Linux package installs on Chromebooks to show app name, version and details, possibly in Chrome OS 73

Back in September, I pointed out a Chrome OS bug report that had planned to provide more detailed information on a Linux application before actually installing it on a Chromebook. Work has continued on that effort and I recently captured a screenshot to show how it will look in Chrome OS:

This screenshot isn’t from my Pixel Slate; the feature hasn’t been released yet so I don’t have access to it. Instead, this is a work-in-progress capture from the Chromium team as the functionality continues to develop.

As a result, the final implementation could look different. But I’m pretty doubtful that much if anything will change from this image. The original feature description was to add “a details pane in the file manager’s .deb install dialog to provide package name, version, and a description of the package,” which is exactly what this dialog box provides.

The idea here is that when using the native Files app to install a Debian package — essentially a Linux app — users will know more about what it is they’re actually installing before they click that Install button, making the experience a little more user-friendly and informative.

I’ll be watching for this feature in the next release of the Chrome OS 73 Dev Channel since there’s a feature freeze date on February 22 for this version. If the dialog box doesn’t make the cut, look for this addition in Chrome OS 74.

About the author

Kevin C. Tofel has covered technology since 2004. He's used ChromeOS since Google debuted the CR-48 in 2010, reviewing dozens of Chromebooks since then. He worked for Google's Chrome Enterprise team from 2016 to 2017, supporting the launch of Android app support. In his free time, he uses Chromebooks to learn software engineering at Launch School. In 2019, Kevin joined the CS Curriculum Committee at his local community college.

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3 thoughts on “Linux package installs on Chromebooks to show app name, version and details, possibly in Chrome OS 73

  1. That is really an odd way to install a debian package instead of using the apt system. If one installs a packet from the stable repository, is it correctly updated when it receives a security update ?

    1. Behind the scenes, it essentially uses apt AFAIK. This is just an informational dialog. For now, you still have to manually run apt update and upgrade in the Terminal.

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