How to run Linux apps on your Chromebook

Let’s check out the way to run full Linux apps on your Chromebook. If someone said to you that your Chromebook was limited now you’ll prove them wrong, as a feature from Google enables you to run full Linux desktop apps directly on your Chromebook.

The system is technically still in beta and may take a little while to line up, but once in place you’ve got a world of Linux apps to play with.

Linux was originally designed with developers in their mind that require access to full code editors and development environments, but its provide access to office tools like LibreOffice, graphics tools Krita and GIMP, photo editing tools like Dark Table and loads more. So let’s get some Linux.

How to run Linux apps on your Chromebook

1. Compatible Linux Chromebooks

Hardware wise, any Chromebook made in 2019 or later should offer Linux support, here is a list of compatible models that made before this date. Technically the CPU needs hardware virtualization support, this will be missing on older Arm systems.
You need two things to run Linux on your Chromebooks: Chrome OS version 69 or newer (released in August 2018) and a Chromebook with an appropriate processor.

To check your OS version type chrome://version within the address bar and read off the very top number. It would be odd to not be running something newer than this check for updates by selecting the Notification (bottom right) area > Settings (cog) > About Chrome OS > Additional Details for scheduled update details.

Compatible Linux Chromebooks

2. Enable the Linux!

If your Chromebook is capable of running Linux and is up so far , you’ll now activate Linux by clicking the Notification (bottom right) area > Settings (Cog icon) > Linux (Beta) > activate .

You’ll be asked to specify a username and to allocate an amount of storage to be used by the Linux system – this will be changed afterwards so don’t worry an excessive amount of at now , but it seems this has got to be a part of the system’s main storage and not external SD or USB storage.
If this becomes something you would like to use tons you would possibly got to rethink your internal storage

Enable the Linux!

Releted: How to Quickly Create Your Own Chrome Browser Theme

3. Set some permissions

The Linux system run on your Chromebook is during a “sandbox” aka a protected sealed-off zone, so those Linux apps cannot damage the remainder of your system.

This means to try to certain things the Linux sandbox needs permission and certain things – like cameras – just won’t be work with it. Set these via the Settings > Linux > …Find out more link.

As one example you’ll allow Linux to access your microphone is here.

Set some permissions

4. Welcome to the Terminal

After you’ve set Linux abreast of your Chromebook, the primary thing you’re presented with may be a blank terminal window. this is often a text interface that Linux uses to scare everyone away.

However, knowing what command to type in to repair a drag or do another thing actually makes life super easy.

For this first run it’s best to see your Chromebook Linux is up so far and upgraded fully with:

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

This runs two commands. First it checks in with the web software to make sure everything is up-to-date, it will then ask you to press Y to run any upgrades. Hint: press Y.

Welcome to the Terminal

5. Add a Linux software store

Google expects you to use Linux on Chromebook via the terminal and you’ll get everything installed this manner , but to form life a touch easier let’s install a typical Linux graphical software store, type:

sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit

After pressing Y to begin the install, once the terminal reports it’s installed close the terminal.

Open the quality Launcher and find the Linux apps entry and click on Software. Typically there should be a variety of software categories with a lot of options within, however we found – and lots of report an equivalent issue – that this is often blank, though you’ll look for titles. See subsequent step to force an update.

Add a Linux software store

6. Add more Linux software sources

Linux software can come from variety of sources, the previous step is software that’s thoroughly tested by the OS developers, but are often older versions.

A new system called Flatpak can provide up-to-date versions direct from the app developer. you’ll add these into the Gnome Software store by typing these commands into the terminal:

sudo apt install flatpak
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak

When you will try to run the Software store it’ll detected the new plugin and offer to try to a full refresh which will load all the software categories.

Add more Linux software sources

7. Installing Linux software

Let’s use Gnome Software to feature a Linux app. Open the Chrome Launcher (bottom left) > scroll to Linux apps > Software, use the Search icon (magnifying glass) and sort audacity.

You could have also discovered it via the Audio & Video category, selecting Audio Creation and browsing the list otherwise you could have look for something like Audio Editing.

Click on the headphone icon that ought to have appeared, Audacity may be a powerful pro-level open source sound editing tool, click ‘Install’ to try to to just that.

All your Linux apps are going to be installed into the Linux app folder with the quality Chromebook Launcher, but you’ll pin it to the app bar as was common .

Installing Linux software

8. Install Flatpak Linux software

The previous step installed Linux software on your Chromebook from quality repositories, overtime these can become dated. The Flatpak system we mentioned are usually the newest release of the Linux software.

To use Flatpaks browse to flathub.org and browse the software, apparently people like Spotify. don’t click the inviting big INSTALL button. Instead scroll right down to the terminal commands:

sudo flatpak install flathub com.spotify.Client
sudo flatpak run com.spotify.Client

To run these select Launcher > Linux apps > Terminal and sort these – or copy/paste them – successively.

Install Flatpak Linux software

9. Linux files in, files out

Linux on Chromebook provides a shared “Linux files” folder you’ll find within the Files app under its My Files section, along side Downloads and Play files.

Anything in Linux files are often accessed by normal Chrome OS and also the Linux system – otherwise files under Chrome OS are shielded from the Linux OS.

If you would like to form another folder available to Linux within the Files app right-click thereon – this works for auxiliary storage – and choose the Share with Linux menu option.

Back over on a Linux app to access this share, you would like to traverse the Linux filesystem (it’s confusing) say in Audacity above, select Open > file system (aka Root) > mnt (short for mounted) > chromeos and you’ll see an inventory of any folders you shared and therefore the files within.

Linux files in, files out

10. Removing and backing up Linux

Adding a second OS takes up tons of space and if you’re just trying Linux you’ll want to get rid of Linux from your Chromebook at some point. Luckily that’s easy, just attend Settings > Linux > Remove and it’s gone!

Before you are doing that you simply might want to think about backing up the Linux environment with the Linux > Backup and Restore tool. this protects one (large) .tumi file – ideally do that to an external SD card or USB drive – that you simply can then restore back by selecting this computer file .

This means you’ll remove Linux from your Chromebook entirely and place it back at a later date as exactly as you had it.

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