Project Crostini Eclipse installed

Project Crostini Linux containers getting updated to LXC 3.0.0 for Chrome OS

Back in March, the team that maintains LXC, or Linux Containers, announced that LXC 3.0.0 was generally available. Now, the Chromium team is working to upgrade LXC from version 2.1.1 to 3.0.0. If you wondering what all this means, let me break it down.

The Linux Containers that Google’s Project Crostini for Chrome OS are built using LXC. Using these containers lets you run a full Linux terminal and apps on a Chromebook. Yes, that’s currently only on the Chrome OS Dev Channel for the Google Pixelbook at the moment but last week Google said it plans to bring the feature to other Chromebooks. They’ll need to have Linux Kernel 4.4.x or better; here’s a list of the current Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that currently meet this requirement.

Chrome OS Files app showing Linux mount
Chrome OS Files app showing Linux mount

Version 3.0.0 of LXC will be supported until June 2023 so over the long term, Google will have a fairly stable Linux container platform for Chrome OS devices, save for minor updates along the way.

I’m still dissecting what the improvements and new features are for LXC 3.0.0 compared to the current version on my Pixelbook, but if you’re interested in the nitty gritty, all of the details can be found here. From my cursory glance, it appears that very little of the changes will have a front-facing effect but instead will be behind the scenes functionality for running Linux apps on a Chromebook or Chromebox. There might be, for example, some minor file path changes for the containers; since this is all still in development, that shouldn’t have a major impact on anyone.

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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2 thoughts on “Project Crostini Linux containers getting updated to LXC 3.0.0 for Chrome OS

  1. Hey everyone,

    LXC and LXD upstream here. For more user-facing changes you should take a look at the LXD 3.0.0 release notes. LXC is the shared library that does all of the heavy lifting behind LXD’s back, i.e. talking all the necessary low-level language with the kernel and running the container. LXD is the daemon that sits on top of it and that users usually talk to when running containers. The release notes are here:

    Thanks for the article. 🙂

    1. Hey, thanks for chiming in with the info, Christian! I somehow found the news release from March but missed the LXD release notes in early April. Appreciate it! 🙂

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