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How To Install & Run Linux Apps On a Chromebook

Installing and running Linux applications on a Chromebook expands its capabilities with additional productivity tools. This guide explains how to install and run Linux applications and suggests some use cases.

If you don’t already know, the latest versions of Chrome OS allow you to install Linux natively without having to create a separate installation. The Debian distribution is installed by default. There is currently a feature request that will give you the option to install other distributions such as Ubuntu or Fedora.

Check your Chrome OS version


To install Linux apps on a Chromebook, you must have Chrome OS 69 or later. Check which version you have installed:

If you are not using the latest version, you will see Check for Updates. Download the latest version and restart your Chromebook


Enable Linux (beta)
  • Begin by going to Settings. Scroll down the page until you see Linux (beta) .
  • Click the Run button.

If you don’t see this option, it means your device is not supported. You will need to upgrade to a newer model in order to use Linux applications.



Use terminal commands to install applications

Linux terminal commands are an easy way to get started. Start by typing the following commands in Terminal and then hit Enter:

– /

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-i upgrade

On the desktop, Linux requires you to enter a password when using the sudo command. This is not necessary on your Chromebook

Install Linux Applications on Chromebook
  • You are now ready to install Linux applications with the following command:

sudo apt install [application name]

During installation, you will see a lot of text scrolling across the screen as you download, unpack, and install components.


Installed Linux apps reside inside the Chrome OS launcher along with web apps, Android apps, and whatever else you have on your device.

Not sure which apps to try? Below are some of the best app solutions for tasks that Android and web apps aren’t doing enough.


While the easiest ways to edit documents on Chromebooks are Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs, these platforms cannot open all file formats.

LibreOffice is an open source alternative office suite that supports a wide variety of file formats and works across multiple platforms.


LibreOffice includes:

To install LibreOffice on your Chromebook, use the following command from Terminal:

sudo apt install -i libreoffise libreoffice-gtkz

This command will install two packages. The first is LibreOffice The second is a plugin that allows it to match the Chrome OS Linux theme.


GIMP is a powerful photo editor. Users can perform several tasks, including painting with different brushes, using multiple layers of an image, and blurring parts of an image.


With GIMP, users can open and save various file types, including BMP, JPEG, PNG, and PSD.

sudo apt install -y flatpack

sudo flatpak install https://flathub.org/repo/appstream/org.gimp.GIMPflatpakref -y

Visual Studio Icon

Visual Studio Code is a code editor with many features including debugging, Git support, and autocomplete for popular languages.




For those looking for a standalone email and calendar program, Evolution is the app you’ll want to download. It combines your contacts, email, calendar, notes and tasks into a single user-friendly interface.


Evolution works well with any standard POP or IMAP accounts, as well as Gmail.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: gnome3-team / gnome3-staging

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install evolution

Install and run Linux apps on your Chromebook to add functionality, expand its potential as a business tool, and improve the Chromebook experience.

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