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Is your ChromeOS Linux Terminal Broken??? Why not replace it with Gnome Terminal?


If you were like me who found their Terminal application completely broken after upgrading to ChromeOS 68.0.3431.0, you are likely irritated and mashing the update button for a fix to be delivered a few times a day. I got to thinking this afternoon of a workaround, why not replace it with something a bit more reliable – like Gnome Terminal? It turns out that it works flawlessly and is pretty easy to setup. Here are the steps;

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Accessing your Virtual Machine

As a reminder, this is currently only supported on the Google Pixelbook. We will need to start by accessing your virtual machine. Fortunately this can be done from inside of the ChromeOS Shell by following the steps below:

Open a ChromeOS Terminal via (ALT + Ctrl + T) and run the following commands. Make sure you replace with your gmail username (before the If my gmail address were, my unix username will be gmailtest

vmc start termina --container_name=penguin --user=<unixusername> --shell

If you were dropped to a “@penguin” prompt, it means you are now inside of your container. The next few steps will take place inside of that container.

Installing Gnome Terminal

Run the following commands from within the container

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nano gnome-terminal

If everything went well, you should now have Gnome Terminal installed however you will need to do one additional step to allow it to show up in ChromeOS’s Application Launcher. For some reason, ChromeOS cannot use the .desktop launcher that ships with Gnome Desktop but fortunately it is very easy to create our own.

Run the following command to create the desktop entry.

sudo nano /usr/share/applications/GnomeTerminal.desktop

This will open the nano text editor and tell it to create a new desktop entry. Copy the following into that new file.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Gnome Terminal
Comment=Gnome Terminal for ChromeOS

On your keyboard, hit Ctrl+X followed by a “Y” at the prompt to save the entry. You should now be able to locate the “Gnome Terminal” icon from within your ChromeOS Application Launcher. You can even pin this to the system shelf to give you easy access.