Chromebooks with Linux app support will soon be able to install Debian packages
Recent code updates indicate forthcoming support for no-fuss Debian .deb package installation on Chrome OS devices that support Linux apps. The forthcoming feature will bring a new flow for installing Linux applications through .deb packages. A string of commits shows that support isn’t simply being turned on, but that all the finicky elements like interacting with the terminal, checking dependencies, and authentication will be hidden from the user.
The user interface flow still hasn’t been finalized, but we can expect that .deb files will be clickable from the Chrome OS Files app, which then triggers the installation in your Linux app container directly with no need for the user to step in when the process trips up. Incidentally, the Files app is getting a major revamp to integrate better with the Android and Linux app environments.
If you’re curious about the full implementation, check out the bug tracker for this feature as it’s rich with in-depth information. You’ll also be able to see when the feature comes to fruition if you star it.
This feature will no-doubt simplify setup and installation for inexperienced users and make interacting with Linux apps less daunting for those not familiar with Linux.
Linux app support (also known as Project Crostini) is maturing fast. What started as a showcase on the Pixelbook two months ago is now available on dozens of devices. We expect Chrome OS version 69 to bring Linux apps to the Stable and Beta channels, but those on the Developer and Canary channels can enjoy all these new features right now.