GOOGLE LOOKS to be preparing to offer Linux support to its Chrome OS users.
As reported in BetaNews, Google has slipped a new terminal app into the latest Canary (alpha) build of its web-based operating system, and that is being taken as a sign that the long-rumoured arrival of alternative OSes for Chromebook devices could be imminent.
If that wasn't enough, a new commit in the parent Chromium OS offers "new device policy to allow Linux VMs on Chrome OS." Which about seals it.
Read the accompanying Gerrit documentation and you get further confirmation: "At this time, in order for Linux VMs to run, the Finch experiment also needs to be enabled. After this feature is fully launched, the Finch control logic will be removed."
It's not important what The Finch Experiment is (apart from a 1970s BBC drama that never was), but Finch is a type of terminal based chat client so it could be to do with that. Or something different entirely.
When this project is working it will enable some settings called "Better Together". We know that Crostini is about virtualising apps for Chrome, so it may be that you'll be able to run some apps built for Linux inside Chrome - rather like Ubuntu's Snaps.
Plus of course, if you're virtualising Linux, that means you can virtualise Windows apps as well, using WINE.
There are even some rumours that Windows 10 will soon run on the Pixelbook.
All this has been based on leaks and discoveries made since the prospect of Linux on Chrome OS first gathered a head of steam a couple of months ago.
One catch. At the moment, it doesn't work. Click the Terminal icon at the moment and you get sweet diddly. It does have a telling description:
"Develop on your Chromebook. You can run your favourite native apps and command-line tools seamlessly and securely." but very little else.
We'd guess this is another thing for our growing list of expected revelations for Google I/O. µ
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