If you’ve been out of the loop, Google’s bringing Linux apps to Chrome OS. If you’re a fan of Chrome OS or Linux, this is a big deal. Chrome OS is gaining popularity and at least amongst the enthusiasts, it’s becoming a thing of its own. Chrome OS still lacks apps that can make it a true desktop OS competitor though. The absence of serious productivity apps is a roadblock. With Linux apps, Chrome OS can have that Photoshop alternative that doesn’t suck, for instance. It can have Adobe Premier alternatives that Linux users have been using for years. Maybe Google can even convince big names like Adobe to develop an app for Linux. In which case, it’s a win-win for everybody. You can even install Linux apps on a Chromebook powered by Chrome OS.
Before you begin though it’s worth noting that Linux app support is still in beta. Graphics acceleration or sound does not work with Linux apps yet and obviously, things can be buggy. Moreover, Linux apps are not supported on all Chromebooks right now. You can find a list of compatible devices on Reddit.
- Sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa. And press enter. You'll then have to press enter a.
- Similarly, Linux apps aren’t yet available for every Chromebook that’s running version 69, either. There isn’t a definitive list available, so your mileage may vary. To get started, you first need to move over to (at least) the beta channel. We have instructions on how to change channels on your Chromebook.
- Jan 29, 2020.
To use Linux apps, you’ll also have to switch to a Chrome OS development channel. Like the Chrome browser, at any given time, Google maintains four different versions of Chrome OS: Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Everything except the Stable version is a development version. It has the least number of bugs if any. Canary, on the other hand, is the most experimental and least stable. The Beta and Dev versions are less buggy and can be used as daily drivers. You can follow this guide to switch to a development channel.
Enable Linux app support on Chromebook
Even after you’ve switched to a developer channel, Linux app support isn’t enabled by default. Enabling it only takes a few clicks though. Access the Chrome OS Settings by clicking on the gear icon in quick settings. Scroll down until you see the option for Linux apps and turn it on. If you don’t see the menu option, your device isn’t yet supported. When you’ve turned it on, you’ll be asked to install the Linux container.
Mar 24, 2020.
Without going into details, it’s a bunch of things that will allow Linux apps to be installed on your device and also provide you with the means to do that. Installation can take some time depending on your internet connection. Once it is done though you’ll see a Terminal window where you can start typing commands. The Terminal app icon is also added to your app launcher. We have some more Chrome OS tips and tricks to get a better experience on your Chromebook.
Install Linux apps on Chromebook from repositories
Most things on Linux happen through the command line, via the Terminal. So a Terminal is all you need to get your Linux apps up and running on Chrome OS. Many of the popular Linux apps are included in the software repositories of most Linux distributions. The Linux container on Chrome OS runs Debian 9. Therefore, anything on the Debian repositories can be easily installed as long as you know the exact package name. For instance, say you want to install GIMP, the Adobe Photoshop alternative that’s completely free. You can simply run the following command in the Terminal to do that.
sudo apt-get install gimp
If you want to uninstall it, just run this command.
To update your system, and all the installed Linux apps, you can use this command.
Install Linux apps on Chrome OS from third-party sources
Android has the Google Play Store, but you can still install it from other sources via APK files. APK files are nothing but app packages for Android, Similarly, there are Debian app packages known as DEB and you can find plenty of those all over the internet. Once you have one, you can just open it normally with a double-click. If you’re somehow on an older version of Chrome OS, the File Explorer will not have support for opening .deb files. In that case, you can again use the Terminal.
Like Debian packages, Linux distros also supports several other packaging formats but each format is restricted to a specific distro. Flatpak is one such packaging format developed to work across all Linux distributions. There are some apps that are available only as a Flatpak and can’t be found in the official repos or as a Debian package. While you can use Flatpaks on Chrome OS, its buggy and probably shouldn’t be used unless you have no other option. First, you’ll have to enable Flatpak support.
sudo apt-get install flatpak
Now add the Flatpak repository
Reboot your machine and then install any Flatpak from the Flathub website. Every app on Flathub has command-line instructions at the bottom of the page. Just add sudo before every command.
Install from Software Center
You can also install a Linux Software Center on Chrome OS, which is like the Chrome Web Store but for Linux apps.With time, Google’s Chrome OS has changed a lot from what it used to be. From starting off as a simple browser, it has evolved overtime into a strong, faster, and much more adept device. Its evolution has reached such heights that it has now become capable enough of not only running Android applications but has also grasped the power to run Linux apps as well. This introduction of Linux applications into its support feature clearly further defines over how powerful Chromebooks have become. Today we’ll be looking at how one can install and run these Linux apps on your Chromebooks.
Step 1: Checking your Chrome OS version
Before we actually move onto the step of installing Linux applications on our Chromebook, we must first check whether your Chromebook actually has the ability to support them. For running Linux applications, your Chromebook should have the Chrome OS 69 or later versions installed. To check the version that you’re currently running, open the Settings window, which can be simply be accessed from clicking on your profile picture icon (See the image below).
Next select the Hamburger/three-line menu icon found in the upper-left corner and choose the About Chrome OS option.
If you see a Check for Updates sign, then it means your Chromebook isn’t running the latest version. To solve this, simply click on the button asking you to download the latest version. This will be followed by a request of asking you to restart your Chromebook. Please do so.
Step 2: Turning On Linux Beta
Once your Chromebook has been updated to the latest version, there is one more step to do before we actually begin to install Linux applications. This is to turn on the Linux Beta option found in your Chromebook which is a newly introduced feature that allows you to install and run Linux applications. Once again, open the Settings window and select the Hamburger/three-line menu icon found in the upper-left corner. Now similarly, as done in Step 1, search for the Linux (Beta) option in the scroll down menu. See the image below.
If Linux Beta, however, doesn’t show up in your Settings menu, please go and check to see if there is an update available for your Chrome OS (Step 1). If Linux Beta option is indeed available, simply click on it and then select the Turn On option.
After this, you’ll get a prompt asking you whether you want to Install or Cancel the setting up of Linux Beta on your Chromebook. Please click on Install.
Depending on the specs of your Chromebook and your internet speed, the installation time can vary. When the installation will be complete, you’ll get a terminal window opened in front of you which would be an indication of having successfully installed Linux Beta.
If after installation, however, the terminal window doesn’t open, then go to the search bar and under the Linux apps subfolder, you’ll have a Terminal icon present. Click on it to get the Linux Bash at your disposal.
Step 3: Updating your Linux
Now you are ready to install Linux apps on your Chromebook. However, before we actually move onto the installation step, we must first check for any updates or upgrades that our Linux requires. This is because Canonical, the developers of Ubuntu, continually release new updates for Ubuntu which are designed to fix common bugs as well as improve the overall system performance and efficiency. With the latest update, Ubuntu will have most of the issues in the old version sorted out and will be able to run much more smoothly. To do this, enter the following commands in the terminal:
Moreover, to check for any major upgrades available, run the following command:
On Linux, this would have required you to type in your password when using the sudo command. However, there is no need to do so on your Chromebook.
Step 4: Installing Linux Apps on your Chromebook
With all the initial preparations out of the way, now finally it’s time to install a Linux application on your Chromebook. We’ll be using the command line to install our applications. The commands used here to install our applications will be the exact same as what we used in Ubuntu. Simply enter the following command and then press enter:
Note: app name here indicates the name of the application that you’re installing
Now you’d be greeted with a huge chunk of text which basically is indicating the downloading and installation of different components and dependencies of the application. Once the installation is complete, the terminal will return to its original green command prompt. To access the application you just installed, go to your list of programs installed and you’ll find your application present in the Linux apps subfolder.
Let us show you an example. We’ll be installing LibreOffice which is an excellent open source alternative to Microsoft Office. For installation, as told before, simply open the terminal and enter the following command and hit enter:
When the installation is done, simply exit the terminal and go look in your list of programs to find the different Libreoffice components installed under the Linux apps subfolder.
Best Linux Apps To Install On Chromebook
Voila, you can now edit your documents on a Chromebook with Libreoffice.
Importance of having Linux Apps on your Chromebook
Linux Apps For Chromebook
With the technological field expanding at such a fast rate, Google’s introduction of Linux applications in Chromebooks is another feat worthy of being called a huge achievement as this not only diverges and opens up the possibilities of what Chromebook can accomplish but also helps in broadening its diversity of users. With the capabilities of running a diverse set of applications, Chromebooks have become something of a revolution in the industry and are continuously on the rise.