Linux apps bring a lot to the table for Chromebook users. The ability to have installable applications for which there isn’t a web-based alternative is huge and it could play an integral part in launching Chrome OS to a new level of usability and consumer popularity. Apart from the learning curve involved in navigating Linux apps, another problem that users will face is disk space.
If you’re rocking a Pixelbook with 512GB of NVMe storage, this is likely a non-issue but for many users that have devices with 32GB/64GB drives, space can be quickly consumed. One way developers are battling this crowding issue is with an upcoming change that will allow users to allocated a specified amount of space to be used by Linux apps. The concept is simple. When you install Linux Beta on your Chromebook, you’ll be prompted to set a size for the allotted space.
A more recent change looks to be shrinking the actual Crostini Disk image itself. The current image for Crostini in roughly 4GB which may not seem like much but when you’re using a 32GB device that already has approximately 8GB dedicated to the Chrome OS and you throw in local storage and Android apps, you’ve quickly chewed through every bit of that. The change will shrink the Crostini disk image from 4GB to 2.5GB so that devices with limited storage can still install the image and run without failing when Tast-tests run.
Crostini tast: Shrink the crostini disk image
This shrinks the Crostini disk image from 4GB to 2.5GB. This should allow the tests to run on boards with less space, eg. grunt/kasumi. These boards currently fail before running any tests due to lack of disk space.Chromium Commit
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you can’t currently install Linux apps on a compatible device that only has 32GB of storage. This change is for the purpose of freeing up space for processes used inside of Crostini. For Linux apps themselves, you will only be limited by the amount of free space on your device. You can find the available free space by opening your Files app and clicking the three-dot menu at the top right or go to settings>device>storage management.
I have a lot more great stuff from Command Line headed your way this week. So, stay tuned while we push Linux on Chrome OS to its limits.