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:
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.
The fact that it was not possible to route traffic on a Crostini container over a VPN has been one of the most annoying bugs for developers who wish to use their Chromebooks to work in a corporate environment. Google has been working on a fix since I reported it over a year ago. The community of Chromebook owners were saddened to report that the fix was pushed back to M76 about 2 weeks ago. It looks like Google is going to squeeze it into M75, specifically in build 12104.0.0 which may hit the developer channel any day now.
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.
Is that a Chromebook in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? I am a huge fan of Chromebooks and absolutely love ChromeOS, this should really come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog. I have been the owner of a first generation GPD-Pocket Laptop for a while now and was wondering if it would be possible to get ChromiumOS to run on the GPD-Pocket. Sadly it is not as simple as downloading one of the pre-made forks of ChromiumOS and booting as essentially nothing works out of the box (but it does boot). I rolled up my sleeves this morning and started building my own custom fork of ChromiumOS.
We know that Google is working on eventually adding the ability to integrate Google Drive with Crostini in the future but this feature is not expected to hit production Chromebooks until sometime next year. Sadly it is also not possible to mount a Google Drive share (or any remote filesystems) at this time as well. Fortunately there is a excellent third party Google Drive client that I have personally used for a few years on my Linux machines called Insync – it turns out that it works in Linux without much of an issue. Here is now to install it:
I have been contacted by serveral readers and seen countless posts on reddit from users who have been forced to powerwash their devices after a unstable “Dev” update to their Chromebook. While I do not recommend that users who demand stability use the “Dev” channel, I do understand why they do as it offers a lot of features that allow a Chromebook to replace their primary machine. I am a firm believer in a saying that says “If it is not backed up, you must not care about it”. As Google does not yet offer a way to backup your device, allow me to show you a simple way to do this via rsync and a remote server.
Over the past few days, instructions to install Debian Packages (.deb) files on ChromeOS via the Chrome OS File Manager have been floating around many major tech sites. I was originally not planning to cover this story as it was already covered so many times however I changed my mind after following the steps on these sites and was not successful. It turns out that they were missing a step – the .deb file needs to be placed in the “Linux Files” mount first. Here are the instructions: