Project Crostini for Chromebooks explained in 15 minutes (video)

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.

3 thoughts on “Project Crostini for Chromebooks explained in 15 minutes (video)

  • April 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I believe Pixelbooks use Intel chips, right? What are the prospects for ARM based Chromebooks such as my Samsung Plus?

    • April 23, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Correct, but code commits by the Chromium OS team indicate that they’re working on support for other chips as well. Think we’ll have to wait for Google I/O next month for sure, but I’m betting your Samsung Chromebook Plus does get support. Just a guess based on the fact that Google worked with Rockchip to certify the OP1 processor in your device.

  • April 23, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    android studio anyone?


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