December 3, 2020 by Alessandro Segala, @ItalyPaleAle
For the last few years, Chromebooks running Google Chrome OS have been providing an alternative to “traditional” laptops. Thanks to lots of choices, from very affordable models to high-end ones, Chromebooks are especially popular among students, who can use them for learning, completing assignments, and attending classes virtually.
While Chromebooks and Chrome OS are typically centered around the web browser, you can also enable a Linux environment that allows installing native desktop applications, including Visual Studio Code!
What you’ll need
VS Code runs on any recent Chromebook, as long as you are able to enable Linux applications via Crostini, which we’ll look at how to do in just a moment.
Visual Studio Code is a lightweight editor, so you will be able to run it on low-powered Chromebooks, with a minimum of 1 GB of RAM. In addition, VS Code is now available for Linux on ARMv7 and ARM64, which means that you can run it on Chromebooks powered by an ARM chip as well!
For this tutorial, I’ll be using an entry-level Chromebook, with an ARM64 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and a 32 GB-disk. Despite the modest specs, VS Code runs just fine on this machine!
Enable Linux on your Chromebook
Before we can install VS Code on Chrome OS, we need to enable support for native Linux apps, using Crostini.
First, open your system’s Settings, then look for Linux (Beta) on the sidebar. From there, turn on Linux support.
Follow the instructions on screen to configure the Linux environment (for most people, accepting the default values should be enough). Your Chromebook will then download the tools to create the Linux environment and configure it for you. Behind the scenes, this is actually creating a container running Debian 10, so you get a full Linux distribution to play with!
Once the Linux environment has been set up, you’ll see a new terminal window popping up.
Before we can install VS Code, we need to run a couple of commands in the Linux terminal. We need to update the list of Linux packages and to install the optional (but strongly recommended) dependency gnome-keyring. In the terminal, type the following two commands (press the Enter key at the end of each command to execute them):
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -y gnome-keyring
The output will be similar to this:
As soon as the second command ends, you can move to the next step.
Install VS Code
We’re now ready to install VS Code!
Go to the Visual Studio Code Download page. From there, you need to pick the right package for your Chromebook:
For Chromebooks running an Intel or AMD chip, pick the .deb in variant 64 bit. If yourContinue reading