“KernelNext” is the name of the project. The purpose? To update the Linux kernel on select, older Chromebooks so that they may leverage the new Linux app feature that goes by the name Crostini. We reported on the project back in June but it was unclear if or when the update might happen.
At the center of “kernelnext” is the iconic Pixel Chromebook 2015. Although nearing its end of life, Google’s second iteration Chromebook is still a powerful device with a timeless design. It is fitting that users of the $1000+ Pixel should get a little bit of love from developers and the addition of Linux apps should be a reason to rejoice. A recent report from Kyle Bradshaw reveals that some users are starting to see the “kernelnext” update on their devices which has allowed them to enable the experimental flag that activates Crostini.
Enable VMs on experimental kernels.
Enables VM support on devices running experimental kernel versions.
The 2015 Pixel isn’t the only device benefiting from the “kernelnext” project. Along with Google’s flagship Chromebook, eight other Broadwell devices are or will receive the update in the near future.
- Acer Chromebase 24 – Buddy
- Acer C670 Chromebook 11 – Paine
- Acer Chromebook 15 – Yuna
- Acer Chromebox CXI2 – Rikku
- ASUS Chromebox CN62 – Guado
- Dell Chromebook 13 7310 – Lulu
- Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox – Tidus
- Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015 Edition) – Gandof
It appears that the update is currently attached to Chrome OS 77 so you likely won’t see this if you’re in the Stable channel. The Beta channel has recently updated to 77 and it looks like “kernelnext” came along for the ride. There doesn’t seem to be any way to force the kernel update but you can check your device by heading to the settings menu and selecting
About Chrome OS>detailed build information. Under the Platform tab, you should see the board name of your device appended with
-kernelnext if you have received the update.
If you’ve got it and you want to try out Linux apps, you’ll need to head to
chrome://flags, search for the flags referenced above and enable them. Restart you Chromebook and you should find the Linux (Beta) option in your settings menu.
Did you get the update? Drop a comment below an let us know which channel, version and device your using.