The best Linux apps for Chromebooks

Having the ability to set up Linux apps on Chrome OS opens up some attention-grabbing new chances — specifically in case you are a complicated person.

In any case, whilst a Chromebook’s usual combo of cyber web apps, Chrome apps, and Android apps is greater than enough for many other people’ wishes, a few of us nonetheless require (or possibly simply favor) conventional native techniques for sure explicit functions. The presence of Linux apps on Chrome OS method we will be able to have our cake and devour it, too — by way of taking part in the rate, simplicity, and safety of a Chromebook whilst additionally embracing the occasional heavy-duty desktop app.

Except you are a Linux veteran, regardless that, understanding the place to start out is not precisely simple. Linux apps are a complete different global from the common realm of desktop tool, in the case of each what titles are to be had and the way you pass about discovering and putting in them.

Smartly, believe this your cheat sheet: I have spent considerable time exploring and trying out numerous productivity-oriented Linux apps to peer what works absolute best and makes probably the most sense within the Chrome OS atmosphere. Those are the techniques I might suggest — and they are all totally loose to make use of.

Prior to you start, you can wish to verify that your Chromebook is in a position to operating Linux apps after which set it up to take action. If you have not but achieved that, click on over to my step by step information to get began — then come again right here as soon as you have got the entirety up and operating.

LibreOffice: An absolutely featured native place of business suite

These days, you have got no scarcity of choices for phrase processing, spreadsheet paintings, and presentation advent on a Chromebook. You’ll use Google’s personal Medical doctors place of business suite, after all, or you’ll be able to flip to Microsoft’s web-based Place of business apps. If in case you have a paid Microsoft 365 subscription, you’ll be able to even set up the Place of business Android apps and use the ones for your Chrome OS instrument.

For other people preferring a non-cloud-connected place of business suite, regardless that, LibreOffice is the trail to pursue. This system will give you a refined phrase processor, spreadsheet editor, and presentation editor — all of that have familiar-feeling interfaces and are simple to make use of.

01 linux apps chromebook libreoffice JR Raphael/IDG

LibreOffice brings a refined native place of business suite on your Chrome OS instrument. (Click on any symbol on this article to magnify it.)

There may be no longer a lot LibreOffice can do this you could not additionally do in Medical doctors or Phrase, however in case you’d fairly persist with a strictly native setup — and also you shouldn’t have an Place of business 365 subscription to move the Microsoft Android app path — it is a nice choice to the usual choices.

To put in LibreOffice:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher — the app-drawer-like interface that comes up while you click on the circle icon within the lower-left nook of the display after which click on the up-facing arrow at the partial coloration that looks. (If you do not see the Terminal app, you continue to wish to observe the stairs in my getting began information, as discussed above.)

2. Sort within the following command — or reproduction it from right here after which paste it into the Terminal app by way of right-clicking at the command recommended (or two-finger clicking, on a trackpad):

sudo apt set up libreoffice

…and press Input.

three. Press y after which Input to substantiate, after which get ready to attend a very long time whilst a number of textual content scrolls down your display and the set up completes.

As soon as the method is done, you are able to in finding the icons for the quite a lot of LibreOffice components inside of your launcher — in all probability inside of a “Linux Apps” folder on the backside of the record.

FocusWriter: A distraction-free textual content editor

Desire an uncluttered house for writing? Take a look at FocusWriter, a super-simple phrase processor designed to be loose from distractions. FocusWriter will give you a minimalist interface for composing your ideas, with a colour or symbol of your selection atmosphere the temper and not anything else on display to scouse borrow your center of attention. Soaring over a menu house on the most sensible of the app unearths some fundamental formatting instructions — and that is the reason about it.

02 linux apps chromebook focuswriter JR Raphael/IDG

FocusWriter supplies a minimalist atmosphere for distraction-free composition on a Chromebook.

One fast tip: Through default, FocusWriter’s font dimension on Chrome OS is at the small aspect. You’ll repair that by way of soaring over the topmost house of the app, clicking the Settings menu, and deciding on “Subject matters.” Discover a theme you favor, then click on the “Reproduction” button. As soon as you might have achieved that, you can see an “Edit” button that’ll mean you can customise the theme. I might recommend converting the font to Google Sans and the scale to both 14 or 16 for higher clarity.

You may additionally wish to glance within the “Personal tastes” segment of that very same Settings menu to switch the app’s default file-saving structure to .docx or .rtf for higher compatibility with different apps and services and products.

To put in FocusWriter:

1. Move to the FocusWriter site.

2. Within the field on the appropriate aspect of the display, make a selection the “Linux: Debian / Fedora / openSUSE / Ubuntu” choice, then click on the Obtain Now button.

three. Make a selection “Debian” from the display that comes up subsequent, then click on “Seize binary applications at once” adopted by way of the primary button (the person who ends with “amd64.deb”).

four. When the dossier finishes downloading, open the gadget Recordsdata app out of your Chrome OS launcher, then click on the “Downloads” folder on its left aspect.

five. To find the dossier you simply downloaded (which can get started with “focuswriter” and finish with “amd64.deb”). Double-click it, then click on the Set up button at the recommended that comes up.

Evolution: A standalone e mail and calendar program

Internet-based e mail interfaces could also be all of the rage this present day, however some other people nonetheless favor excellent out of date desktop mail purchasers for his or her awesome velocity and loss of browser reliance. That historically hasn’t been an choice on Chrome OS, however — yep, you guessed it — the presence of Linux apps makes it imaginable.

The most efficient all-around Linux mail shopper to believe for a Chromebook is one thing known as Evolution. Evolution places your e mail, calendar, and contacts — along side duties and memos — right into a unmarried Outlook-reminiscent interface that is each snappy and simple to make use of. It really works neatly with Gmail or another usual POP- or IMAP-enabled account.

03 linux apps chromebook evolution JR Raphael/IDG

Evolution will give you an Outlook-like interface for native mail, calendar, and make contact with control.

The one factor sophisticated about Evolution is the method for putting in it — which calls for you to make use of a unique tool deployment program known as a Flatpak.

If all of that feels like a number of mumbo-jumbo, do not be concerned. This is all you wish to have to do:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up flatpak

three. Press Input and stay up for the method to finish.

four. Sort (or paste):

flatpak set up flathub org.gnome.Evolution

five. In case you are brought on to choose between a “gadget” and a “person” choice, make a selection the “person” choice (which can almost certainly imply typing within the quantity 2 after which hitting Input).

6. Press y adopted by way of Input for any affirmation activates that arise after that.

Slack: A local desktop chat app

The loss of a real local Slack app for Chrome OS could be a little bit of a bummer. Positive, you’ll be able to use the site — or even make it glance beautiful, if you need — however neither that nor the Slack Android app feels fully like a desktop trip or will give you the overall set of keyboard shortcuts provide within the Home windows and Mac variations.

This is the solution: Snag the reputable Slack Linux app, and get again to the compromise-free chatting trip you revel in.

linux apps chromebook slack JR Raphael/IDG

A local Slack desktop app on Chrome OS — believe that!

To put in Slack:

1. Move to the Slack for Linux Downloads web page.

2. Click on the solution to “Obtain .DEB (64-bit).”

three. When the dossier finishes downloading, open the Recordsdata app out of your Chrome OS launcher, then click on the “Downloads” folder on its left aspect.

four. To find the dossier you simply downloaded (which can get started with “slack” and finish with “amd64.deb”). Double-click it, then click on the Set up button at the recommended that comes up.

GIMP: A Photoshop-like graphic editor

The loss of a Photoshop-caliber graphic enhancing device has lengthy been an opening that is stored me, in my view, from the use of Chrome OS as a full-time computing platform. I will get by way of with web-based gear like Pixlr or Photopea whilst touring or doing gentle paintings round the home — and so the ones have generally been the days I depend on a Chromebook — but if I am sitting at my table all through the workday, the absence of a fully-featured symbol editor in reality impedes my workflow.

GIMP is the lacking piece of the puzzle. The sadly named app — brief for GNU Symbol Manipulation Program — is a sturdy graphic editor that competitors Photoshop in capability. It’s not probably the most intuitive program and indubitably calls for a bit of of a studying curve, however as soon as you determine its quite a lot of quirks and intricacies, it is relatively succesful.

05 linux apps chromebook gimp JR Raphael/IDG

If you wish to have a Photoshop-caliber graphic editor on Chrome OS, GIMP is this system for you.

GIMP may be some other superb demonstration of the complexity and complicated nature of Linux apps: For causes I do not entirely perceive, the usual string of instructions for putting in GIMP on a Chromebook generally will get you a dated model of this system. In an effort to get probably the most present unencumber, you can wish to set up GIMP by means of a Flatpak, identical to we did with Evolution a minute in the past.

This is how:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. In the event you did not arrange the Flatpak gadget whilst putting in Evolution, sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up flatpak

(In the event you arrange the Flatpak previous, skip forward to step 4.)

three. Press Input and stay up for the method to finish.

four. In any case, sort (or paste):

sudo flatpak set up https://flathub.org/repo/appstream/org.gimp.GIMP.flatpakref

…and press Input.

five. Press y adopted by way of Input for any affirmation activates that arise.

Simply notice when on the lookout for the app to your launcher that it will most likely be indexed as its formal identify: GNU Symbol Manipulation Program.

Kdenlive: A certified-quality video editor

Every other obtrusive hole of the Chrome OS atmosphere, no less than for a definite subset of customers, is the absence of any desktop-caliber multimedia enhancing tool. Smartly, because of the presence of Linux apps, that is now not a topic. Kdenlive is a completely succesful video editor that is completely suited to advanced legitimate tasks. It is to be had on Home windows, too, so you’ll be able to even paintings throughout a couple of platforms and collaborate with colleagues with none added friction.

linux apps chromebooks kdenlive JR Raphael/IDG

Kdenlive places a complete enhancing suite at your fingertips inside the Chrome OS atmosphere.

To put in Kdenlive:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt set up kdenlive

…and press Input.

three. Press y after which Input to substantiate, after which stay up for the set up to complete.

Audacity: An impressive audio editor

In case you are hanging in combination a podcast or another type of audio presentation, Audacity is the tool you wish to have. The open-source program is as tough as may also be and makes it simple to piece in combination a refined and professional-sounding product. Additionally it is cross-platform and to be had for each Home windows and Mac, so sharing in-progress tasks throughout other gadgets may not be an issue.

linux apps chromebooks audacity JR Raphael/IDG

Audacity is a impressive cross-platform device for audio enhancing and recording.

To put in Audacity:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up audacity

…and press Input.

three. Press y after which Input to substantiate, after which stay up for the set up to complete.

Additionally keep in mind: For privateness causes, Chrome OS does not permit Linux apps get admission to to a microphone by way of default. So if you wish to report audio with Audacity for your Chromebook, you can wish to open up your gadget settings (by way of clicking the clock house within the lower-right nook of the display after which clicking the gear-shaped icon within the panel that pops up), then make a selection the Linux segment and turn on the toggle subsequent to “Permit Linux to get admission to your microphone.”

FileZilla: An efficient FTP shopper

In the event you ever wish to hook up with a far off server and add or obtain information, pay attention up: Awkward workarounds are now not required. FileZilla is a no-frills FTP shopper that makes it simple as may also be to switch information between your Chromebook and a server.

06 linux apps chromebook filezilla JR Raphael/IDG

With FileZilla, dragging and shedding information between a Chromebook and a far off server is now not a chore.

To put in FileZilla:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up filezilla

…and press Input.

three. Press y adopted by way of Input to substantiate, after which stay up for the set up to complete.

Firefox: An alternative desktop browser

The Chrome browser is the center and soul of Chrome OS — however now and again, you wish to have get admission to to another desktop browser. Whether or not you are trying out a site or simply yearning some selection, the Firefox Linux app is an implausible method to carry some browser range into your Chromebook setup.

07 linux apps chromebook firefox JR Raphael/IDG

Worlds collide with the presence of the Firefox desktop browser on a Chromebook.

This one is some other the place the usage of a Flatpak is beneficial:

1. Open the Terminal app to your Chrome OS launcher.

2. In the event you did not arrange the Flatpak gadget with probably the most previous apps, sort or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up flatpak

(In the event you arrange the Flatpak previous, skip forward to step 4.)

three. Press Input and stay up for the method to finish.

four. In any case, sort (or paste):

flatpak set up firefox

five. In case you are brought on to choose between a “gadget” and a “person” choice, make a selection the “person” choice (which can almost certainly imply typing within the quantity 2 and hitting Input).

6. In case you are brought on to select which model of Firefox you need, sort 1 after which hit Input to choose the common, strong model.

7. Press y adopted by way of Input for any affirmation activates that arise after that.

And with that, your Linux Chromebook assortment is whole — however that does not imply there may be not anything left to be told. Scroll via a few of these Chromebook sources for much more experience-expanding chances.

This newsletter was once at the start printed in January 2019 and up to date in November 2020.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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