Back at I/O 2018, Google confirmed that it would soon bring Linux app support to Chrome OS. Since then, we’ve seen several Chromebooks gain the ability in beta form. Here’s how to turn it on if you’re willing to deal with buggy software.

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How to enable Linux apps (beta) on Chrome OS

First, you’re going to need to switch your Chromebook to the Dev channel. If you need help doing this, we have a full tutorial here.

Next, depending on your specific Chromebook, there will be two things you need to do. The first step is to head to chrome://components/ in your browser and check for an update for cros-termina. After that, go to chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-crostini-ui and enable the flag. Chrome will be required to restart for it to take effect.

If you don’t see these options on your machine, don’t worry about it and just move to the next step.

Once your Chrome browser has restarted, open up Chrome OS’s Settings menu. Here, if everything worked correctly, you should see a new Linux (beta) section. Open this and click the Turn on option. From there, you should see another option to install the Terminal app. After, it might take a decent amount of time for everything to get established, but when it’s done, your machine will reboot itself.

When everything is complete, you can try and open the Terminal app. If it launches correctly, you now have Linux app support on your Chromebook.

Just remember, all of this is still very much in development and should be treated as a beta. For less tech-savvy users, I would recommend skipping this until Google rolls it out for everyone in the stable build. This way you don’t have to worry about your Chromebook not working correctly, and so you don’t have to wipe your entire computer later when switching back to stable.

If you have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter.


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