On just about a daily basis, I check the Samsung Chromebook Pro to see if “Crostini” has finally been enabled to bring me the new evolution of Linux app support. Sadly, I have been disappointed at every attempt. For good reason, the Kaby Lake generation of processors from Intel has been at the center of the Crostini project if for no other reason than the Pixelbook.
Being that the Core chips of the Skylake flavor are probably the most available “power” Chromebooks at the moment, I was beginning to think developers were having an issue getting Crostini up and running. Whatever the reason, it looks like devices like the Samsung Pro, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer 14 for Work and others may soon see the addition of Linux apps in Chrome OS.
According to recent commits from the Chromium repository, virtualization is being enabled on not only the Skylake SoC (system on chip) but Apollo Lake processors as well.
This should mean that Crostini will soon be available for all Skylake Chromebooks, Core m and i alike. Good news for all of those jilted Samsung Chromebook Pro owners out there.
The second commit shows testing Crostini and VMs on the reef baseboard.
Start Crostini on a reef. Cause kernel panic and check that
console-ramoops still works after enabling vmx
Reef and its variant Coral all power Apollo Lake devices which make up a large portion of the current EDU Chromebooks like the Acer Spin 11, HP Chromebook x360 and Lenovo 500e. We are starting to see more consumer models with these chipsets and they too are built on these baseboards. I, as you may have read, am not a big fan of the Apollo Lake processors. I don’t feel they have offered much in the way of improvement over their Braswell predecessors but still, this update will greatly increase the number of devices that will have a native Linux terminal inside of Chrome OS.
It is unclear as to when this feature will be pushed to Skylake or Apollo Lake Chromebooks but according to Kevin Tofel, the Crostini project has been pushed back to at least version 69 of Chrome OS. So, unless you like tinkering around in the less-stable channels, it may still be a few months before we see this one land in Stable.
Side note: Crostini has been turned on for “Fizz” baseboards which power the latest Kaby Lake Chromeboxes. I had to move to the developer channel to access it but the Acer Chromebox CXI3 I just got in now has the Linux app feature in the settings menu. Stay tuned for a closer look at that device.
Source: Chromium repository