Most Chromebooks released in the past few years include an optional feature that allows you to run desktop Linux applications in Chrome OS. It’s a feature that’s been in beta since it was first introduced three years ago.

Now Google says Linux support on Chromebooks is ready to emerge from beta. It’ll shed the beta label starting with Chrome OS 91, which is set to roll out in a few weeks.

While Google positions Linux support as a developer feature, it’s also helpful for casual Chromebook users looking to run native applications rather than web apps (or Android apps). For example, you could install LibreOffice for viewing and editing documents offline, or GIMP for editing photos or other images.

With the feature now coming out of beta, Google notes that recent changes include stability, configurable port forwarding, and improved USB support. When you install a Chrome OS update, the Linux container is also updated at the same time.

Linux on Chromebooks is still an optional feature that needs to be enabled, and it will take up a bit of storage space on computers that aren’t known for having ample storage capacity. But setup is pretty simple and typically takes just a few minutes.

via 9to5Google and Android Central

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  1. Google is known for dragging out the “Beta” status of their services for longer than people think, but Linux support in Chromebooks is something that still needs to be in beta status for quite some time, IMO.

    On the Pixelbook, display scaling of Linux apps is pretty lacking, and the stability of the apps and how ChromeOS integrates apps and icons into the overall user experience still feels “bolted on”.

  2. I tried Linux Beta on both of my Chromebooks. It runs a bit slow on Celeron processor like the dual core N3060, especially the app startup time. Both of these Chromebooks have 4gb of RAM. The Linux planetarium app Stellarium seems to run especially slow on these Chromebooks with Linux Beta. One of my Chromebooks has 32gb of storage which works well. Linux Beta needs at lease 7gb of storage to work properly. 10gb is better. But my other Chromebook has only 16gb of storage. Linux Beta takes over half of my available storage space on that one, leaving only 2gb free space. Also, the slow eMMC storage seems ok with ChromeOS, but it’s a bit slow with Linux Beta. To get a better user experience, it would be better to have a real SSD instead of eMMC storage. Linux Beta installs a command line shell that emulates Debian Linux. You can install apps from the LInux repositories using ‘apt’ from the command line. These apps run using ChromeOS as the window manager. I didn’t have much luck trying to run a different window manager like Xfce in Linux Beta.

  3. [sarcasm]I eagerly wait the thousands of smug posts along the lines of: “Oh, you want a linux laptop? Just get a chromebook you idiot.”[/sarcasm]

  4. Running Linux apps on ChromeOS or Windows might allow someone to not need a dual boot setup, but a dual boot setup is the best of both worlds. Gaming and taxes on Windows and everything else on Linux.