Last month, XDA-Developers spotted a string of commits on the Chromium Gerrit which indicated of an upcoming support for easy installation of Linux apps on compatible Chrome OS devices. The commits suggested that Debian (.deb) files will be clickable from the Files app, which will then trigger the installation. Now a recent commit confirms that Google is indeed adding a file handler for Debian packages within the Chrome OS Files app.
Currently, Linux apps (packages) can be installed directly in the Linux container through the command line interface. This, however, can be clunky sometimes, especially for those new to Linux using Project Crostini. And much to everyone's relief, Google is simplifying this process, and it's a whole lot easier now.
The native Files app in the Chrome OS is getting a major revamp soon. It will now be able to show Debian packages with the .deb extension. Users can then choose to have the package installed in the Linux container by right-clicking on it. As things stand, right-clicking on a .deb file will show a “Install with Linux (Beta)” option. Selecting it will open a confirmation dialogue box. On confirming, installation progress will be displayed as system notifications in your Chromebook.
Developers say they plan to expand the confirmation dialogue box in subsequent patches to retrieve and show detailed information about the package, such as the name, version and description of the package.
Furthermore, the current patch allows you to install .deb files that are selected individually and already in the container. In a subsequent patch, developers plan to show an error message when multiple .deb files are selected.
This is definitely a welcome move that'd make Chrome OS even more intriguing. The web-based OS is making good progress lately, and this, coupled with a few more upcoming features should result in a higher adoption to the OS.
Click here to check out all the recent progresses Chrome OS has made.