At its I/O 2018 developers conference this week, Google announced a big new addition to its lightweight Chrome OS operating system: the ability to install and run apps built for Linux. This means that developers will soon be able to install the necessary tools and editing programs they need to create Android and web apps for phones, tablets, and laptops right from a Chromebook which has previously been impossible.
Support for Linux will enable you to create, test and run Android and web app for phones, tablets and laptops all on one Chromebook. Run popular editors, code in your favorite language and launch projects to Google Cloud with the command-line. Everything works directly on a Chromebook.
According to Google, Linux will run in a sort of virtual machine on Chrome OS designed for Chromebooks. This will allow Linux work environments to operate on Chrome OS. Plus, apps will work like you’d expect: you can click on their icons to fire them up, move around their windows, and open files compatible with them.
Linux runs inside a virtual machine that was designed from scratch for Chromebooks. That means it starts in seconds and integrates completely with Chromebook features. Linux apps can start with a click of an icon, windows can be moved around, and files can be opened directly from apps.
Of course, today’s news couldn’t have arrived if Google never added support for Android apps in Chrome OS. The entire point of running Linux on a Chromebook is to develop for Android and the likes, so having the ability to test your apps right on the same computer is pretty convenient. In fact, developers may soon be able to ditch their traditional Windows or Mac PC in favor of a lightweight Chromebook considering most if not all Linux development tools will be supported.
For the time being, Linux support in Chrome OS is still in early stages. Those who want to try it out first will need a Google Pixelbook. You’ll also need to manually enable the feature within Settings if you’d like to try it out. This will go for all supported Chromebooks in the future as well.