The brand new Terminal in Chrome OS

Chrome OS version 103 comes with a brand new version of Terminal which is my favorite tool on the Chromebooks after its browser. With this tool, you can not only use the Linux container which is built into Chrome OS, you can now also use it to connect to ssh on remote servers you may periodically access to.

For example, I use Amazon EC2 to access my WordPress server, and I use this terminal to access the ssh instances. For those who are new to this version of terminal, here is a brief review of what it looks like.

If you have never used Linux on your Chrome OS device before, you will see the following screen at the first launch

Chromeos terminal app
Default Chrome OS Terminal window

There are two distinct things you can do using this terminal. You can definitely initialize your “Linux” container and connect to it, but starting with version Chrome OS 103, you can also use it to SSH to other SSH servers on the internet.

If you don’t ever SSH into other servers you can go to chrome://flags and disable ssh options using the following flag.

Setting up Linux is very easy… it literally takes two steps to initialize and once done, you will directly get shell access to your container. You don’t even need to know your username or know the root password to do anything there. However, if you do want to install new applications, you may need to learn a little bit more about using Bash Shell commands and get familiar with “Sudo

Terminal Tips and Tricks

Unlike the versions before, now you would have to click twice to get terminal access to your local linux container. You can shorten it by bookmarking the link and click on the link instead of going through the terminal app. Copy the “link address” and save it in your bookmarks to do this.

Creating a direct shortcut to your terminal option

You can customize your font/background colors to suite your liking using the Terminal Settings -> Appearance options

Customize colors

You do not need to authenticate everytime you get into your Chrome OS Linux container. However, you probably would have to authenticate everytime you ssh into a remote server. You can speed this process up by importing your “Private keys” in the SSH session creation workflow

SSH session creation workflow

Quick note that not all Chrome devices support Linux Terminal. Browse to the Chrome device list and look for “Linux support” to check if the device you are interested in buying supports it.


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