It turns out that unfortunately a lot of Chromebooks with the Linux 3.14 kernel aren’t going to be getting any Linux app support from Google – including Google’s own Chromebook Pixel series. This is quite a blow to the Chromebook Linux community, as many developers were always working on backporting the essential kernel modules such as vsock, trying their best to make vsock backward compatible – though it turned out that vsock isn’t backwards compatible with Linux kernel 3.14, but the point remains.
In a nutshell, without the ability to backport vsock to Linux kernel 3.14 or prior means that devices with Linux kernel 3.14 and below will not be able to install Linux apps – and it’s quite a large list of Chromebooks, though this isn’t the entire list:
- Acer Chromebase
- HP Chromebook 14 G3
- Acer Chromebook 13 (CB5-311)
- Acer C670 Chromebook 11
- ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA
- ASUS Chromebook C201
- Acer Chromebox CXI2
- Acer Chromebase 24
- Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015 Edition)
- Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox
- Google Chromebook Pixel (2015)
- Acer Chromebook 15
- Dell Chromebook 13 7310
- ASUS Chromebox CN62
- AOpen Chromebase Mini
- Asus Chromebit CS10
- AOpen Chromebox Mini
Obviously, this list includes some of the most popular brands and even some of the more recent Chromebook releases – although Google’s Chromebook Pixel was released in 2015, but our point remains, the list of Chromebooks that will not be receiving Linux support is quite plentiful.
It should also be mentioned that Chromebooks with ARM processors have already had their Linux support dropped due to their 32-bit infrastructure.
It’s not all doom and gloom though for the Chromebook Linux community – Google recently managed to extend Linux LTS kernel support from 2 years to 6 years, so this isn’t a situation that is likely to repeat itself in the future – a small comfort, we know. But the 6 year Long Term Support will at least give Linux app developers and manufacturers the ability to update their devices and offer support for a much longer timeframe, and they won’t be wasting a lot of time on backporting features between kernels.
Since we showed you the list of Chromebook devices that won’t support Linux apps, it only makes sense that we show you the list of ones that will:
- Google Pixelbook
- Samsung Chromebook Plus (1st Generation)
- HP Chromebook X2
- Asus Chromebook Flip C101
- 2018 generation Chromeboxes
- Acer Chromebook Tab 10
- Acer Chromebook Spin 13 / Chromebook 13
Its yet to be confirmed, but there is a large list of Apollo Lake generation Chromebooks that should also have Linux support. This includes upcoming Chromebooks such as the Lenovo Thinkpad 11e Chromebook, Acer Chromebook 11, Dell Chromebook 11 5190, and a handful of others.