How to Run Linux on a Chromebook for Programming Purposes

Chromebooks are being used for programming more and more. Developers find it light, efficient, and cost-effective to use Chromebooks. However, Chrome OS does not have all the features and tools that a developer needs. You will have to install Linux to run side-by-side with Chrome OS or instead of it.

Here are a few tips on how to run Linux on your Chromebook to enable software development:

Leverage cloud-based environments


You can use the preinstalled Chrome OS successfully as it is a restricted Linux operating system. To make it ready for use for programming, leverage cloud-based development environments like Cloud9 and Nitrous. This should make your system ready for software development.

Switch between Chrome OS and Linux

If you install Linux through Crouton you should be able to use both operating systems side-by-side. You can jump between the two by using simple shortcuts.

Learn to use Linux apps in Chrome OS

If you do #2 + xiwi you should be able to use Linux apps in Chrome OS. This may not be the best option for all Chromebooks as they may run slower or have other performance issues. Find out if this is a possibility and a good idea for your specific Chromebook.

Do a dual boot with a compatible Linux distro


A Linux distro like GalliumOS may be the answer to your Linux and Chrome OS problems. You will have to bypass the Chrome OS restrictions to do this and you will need to check the hardware compatibility list to make sure that this will work.

Some people may just remove Chrome OS and install a Linux OS to run the Chromebook. However, we still prefer the dual-boot approach. It is handy to keep Chrome OS to do simpler everyday things like watching Netflix. Every developer will have a preference. These are just different ways to approach programming on your Chromebook.