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Install Linux-based Browsers on Chromebook

Learn how to enable the support for Linux OS apps and software on Chromebook running on Chrome OS. We can set up Linux-based web browsers' on Chromebook.

The Chromebook supports the Linux setup and installation in-built, which also helps run the Linux and Debian compatible apps and software. Within the Chrome OS settings menu, we need to enable the Turn on Linux (BETA) to enable the setup and installation of the Linux OS in Chromebook. Henceforth, we can install all the Linux-based web browsers.

Install Linux-based browser on Chromebook

Chromebooks have gained a decent level of popularity and are constantly rising in recent years. It’s one of the primary devices in many schools and colleges for students and tutors. It’s cheap, powerful, and, most importantly – gets things done.

Running the Chrome OS, these Chromebooks come built-in with various Google Apps, Services, and Frameworks. Hence, there’s no point guessing that Google Chrome is its default browser.

While you cannot change this default browser, the OS at least gives you the flexibility to try out a different browser of your choice.

In this regard, there are two different approaches that you could take – either install the browser via Play Store or in the Debian environment.

While the former method is pretty straightforward, the browsers from the store aren’t fully optimized to run on PCs. As a result, installing Linux browsers on Chromebook inside the Debian 10 (Buster) ecosystem is the preferred choice for many.

The following guide will show you how to enable Linux OS support and install a few popular Linux-based web browsers. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Enable Linux support on Chromebook

First off, you will have to install a Linux support system inside Chromebook. The Chrome OS which powers the Chromebook is basically built over Linux. Thankfully, Chrome supports Linux with some additional installations.

Here are the steps to enable Linux support in Chromebook:

  1. Boot up your Chromebook, and click on the Clock.
  2. Click on Settings settings gear icon to open the Chromebook Settings page.
    Chromebook Settings gear icon
  3. Scroll to the Linux Beta section, and hit on the Turn On button.
    Install and Enable Linux Support on ChromeOS ChromebookIt will open a Linux setup and installation page.
  4. Hit the Install button and proceed with the on-screen instructions.
    Download and Install Linux Setup on Chromebook

Once done, Chromebook will be up and running with the Debian 10 (Buster) environment. Execute the command in the Terminal Window (Ctrl + Alt+ T) to verify that it is indeed running version 10 or above: cat /etc/os-release

If the output shows a lower build version, then consider upgrading it with the following command:

sudo bash /opt/google/cros-containers/bin/upgrade_container

With this, you have successfully installed the required version of Linux and enabled support within Chromebook.

Install Linux Browser via Deb Package

Most popular browsers come with a standalone Linux client, which could easily be installed on your Chromebook.

Here are the steps to install the Linux browser with .DEB package:

  1. Head over to your browser’s download page.
  2. Download Debian (.deb) package file of the browser.
    Download Microsoft Edge for Linux DEB
  3. Double-click on the downloaded file to launch the setup.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the browser.

That’s it—Microsoft Edge Linux-based browsers on your Chromebook using their Debian setup file.

Install Linux Browsers via CLI

The second approach to installing applications in Linux is via the sudo-apt command-line interface. And CLI could well expand to the Debian environment running on your Chrome OS as well.

Here are the steps to install the Linux-based using the command line:

  1. Launch the Terminal Command using Ctrl + Alt+ T shortcut keys.
  2. Execute the following command line to install the preferred browser package:
    sudo apt install package_name

You must replace the package_name term with the browser’s package name in the above command.

  • For Firefox in Linux: sudo apt install firefox-esr
  • Brave Browser: sudo apt install brave-browser

Install Firefox Linux program on Chromebook

That’s it; Chrome OS will now download the browser associated with the package name from the apt repository and install it onto your Chromebook. You can easily access it from the app drawer.

Bottom Line

So with this, we round off the guide on how you could install the Linux-based web browsers on your Chromebook. We have shared two different methods: using the Debian package or via the sudo-apt command line.

If you cannot access the app’s package name, you should consider manually downloading and installing the .DEB package on your Chrome OS.

I personally use the Google Chrome browser, but sometimes I even use Mozilla Firefox, which works seamlessly on Chrome OS.

With that said, do let us know if you have any other queries concerning the aforementioned instructions for installing Linux browsers’ on Chromebook.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.

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Sadique Hassan

Sadique Hassan

Sadique is a Bachelor of Computer Application in Computer Science and an MBA professional. He became a tech writer by choice and has continued pursuing it for the last 7+ years. He is keenly interested in open-source technology like Android and also loves troubleshooting the tech. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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