Last week, I demonstrated how to use Google’s Project Crostini to run full Linux apps on my Pixelbook. The technology is coming soon — I fully expect detailed news and a general release at Google I/O next month — but my shared experience doesn’t cover much on how Google is accomplishing this.
This video, from a GDG event presentation last month, helps explain both what Project Crostini is and how it works.
A few takeaways if you don’t have 15 minutes to watch the presentation:
- Linux containers in Chrome OS aren’t the same as full virtual machines, which virtualize hardware as well as software.
- Android apps on Chrome OS already run in containers, so Google is extending this technology using a solution it already has.
- Containers will reportedly install as Chrome Extensions. This is the first I’ve heard this and I’m not sure if it’s accurate. However, it may make sense from a usability standpoint if an extension can run a script to install a Linux app without the user accessing a command line.
- Google may enable full VM support on Chromebooks in the future based on crosvm code, although my interpretation of crosvm is that it still won’t emulate hardware; that could make development with Android Studio a challenge if you can’t emulate a test device.
I’ll continue to monitor Project Crostini developments through Google I/O, so stay tuned.