Linux Operating System (OS) – you’ve heard of it, probably used it, and you know it’s better than some of the operating systems touted as the best.
Many argue it is even better than Windows. It is open-source, less vulnerable to hacking than other operating systems, and more secure in general.
Linux is flexible and can be safely used for high-performance servers, desktop applications, and embedded systems.
It allows users to install only the necessary components and software if needed and can even restrict its use on specific computers.
Linux is more stable than other OSs, highly compatible with lots of hardware, and supports an impressive array of software applications.
So, when you are looking for an OS for your Chromebook computer – would Linux be a good choice?
And which are the best Linux Operating Systems for a Chromebook Computer? Here’s the lowdown on Linux for Chromebook computers and the 10 best Linus OSs to choose from.
Can you install Linux OS on a Chromebook?
Yes! If your Chromebook was released after 2019, you won’t have a problem running Linux. If your Chromebook was released before 2019, check Google’s official list of Linux-compatible devices.
Moreover, your Chromebook should run on Intel CPU for better support of Linux.
With Linux on your Chromebook, you can:
- Have access to a complete desktop productivity suite
- Develop software on your Chromebook
- Learn all about Linux in a safe environment (the Linux environment can be isolated from your primary system if needed with dual boot so that you won’t mess it up accidentally).
- Connect to remote computers
- Code in any language.
- Install popular Linux applications and many more.
The 10 best Linux OS for your Chromebook
Several Linux OS are available in the market today, and the best one for you depends on your requirements. Here’s our list of the 10 Best Linux operating systems for a Chromebook computer.
1. Gallium OS – Best Linux distro for Chromebooks
The Gallium OS is your best bet if you are looking for an all-rounder. The Gallium OS has been created explicitly for Chromebooks and devices with Chrome OS. Gallium OS offers maximum compatibility and support on limited hardware.
The Linux distribution is founded on Xubuntu and bundled with several useful apps. Ubuntu also happens to be one of those few Linux distros whose versions offer long-term support. With Xubuntu, you have a fully-functional desktop.
Gallium is equipped with the desktop environment – Xfce, to keep the OS lightweight. Speed shouldn’t be a problem with Gallium OS as it performs much better than other Linux distributions designed for Chromebooks.
However, if you still want to speed things up, you can use LXDE in place of Xfce. Gallium works extremely fast and boasts fantastic compatibility.
It can be run on basic hardware. The OS is a completely independent Linux OS for an enhanced user experience. The dual-booting feature lets you boot up your Chromebook either in Linux OS or in Chrome OS.
Another important Gallium OS feature is the integrated Chrome OS mouse driver feature, so navigation with Gallium’s OS feels similar to Chrome’s OS.
The minimum space required for Gallium OS is 3GB.
Xubuntu, an Ubuntu-based, community-developed Linux operating system, comes with a lightweight and configurable Xfce desktop environment.
Regarding programming, Xubuntu is definitely among the finest Linux distros. A streamlined environment and only a few minor distractions allow you to concentrate on your work.
Thanks to its resource-saving capabilities, it works great for people working on older Chromebooks who want to get the best possible speed.
3. Arch Linux – most customizable
Arch Linux is not for the faint-hearted. The powerful Linux operating system is popular among programmers and developers – and it’s a fantastic Linux OS if you are a pro.
But Arch Linux is not for newbies, nor is it user-friendly. It is not for an OS novice trying to set up the best Linux distro for a Chromebook.
With Arch Linux, you get full control over the OS. Endless options and customizations allow you to choose and download only needed components.
With a large community following, you can be sure to get all the help you need with this one. Several Arch-based Linux distributions are available for free, but if you are setting it up on a Chromebook, it’s best to stick to the original.
If you are looking for the official Google support for Linux on your Chromebook, you will come across Crostini – Google’s umbrella term for Linux support and integration alongside the Chrome OS desktop and apps.
Today’s new Chromebooks allow you to enable Linux simply and efficiently with the least possible changes on your Chromebook.
That’s where Crostini comes in – it’s the support needed for Developers to run Linux that lets you create, test, and run android and web apps for phones/tablets/laptops on your Chromebook.
Crostini lets you run Linux within a virtual machine (container) designed specifically for Chromebooks.
So, you can get Linux running in a matter of seconds and seamlessly integrate it with your Chromebook’s features.
5. Lubuntu – best for older machines
Lubuntu is a lightweight, watered-down Ubuntu version that asks for very little in terms of hardware requirements.
This Linux distro is simple, user-friendly, fuss-free, and comes with light applications to ensure your system is minimally impacted.
Lubuntu also gives you a fully-featured office suite with Libre Office, plus this distro allows you to install all plugins for a complete web-browsing experience.
Lubuntu is definitely among the best lightweight Linux distributions, and the 20.04 version is even lighter, with a minimum of 256 MB RAM required to run.
If you are looking for a Windows-like experience on your Chromebook, Lubuntu gives you that with minimal requirements.
It’s the same as Ubuntu but much slimmer. It is compatible with Ubuntu’s repositories, giving you access to thousands of additional packages easily downloadable via the Lubuntu Software Center.
OpenSUSE is an excellent OS for system administrators, developers, and desktop users.
It’s among the easiest Linux distros, offering more flexibility and choice than other distros. It is fantastic for new users.
But, if you are a new user, be prepared to learn about all the options that OpenSUSE offers before choosing what suits you best.
OpenSUSE is better than other distros if you want it only for general purposes. However, the learning curve is a bit steeper, and you will need to put in the effort and focus on getting going with this OS.
7. Void Linux
Void Linux is another general-purpose operating system built for various platforms and based on Linux’s monolithic kernel.
Entirely developed by volunteers, this OS boasts a dedicated development team, a unique package manager, and better stability than many other distros.
It was the first Linux distribution to replace OpenSSL with LibreSSL (although they are back to OpenSSL now) and can operate on any device.
XBPS allows you to build your packages. Although relatively new, Void Linux has become popular because it offers more stability than most other distros.
Thanks to its massive online community, it provides users solid support and customization in terms of security.
8. Solus OS – best for beginners
If you are new to the world of Linux and need a simple, easy-to-use OS solution, Solus OS is your best bet.
Packed with easy-to-use features and very Windows-like feel, this OS lets you choose from as many as four desktop environments – Solus MATE, Gnome, Plasma, and Budgie.
While Solus MATE is excellent if you are familiar with Linux Mint and Ubuntu, Plasma and Gnome are ideal for newer hardware.
Solus Budgie is best for an absolutely unique experience and a feature-rich solution. Solus OS’s interactive software lets you download and manage your apps conveniently.
9. Puppy Linux – The most lightweight
Ready to use, easy to use, and relatively small in size (300 MB or less), this fast and versatile Linux distro can be customized to suit your needs.
Whether you use an older Chromebook or a newer one, and no matter your requirements – you will find a version that suits your needs.
Puppy has been around for a long time (over 15 years). The new Ubuntu-based edition works seamlessly with the Ubuntu repository.
You would think that this small-sized distro lacks a good variety of apps, but you will be surprised at the quality and quantity of apps it has to offer.
But if those apps are not enough, you can always use the QuickPet Utility to install the apps of your choice.
10. Manjaro – maximum simplicity and excellent for beginners
Manjaro is fast, desktop-oriented, and based on Arch Linux (although is a different kind ).
If you are looking for an OS that has all the benefits of state-of-art software plus automated tools to minimize any kind of manual intervention, then Manjaro is for you.
Manjaro is also fast, easy to install, has a wide range of software, is free, does not require licenses, and respects your privacy.
The OS also gives you complete system control without compromising your system’s stability. Finally, upgrading Manjaro is simple and does not require reinstalling because it is a ‘rolling release.’
Chromebooks are fantastic machines – they are lightweight, free from bloatware, inexpensive, and useful.
But they run on a relatively basic operating system (Chrome OS), and there is so much more you can do with your Chromebook when you install Linux on it.
Whether you are improving your Chromebook’s functionality, coding, or simply experimenting/learning about Linux – there is a Linux OS for you.
We hope our list of 10 best Linux operating systems for Chromebooks will help you choose the best one for your own system.