I want to ask, if Chromium OS is a GNU/Linux distribution or is it a non-GNU Linux-based operating system like Android, webOS or Syllable Server. Does Chromium OS use GNU C Library, GNU coreutils etc., or maybe it has its own native UNIX core utilities like Android before version 6.0 (in Android some of coreutils were taken from NetBSD) or it uses for example Toybox, like Android from version 6.0 onwards? I tried to search the source of Chromium OS, looking for GNU coreutils and glibc, but I can't find them there.

  • I have found glibc, but still can't find GNU coreutils. – Łukasz Konieczny Mar 13 '16 at 12:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

ChromeOS is NOT a GNU/Linux distro. However, ChromeOS IS a distribution of Linux. The basic elements of a GNU/Linux system are described here: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/88625/159449.

ChromeOS ships with the following:

  • Linux Kernel
  • Bash ( although it was not until much later in the ChromeOS development process and it is still limited to certain hardware).

But ChromeOS does not ship with the following:

  • Binutils
  • Coreutils
  • GCC

and ChromeOS also prevents the normal user from taking steps to add those items to the OS. Therefore, I would not classify ChromeOS as a distribution of GNU/Linux.

  • Thank you very much. Do you have a Chromebook? And for example is ls command in Chrome OS its native command or maybe is taken from Toybox or something similar? – Łukasz Konieczny Mar 13 '16 at 21:54
  • I don't have a chromebook with me at the moment, but I would assume the ls command is a feature of the chrsh, similar to how it is arranged in toybox or busybox. It is easy to determine this using GNU file, assuming google doesn't prevent you from installing it... – Dennis Chen Mar 13 '16 at 23:50

As per Wikipedia:

Chrome OS is an operating system designed by Google and based upon the Linux kernel.

If you read the design section, it's a typical "Linux/BSD core services, tweaked for specific reasons, with a custom and proprietary UI and service architecture."

It is not a Linux distribution, even in the loosest sense.

  • I have read the article on Wikipedia and that article hasn't made me sure about the topic. Also your answer hasn't helped me. Let me explain what is my definition of operating system. OS is the minimal environment which make computer usable. That means, in case of UNIX, that UNIX-like operating system, such as GNU/Linux, should have at least kernel, C standard library, shell and basic UNIX utilities. – Łukasz Konieczny Mar 13 '16 at 20:28
  • In Chromium OS we have: 1) Linux as a kernel, 2) glibc as a C standard library (I have already found it in git repository of Chromium OS), 3) bash, which is reachable from crosh, as a shell. The question is still: Does Chromium OS have GNU coreutils? If yes, it is a GNU/Linux distribution, because it fulfills then the definition of minimal operating system. If no, then it isn't. – Łukasz Konieczny Mar 13 '16 at 20:28
  • We can always argue on terminology, but a linux distribution is before all a distribution of software built for the Linux kernel, so ChromeOS or Android qualify. As such though, the term is not very useful as it doesn't help identify the operating system or family of operating system. – Stéphane Chazelas Dec 12 '17 at 20:51

On those who are on Chrome Os, you can install those (binutils coreutils gcc) by installing 'chromebrew' : shell

wget -q -O - https://raw.github.com/skycocker/chromebrew/master/install.sh | bash

crew install coreutils coreutils gcc

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