If you’re using a Chromebook, chances are high that you’re perfectly comfortable using the Chrome browser as your default portal to the internet. However, as the Chrome OS ecosystem continues to expand, more and more users are moving to the platform and some of them may want other options. Because of the nature of Chrome OS, you’re out of luck if you want to install a secondary browser directly onto the main operating system. Thankfully, there are curious people out there that like to ask me questions that lead me to figure out new and inventive ways to do cool stuff on Chrome OS.
One option for a second browser is to try out something from the Play Store. The only problem there is that you’re now using a mobile browser on a desktop and who wants that? So, we turn to Linux. More specifically, the Crostini project that brought Linux apps to Chrome OS. I’ve tested a few browsers built more specifically for Linux and the majority of them work as well as you’d expect. You can even install the Gnome Software Center and install a variety of browsers directly from there if you want to go that route. That’s all fine and well but one browser that is known far and wide among the tech-savvy and privacy-focused is the Chromium-based Brave Browser.
Built to block ads and trackers, Brave boasts that their browser can attain speeds twice that of Chrome. Where Brave differs from many other ad-blocking platforms is that it was designed to create an alternative traditional to advertising platforms by offering publishers and users a way to be part of a privacy-respecting revenue sharing program. When you browse the site of a verified Brave Publisher, they benefit by receiving BAT (Basic Attention Tokens). Users are also rewarded with BAT when they allow a limited number of ads to display on sites they browse. I’ll save you the long, drawn-out argument about the pros and cons of this type of advertising model. If you want to learn more about Brave and the Basic Attention Token at the foundation of its revenue, you can do so here.
Now, let’s get to the matter at hand. If you clicked on this article, you likely are already familiar with Brave and want to know how to install it on a Chromebook. Until recently, the “unofficial” method for installing Brave on Linux would not work on a Chrome OS device but recent updates have changed all of that. With a few, simple steps, you can install and use the Linux version of the Brave Browser on your Chromebook and use it just as you would Chrome or anything else. We’ll go through the steps from the beginning for those who haven’t dabbled with Linux on Chrome OS.
First, make sure your device is up-to-date. Head to the settings menu and click “About Chrome OS.” Click “check for updates” to see if you are on the latest version of Chrome OS. Now, it’s time to enable Linux on your Chromebook. Head back to the settings menu and look for Linux (Beta) on the left-hand menu. Click the Linux tab and select “Turn on.” You’ve then be prompted to install Linux on your device. Select install and sit back while the magic happens.
Once the process is finished, you should see a pop-up window with a black background and yourusername@penguin:~$ that looks like something from a TRS-80 computer. (Google it) This is the Linux terminal. It is where you can install, update and interact with Linux apps, among other things. Now, before we begin installing Brave, there are a couple of housekeeping tips to cover. Just to ensure all of your Linux packages are up-to-date, run the following command:
sudo apt update
*Pro-tip: To paste in the terminal, copy as you normally would then use two fingers to click into the terminal. Your command should paste into the command line. Press enter if the command doesn’t automatically fire.
After running that command, you will probably see the following error.
W: GPG error: https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/79 stretch Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 78BD65473CB3BD13 E: The repository 'https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/79 stretch Release' is not signed. N: Updating from such a repository can't be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default. N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuratio
No worries. This is irrelevant to what we’re doing but if you’re like me, you don’t like it and may want to fix it. It is a simple case of an expired repository key. You can download the new ones by running the following command in the terminal. If you don’t care, skip to the next step.
sudo apt-key adv --refresh-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com
Okay, the last step before we install Brave. We will now upgrade any packages that were downloaded when we ran the
sudo apt update command. Run the following command and press “Y” if you are prompted to install any packages.
sudo apt upgrade
You’re all set and now we’re ready to install the Linux desktop version of the Brave Browser. In the terminal, paste the following command all in one fell swoop and let the process complete.
sudo apt install apt-transport-https curl curl -s https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/brave-core.asc | sudo apt-key --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/brave-browser-release.gpg add - echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://brave-browser-apt-release.s3.brave.com/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list sudo apt update sudo apt install brave-browser
You should end up with something in the command line that looks like this:
'username'@penguin:~$ sudo apt install brave-browser Press enter and the installation process will finish. Once it’s done, you should find the Brave Browser in your app drawer. Additionally, you can type
brave-browser in the command line and hit enter to fire up Brave.
This all may seem a little much when you can just use your Chromebook in its natural state with the Chrome browser but I know that there are many who like to try new things and perhaps like having an alternative. Brave is a great browser and it is very fast. I don’t think I could ever get used to using a third-party web browser on my device but for those of you who were looking, now you know how to install Brave. You can also find the mobile and desktop versions of the Brave Browser here. Stay tuned for more how-tos in the future as we unbox all the new potential that Linux apps have brought to Chrome OS.