. I was wondering how well a Chromebook would run Linux for programming and software development?

Chromebooks are awesome for running Linux. You can easily put them into Dev mode and run many Linux commands by logging in after pressing Ctrl Alt --> (F2) or use the Ctrl Alt T keyboard shortcut to open the crosh shell.

Many Chromebooks (at least Intel based) can boot into a SeaBIOS or UEFI by running the script Mr. Chromebox offers on his webiste. From there you can install Linux and Windows on some.

There's also ChrUbuntu for running the Ubuntu userland on the Chrome OS Kernel.

Edit: If they're just beginning software development I would think any Chromebook would be fast enough, RAM would probably be the main spec to look for. Just remember that the cheapest Chromebooks have some very lightweight processors that can be bogged down under a lot of multitasking. My ASUS C302CA with the Intel Core m3 has never lagged and I use it as my main machine.