How to install a GUI for Linux apps on your Chromebook

Need a GUI for the installation of Linux apps on your Chromebook? Try GNOME Software.

How to install a GUI for Linux apps on your Chromebook

So you've finally added Linux app support on your Chromebook and are happily installing various Linux apps. As a Linux user, you're more than happy to open a terminal window and install an app or two. However, as a Chrome OS user, you're not terribly satisfied with having to do this from the command line.

What do you do? 

You add a handy GUI into the mix to make installing those Linux applications much easier. The GUI in question is GNOME Software, and I'm going to show you how to make this happen.

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What you'll need

How to install GNOME Software

As you might have expected, GNOME Software is the default software app from the GNOME desktop environment. Installing GNOME software doesn't mean you also must install the GNOME desktop on your Chromebook (although that would be sweet). However, there are a number of dependencies that are installed along with GNOME software. Fear not, however, as these dependencies won't take up too much space on your Chromebook's internal storage.

To install the app GUI, open the Linux terminal application from your Chrome OS menu. Once the terminal is open, update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

After the update completes, install GNOME Software with the command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit -y

This will take some time, as it has to install all of those dependencies. That's all there is to the installation.

Finishing up

Once the installation completes, you have to do a couple of things before GNOME Software will successfully run. The first thing is to reboot the Chromebook. If you don't see the RESTART TO UPDATE entry in the notifications, shutdown the Chromebook and start it back up. After the reboot, log back in, open the terminal window and run an upgrade with the command:

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

After this completes, reboot the Chromebook once again. When the reboot completes, log in, open the Chrome OS menu, and search for Software. You should see the entry titled Software. Click that entry to open GNOME Software. 

Once GNOME Software opens, give it time to populate, and eventually you'll be greeted by the various categories of software to be installed (Figure A).

Figure A


GNOME Software is ready for you to install any type of software you could need on your Chromebook.

And that's all there is to installing a Linux app store GUI on your Chromebook. By doing this, you'll enjoy a more efficient means of managing those Linux apps on Chrome OS. 

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Image: Jack Wallen

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....