While the average Chromebook user tends to stick with Chrome OS, Chromebooks are really just lightweight Linux machines capable of a lot more. For years, crafty Chromebook owners have been using Crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment) to run Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali Linux systems within Chrome OS. When set up properly with an extension called Xiwi, you can use a keyboard shortcut to switch between Chrome OS and a standard Linux desktop environment. It’s a hack, but it looks a future version of Chrome OS will add native support for Linux applications via containers.
The first hint about containers in Chrome OS was discovered in October of last year in a Chromium Gerrit commit for the Google Pixelbook. A more recent commit spotted by Chrome Unboxed points to field trial testing for “Project Crostini”, a UI for adding a Linux Virtual Machine to Chrome OS installations. Importantly, unlike the unofficial solution, it doesn’t require hacking your Chromebook to get Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali Linux images up and running in Chrome OS.
It’s available to some users in the latest Developer build of Chrome OS. After Project Crostini has been downloaded (it’s about 200MB in size) and initiated, you get a new option in the Chrome OS Settings menu. From there, once you finish the installation, you can run Linux apps and command-line tools seamlessly and easily from the Project Crostini interface. Not only does Project Crostini allow you to run Linux applications without sacrificing security, but it also gives you access to the Linux terminal, as well.
Google added support for Android applications on Chrome OS a while back, and bringing Linux programs to the operating system is yet another value add for Chromebooks. Depending on how the container feature is implemented, developers and fans of Linux alike could have a brand new device category to choose from.
Source: Chrome Unboxed Source: Chrome Unboxed