Chrome OS 77 to bring Crostini (Linux beta) to Chromebook Pixel 2015, other older devices

A few months ago, 9to5 Google reported on “kernelnext” in Chrome OS, with the expectation that it was a way to bring the Linux beta, also known as Project Crostini, to some older Chromebooks. Now, the results of that effort are appearing in early builds of Chrome OS 77, reports 9to5 Google: The Chromebook Pixel 2015 and eight other Chrome OS devices are getting Linux support, thanks to an updated kernel.

Here’s a full list of the devices that have this special “kernelnext” build:

  • Acer Chromebase 24
  • Acer C670 Chromebook 11
  • Acer Chromebook 15
  • Acer Chromebox CXI2
  • ASUS Chromebox CN62
  • Dell Chromebook 13 7310
  • Google Chromebook Pixel (2015)
  • Lenovo ThinkCenter Chromebox
  • Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

As Project Crostini was in development, prior to its official release with Chrome OS 69, there was disappointment by many who found out that their Chromebooks and Chromeboxes wouldn’t see the required Linux kernel update for Crostini. It’s taken a long time but at least Linux is finally arriving.

Google Drive files on web and locally in Linux
Google Drive files on the web and in Linux

If you have one of the above-listed devices, you can wait for the Stable Channel release of Chrome OS 77, expected around September 17. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the Dev or Beta Channel of Chrome OS 77 now and enable the feature at chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-kernel-vm-support.

Note that you’ll first need to make sure you have the “kernelnext” build before the flag will work. To check this, hit “About Chrome OS” in the Settings of your device and see if the Platform info ends with “kernelnext”. And if you’re new to Linux, take a look at this post to get you started with the command line.

13 thoughts on “Chrome OS 77 to bring Crostini (Linux beta) to Chromebook Pixel 2015, other older devices

  • August 20, 2019 at 1:12 pm
    Permalink

    When I read this, my first thought is, What in the world would motivate Google to prioritize adding Linux as a feature to **older** Chromebooks? My suspicion (probably wrong) is that re-purposing older Chromebook Pixels as Linux machines for employees could avoid the significant cost of providing them with new machines. Then, while they were at it, someone possibly observed that a negligible amount of additional effort would be required to extend this fix from Chromebook Pixel to other older Chromebooks which similar hardware. No company is so gracious purely out of the goodness of their heart.

    Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 3:40 pm
    Permalink

    Will this mean the AUE date for these models will be extended? I hope so.

    I also hope that it is the beginning of a larger program to roll this feature out to many other CrOS devices that are nearing AUE.

    Reply
    • August 20, 2019 at 3:53 pm
      Permalink

      That’s as likely as Google bringing the Play Store to all the devices still listed as “Planned” after they have already passed their AUP dates.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 3:54 pm
    Permalink

    That’s as likely as Google bringing the Play Store to all the devices still listed as “Planned” after they have already passed their AUP dates.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2019 at 4:49 pm
    Permalink

    hello all,
    I just got myself a refurbished Chromebook Pixel 2015 and I wanted to activate the Linux Beta on my Chrome OS (which I previously switched to developer mode and updated to version 78). I have enabled the feature at chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-kernel-vm-support as mentioned above but still the setting to activate “Linux Beta” is NOT available… What I am missing to activate and install it so that I can use Terminal app and so on??
    Many thanks in advance.

    Here’s some extra info about my Chromebook:
    Google Chrome 78.0.3903.0 (Official Build) dev (64-bit)
    code name: samus

    enable-features=MachineLearningService,SmartDim,EnableBackgroundBlur,KernelnextVMs –ui-compositor-memory-limit-when-visible-mb=512

    Reply
    • September 20, 2019 at 6:05 am
      Permalink

      I’m still waiting for kernel-next as well (samus user also). I’ve heard if you switch between dev and beta you might get lucky but I’ve done it about 10 times and cba anymore. Basically it’s still being A/B tested so it’s unstable. I’m hoping when os77 gets the official release it’ll be ready but until then you can either switch between constantly until you see kernel-next after your firmware or wait patiently

      Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 5:31 am
    Permalink

    Dell chromebook 13 (7310) Lulu
    Updated to OS 77 last night (stable) but no kernel next 🙁 🙁 🙁

    Reply
  • September 30, 2019 at 3:11 am
    Permalink

    Any word yet on how to get “kernelnext” ? would love to get this for my ASUS CN62

    Reply
    • September 30, 2019 at 11:24 am
      Permalink

      I’ve dug around but don’t see much news on this front: It appears that Google is being selective currently on which devices are getting it.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2019 at 9:27 pm
    Permalink

    Still not avail on stable channel for a Toshiba 2 Chromebook (2015)

    Reply
  • November 4, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    Permalink

    Does not seem to be avail in the Beta channel either.

    Version 78.0.3904.92 (Official Build) beta (64-bit)
    Platform
    12499.51.0 (Official Build) beta-channel gandof
    Firmware
    Google_Gandof.6301.155.9

    Reply
    • November 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm
      Permalink

      What is supposed to be the kernel version?

      Mine is still on 3.14

      crosh> uname -a
      Linux localhost 3.14.0 #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Oct 31 23:58:14 PDT 2019 x86_64 Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 3215U @ 1.70GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

      Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 4:45 pm
    Permalink

    Not avail on a Toshiba 2 Chromebook (2015) in the official release of version 78 either. Upgraded today to

    Version 78.0.3904.92 (Official Build) (64-bit)

    Platform: 12499.51.0 (Official Build) stable-channel gandof
    Firmware: Google_Gandof.6301.155.9
    Channel: Currently on stable
    ARC Version: 5978010
    V8: 7.8.279.19
    User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; CrOS x86_64 12499.51.0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/78.0.3904.92 Safari/537.36
    Command Line: /opt/google/chrome/chrome … –enable-features=MachineLearningService,EnableBackgroundBlur,KernelnextVMs –ui-compositor-memory-limit-when-visible-mb=512
    Build Date: Friday, November 1, 2019

    Reply

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