Chrome OS Files App Slated for Linux and Android Centric Improvements

Files app in Chrome OS

With Android app support already there and Linux support on its way, Chrome OS has a platform is evolving quickly.  That evolution means that how we view and use our Chromebook has to change too, particularly the Files app.  A new commit and a new flag in the Chrome OS Dev Channel gives us a solid clue as to where the file management app built into the platform is heading.

The commit points to there being a revamp of the Files app to allow for four distinct sections:  My Drive (Google Drive and Team Drive if you have a G Suite account), Linux files, Android Files, and File System Providers like Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox.

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Chrome OS Officially Support of Linux Apps is Coming Soon

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

After months of rumors and commits in Chrome OS development, it was made official at Google I/O yesterday:  Chrome OS will soon natively support Linux apps.  It is a significant step forward for the platform and should bring improved tools to developers on the platform.

During the keynote, where this was almost mentioned as an after thought, Android Studio was highlighted as being one of the apps that will work once this feature rolls out to everyone.

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A New Commit Suggests Linux VMs Could Be Coming to Chrome OS

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

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.

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