Install a Linux Software Center on your Chromebook


So you’ve got a Chromebook and you’re ready to try Linux apps. Maybe you are new to Linux, or maybe you would like to have the ability to install Linux applications without using command line prompts in terminal. Maybe, like us, you like to do things just because you can.

Whatever the reason, today we bring you great news and the steps to install Linux Software Center on your Chromebook.


First of all, what is a Linux software center?

For experienced Linux users, installing applications is second nature and can be done by entering a few simple commands through the Linux terminal. When executed, these commands extract not only the desired application, but also the package installer and dependencies necessary for the complete installation of the application. Recently, support for installing the .deb file has also been added to Chrome OS, which makes it even easier to install the Linux application by simply downloading the Debian packages and double clicking on them as you would. with an executable file.


If you are a newbie to Linux, this can all sound really daunting. Also, where do these apps come from? How do you even know which commands to run to install them? What is a terminal?

A software center consolidates all of these commands into a nice little app store that launches all of these commands for you. Fortunately, you can now bypass command line use almost entirely by installing the Gnome Software Center directly on your Chromebook.

If you’ve upgraded to the beta channel and installed Linux, here are some commands to get the Gnome Software Center up and running on your Chromebook.


Start by launching the Terminal app from your app launcher. If you start typing “terminal” in the launcher’s search bar, you should see it pretty quickly.

Once the terminal opens, type or paste the following commands:


sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit

You will then be prompted to indicate that you are about to install packages that will require additional space on your hard drive. Select “Y” to continue and relax for a few minutes while all the necessary files are downloaded and installed.

Once the installation process is complete, you can close the terminal and you can find your new software center in the application launcher.


You’ll see a few other new files in your launcher, but don’t worry. These are just packages and installers required to run Software Center. They are necessary so do not delete them. Click on the Software Center app and you should be greeted by the Gnome store for installing Linux apps.

The first few times I tried this I didn’t see any apps or categories in Software Center, but a simple restart of my Chromebox fixed the issue instantly. Now you can find and install popular Linux apps like Inkscape, GIMP, CMake, and more.

Update – If you don’t see any apps in Software Center, try running these two commands in Terminal and restarting.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

If you have been using Linux on Chrome OS for a long time through methods like Crouton, it will be very similar to installing and using Ubuntu Software Center. There are a number of other “app stores” you can set up with Linux, but Gnome will contain most of the apps commonly used by Crouton users.

For most Linux users, having a software center can be a lightweight convenience, but for the average consumer, it will be a must if Google is looking to make Linux apps on Chromebooks a mainstream event. It’s still not clear if the target is bigger than the developer community, but the rapid expansion of Project Crostini and Linux apps on Chrome OS certainly gives that feeling.

Source: Android Police


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