Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Chrome Google Operating Systems Software Linux Technology

You Can Now Run Linux Apps On Chrome OS (venturebeat.com) 106

Google today announced Chrome OS is getting Linux support. "As a result, Chromebooks will soon be able to run Linux apps and execute Linux commands," reports VentureBeat. "A preview of Linux on the Pixelbook will be released first, with support for more devices coming soon." From the report: "Just go to wherever you normally get those apps, whether it's on the websites or through apt-get in the Linux terminal, and seamless get those apps like any other Linux distribution," Chrome OS director of product management Kan Liu told VentureBeat.

Support for Linux apps means developers will finally be able to use a Google device to develop for Google's platforms, rather than having to depend on Windows, Mac, or Linux machines. And because Chrome OS doesn't just run Chrome OS-specific apps anymore, developers will be able to create, test, and run any Android or web app for phones, tablets, and laptops all on their Chromebooks. Without having to switch devices, you can run your favorite IDE -- as long as there is a Debian Linux version (for the curious, Google is specifically using Debian Stretch here -- code in your favorite language and launch projects to Google Cloud with the command line.

You Can Now Run Linux Apps On Chrome OS

Comments Filter:
  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @07:53PM (#56577444) Homepage

    It's only "new" in the sense that they stopped forcibly blocking this functionality. Probably because Windows 10 can run Linux apps finally so now Chrome OS was the only major one left that couldn't.

    • I was about to ask, but you sorta got there first... How is this different than developer mode which gives you full access to the system?

      I haven't used Chromebooks in a while; did they take that out?

      • What I had gathered previously was that it was something that not many vendors had left access to. (On purpose, anyway.)

      • by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @08:41PM (#56577690)
        Turning on developer mode disables a lot of the security protections. This change keeps the security on and puts apps in a sandbox, just like Android.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        How is this different than developer mode which gives you full access to the system?

        Developer mode self-destructs [slashdot.org] if someone turns on a Chromebook and looks at it funny. Verified mode does not.

        • In the age of facial recognition, especially combined with bad prompts as the one linked, your comment could be literally true in the near future.
        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          So in other words, this is a solution to a problem that Google themselves created. And not even the easy solution which would be to quit putting up stupid screens that allow people to wipe the machine by pressing the spacebar!

          The only thing that's "insecure" about developer mode is that one stupid screen. I wish companies would stop this war against their end users and allow people to have some control over their own devices without such stupid shenanigans!

      • It's not remotely similar, and the idiots who modded up the GP need to have their heads examined.

        Developer mode is a system for gaining access to the internals of your Chromebook. It allows you to install arbitrary software. It was developed deliberately by Google, contradicting the GP's contention that Google has been trying to prevent people from doing this.

        Developer mode however is an insecure system. It doesn't sandbox anything. When you're in developer mode, you literally have control over the ent

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          Developer mode however is an insecure system. It doesn't sandbox anything. When you're in developer mode, you literally have control over the entire workings of your Chromebook. You can even overwrite the BIOS.

          Since when did the definition of "insecure" change to mean "the customer has control of the device they bought and paid for"? This is a complete re-definition of the word, and is entirely in the favor of the corporations fighting against the end users.

          What this article is about is the ability to run arbitrary GNU/Linux applications in a sandbox. It will not give you, or those applications, control over the Chromebook. Your data will remain safe.

          The only threat to your data in developer mode was Google themselves with the moronic decision to allow anyone to wipe your device by pressing the spacebar at the big scary security screen. THAT is what is talked about when people talk about google preventing

    • by rouge86 ( 608370 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @08:05PM (#56577500)
      I have been using Linux apps on Chrome OS via Chromebrew [github.io]. This really is not new.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        The new part is the ability for your Chromebrew installation and unpushed changes to survive someone turning on your Chromebook and following the prompts. A developer mode Chromebook prompts the user to press Space then Enter to perform a factory reset, and your non-technical roommate or children just might follow them.

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          So the new part is a way to not be screwed over by Google just because you want to pretend you own your hardware....

    • That's incredibly misleading.

      You appear to be referring to "Developer mode". Developer mode is available in all Chromebooks, and they've always made it easy to get into. It's off by default, because the entire point of the Chromebook is to be a secure platform, and giving people access outside of the sandbox is risky.

      They've never "blocked" this functionality. They implemented the functionality.

      What appears to be being announced today is that they've found a way to sandbox regular old GNU/Linux appli

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        You appear to be referring to "Developer mode". Developer mode is available in all Chromebooks, and they've always made it easy to get into. It's off by default, because the entire point of the Chromebook is to be a secure platform, and giving people access outside of the sandbox is risky.

        When did we re-define "secure" to mean "the end user isn't allowed to choose what to do with their hardware"? That's not security, that's oppression. Blocking the end user from running apps, does not stop hackers from accessing your data, or running their own apps. It only means that you don't actually own the hardware you bought and paid for.

        They've never "blocked" this functionality. They implemented the functionality.

        Debatable. By putting up so many barriers (including making sure that any passer-by can wipe your drive clean just by pressing the largest key on the keyboard) They ha

  • Linux Apps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @08:30PM (#56577616) Homepage Journal

    I can run Linux programs on my Linux machine. I've been able to do that for decades.

    Linux based machines that hide the underlying functionality are simply stupid.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I can run Linux programs on my Linux machine. I've been able to do that for decades.

      But for what fraction of those "decades" have you been able to buy a compact GNU/Linux laptop in major electronics store chains?

      • But for what fraction of those "decades" have you been able to buy a compact GNU/Linux laptop in major electronics store chains?

        Approximately since the ASUS eeePC started the "sub-notebook with Linux in your local store" craze (followed imediatly by Acer. And then countless no-name Asian manufacturer spitting crappier machines) , that subsequently jump-started the whole wave of Chromebooks, once google decided to address the "userfriendly so even your grandma can use it" part and the "minimal quality so the machine isn't full crap".

        So since slightly more than 1 decade.

        • heh, flashbacks.
          we still use the archos 101 i got in 2011. never did get round to installing linux on it though.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          But for what fraction of those "decades" have you been able to buy a compact GNU/Linux laptop in major electronics store chains?

          Approximately since the ASUS eeePC started the "sub-notebook with Linux in your local store" craze

          That craze covers fourth quarter 2007 through roughly fourth quarter 2012 [slashdot.org].

          that subsequently jump-started the whole wave of Chromebooks

          Chromebooks run Linux as their kernel, I'm aware. But until now, they haven't given the user ability to run GNU outside the self-destructing developer mode. Straight from the horse's mouth [chromium.org], with emphasis in the original:

          Remember: Chrome OS devices are not general-purpose PCs.

          So from first quarter 2013 through second quarter 2018, compact laptops usable as general-purpose GNU/Linux laptops were not widely available with a warranty in s

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This could finally be the year of the Linux desktop. A decent desktop, decent hardware and drivers supported by the manufacturer, and Linux apps...

      • Unfortunately it will be the year of commands under someone else's crappy desktop.

        The beauty of the Linux desktop is you can run whatever window manager you like. Don't like the latest offering from Ubuntu or GNOME? KDE, XFCE, LXDE, FVWM, Ratpoision or Xmonad and many others will all work perfectly depenging on your tastes.

        • by DMJC ( 682799 )
          Just don't expect all your apps to fit any particular desktop metaphor. This is the main reason why GNUstep is so disappointing to use. It could have very well been a great way to run an OSX style desktop on Linux. Instead it doesn't have a web browser, and the applications feel out of place with everything else you have installed. AMIWM is another example, a bit more extreme perhaps. It tries to clone the Amiga desktop's windowing style but doesn't bring any applications of it's own so the entire desktop
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          That sounds nice, but I find that the practical result is that many apps don't work well with more than just the one the primary developer used. Scroll wheel and trackpad support is the classic example, but also high DPI.

    • Linux based machines that hide the underlying functionality are simply stupid.

      Tens (hundreds?) of millions of Chromebook users disagree with you. Many of them very strongly.

      The fact is that between 95 and 100% of most people's laptop usage these days is in a browser. Having a system that is nothing but a browser turns out to be quite useful, and to have some big advantages in terms of simplicity, reliability and security. ChromeOS is by about any metric you might name, the most secure consumer operating system ever built. This is at the expense of flexibility since (until recently)

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      I can run Linux programs on my Linux machine. I've been able to do that for decades.

      Linux based machines that hide the underlying functionality are simply stupid.

      One question will be if this feature survives a Google transition from Linux to Fuschia/Zircon...

  • Why would anyone even want to run Linux in a VM under Chrome instead of just running Linux natively?

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @09:43PM (#56577982) Journal

      The CPUs do virtualization in hardware these days, so VMs are essentially free. The performance difference is less than 5%, often closer to 1%.

      What you get for that is clear separation, in terms of security, stability, etc. No one application can cause problems for the system.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why would anyone even want to run Linux in a VM under Chrome instead of just running Linux natively?

      So Google can keep spying on you even when running Linux.

    • Re:But Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jetkust ( 596906 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @10:05PM (#56578078)
      I would. This makes Chrome laptops more appealing to me. When you want to run Linux on laptops you always have to be careful to select the right laptop which is compatible enough to make it worth buying. Having a laptop that is out of the box compatible is different, or at least where the company that makes it is designing it to do what you want to do. Everything I do on a Linux laptop is either in a browser, or in a terminal. I'm fine with Chrome doing the browser work. And if I have a fully functional terminal, ChromOS may be virtually indistinguishable to me at least with how I use Linux on a daily basis. Also I'm cool with the VM, as long as it's seamless and efficient. Plus you're not really running Linux in a VM, you are running the Linux programs in a VM. ChromeOS is still native. But you're doing what it was designed to do, as opposed to always seeming like you're using workarounds. I also like that it would make development for Android more seamless than if on a Linux machine. I won't be ditching Linux for ChromeOS any time soon, but it does increase my interest level.
      • I would. This makes Chrome laptops more appealing to me. When you want to run Linux on laptops you always have to be careful to select the right laptop which is compatible enough to make it worth buying.

        I mean I get it, but you're solving it by finding a laptop which is supported out of the box by the manufacturer which is fine and all, but there are others already that do that. There's System76 for example. But also Dell and Lenovo offer Linux preinstalled on quite a few models. Lenovo even have a certific

        • I think you're overthinking this. We're basically looking at a massive increase in the number of laptops that have a supported open GNU/Linux system. On top of that:

          - Chromebooks are more secure. The proposal from Google involves sandboxing GNU/Linux applications so they're effectively as secure as the existing Webapp/NaCl/Android applications that Chromebooks currently support.
          - There's an extraordinary range of Chromebook laptops, from $150 next-gen netbooks (with 720P screens) to high end rivals to t

          • - Chromebooks are more secure. The proposal from Google involves sandboxing GNU/Linux applications so they're effectively as secure as the existing Webapp/NaCl/Android applications that Chromebooks currently support.

            How do the applications communicate with one another?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Who wants traces of an ad company system still running on hardware at the same time?
      Remove the adware system down to the hardware and start with a real OS.
  • by jma05 ( 897351 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @09:40PM (#56577968)

    How good is ARM Linux battery life on a Chromebook, if I replace the Chrome OS completely?
    Is it comparable or is it much lower?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Having used linux natively on ARM chromebook, I found battery llife comparable. There were so many glitches and hurdles, though, that I have mostly abandoned that machine. Everything almost works perfectly, but I got tired of chasing down corner cases. I let it idle (~2W), though, and uptimes average about a year, before I forget to reconnect the charger to it after playing around with it.

      My current go-to machine is a 2013 version of chromebook pixel which I boot from a Mint or Ubuntu iso image. Works d

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Same and sometimes better.

  • ChromeOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @10:19PM (#56578152)
    This news actually made me interested to try ChomeOS for Android development and possibly see how I can better use the Google ecosystem. For some curious reason it's not easy to download it for people to see if it would work for them. There is some free bastardization of it that requires you to fill out a form and you can try it free, but why would they not just release it like a Linux distribution? If I like it, I might buy a Chromebook, but as it sits I'm not interested.
    • by q_e_t ( 5104099 )
      I've had it working directly on an old laptop, and it wasn't too bad. This was to see if my wife might have wanted a Chromebook.
  • Apt-get is for Ubuntu. Chrome OS is built in Gentoo.
  • I can run Linux programs inside an operating system based on ... Linux.

  • ... X.Org? Or Wayland?
  • The article mentions that it runs Linux through a VM but that's not going to be very good in terms of performance.

    GalliumOS has been around for years. It's a fork of xubuntu that's optimized for Chromebooks.

    I've been running it on my Chromebook for 2 years. It's something you boot into directly, so no VMs are required (and you can choose to dual boot into ChromeOS if you want to keep it around).

    Details on how to set it all up can be found at https://nickjanetakis.com/blog... [nickjanetakis.com].

    I run all sorts of real developm

    • VMs use memory for an entire OS. That includes duplicating the software (shared libraries no longer sharing code), management code (scheduler, etc.), services (all the RAM being used when you bring up to multi-user text console, no X).

      I had argued the first step should be a .NET environment for ChromeOS. It would be relatively-simple to integrate: the .NET installation would include the base mounted under each container along with a resolver built into the Mono or .NET Core system. When you run a .NE

  • Chrome OS [wikipedia.org] is an operating system designed by Google that is based on the Linux kernel

    So they're finally letting Linux programs run on Linux?

  • Website? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @12:12PM (#56581594) Journal
    Does anyone download Linux apps from websites? The first thing I tell noobs is to stop doing that and use the repository. Downloading Linux software from websites is asking for all kinds of problems.
  • You get to run Linux AND Android applications on your chromebook.
    Suddenly this little laptop of little interest is getting very interesting.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

Working...