Chromebooks are versatile things as owners of modern devices able to install and run progressive web apps, Android apps, and even desktop Linux ones too.

Now we learn (via Android Central) that Google is gearing up to take Chromebook Linux app support out of beta, which it’s been in since it launched back in 2018.

That’s fairly huge news.

As announced at Google I/O, the upcoming Chrome OS 91 update (due in the next few weeks) will ship with the feature available for users to make use of.

Linux app support isn’t going be enabled by default (just like Android app support isn’t) and Google emphasise that ChromeOS’s Linux apps feature is primarily intended for developers who want to run IDEs and native code editors on their (increasingly powerful) devices:

Google’s plans for Chrome OS in 2021
Blurred Lines
You Can Now Run Desktop Linux Apps on Windows 10 via WSL

Google’s intentions aside, Chromebook owners are free to install any Linux software they want — meaning yes: you can install Firefox, LibreOffice, and GIMP on a Chromebook and use them side-by-side with PWAs Linux app performance is said to be relatively good, especially as Google keeps adding capabilities like port forwarding and GPU acceleration.

Although my own Chromebook is capable of running Linux apps I’m yet to enable the feature myself. But with the beta tag shorn, setup made easier, and the promise of future Linux container updates being rolled out alongside Chrome OS updates, I’m fairly minded to give it ago!

Is being able to run Linux software on a Chromebook likely to make you consider getting one? Is this feature one you’re already using?

Let me know what you think of this development down in the comments.

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