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
As a note, this changelog is MASSIVE at over 45 MB of text.
Android Connectivity Issues Resolved
Android applications on ChromeOS have been hit and miss since the release of 76.0.3809.38 in late June, specifically many have been unable to connect to the internet. This seems to be fully resolved in 77.0.3849.0.
Crostini Backups Enabled by Default
On 76.0.3809.38, the Chromium team disabled backups of Crostini by default in order to resolve a few outstanding issues. They seem to have reverted this change in 77.0.3849.0 as it is now enabled by default. It should be noted that every backup I have attempted on 77 has failed so I am not sure if Google has resolved the underlying problems.
It seems like Google is prepping some major changes to the built in U2F token on the Pixelbook (and other “supported models”), this may resolve some of the security issues present with Google’s Implementation. The new flag “user_keys: Enable user-specific keys.” can now be found in Crosh.
New Flag – Restrict Crostini on Experimental Kernels
Per the changelog, this is pretty self explanatory.
As part of the kernel uprev process devices may receive kernel support
for VMs. In these situations it would be nice to allow the user to
enable Crostini. However, while the kernel is in its experimental
rollout phase for a given device there is no guarantee the kernel won’t
be reverted to a version without VM support. As a compromise, let’s
still allow users to enable Crostini when supported, but guard it behind
an experiment flag so users are forced to acknowledge the possibility of
More VMC Commands Added
There are several more command line arguments in Crosh for the VMC command used to manage Crostini instances.
[ start [–enable-gpu] <name> |
stop <name> |
create [-p] <name> [<source media> [<removable storage name>]] [– additional parameters]
destroy <name> |
disk-op-status <command UUID> |
export <vm name> <file name> [<removable storage name>] |
import [-p] <vm name> <file name> [<removable storage name>] |
share <vm name> <path> |
unshare <vm name> <path> |
container <vm name> <container name> [ <image server> <image alias> ] |
usb-attach <vm name> <bus>:<device> |
usb-detach <vm name> <port> |
usb-list <vm name> |
ARCVM will eventually replace the ARC+ environment for running Android applications and it seems the Chromium team is hard at work adding features such as USB pass-through support – a feature lacking in ARC+. ChromeOS will automatically attach USB devices to ARCVM unless instructed to share to Crostini via the “Attach UI” prompt. These USB devices will be attached at the kernel level and standard Android APIs will work to address these devices which means items like Webcams, MIDI Devices and Microphones should all work.
ARCVM will also share a lot of code with Crostini and rely on Concierge instead of a dedicated start script such as what is currently in use on ARC+
PluginVM was first spotted a few weeks ago in ChromeOS 76 but it seems to be all over the changelogs. This helps us get more insight into how this will work. So far, I can confirm that:
- It will be limited to the primary profile on the machine
- It will “Show a notification when Plugin VM fails to launch due to an invalid license“
- It will be managed via the same “vmc” command as well as a GUI
- Applications will coexist with Android and Crostini Applications
- Additional UI strings have been added