Linux apps on Chrome OS made their debut on the Pixelbook at Google I/O this year. Since then, support has come quietly to more Chromebooks, new and old. Here’s a list of all the Chromebooks that support the functionality.
Linux apps on Chrome OS
This is a new feature that allows users to start up Linux applications from Chrome OS without janky hacks or the dreaded Developer Mode. What it doesn’t give you (yet?) is a full desktop environment like Unity or XFCE.
Linux apps on Chrome OS is still far from a complete product. Google calls it project Crostini, and they are still developing it in earnest.
Running Linux apps on Chrome expands the toolset of Chrome OS to support running Firefox, VSCode, Crossover, Android Studio, and more. Google originally marketed towards developers for the initial launch, but the community of tinkerers at /r/Crostini have been pushing the boundary with different apps.
At the bottom of this page we also have a list of Chromebooks that *won’t* receive Linux app support.
Cream of the crop, this was the launch device for Linux apps. If you want the best Linux experience, start saving up. It comes with up to 16GB RAM but prices start at an eye-watering $1000 retail. The processor is fanless, meaning it could throttle under extreme workloads.
Samsung Chromebook Plus (1st generation)
The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a 2-in-1 with a 2400×1600 3:2 screen and Wacom EMR pen input. It has a fanless hexa-core ARM processor and comes with a maximum of 4GB of RAM. It’s not a workhorse, but if you want a Chromebook to use the occasional Linux app, this is your cheapest option. If you have a specific workflow, check that all the apps you need are compatible with ARM. Note that this isn’t the new version Samsung announced earlier this week.
HP Chromebook X2
The first ever 2-in-1 Chrome OS device, the HP Chromebook X2 packs a serviceable punch with a fanless Intel Core M3 7Y30 and 4GB RAM. The display panel is the same as the Samsung Plus and also supports Wacom EMR pen input. An 8GB device was advertised at launch but hasn’t been spotted in the wild yet. Support came just this week
Upcoming devices with support, not yet verified by XDA
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and Chromebook 13
The forthcoming Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and Chromebook 13 are high-end enterprise-grade devices that rival the Pixelbook. Configurations run up-to 16GB RAM and Intel Core i5-8250U. Along with a host of other enterprise devices from other OEMs, we expect the Acer 13s to launch with Linux apps out of the box. Given that they house more powerful fanned processors than the Pixelbook, we recommend waiting for these models if your workflow is particularly intensive.
2018 generation Chromeboxes
Support for Linux apps on the newest generation of Chromeboxes (codename Fizz) arrived in May, so they are a viable product for those looking for a standard workstation. You can get slightly different variations on the 2018 Chromebox from Acer, Asus, Viewsonic, and HP, ranging from low to high-end. Linux app functionality hasn’t been tested in the wild yet so we can’t confirm that.
More on the way
Many more devices are expected to support Linux apps. The technology behind it requires a new Linux kernel so ostensibly new Chromebooks will have it by default.
Older devices will have some kernel modules backported so they can support Linux apps. There are open bugs in the Chromium bugtracker for backporting to 3.18 devices, including ARM devices. We can expect devices going back to 3.14 will eventually get Linux apps too, as the Google Pixel 2015 is targeted for support.
Devices that will never be supported
Unfortunately, some devices don’t make the cut. Bay Trail (a particular generation of Intel CPUs) devices don’t have the required hardware. Devices with kernel versions older than 3.10 also won’t receive support, here’s a non-exhaustive list from the horse’s mouth. If you’re still not sure, head to the official documentation for hardware requirements.
|banjo||Acer Chromebook 15 (2015)|
|candy||Dell Chromebook 11 (2015)|
|clapper||Lenovo N20 Chromebook|
|glimmer||Lenovo Thinkpad 11e Chromebook (2014)|
|gnawty||Acer C730, C730E, C735|
|kip||HP Chromebook 11 G3, G4|
|ninja||Aopen Chromebox Commercial|
|quawks||Asus Chromebook C300|
|squawks||Asus Chromebook C200|
|sumo||Aopen Chromebase Commercial|
|swanky||Toshiba Chromebook 2|
|winky||Samsung Chromebook 2 11|
|butterfly||HP Pavilion Chromebook 14|
|lumpy||Samsung Chromebook Series 5|
|parrot||Acer C7 Chromebook|
|stumpy||Samsung Chromebox Series 3|
|x86-alex||Samsung Series 5 Chromebook|
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