Google has been allowing Chrome OS users to run Linux apps for a few years. But the optional “Crostini” feature which makes this possible sort of feels tacked onto Chrome OS as an afterthought (which… to be fair, it was).
That could change when Chrome OS 82 is released on May 5th. It’s expected to include a major update to the Linux terminal app and user experience.
The folks at Chrome Unboxed have published a sneak peek.
Chrome OS, like Android has a Linux kernel. But it’s different from most GNU/Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora) in that Google’s desktop environment and user experience are much more locked down.
Originally Chrome OS was designed to run web apps only. But eventually Google added optional support for Android apps, and then Linux apps.
The Linux experience starts with the Linux terminal app — and starting with Chrome 82, the terminal looks and feels more like any other Chrome app running in a window. It features material design, tabs, and a three-dot icon that you can click to open a settings menu.
There are also a whole bunch of new settings to adjust, including:
- Terminal background color
- Text font family, size and color
- Anti-alias option
- Cursor shape and color
- Toggle optional keyboard features (including Ctrl+N, Ctrl+T, Ctrl+W, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and AltGr behavior)
- Window behavior options
You can find more details and screenshots at Chrome Unboxed, or if you have a compatible Chromebook you can just try switching to the developer channel now to check out the new features (although it’s probably a good idea to back up your data first, since dev channel is obviously less stable/more buggy than beta or stable channels).