Set up Linux on your Chromebook

Linux is a feature that lets you develop software using your Chromebook. You can install Linux command-line tools, code editors and IDEs (integrated development environments) on your Chromebook. These can be used to write code, create apps and more. Check which devices have Linux.

Turn on Linux

Linux is off by default. You can turn it on at any time from settings.

  1. On your Chromebook, at the bottom right, select the time.
  2. Select Settings  and then Advanced and then Developers.
  3. Next to ‘Linux development environment’, select Turn on.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions. Setup can take 10 minutes or more.
  5. A terminal window opens. You have a Debian 10 (Buster) environment. You can run Linux commands, install more tools using the APT package manager and customise your shell.

Turn off Linux

  1. At the bottom right, select the time.
  2. Select Settings  and then Advanced and then Developers and then Linux development environment.
  3. Under ‘Remove Linux development environment’, select Remove.

Access your microphone on Linux

You can use your microphone when Linux is turned on.

  1. At the bottom right, select the time.
  2. Select Settings .
  3. On the left, select Linux.
  4. Turn on Allow Linux to access your microphone.

Security and permissions

To protect your computer, your Chromebook typically runs each app in a ‘sandbox’. However, all Linux apps run inside the same sandbox. This means that a harmful Linux app can affect other Linux apps, but not the rest of your Chromebook.

Permissions and files shared with Linux are available to all Linux apps.

Back up and restore

If you have trouble with back up and restore, learn how to back up and replace your Linux files and apps.

Fix problems with Linux

If you experience issues with Linux or Linux apps, try the following steps:

  • Restart your Chromebook.
  • Check that your virtual machine is up to date. In your browser, go to chrome://components. Under 'cros-termina', select Check for update. If you download an update, you might need to restart your Chromebook.
  • Update your packages. Open the Terminal app , and then run this command: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Tip: You might need to restart your Chromebook for changes to take effect. Linux automatically checks for new packages after initial setup and every 24 hours when it is running.

Check what’s not yet supported

  • Cameras aren't yet supported.
  • Android devices are supported over USB, but other devices aren't yet supported.
  • Android Emulators aren't yet supported.
  • Hardware acceleration isn't yet supported, including GPU and video decode.
  • ChromeVox is supported for the default terminal app, but not yet for other Linux apps.
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