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Linux

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Chrome OS v69 stable introduces Linux app compatibility, finalized Material Design changes

The long-awaited Linux support for Chromebooks has just hit the Stable channel. According to the Chrome Releases blog, the consumer-facing release channel is in the midst of being updated to v69, which includes Linux application support — at least, on compatible devices. The update also includes other features, such as a refreshed UI for browsing the filesystem, expanded dictation support for text entry, red-tinted Night Light, and some tablet-centric tweaks (among other smaller changes).

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The best Linux apps for Chrome OS

Slowly but surely, Google is bringing support for Linux applications to Chrome OS. Even though the feature is primarily aimed at developers, like those who want to get Android Studio running on a Pixelbook, there are plenty of apps that can benefit normal users. We already have a guide about installing Linux apps on Chrome OS, but if you're not sure what to try, this post may point you in the right direction.

This isn't a simple compilation of the best Linux apps, because plenty of those exist already. Instead, the goal here is to recommend solutions for tasks that cannot be adequately filled by web or Android apps.

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New Chrome OS v69 beta hits the Pixelbook with Linux support, night light, and more

Google announced Linux app support on Chrome OS back at I/O, but it's been slow to move it out of the dev channel. Finally, the Pixelbook just got a new build of Chrome v69 update that adds the beta Linux support. That's not all—this was a rather major update.

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[Update: Still uncertain] Many older Chromebooks won't get Linux apps, including the 2015 Chromebook Pixel

Google announced earlier this year that Linux apps would eventually be supported on Chrome OS. The feature has been available for months in the Canary and Dev channels, and now works on a variety of Chromebooks from multiple manufacturers. A merged pull request on the Chromium Gerrit now confirms that any device running the Linux kernel 3.14 (or older) will never get Linux app support.

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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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