Aug 23, 2015. Jan 21, 2020. Jul 28, 2020. Chrome OS + Windows 10 + Linux: Chats, Discussions on Chrome OS installation subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/chromeosfans/.
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.
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.
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.
Though we cannot install Chrome OS, we can install the Open-source software Chromium OS which anyone can install, modify and use it in the way they like. But it requires some technical expertise. Thankfully we have developers like Neverware that modified the Chromium OS and made it easy to install on Mac.
Also Read: How to Install Chrome OS on Any Windows Laptop or PC
Google’s Chrome OS vs. Cloud-Ready OS
Just like Google’s Chrome OS, Neverware also developed the OS from the Open-source Chromium OS project. They have taken the source code from the Chromium and add their own proprietary code to make a working OS. Cloud-Ready looks and works just like the Chrome OS and the best advantage of Cloud-Ready than Chrome OS is that you can install it on a wide variety of hardware including Macs & Macbooks.
Just like Chrome OS, Cloud-Ready also sends you regular updates to improve the features. And it is also as stable as Chrome OS. But there is a caveat, though you can run Linux apps on Cloud-Ready, you cannot install Android apps in it, which Chrome OS can.
Neverware said they will be supporting Android apps in the future, there is still no sign of such an update at present.
How to install Cloud-Ready on any Mac or MacBook
1. Navigate to the Neverware website, scroll down till you see the option for personal, home use. Click on it. Alternatively, you can click on this link.
2. There you can see the download links for Windows, Mac, and Chromebooks.
3. Under the Mac Section, download the 64 -Bit zip file.
4. Now unzip the image file using The Unarchiver app.
5. Now open the Chrome browser, if you have not installed before, download Chrome and install it now.
6. On the Chrome Web Store, download the Chromebook Recovery Utility by clicking on Add to Chrome button.
7. Then click on the Add app on the Pop-up.
8. The Chromebook Recovery Utility will be installed and will show up on the Apps page of your Chrome Browser. The apps page should show up automatically if it doesn’t, type chrome://apps in the address bar of your Chrome browser.
9. Open the Recovery app on the apps page and it will show this screen right after that.
10. Click on this Gear Icon on the top and click on the ‘ Use Local Image ‘ option.
11. Then locate your image which you have extracted using unarchiever.
12. Insert the 8 Gb or 16 Gb USB stick and select it. The data on the USB stick will be lost in the process, so make sure to back up your data in it first.
13. This process will install the Cloud-Ready OS into the USB stick. Once the process is completed, remove the USB stick. And you are ready to install the Cloud-Ready OS using the USB stick.
14. Now you need to Boot the Computer using USB. To accomplish this you need to change the custom boot. Reboot the device and press & hold the option key to open the Boot options.
15. Then select the USB stick which has Cloud Ready installed.
16. The device will boot up from the USB showing the Cloud-ready Logo.
17. Then click on Let’s Go to get started. This may take a few minutes to pop-up as the OS is loading from the USB.
Android Apps For Chrome Os
18. Connect to the Internet using ethernet cable or WiFi.
19. The OS will check for any latest updates and then ask you to Log in by using the email address that’s associated with your Google Account. I recommend you don’t log-in immediately.
20. You can use Cloud-Ready OS every time like this by directly booting up with the USB drive. So if you don’t want to install on the hard disc, you can continue logging in. But if you want to erase the entire Mac OS and install Cloud Ready Natively into the system, read along.
Install Chrome Os On Pc
21. Installing part is so easy, but now just check whether the entire device is working properly or not. Check the WiFi, keyboard, mouse or trackpad, etc. If something is not working properly, it might be a hardware compatibility issue, so do not install the OS as it is not compatible with your hardware.
However, If everything is fine, you can continue to the next step of installing the Chrome OS. Also, make sure to back up your data in the computer to the cloud or external hard disc, once the OS is installed, all your data on the computer will be lost.
22. To install, click on the time in the lower right corner and click on install OS toggle in the quick settings panel.
23. Then again click on the INSTALL CLOUD-READY.
24. Once the installation process is completed, turn off the device, remove the USB stick and switch on the device back. You can see the Cloud Ready is successfully installed on your computer.