These are the Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that can support Linux apps

With the cat out of the bag and Google announcing Linux apps on Chrome OS devices, I’m starting to see many questions like this one:

It’s a great question since the Linux app support, also known as Project Crostini, has only officially announced for the Pixelbook, which is where I’ve been running such apps. But Google gave us a clue as to what other Chromebooks and Chromeboxes may get Linux containers and it isn’t which processor architecture. Linux support is being worked on for both x86 and ARM chips, so don’t think if you bought an ARM-powered Chromebook that you’ll be on the outside looking in.

Instead, it all depends on which Linux kernel version your Chrome OS device runs on. You’ll need version 4.4 at this point for your Chromebook or Chromebox to use the Linux KVM, or Kernel-based Virtual Machine.

To find the kernel version on your particular device, type chrome://system in the browser and then cntrl+F to open the Find function. Search for uname to see the results. Here are mine from the Pixelbook, showing Linux kernel version 4.4.x:

If you’d rather see a list of all current Chrome OS devices running on Linux kernel 4.4, you can hit this link which has sortable results for each column. Sort the Kernel column by descending and the devices with 4.4 will rise to the top.

As of today, here are the Chrome OS devices running on Linux kernel 4.4 and could support Project Crostini; note that this isn’t a guarantee of future support, but it should give some of you without a Pixelbook hope:

  • Acer Chromebook 11
  • Lenovo ThinkPad 11e / Yoga 11e
  • Acer Chromebook 15
  • AOpen Chromebox Commercial
  • Samsung Chromebook 2
  • HP Chromebook 11 G3
  • Acer Chromebook 15.6″
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 11
  • Toshiba Chromebook 2
  • Lenovo N20 Chromebook
  • AOpen Chromebase Commercial
  • Asus Chromebook C300
  • Samsung Chromebook Plus
  • Asus Chromebook Flip
  • HP Chromebook X360 11 G1
  • Asus Chromebook C200

Keep in mind that while in the past Google wasn’t updating the Linux kernel on older Chrome OS devices, it has been recently testing updates for some devices. So even if your device doesn’t appear on the list today, it may in the future.

Again, this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to run Linux apps on your non-Pixelbook, but it’s a start; without Linux Kernel 4.4, it’s a no go.

4 thoughts on “These are the Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that can support Linux apps

  • May 13, 2018 at 9:27 am
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    The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is listed here as a candidate for crostini, but my linux version is way back on 3.14 and do have the chromebook 2.

    Linux localhost 3.14.0 #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Apr 3 11:45:01 PDT 2018 x86_64 Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-5015U CPU @ 2.10GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

    It looks like that the original chromebook 2 has the 4.4 kernel but the 2015 edition released a full year later is back on 3.14. What the what?

    I have been looking forward to getting android apps on my chromebook 2, and now I wonder if I’ll even get that. Frustrating having bought the newer version to find myself disadvantaged with an older kernel.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2018 at 12:05 pm
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    Acer Chromebook 14 for Work CP5-471 (also Intel Core i3 like JP White’s Toshiba CB2):

    Linux localhost 3.18.0-16510-gb08afe9c5feb-dirty #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Apr 3 12:03:15 PDT 2018 x86_64 Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100U CPU @ 2.30GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

    With its USB-C charging and 8GB ram (but no touchscreen), I had thought this 2016 Acer was somewhat ahead of its time. Oh well.

    Reply
    • July 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm
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      I have the same model, really frustrating, I want to know how long it is that I am going to have to wait, or if it will be supported at all. Otherwise I am going to abandon the chromebook altogether.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2018 at 8:39 pm
    Permalink

    Is it that Google’s Crostini project is only targeting the 4.4.x kernel, or that it is the only kernel version currently in development (which would make sense, seeing as the Pixelbook is running that kernel)? I followed the referenced KVM link and saw that KVM has been around for a decade, a long time since it was implemented in the kernel.

    While the KVM website mentions only x86 processors, Intel-VT, and AMD-V on the main page, this article states that Project Crostini is targeting ARM processors; I’m reading elsewhere that KVM/ARM was adopted by the mainline Linux kernel as of 3.9, so ARM (and possibly x86) systems might see Crostini support on devices running a kernel at least that old, but probably a bit newer.

    My Chromebook, an ASUS C201P is running kernel version 3.14.0 as of 23/6/2018, so I’d need to see an update to 3.9.x before there was even the possibility of Crostini support for my device in a couple years when the project moves forward. By that time, I suppose I’ll have moved on to another device or purchased a different platform entirely, so hopefully progress on the project moves faster than my non-expert, outsider, wild-west worst-guess.

    Reply

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