One of my favorite announcements from Google I/O was Linux app support for Chromebooks. Starting with Chrome Dev 68, you can install Android Studio, Wine, Git, Visual Studio Code, and thousands of other Linux applications on the Pixelbook. The company didn't reveal many details at the time, but now we know a bit more about how it works and when to expect it.

People familiar with the project's development told The Register that Chrome 68 will be the first release with basic Linux app support. It's powered by a virtual machine Google developed called 'crosvm,' and a set of tools is installed on the Linux system to better integrate with the host OS (symlinks, the 'cros-adapta' GTK theme, etc). In other words, it's akin to running VirtualBox with guest additions installed.

Since this is a full-on VM instead of a chroot, which is what crouton uses to run Linux on Chromebooks, there is a slight performance drop. Reportedly, only about half of all Chromebooks have the horsepower for a decent Linux developer experience. It's not clear if Linux app support will be limited to select Chromebooks, but I hope that's not the case. Even though Android Studio definitely wouldn't run on $200 Chromebooks, simpler tools like Git and Atom would probably still work well.

The Chrome OS team is reportedly having issues with integrating sound and graphics drivers, which probably wouldn't be a surprise to Linux users. The team is aiming for these issues to be solved by Chrome 71, which is expected in December of this year.