Best Linux Apps For Chromebook - Software that began as a strictly web-centric entity, with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and the apps that could run on it, has become one of the most versatile operating systems in modern computing. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they're also capable of connecting to the entire Google Play Store and running just about any Android app imaginable. As for the company, some Chromebooks will soon support Windows apps. And if everything
Linux, for the uninitiated, is a free and open source operating system (technically a series of operating systems) adored by developers, privacy advocates, and many other technically inclined hominids. Despite its strange reputation, Linux is actually used for many everyday purposes, even in enterprises. When you hear people talking about Ubuntu, Mint, or Raspbian, the software associated with the incredibly affordable Raspberry Pi computer, you're hearing the name of a specific flavor, or "distribution," of Linux. Even Chrome OS and Android have Linux-based technology at their core.
Best Linux Apps For Chromebook
However, for all its usefulness, Linux is not the most intuitive operating system. In fact, it can be downright confusing, especially when you're faced with Terminal, the software's command-line interface, which is the traditional route for installing Linux apps on a Chromebook. often not
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To wade those happy waters again, though, and even if you do, it's not as scary as it first seems.
Discover the very friendly side of the Linux OS Chrome terminal. (Click on any image in this story to enlarge.)
However, if you want to get the most out of Linux apps on Chrome OS devices, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and learn some good old geek-level knowledge. Let's take it step by step, shall we?
First of all: why bother? If you're like most Chrome OS users, Chromebooks are fine as they are, and Linux apps are part of a virtual strange world, with foreign-looking titles and interfaces that are sufficiently different from familiar terrain to require a learning curve
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In fact, if your Chromebook already does everything you need, chances are you don't even need to mess with Linux apps. Linux app support on Chrome OS isn't for everyone; is meant to fill the void of what Chromebooks can achieve for a specific subset of "almost there" power users—people who can barely get by with a combination of cloud-centric software and Android apps, but who have one or two specific persistent needs that the program category cannot address.
With Linux app support, for example, you can install Photoshop-caliber image editing software on a Chromebook. You can run robust audio or video editing software that surpasses the capabilities offered by web-based or Android tools in this area. And perhaps most significantly, from a general perspective, you can run code editors, including Google's official Android Studio development tool, which opens up the world of Chrome OS to Android developers.
As Google strives to make Chrome OS a broadly viable multipurpose computing platform and desktop companion to Android, removing this kind of niche-level asterisk goes a long way to expanding attractiveness of the ecosystem and remove its long-standing limitations.
If you think you'd benefit from using Linux apps on your Chrome OS device, or if you just want to explore and see what's out there, the first step is to see if your Chromebook supports Linux apps in the first place.
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The most powerful and actively supported Chromebooks now do, but there are still certain hardware and software requirements, which means that no
Eligible devices. The easiest way to see if your device supports the Linux app is to open the Chrome OS settings (by clicking the clock area in the lower-right corner of the desktop, then clicking the icon of gear-shaped configuration). Then look for the "Linux (Beta)" section in the menu on the left side of the screen, or just type Linux in the search box at the top.
Regardless, if you see something labeled "Linux (Beta)", you're good to go. If not, your device is not supported and you will need to upgrade to a newer or more powerful model to use Linux software.
Whenever you see an option related to Linux, click it and follow the steps that appear to enable Linux apps for your Chromebook. The system will prompt you for a username (which can be whatever you want; it doesn't really matter) and ask you how much disk space you want to use for your Linux region (a factor you can change at any time later, so don't worry too much now). It will then take a few minutes to install all the necessary elements and get everything ready to go.
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When it's done, you'll see a terminal window like the one we saw a minute ago. Take a moment to celebrate: Your Chromebook is officially ready to run Linux apps. And now the real fun begins.
The easiest way to install Linux apps on Chrome OS today is to find what's known as a Debian file, a special type of installation package that ends with a .deb extension.
For example, let's say you want to install the Slack Linux app to have a fully functional native desktop-like messaging experience on your Chromebook. You'll go to the Linux download page on the Slack website (or Google "Slack Linux app" if you're not sure where to start), and there you'll find some confusing options:
Don't bother explaining all this stupid stuff. Note that the first download option refers to a .deb file, and remember that
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Once you've clicked the button to download that .deb file, all you have to do is open your Chromebook's Downloads folder, in the System Files app, then find the file you downloaded and run double click The system will display information about the file and confirm that you want to continue.
Double-clicking a .deb file in the Chrome OS Files app lets you install the associated program immediately.
Click the Install button and just like that, the app will install, no command line weirdness required. You'll find its icon in your Chromebook's regular app drawer, and you can open it like any other app.
The .deb file path is really the easiest and most painless way to install Linux apps on your Chromebook, and you can find .deb downloads for many popular Linux titles. if you
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Track down the .deb file of the app you're looking for, but you can always install it the traditional way, using the terminal mentioned above.
Just look for the Terminal entry in your Chromebook's app drawer and click it to open it. Once you're inside and the terminal is fully loaded, the specific command you enter to install the app is sudo apt-get install followed by the app's official codename, which you'll need to find out by looking up a Linux app of trust reference or by doing some creative Googling. (Told you this wasn't exactly intuitive, right?)
So, for example, if you wanted to install LibreOffice, the popular full-featured open source office suite, you would open a terminal and type:
And a quick tip: while normal commands for pasting text (like Ctrl-V) won't work in a terminal window, you can copy text from a regular browser tab and then right-click (or two fingers, on a trackpad). ) in the terminal to create text appears.
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Once you press enter, the system will put a bunch of information on your screen and ask you to confirm the installation. Don't panic; just type the letter y and hit enter again, then wait while it installs.
You'll see a bunch of text scrolling down the screen as the components download, unpack, and install. Be patient - it may take a while! When the scrolling stops and the terminal returns to a green command prompt, you can safely close it (by typing exit at the prompt and then pressing Enter) and browse your Chrome OS launcher to find your recently installed app.
Once installed, Linux apps sit inside the regular Chrome OS launcher, along with Android apps, web apps, and everything else on your device.
At this point, regardless of which approach you use for installation, you can use the app like any other program on your device. One caveat is that, for security reasons, Linux apps can't access your Chromebook's entire file system; they can only see special "Linux Files" folders on local storage along with folders you've explicitly approved for Linux applications to access.
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So, whenever you need to delete an existing file, whether it's from your local storage, an external drive, or any connected cloud storage service, you'll first need to open the Chrome OS Files app and copy the file to the " Linux application". "area
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