When the public got wind that Google was working on bringing Linux Applications to ChromeOS, some got worried that Google was going to create a proprietary and locked down distribution to run applications on. Fortunately this does not appear to be the case but what exactly is custom about the Google build of Debian? It tuns out the answer is not much.
The following apt repositories are added to /var/apt/list
http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates InRelease http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch InRelease https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages stretch InRelease http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch Release https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages stretch Release
As we can tell, this is a very short list which is a good sign that Google has not touched a lot. The main core of the operating system is still pulling from the upstream Debian repository which means you can both install a massive number of applications and that most updates come directly from Debian. You are also free to install whatever other applications you wish by simply downloading a .deb file or adding a new repository.
Google has included a small number of applications within the Debian image. These packages are updated via the apt repository – as is the standard with Debian based distributions. The packages are as follows:
Package: cros-adapta Package: cros-apt-config Package: cros-garcon Package: cros-guest-tools Package: cros-sommelier Package: cros-sommelier-config Package: cros-sudo-config Package: cros-systemd-overrides Package: cros-ui-config Package: cros-unattended-upgrades Package: cros-wayland
Again, this is a very short list of packages which shows that Google is taking a very light handed approach to the Debian install. Most of the packages are essentially the glue that allows ChromeOS to display Linux applications and allow the automatic authentication that happens when you run a Linux application. You can actually view the source code of all of these application at https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/containers/cros-container-guest-tools/+/master.
The cros-adapta packabe is a very interesting package as it is a fork of the Adapta GTK Theme that has been popular on Gnome based distributions for a while. This gives many Linux applications a theme that feels right at home with ChromeOS.
So to answer my initial question – The Debian install on ChromeOS is very vanilla!