The best Linux apps for Chromebooks

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

Finally, 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 perhaps simply favor) conventional native techniques for positive 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 velocity, 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 is not precisely simple. Linux apps are a complete different international from the common realm of desktop tool, relating to each what titles are to be had and the way you pass about discovering and putting in them.

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

Prior to you start, you can want to ascertain that your Chromebook is able to operating Linux apps after which set it up to take action. If you have not but performed 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 whole thing up and operating.

LibreOffice: An absolutely featured native place of work suite

In this day and age, you have got no scarcity of choices for phrase processing, spreadsheet paintings, and presentation introduction on a Chromebook. You’ll be able to use Google’s personal Doctors place of work suite, in fact, or you’ll be able to flip to Microsoft’s web-based Place of work apps. When you’ve got a paid Microsoft 365 subscription, you’ll be able to even set up the Place of work Android apps and use the ones to your Chrome OS instrument.

For other people preferring a non-cloud-connected place of work suite, regardless that, LibreOffice is the trail to pursue. This system offers you a elegant and professional 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 elegant native place of work suite for 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 Doctors or Phrase, however when you’d moderately stick to a strictly native setup — and also you do not have an Place of work 365 subscription to head the Microsoft Android app course — it is a advantageous selection to the usual choices.

To put in LibreOffice:

1. Open the Terminal app on 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 colour that looks. (If you do not see the Terminal app, you continue to want to apply the stairs in my getting began information, as discussed above.)

2. Kind 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 suggested (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 completed, you are able to in finding the icons for the quite a lot of LibreOffice components inside your launcher — in all probability inside of a “Linux Apps” folder on the backside of the listing.

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 offers 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 best of the app unearths some elementary formatting instructions — and that’s 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: Via default, FocusWriter’s font dimension on Chrome OS is at the small aspect. You’ll be able to repair that by way of soaring over the topmost house of the app, clicking the Settings menu, and settling on “Subject matters.” Discover a theme you favor, then click on the “Reproduction” button. As soon as you could have performed that, you can see an “Edit” button that’ll help you customise the theme. I might counsel converting the font to Google Sans and the dimensions to both 14 or 16 for higher clarity.

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

To put in FocusWriter:

1. Move to the FocusWriter web page.

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. Choose “Debian” from the display that comes up subsequent, then click on “Grasp binary programs without delay” adopted by way of the primary button (the one who ends with “amd64.deb”).

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

five. In finding the dossier you simply downloaded (which is able to get started with “focuswriter” and finish with “amd64.deb”). Double-click it, then click on the Set up button at the suggested that comes up.

Evolution: A standalone electronic mail and calendar program

Internet-based electronic mail interfaces is also the entire rage in this day and age, however some other people nonetheless favor just right out of date desktop mail shoppers for his or her awesome pace 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 conceivable.

The most productive all-around Linux mail shopper to imagine for a Chromebook is one thing referred to as Evolution. Evolution places your electronic mail, calendar, and contacts — at the side of 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 offers you an Outlook-like interface for native mail, calendar, and speak to control.

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

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

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

2. Kind or paste within the following command:

sudo apt-get set up flatpak

three. Press Input and look ahead to the method to finish.

four. Kind (or paste):

flatpak set up flathub org.gnome.Evolution

five. If you are brought on to make a choice between a “device” and a “person” choice, make a selection the “person” choice (which is able to most 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 generally is a little bit of a bummer. Positive, you’ll be able to use the web page — or even make it glance lovely, if you wish to have — however neither that nor the Slack Android app feels solely like a desktop ride or offers you the whole set of keyboard shortcuts provide within the Home windows and Mac variations.

This is the solution: Snag the reliable Slack Linux app, and get again to the compromise-free chatting ride you experience.

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 method to “Obtain .DEB (64-bit).”

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

four. In finding the dossier you simply downloaded (which is able to get started with “slack” and finish with “amd64.deb”). Double-click it, then click on the Set up button at the suggested 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 saved me, in my view, from the usage of Chrome OS as a full-time computing platform. I will be able to get by way of with web-based gear like Pixlr or Photopea whilst touring or doing mild paintings round the home — and so the ones have normally 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 truly impedes my workflow.

GIMP is the lacking piece of the puzzle. The sadly named app — brief for GNU Symbol Manipulation Program — is a strong graphic editor that opponents Photoshop in capability. It’s not probably the most intuitive program and undoubtedly calls for a little bit of a studying curve, however as soon as you determine its quite a lot of quirks and intricacies, it is slightly 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 solely perceive, the usual string of instructions for putting in GIMP on a Chromebook normally will get you a dated model of this system. As a way to get probably the most present unencumber, you can want to set up GIMP by means of a Flatpak, similar to we did with Evolution a minute in the past.

This is how:

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

2. In the event you did not arrange the Flatpak device 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 look ahead to the method to finish.

four. In the end, 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 word when in search of the app on your launcher that it’s going to most likely be indexed as its formal identify: GNU Symbol Manipulation Program.

Kdenlive: A certified-quality video editor

Some other evident hole of the Chrome OS atmosphere, a minimum of for a definite subset of customers, is the absence of any desktop-caliber multimedia enhancing tool. Smartly, due to the presence of Linux apps, that is not a subject matter. Kdenlive is a completely succesful video editor that is completely suited to advanced official initiatives. It is to be had on Home windows, too, so you’ll be able to even paintings throughout more than one 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 on your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Kind or paste within the following command:

sudo apt set up kdenlive

…and press Input.

three. Press y after which Input to substantiate, after which look ahead to the set up to complete.

Audacity: An impressive audio editor

If you are striking in combination a podcast or another form of audio presentation, Audacity is the tool you wish to have. The open-source program is as robust as can also be and makes it simple to piece in combination a elegant and professional-sounding product. It is usually cross-platform and to be had for each Home windows and Mac, so sharing in-progress initiatives throughout other units would possibly 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 on your Chrome OS launcher.

2. Kind 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 look ahead to the set up to complete.

Additionally consider: 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 to your Chromebook, you can want to open up your device 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 phase 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 want to connect with a far off server and add or obtain information, concentrate up: Awkward workarounds are not required. FileZilla is a no-frills FTP shopper that makes it simple as can also be to switch knowledge between your Chromebook and a server.

06 linux apps chromebook filezilla JR Raphael/IDG

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

To put in FileZilla:

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

2. Kind 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 look ahead to the set up to complete.

Firefox: An alternative desktop browser

The Chrome browser is the guts 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 web page or simply yearning some selection, the Firefox Linux app is an out of this world method to carry some browser variety 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 using a Flatpak is advisable:

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

2. In the event you did not arrange the Flatpak device with one of 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 look ahead to the method to finish.

four. In the end, sort (or paste):

flatpak set up firefox

five. If you are brought on to make a choice between a “device” and a “person” choice, make a selection the “person” choice (which is able to most certainly imply typing within the quantity 2 and hitting Input).

6. If you are brought on to select which model of Firefox you wish to have, sort 1 after which hit Input to make a choice the common, solid 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 entire — however that does not imply there is not anything left to be told. Scroll via a few of these Chromebook assets for much more experience-expanding chances.

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

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *