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Chrome OS Gets More Closely-Knit With GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Chrome OS will soon let you search for and install Linux apps from the launcher

    We’ve talked a lot about Chrome OS‘ ability to install various Linux applications. From supporting the ability to install Debian packages to some kernel modules being backported so that older Chrome OS devices can support Linux apps. There has been a lot of activity in this area in the last 12 months. This added support is a big deal for a lot of people with some saying it’s the biggest change to Chrome OS since the added support of Android apps. Now, some new details have been discovered that suggest Chrome OS will soon let you search for and install these supported Linux apps directly from the launcher.

  • Chrome OS Launcher May Soon Be Able To Search For And Install Linux Apps

    The entire Crostini (Linux apps on Chromebooks) effort has moved along quite quickly when you think about it. In just 6 short months, we’ve gone from not having an official option for Linux apps (though Crouton is and was an amazing effort) to seeing a majority of Chromebooks gain baked-in access to Linux on Chrome OS.

    While we’re still eagerly awaiting a few big, missing features (audio and GPU acceleration), the core pieces are falling into place quite nicely and many users are already finding great workflows with their favorite Linux apps on Chrome OS.

  • Chrome OS may let users find new Linux apps from the App Launcher

    Chrome OS has always been based on Linux, but with its new beta support for Linux apps, the system has been opened to a wealth of powerful new applications otherwise inaccessible. The problem is, unless you’re already a Linux guru, you likely have no idea what those Linux apps are. Google is looking to fix this by making Linux apps you can install discoverable from the Chrome OS app launcher.

    In a new commit posted last night to Chromium’s Gerrit source code management, we see our first signs of returning behavior for Chrome OS’s app launcher. From the handy search tool, you will be able to search for Linux apps beyond just the ones you already have installed.

  • Chrome OS may allow Linux software to be installed from the launcher

    Chrome Story discovered a commit on the Chromium repo which adds the ability to search for and install Linux packages from the Chrome OS launcher. The bug tracker description reads, "Add APT search into Chrome OS App Launcher, so that uninstalled Linux packages and Apps can be searched for and installed via the App launcher." The feature doesn't appear to be live on Chrome OS Canary yet, but the flag will be called #crostini-app-search.

‘Linux for Chromebooks’ May Let Chromebook Owners Choose Which Distro to Use

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Last year Google wowed Linux geeks the world over with a feature that lets Chromebook users run desktop Linux apps on Chrome OS.

The feature, dubbed ‘Crostini’ at the time, but now known by the catching title “Linux (beta) for Chromebooks”, continues to improve with each new dev update to Chrome OS (for instance, it will soon add graphics acceleration).

But Google isn’t stopping there.

The search giant now plans to extend the Linux (beta) for Chromebook feature to allow device managers to choose a Linux distro on which it runs.

As one distro does not fit all, this is an important development for developers in particular.

Someone working in the worlds of Red Hat want or prefer a set of tools, setups or distro-specific software configured in a certain way. Similarly, someone working with Snap apps on Ubuntu may prefer having an Ubuntu more beneficial while hacking around with Ubuntu specific technologies.

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Also: Global PC shipments fell for seventh straight year in 2018

Chrome OS may soon let companies choose their own distro for Linux apps

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Midway through last year, Google launched one of my favorite features of Chrome OS, Linux app support. As it stands, this support works through a virtualized Linux, based on Debian. However, there’s many, many flavors of Linux out there, each with their own pros and cons. Google seems to be accounting for that with the ability for companies to choose their own Linux distro for Chrome OS’s Linux apps support.

Some companies are very particular about which operating systems their employees run company programs on, usually in an effort to keep their secrets safely in-house. Google is no exception to this, having their own “gLinux”, a modified Linux distro based on Debian, with Google-specific enhancements. Using this distro is a requirement for many work-related tasks Googlers need to accomplish on a daily basis.

With these tight restrictions in place, some enterprise users won’t be able to make the most of Chrome OS’s new Linux app support for their work needs. To that end, Google is creating a way for companies to provide an alternative Linux distro for managed Chrome OS devices, using device policy.

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Also: Is System76 Hardware Reliable? My Lemur Laptop 3, Years Later

Chrome 73 Enabling The Mojo Video Decoders For Linux

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Google
Web

The upcoming Chrome 72 release enables the "Mojo Video Decoders" by default on Windows while that milestone is set to be realized for Linux systems with the following Chrome 73 web-browser update.

Mojo Video Decoders? This work hasn't been talked about by Google as much as many of their other web browser efforts. In fact, I wasn't even familiar with it until a Phoronix reader (h/t Tim R) pointed out a patch enabling this next-gen video decode code for Linux desktop systems. Since just before the holidays, the Chrome/Chromium code enabled Mojo Video Decoders by default on Linux systems.

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New Cheap Chromebook and Recycled Computers With GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Acer’s New Chromebook is Cheap, Big, And One of the First to Run an AMD Processor

    At CES 2019 Acer took the wraps off a new Chromebook, and it’s one of the first to use an AMD processor. Like so many of the company’s other Chromebooks, it’s an entry-level model.

    At first blush, there isn’t really anything remarkable about the Chromebook 315, but a quick peek under the hood reveals its AMD A-Series processor. While that chip on its own is nothing to write home about, its inclusion in a Chromebook is, since most Chromebooks use either Intel or ARM-based silicon.

    Acer makes the second company to announce an AMD-powered Chromebook at CES (HP also announced one), proving that AMD is looking to start edging its way into the Chromebook market. While both of the current AMD ‘books are very much entry-level machines, more options are never going to be a bad thing.

  • Ten Years After - Part 1

    2008 was a pivotal year for me. For those who do not know, my project places repaired computers into the homes of financially disadvantaged students.

    In 2008, The HeliOS Project was invited to become an affiliate of Software in the Public Interest. That was a huge deal for us in that it allowed us to offer tax receipts for donations. I never fully realized just how important this is until I was able to provide this documentation to donors. It tripled our hardware donations within 90 days of becoming part of SPI.

    It was also the year that HeliOS began our work in earnest. We had potentially stacks and stacks of computers then, as opposed to the half dozen or so out in my garage on any given day. With that growth, we were able to get down to business, the way I had always planned this project to grow. In 2008, we places 291 computers into the homes of disadvantaged kids in and around the Austin area.

  • Computer buffs flock to Ubuntu group to learn more about free OS

    Rochester Hills resident Scott Bicknell got his hands on an older laptop that was headed for the trash.

Asus Enters the Small but Growing Chrome OS Tablet Market

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Google
Hardware

Full tablets powered by Google’s Chrome OS are thin on the ground, but with the Pixel Slate now making its way to users’ hands, it’s growing faster. Asus, frequent Chromebook manufacturer, is introducing its first model at CES.

The Chromebook Tablet CT100—which, yes, is a tablet and not a “book” of any note-like description, and lacks a keyboard—shares a lot of similarities with the first Chrome OS tablet from Acer. Its 9.7-inch, 2048×1536 screen runs on top of a Rockchip ARM-based processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, making its hardware closer to an entry-level iPad than a Pixel competitor. Expansion comes from a MicroSD card slot and a USB-C port.

Asus claims that it’s designed the CT100 with “young kids” in mind, and to that end has coated the body with rubber that can stand a drop from a meter. 2MP and 5MP cameras on the front and rear are nothing to write home about, but the included stylus slides into its own bay in the tablet, something that’s not always a given in today’s market.

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Fuchsia OS-Android Linked

Filed under
OS
Android
Google
  • Google's futuristic Fuchsia OS will run Android apps

    A new update to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), spotted by 9to5Google, suggests Fuchsia will use a special version of the Android Runtime (ART) to run Android apps.

    This feature would enable devices with Fuchsia — which could be anything from PCs to smart speakers — to take advantage of the abundance of Android apps in the Google Play Store.

    In a note on the AOSP site regarding Fuchsia device targets, Google explains that "these targets are used to build ART for Fuchsia".

  • Google’s Open Source Fuchsia OS Will Support Android Apps

    When we talk about any open source operating system, most of the times it’s based on Linux or BSD. It rarely happens that there’s a new operating system kernel is being developed as it requires tons of work.

    This is where Fuschia comes in. It is Google’s upcoming operating system with a new kernel (Magenta) that’s being developed at a fast pace and we often keep coming across different development news related to it. The latest report has further hinted that Fuchsia OS will support Android apps.

  • Google's Fuchsia OS will seemingly support Android apps

    Looks like Google won't make your Android apps obsolete whenever it switches to the Fuchsia operating system.

    A file posted on the Android Open Source Project suggests that the search giant is implementing a specially made version of Android Runtime (ART) -- the architecture used by the apps -- in the upcoming operating system, as previously reported by 9to5Google.

    "These targets are used to build ART for Fuchsia. They differ from usual Android devices as they do not target specific hardware. They will produce a fuchsia package (.far file)," the entry says.

Google and Privacy Leftovers

Filed under
Google
OSS
  • Google Code-in 2018 – My First Experience as a Mentor in KDE

    During the last months I had the opportunity to participate in Google Code-in 2018 as a mentor for the KDE Community. I’ve created tasks and assisted pre-university students aged from 13 to 17 in their first contributions to free software projects.

  • Chrome OS Linux apps get new display density toggle for high-DPI devices like Pixelbook

    Chrome OS gained a whole host of new applications to use last year when Google officially released Linux apps support, internally known as Crostini. Unfortunately, many of these Linux apps looked very small on Chrome OS devices like the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate, which have high resolution displays. The latest Chrome OS Developer build includes a new, simple display density fix to get your Linux apps looking correct.

    Certain apps, like GIMP, don’t always handle the intricacies of display scaling very well, especially with the additional layer of being run on a virtual Linux inside of Chrome OS. Up to this point, power users had been attempting to manage the display density manually from the command line.

  • 2018 and 2019

    2018 is over and 2019 starts. This is a great opportunity to look back, reflect and to try to look into the future. I predict that 2019 will be a very good year for privacy, open source and decentralized cloud software. Maybe even the mainstream breakthrough of federated and decentralized internet services!

    [...]

    This year, Europe introduced the GDPR to regulate the collection of private data. I believe it is a good start and think we ultimately we need rules as described in the User Data Manifesto
    I expected that people in the US and Asia wouldn’t take the GDPR seriously and make fun of Europeans tendency to ‘over-regulate’. So I was surprised to see that the GDPR was widely praised as a step into the right direction. People in Asia and Europe are already asking for similar regulations in their markets, California has already announced its own variant of the GDPR with the California Consumer Privacy Act.

F2FS Gets More Fixes In Linux 4.21 With The File-System Now Supported By Google's Pixel

Filed under
Linux
Google

The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) has some new features for the current Linux 4.21 development cycle but it's mostly fixes stemming from increased testing with Google now supporting this flash-focused file-system for their Pixel device line-up.

Jaegeuk Kim, who started developing F2FS years ago while employed by Samsung and then since transitioned to Google almost two years ago, sent in these F2FS patches on Friday for the Linux 4.21 merge window. The F2FS maintainer mentioned they have been focusing on bug fixes with Pixel devices now shipping with F2FS. The fixes include taking care of some encryption issues, better idle time tracking, and a number of garbage collection fixes.

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Chrome OS to test early GPU support for Linux apps soon

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

If you’ve kept up with Chrome OS in the past six months or so, you’ll know that one of the more interesting new features to launch is Linux apps support. While this has potential to introduce all sorts of new applications to Chrome OS, there are some features missing that hold it back, in this early stage. One of the most anticipated features, graphics acceleration (or GPU support), necessary for running Linux games and some other apps, will be available to test soon on Chrome OS.

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Also: Chrome OS Camera App Is Now Open Source

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