Chrome OS launch feature to check for deferred Linux app installations

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While it has gotten easier and more informative while installing Linux packages on a Chromebook over the past few months, another new feature is said to have made it even easier. Unfortunately, the ability to search the web for Linux app installation files in the Chrome OS launcher does not currently exist: the feature has been postponed.

A bug for this feature was opened in January, with this description: “Add APT search in the Chrome OS app launcher, so that uninstalled Linux packages and apps can be searched and installed through the app launcher.”

Essentially, if you want to find a Linux app that you don’t have installed on your Chromebook, you can do that right in the Chrome OS launcher.

Clicking on the appropriate result would then download the Linux application package and presumably start the installation process in the best case. A worst-case option would be to download the package and then use the Chrome OS Files app to install it, which is the current process.

By February, coding efforts had progressed for this useful feature:

CL updates Crostini repository search results in the app launcher
to install the Linux packages when clicked. This contains the
the app launcher and crostini manager change. This feature is always late
a flag and it is planned to integrate an installation dialog
in the installation process.

Unfortunately, earlier this month the bug was updated with the following information:

Delete Crostini app repository search in launcher

We added behind a flag feature to find suitable repositories from
the Chrome OS launcher 4-5 months ago, but we still haven’t
plans to launch this. This CL removes the functionality for the time being.

There is no specific reason given as to why 4-5 months have passed without any progress, nor is there any predicted cause for the postponement. In the end, that doesn’t matter: you won’t be using the Chrome OS launcher to scan for Linux installations anytime soon; at least not until some sort of timeline is provided for the change.

For now, you’ll need to find the old-fashioned Linux installation packages by searching the web, downloading and installing them manually through the Files app, or adding package repositories to your Linux container and using apt commands, or a package manager, to add Linux applications.

By the way, that feature of uninstalling Linux apps directly from their launcher icons that was expected in Chrome OS 75 didn’t make a difference. It may be related to the carry over, but regardless, if you want to delete a Linux application, review this command line functionality. ??


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