run linux apps on a chromebook possibly
Linux apps on Chrome OS: becoming a reality?

Rumour is that desktop Linux apps are coming to Chromebooks, and when they do they may look rather familiar.

Like, Adapta GTK theme familiar.

Reports earlier in the year revealed plans Google has to add Linux virtual machine support in Chrome OS via LXD containers.

We speculated at the time that the move could allow end-users to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks without resorting to existing Crouton-based hybrid-OS solutions.

‘Code commits reveal Google is working on a fork of the Adapta GTK theme’

A few months on from those early, vague leaks and the whole “Linux apps on Chromebooks” thing — which Google codenames “Crostini” — is in full bloom.

A native Terminal app has started showing up to some Chrome OS users already.

If you’re intrigued by all this “Crostini” stuff an excellent place to (try to) keep track of it is the dedicated Crostini sub-reddit. This is where most news, code spots and leaks about the effort originate,

Now a more concrete hint that the bizarro OS thing is actually happening comes by way of the folks at XDA Developers. They uncovered a series of code commits that show Google is working on its ‘own’ GTK theme for Linux apps to use in Chrome OS.

Not just any GTK theme but one forked from the Material Design inspired Adapta GTK theme.

Chrome OS Adapta Fork

the Adapta gtk theme

‘It may even be possible to use this Google GTK theme on Ubuntu ‘

The source code for the “cros-adapta” fork is already up on Google’s code hub.

Commits show that their designers are already busy making changes and adjustments to the theme. It’s probable that a visual divergence from upstream Adapta is the plan (otherwise they could just ship stock Adapta, which is open-source.)

It’s rather poetic: so faithful to the principles of Google’s in-house design language is Adapta that Google is bestowing it, a third-party theme, some degree of officialdom.

You don’t need to use Chrome OS to be excited by this. It may be possible, at least in theory, to use the new Google GTK theme on Ubuntu and other Linux distros.

Google Wouldn’t Need a GTK Theme for CLI Tools, Would It?

Would Google need a fancy theme if Crostini wasn’t aimed at regular users?

Until Google makes a formal announcement about what “Crostini” is and will be most chatter about it is derived from a speculative game of join the dots.

Still, if “Crostini” was a developer-specific tool, a way to get Android Studio on Chromebooks, or even just a CLI-based set-up, then surely Google wouldn’t as fussed about aesthetics as to fork a GTK theme and start developing it.

A Chromebook that can run Android apps, progressive web apps (PWAs) and desktop Linux apps? That’s a really compelling lure.

The Google Pixelbook was built to run powerful apps — with Linux app support in Chrome OS, it might finally be get to…

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