Every few years, I try to take some time to write an article about the shortcomings of ChromeOS and offer advice to the developers on the ChromiumOS team to consider when implementing new features on ChromeOS. Admittedly, I fully intended this to be a yearly publication; however, I do tend to fall victim to procrastination. This article is not intended to demonstrate that ChromeOS is somehow a sub-par operating system that people should not use; it's quite the opposite, as I feel that if the ChromiumOS team were to adopt these features, it could compel more users to adopt ChromeOS as their primary operating system.
The Chromium team is hard at work with bringing new features to Chromebooks, recently a change was made to set Debian 10 (Buster) as the default operating system for the Crostini “Penguin” container. Unfortunately this change does not upgrade existing installations of from Debian 9 (Stretch) to Debian 10. You are in luck though as upgrading your existing container is pretty easy, here are the steps.
ChromeOS 77.0.3849.0 Fixes Android Application Connectivity Issues and Restores Crostini Backups by Default
If you are on the ChromeOS dev channel, you may have noticed that network connectivity has been hit and miss over the past few weeks and if so, you may want to start mashing your check for updates button now to update to ChromeOS 77.0.3849.0 while reading this post. I am still working my way through the changelog for this build and it is pretty lengthy. Here are the notable changes that I have been able to find so far. This is also the first official beta for ChromeOS 77
Multi-taskers rejoice! ChromeOS 76.0.3809.6 is currently rolling out to those on the Development Channel and it brings a few very welcomed changes including Virtual Desktops and fixing Crostini which has been broken for almost a week. I am still going through the change-logs but I can say that this looks like a very solid build.
The Chrome team has just released the first Developer Build of ChomeOS 76 and it brings at least one welcomed change that eliminates the need to manually enable GPU support on Crostini. I am currently doing a teardown of the build to try to spot other changes and will update this post accordingly.
It has been a crazy year for those watching the rapid evolution of ChromeOS, in fact it has been a month since I first broke that ChromeOS had implemented proper USB support in Crostini 75.0.3759.4. Officially the Crostini USB support is limited to Android Phones, specifically to allow for developers to connect to adb on the phone to test applications on actual hardware however it is possible to pass support to many other devices by activating a hidden flag. There is a myriad of USB devices out there and this article provides a overview of what works and what does not work.
Over the past month, I have been researching Machine Learning and the insane amount of future possibilities that will result in the breakthroughs being made today. Projects like Keras and Tensorflow are pushing the boundaries on what computers are capable of and enabling just about anyone without a multi-million dollar server cluster to get into machine learning. I have built a simple setup script that will automate the process of setting up all of the tools needed to get started with Miniconda, TensorFlow, Keras, Pytorch, OpenCV and more in a ChromeOS Crostini Container. Here is how to get started:
ChromeOS 75.0.3770.10 Rolling out to the Dev Channel – Enables VPN Support in Crostini and other Fixes
Google is currently pushing ChromeOS 75.0.3770.10 to users on the Dev channel. Software developers and Road Warriors all over will start to rejoice when they hear that Crostini containers will finally route connections through a VPN if active on your Chromebook.
ChromeOS 75.0.3761.0 Rolling out to the Dev Channel – Enables Crostini USB by default and Minor refinements
Heads up all ChromeOS users on the Dev channel, Google is currently rolling out ChromeOS 75.0.3761.0 to your devices. After performing a quick backup of Crostini, I took some time to install the update and find out what changed – it seems that it is not much. It is important to backup your “Downloads” folder as many items were deleted after the installation.
ChromeOS 75.0.3759.4 Brings Proper USB Support to Linux Applications and Breaks A Few Things In The Process
With every update to ChromeOS, the folks at Google continue to break the stereotype that “Chromebooks are perfect for your grandmother because they can only surf on the internet”. ChromeOS 75.0.3759.4 was released last night and packs a few useful changes as well as several enhancements: