Chrome OS 69 finally brings Linux apps to stable channel

JC Torres - Sep 18, 2018, 10:21pm CDT
Chrome OS 69 finally brings Linux apps to stable channel

Google has recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Chrome browser. That web browser has certainly grown up to the extent that it has become the base for an entire operating system. While Chrome OS doesn’t have anything fancy to celebrate the birthday, release version 69 is still a monumental one. In addition to bringing the UI up to the latest Material Design 2.0, it also marks the long-awaited stable release of a feature that truly extends Chrome OS beyond a mere browser-based OS: Linux support.

It’s not exactly new and those with stronger hearts have been testing out Linux support on unstable branches. In Chrome OS v69, however, the feature is now available in the stable channel so there’s no need to switch to developer branches just to get it. Users will still have to enable it, though. As reported, not all Chromebooks are capable of running what is essentially a Linux virtual machine on top of Chrome OS. Specifically, older Chromebooks with Baytrail processors are left out of the party.

Chrome OS 69 also adds features that make it better as a tablet device, especially when it comes to Android and touch support. That includes a new Files app that makes it easier to access files from the Android side, Night Light support, and a more consistent tablet mode behavior.

Just like the Chrome browser, Chrome OS has grown a lot since the earliest days, when it was seen as nothing but a gateway to Google’s cloud services and apps. While that partly remains true, with Android and, now, Linux app support, it can definitely offer a lot more. Hopefully, the platform will become more attractive to developers to bring popular apps to Chrome OS as well.

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