Last year Google wowed Linux geeks the world over with a feature that lets Chromebook users run desktop Linux apps on Chrome OS.
The feature, dubbed ‘Crostini’ at the time, but now known by the catching title “Linux (beta) for Chromebooks”, continues to improve with each new dev update to Chrome OS (for instance, it will soon add graphics acceleration).
But Google isn’t stopping there.
The search giant now plans to extend the Linux (beta) for Chromebook feature to allow device managers to choose a Linux distro on which it runs.
As one distro does not fit all, this is an important development for developers in particular.
Someone working in the worlds of Red Hat want or prefer a set of tools, setups or distro-specific software configured in a certain way. Similarly, someone working with Snap apps on Ubuntu may prefer having an Ubuntu more beneficial while hacking around with Ubuntu specific technologies.
As per 9to5Google, who spotted the change in Chromium’s codebase:
“Device administrators will be able to designate a URL for Chrome OS to download the Linux distro from a hash to ensure the download was successful. It’s also intended for a license key (if necessary) to be preset. It’s not yet known if any modifications will need to be made to the Linux distro itself to work with Chrome OS.”
Right now the feature appears to be limited to managed Chrome OS devices and device admins. There isn’t, at present, a method for non-managed users to select or choose a Linux distro using the feature (which has the codename “Pita”).
But with this entire effort being a developer-orientated one — a lure for those who think you can’t code on a Chromebook — surely it’d make sense to allows devs to pick and choose their own flavour of Linux?