Chrome OS might soon let Linux apps dip into Android folders

JC Torres - Nov 20, 2018, 6:59pm CST
Chrome OS might soon let Linux apps dip into Android folders

Google seems to grooming Chrome OS to be the one OS that runs them all. Well, almost all since, at the moment, it can only run Chrome apps, Android apps via Google Play Store, and Linux apps via the Debian GNU/Linux distro. But while that arrangement might seem like the perfect setup, at least for users who prefer Linux over, say, Windows or macOS, reality isn’t all sunshine and roses. It might be, soon, if Linux programs will finally be able to access Android files and folders.

Almost like Chrome itself, Chrome OS’ triple platform play is all about sandboxing and communicating minimally over fences. Native Chrome OS files, Android “Play files”, and “Linux files” all live in their own separate walled gardens. They do share at least a single Downloads folder but, beyond that, you’ll have to find workarounds and roundabout methods just to get one file from one OS to another.

A recent source code change spotted by 9to5Google sparks hope that things will be changing soon. If the commit is approved, Linux applications should be able to access the Android side’s folders as normal. For something that sounds so beneficial to users, you’d think there’d be little opposition to the change.

Unfortunately, the situations isn’t as clear-cut as it may sound. The sandboxes around the different operating systems exist to maintain system security and integrity. Some developers fear that such an overarching access could be exploited to harm one or all platforms installed.

That, however, is not an excuse not to find a suitable compromise, especially if it means increasing Chrome OS’ usability. Because while it’s definitely great that you can have three kinds of apps running on the same Chromebook, it actually feels more like you’re running three, almost unrelated, computers that are simply connected through a single folder.

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