Linux-Centric Play Store Alternative App Stores for Your Chromebook

Published by Jesse Afolabi on

Linux app stores

The native Linux experience on Chrome OS is relatively new in the form of Debian Linux and was limited to the extremely unstable canary and dev channel of the operating system up until recently when it made its debut in the beta and subsequently stable channel.

The container came in the exclusive form of an inbuilt terminal that requires you to activate the Linux functionality in the settings of your Chrome system. Before its acclaimed popularity, the sub-platform was infamously codenamed Crostini with what is a relatively active subreddit.

In light of the sped up development of Google’s Linux effort within Chrome OS have we decided to create a recommended list of app repositories that will enable you to download native deb apps without the hassle of the terminal.

Chrome’s nature is established in the ideology of simplicity and I’d naturally expect Google will create a more simplified or foolproof method of installing Linux apps on Chrome OS if they are aiming for a wide adoption. On that note, below are our tried and true list of Linix app store recommendations for Chrome OS.

Gnome Software Center

Gnome’s software center comes standard on a majority of Ubuntu based distros. The app store is particularly extensive in functionality due to its association with the Gnome desktop environment which unmistakably comes standard in Ubuntu and many of its derived flavors.

Gnome App Store
Gnome App Store

The software center groups apps in categories and also has a search bar together with some other first party Gnome apps that come standard with the distros featuring the Gnome desktop environment.

Installation requires you using the Linux terminal that you can find using the search bar in the app launcher after which you’ll subsequently copy and paste the code below.

sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit

When the installation is complete, go back to the system tray and search for software and you should now be able to use it however you like.

Alternatively, you can download either KDE’s Discover app store or the Synaptic package manager from the Gnome software center for the same purpose of installing apps that is if you don’t find Gnome to be appealing enough for whatever reason.

Lastly, Gdebi is a package installer that enables you to install .deb packages without the hassle of the Linux terminal and below is the code required to install the app on your device.

$ sudo apt install gdebi

There are certainly a few more noteworthy Linux app stores that I haven’t mentioned in this article due to the fact that they currently do not work okay on the Chrome OS platform. I will, however, update this article as soon I am able to get them working.

With that said, share your experience with these package managers with us in the comments.

This article was originally published on Fossmint.com under my name.


Jesse Afolabi

Having been a technical writer for over 4 years, and co-founded Fossmint.com in 2016, I took my passion to the next level with the founding of Itschromeos.com which so happens to revolve around my love for open-source technologies and Chrome OS. It's my hope to venture into new avenues in the tech universe and take you with me on that ride.

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