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Linux

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How to install Linux applications on Chrome OS

One of the most exciting new features in Chrome OS is the ability to run applications designed for Linux. Most software that can run on Ubuntu, Debian, or other Linux distributions will work. This is the first time it has been possible to (officially) run traditional desktop software on Chromebooks, and the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, the feature is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't already have experience with Linux. In this guide, we'll show you how to set up the Linux container on your Chromebook and how to install applications.

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Chrome OS can now install Linux apps from .deb packages

Linux applications are usually distributed in one of two ways - through a software repository, or by downloading an installer package from a website. For example, the Steam download page offers a .deb package for Linux users. Even though Linux app support on Chrome OS is improving rapidly, there has never been an obvious way to install .deb packages - until now.

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Linux app support is coming to at least 18 more Chromebooks

Google announced Linux app support in Chrome OS back at I/O, but the Pixelbook was the only compatible device at first. Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer have gained support since then, but Google's latest code addition to Chrome OS points to a raft of devices following suit very soon.

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Two unofficial desktop apps for YouTube Music and Android Messages

An unofficial yet popular Google Play Music app for desktop has picked up YouTube Music support. Developer Samuel Attard updated the app Monday — just weeks after YouTube Music officially debuted. The app makes it easier to enjoy Google’s streaming service without having to deal with the fiddly browser experience.

Separately, a desktop app for Android Messages has also been launched.

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Acer Chromebook 13 and Spin 13 may be first Chromebooks to ship with day-1 Linux app support

Google revealed Linux app support for Chromebooks at this year's I/O conference, but at the time the only supported device was the first-party Pixelbook. The 2nd device to get the feature was Samsung's ARM-powered Chromebook Plus, and other recently released devices Like HP's Chromebook x2 haven't had Linux app support at all. But, if a recent commit is any indicator, Acer's Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 may be the first Chromebooks to run Linux apps from day 1, no update necessary.

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AsteroidOS 1.0 is a promising open-source smartwatch OS with plenty of room for improvement

When smartwatches first hit the market several years ago, I immediately hopped on board. As an avid lover of watches, I found myself very interested in the concept of wearing a timepiece that also doubled as a notification mirror for my phone. At the time, I worked in jobs where phone use was either discouraged or outright prohibited, whether by policy or the frantic pace of the position. But unfortunately for me, I have a compulsion to know what's going on with my phone at any and all times — I can't just ignore my phone going off. So smartwatches offered me a chance to keep my phone in my pocket, but still be kept apprised of my incoming notifications.

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Linux app support arrives on the Samsung Chromebook Plus

Google officially announced Linux app support on Chrome OS at I/O 2018, but until now, the only supported model has been the Pixelbook. The Linux VM requires a kernel version that many Chromebooks don't have, but with Google backporting the required functionality to earlier kernels, we can only speculate which models will actually be supported.

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AsteroidOS, an open-source Wear OS alternative, now available as a stable release

A few years ago, a French computer science student named Florent Revest undertook a project to keep Android Wear smartwatches from dying of obsolescence. That project is called AsteroidOS, built entirely on GNU/Linux libraries and technologies, and in its current state, it's fairly basic. Even so, for all fans of open source software out there, this is pretty damn great.

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Linux apps in Chrome OS won't get proper sound and graphics support until December (at the earliest)

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.

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Google officially announces Linux app support on Chrome OS

The first evidence of Linux application support on Chrome OS appeared in February, with a Terminal app showing up on Chrome OS Dev soon after. Google has also been working on its own GTK theme, and just a few days ago, Linux app support began rolling out on the Dev channel.

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