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HowTos

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HowTos

Run Linux apps on your Chromebook

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Linux
HowTos

Chromebooks have been a game-changer for PreK-12 school systems, enabling them to purchase low-cost laptop computers for students, teachers, and administrators to use. While Chromebooks have always been powered by a Linux-based operating system (Chrome OS), until recently, there was no way to run most Linux apps on one. But that changed when Google released Crostini, a virtual machine that allows Chromebooks to run Linux (Beta).

Most Chromebooks released after 2019 and some earlier models can run Crostini and Linux (Beta). Check this list of supported devices to see if your Chromebook is on it. Fortunately, my Acer Chromebook 15 with 2GB RAM and an Intel Celeron processor is supported.

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Create transparency in your game graphics with GIMP

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Gaming
GIMP
HowTos

Whether you're programming a game or an app with Python or Lua, you're probably using PNG graphics for your game assets. An advantage of the PNG format, which is not available in a JPEG, is the ability to store an alpha channel. Alpha is, essentially, the "color" of invisibility or transparency. Alpha is the part of an image you don't see. For example, if you were to draw a doughnut, the doughnut hole would be filled with alpha, and you could see whatever was behind it.

A common problem is how to find the alpha part of an image. Sometimes, your programming framework, whether it's Python Arcade, Pygame, LÖVE, or anything else, detects the alpha channel and treats it (after the appropriate function calls) as transparency. That means it renders no new pixels where there's alpha, leaving that doughnut hole empty. It's 100% transparent or 0% opaque and functionally "invisible."

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