Chromebooks may soon let you run your own VMs, multiple at a time

Chromebooks may get the ability to run multiple virtual machines (VM) at the same time in the future. And this is different from VMs with Linux containers
Mar 5, 2019

Chromebooks may get the ability to run multiple virtual machines (VM) at the same time in the future. Kevin Tofel of AboutChromebooks has dug out the evidence from a code commit in Chromium Gerrit. And this is different from VMs with Linux containers, as Crostini supports multiple containers within a single VM.

Chromebooks will get support for concurrent virtual machines

Chromebooks could allow for multiple VMs to run at the same time in the future, and may also support custom VMs. The code change supports multiple listening ports between Concierge in Chrome OS and Maitrde inside a VM to execute commands securely. Currently in Crostini, you have to use the Termina VM, which uses Google's custom Linux kernel. As per the official Crostini documents:

The code snippet shared by Kevin mentions a custom VM in the test results. This is clearly an evidence that Chromebooks will support other VMs in the future. Nothing much else can be concluded from the code commit. Hence, it's not clear if it will allow to run Windows or some other OS. There’s also an associated bug with the code change but it’s only viewable internally by the Chromium team. This further implies that the Chromium team is modifying and testing code for custom VMs for some good reason.

It is pertinent to mention here that running a VM uses more hardware resources than running multiple Linux containers in Crostini. And since the available hardware resource will be same for either methods, this particular change may have some cons as well. So, what do you think this change could enable on a Chromebook? Chime in with your pros and cons in the comments below.

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