While Chrome OS is Linux based at heart, it is currently not able to run Linux apps or development tools natively. There are workarounds out there but they generally require you to put your Chromebook in Developer mode which bypasses many of the security features of the platform – not ideal for the everyday users.
That is what makes a new commit found in the Chrome OS Gerrit so exciting. The commit suggests that support for Linux VMs (Virtual Machines) could be coming to the platform. This would allow users to run popular Linux-based apps on their Chromebooks without having to change out of the Stable channel or bypass security features of the platform.
This also has big implications for developers as they could use the Linux VMs to do code and other development work on and for Chrome OS natively. For administrators of Chromebooks, this feature could be enabled or disabled, adding another layer of security as needed for domains.
The question, as always, is when will this commit actually be implemented into the Stable channel? It appears it will be as soon as Chrome 66. That build is currently in the Dev channel for the platform but is expected to be released by April 24th for the platform. The team over at Chrome Unboxed is suggesting that, with that launch date, there could be an official announcement at Google I/O which is slated for May 8th. I think this makes a lot of sense. Either way, the ability to run Linux apps on Chrome OS is certainly an exciting proposition both for developers and end users.