There’s hope that older Chromebooks will run Linux apps with Crostini

Earlier this month, Google’s official announcement of Linux app support on Chromebooks suggested that the feature required Linux kernel version 4.4. But Project Crostini, the container approach Google is using for this feature, began last year with lower versions of the Linux kernel. Now, there’s evidence that Google is trying to get Linux containers on those lower versions.

XDA Developers noted on Tuesday that the Chromium team is trying to backport certain Linux modules so that Chromebooks on an older Linux kernel can run desktop apps. Instead of pushing an entire kernel upgrade to older devices, it may make sense to make certain required components compatible for Project Crostini.

Chromebook Pixel

In terms of devices, only Samus — the code name of the Chromebook Pixel 2015 — is being tested for this approach but if it passes, other Chromebooks could follow.

There’s no guarantee this will all come to pass; we’ll have to see how the testing goes, as well as any future development on other specifically required Linux modules. This is basically a workaround to the more time-consuming effort to upgrade the full kernel on older devices.

Still, it provides hope to Chromebook users that are currently running on an older Linux kernel but still want the full desktop experience Project Crostini brings.

6 thoughts on “There’s hope that older Chromebooks will run Linux apps with Crostini

  • May 22, 2018 at 3:23 pm
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    I have0 LibreOffice working via FlatPaks on Cloud Ready on an old, underpowered Acer Aspire netbook.

    Reply
  • May 24, 2018 at 10:35 am
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    I hope they at least bring this to the Chromebook Pixel. It was disappointing to find out that the previous gen hero device from ChromeOS hasn’t received the Linux Apps/Crostini. Though, if there is a limitation with the kernel I do get it.

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  • May 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm
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    Hey thanks as always, Kevin. I have an older Samsung Chromebook – XE303C12 – manufactured March 2013. Should I not hold my breath on this ever being able to run Crostini?

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    • May 24, 2018 at 3:36 pm
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      Wow, never say never, but…. if it were me, I wouldn’t hold my breath. That device has 2 GB of memory for starters, which won’t lend itself well to good VM performance. And I’m betting that Google won’t target old devices that don’t make up a reasonable percentage of the current Chrome OS user base. (And surely they have that data) Purely speculation on my part, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they ignored it in this instance. Do you even have Android apps on it? Thinking not. Reason I ask: Android apps run in a similar container.

      Reply
      • May 24, 2018 at 4:47 pm
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        Don’t think I have Android apps on it, haven’t tried running those on it, but I’ll take a look/try. Thanks!

        Reply
  • May 24, 2018 at 10:49 pm
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    The only clear evidence we have is that Google is looking into porting crucial modules to Linux 3.14/Samus that, if all goes well, could lead to that one (older) device gaining the ability to support Linux applications. A lot of things could happen, of course, but no one really knows whether this will go beyond the Google Chromebook Pixel 2, at this stage, despite the confident sounding assertion by XDA Developers on that score.

    Reply

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