How To: Install Linux Apps On Chrome OS Devices
Chrome 69 is currently expected to herald the arrival of Linux apps on the Stable Channel of Chrome OS but some users on the platform can get started now in just a few short steps. For clarity, this particular feature isn’t going to be available on every device running the operating system and does require the Developer Channel – not to be confused with Developer Mode. Most contemporary Chromebooks should support the feature. Users will want to back up anything important since the channel is inherently unstable and reverting back to the standard channel requires a complete device wipe. Bearing that in mind, switching over to that channel is relatively easy and shouldn’t erase anything. Users simply need to navigate to the settings by clicking the system tray and then the ‘gear’ icon. From there, clicking the three-dash settings menu at the top-right side of the settings window and scrolling down will reveal the “About Chrome OS” option. Inside of that menu is another option labeled “Detailed build information.” Clicking that reveals a “CHANGE CHANNEL” button, which allows users to switch between available channels.
Once the Chromebook resets with an update into the Developer Channel, users will need to enable the flags associated with Project Crostini. That’s accomplished by opening the Chrome Browser, navigating to “chrome://flags,” and then typing “crostini” into the search bar at the top of the page. A flag titled “Experimental Crostini” should appear at the top of the page and will need to be enabled in order to get Linux apps up and running. After switching the setting to “Enabled” from “Default” in the associated drop-down menu a restart is required via a click on the “Relaunch Now” button at the bottom of the page. From there, users will need to turn on Linux by navigating back to the three-dash settings menu in the settings application and finding the “Linux (Beta)” section. It will be near the bottom of the list and above the “Advanced” menu. Clicking that will bring up a menu with a link-style button which reads “Turn on.”
Turning on Linux that will bring up an installation guide, setting the system up to use Linux applications. Users will need to navigate to the app drawer at the bottom-left-hand side of the Chrome OS U.I. and select the terminal application – which is a solid gray icon comprised of ‘greater than’ and ‘underscore’ symbols. Typing in “sudo apt upgrade” in the terminal window and pressing the ‘enter’ key will upgrade Linux components to the latest version. Users will want to press the ‘y’ key once that’s finished to allow the system to dispose of unnecessary files that may still be present. With that process complete, installing Linux apps works similarly to any other computer. The appropriate Linux installation file will need to be downloaded – a “.deb” file in this case – and then moved to the “Linux Files” folder in the Chrome OS “Files” application. From there, users will need to right-click the file with “alt+click” or a click on the file while two fingers are touching the touchpad. Clicking the “Install with Linux (beta)” option will install the app. Assuming everything works, the app should then be discoverable in the app drawer and a click should launch it just as it would in Linux.