ChromeOS 68.0.3437.0 was released for Pixelbook owners on the “dev” channel on Wednesday and it brings several changes and bug fixes. I have spent the past few days playing around with this release and here is what has changed:
Shared Clipboard Support
When Project Crostini first started to appear on my Pixelbook, I wrote a blog post describing several of the limitations of Crostini. One of the major issues I reported was the lack of a shared clipboard which will cause pain to many developers. I first noticed that the clipboard tried to work in ChromeOS 68.0.3431.0 last week but it was way too buggy to actually want to use. It does however seem fully functional in ChromeOS 68.0.3437.0.
What makes this Shared Clipboard interesting is that this is actually a tri-directional shared clipboard instead of a bi-directional. The clipboard is shared between ChromeOS, Linux and Android! This means you can copy something like SFTP credentials from a Android based Password Manager and paste it into a Linux application.
Linux Filesystem Access in ChromeOS
Likely the most welcomed addition to ChromeOS 68.0.3437.0 is that your ChromeOS file manager can now view the contents of your Linux container’s home directory (/home/username/). You can open, modify and delete files as if you were accessing a flash drive. Thanks to this change, hacks requiring you to setup a SFTP mount are no longer needed.
There are a few limitations with the way the file manager works that you should be aware of:
- It may take a few seconds on a cold boot for the Virtual Machine and Container to start if you click on “Linux Files” after a cold boot. Every other time should be instant
- You are bound adhering to *nix file permissions. All files you create will be owned by you however you cannot modify files owned by other users
- You are limited to your home directory. If you wanted to move contents into another location such as /var/www/html, you would need to first copy it to a folder in your home directory and then move it to your desired location via command line.
- The ChromeOS file manager does not like Symlinks – I tried
The Terminal Works again
Last weeks ChromeOS 68.0.3431.0 update rendered the Terminal Application useless therefore requiring users to either use the old fashioned crosh method to access their container or to install Gnome-Shell. I am happy to report that after installing ChromeOS 68.0.3437.0, the default Terminal Application once again works.