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Customize Chrome OS Linux Terminal

dsmorais profile image David Morais ・3 min read

Hey πŸ‘‹ I already had a post written about my WSL setup, but I had uninstalled it like two weeks after writing the thing, so I don't really have any screenshots. But I recently purchased a Chromebook and upon getting it I was keen on testing its Linux features. I formatted it and why not provide a step by step guide on how to make your Chromebook terminal look like this. This also applies to most Linux terminals. For benchmarking reasons, I'm running a Lenovo Chromebook Duet, and its biggest downside is its 32-bit processor.

Enable Linux

First things first, we need to enable Linux. Head to Settings > Search 'Linux' and enable the thing. It can take a couple of minutes for the OS to install, after you're done it should look like this πŸ‘‡

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Installing Zsh and Oh My Zsh

Linux on Chrome OS does not ask for a password whenever you use commands with super user access, so we first need to do this:

sudo su && passwd pushp.vashisht
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In the same terminal window, we can install Zsh by writing πŸ‘‡

sudo apt install zsh && chsh -s $(which zsh)
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After we have Zsh, we need to install Oh My Zsh, which is a framework for managing Zsh. We already have curl, so just paste this on your terminal:

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)" 
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Type 'Y' to set your Oh My Zsh as your default bash. This command always creates a ~/.zshrc file on your home directory, which we'll alter soon. For now, your terminal should already look like this:

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If you struggle like I did to set Zsh as the default prompt, try using the following command

echo 'exec /usr/bin/zsh' >>~/.bashrc
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Powerlevel9k Theme

I use the much lighter Powerlevel 10k Theme, which is also very easy to configure, however I wasn't able to install its required font, Meslo LG S, therefore, we're going with its older cousin P9K, which is a great theme, just a little harder to configure. To install it run this command:

git clone https://github.com/bhilburn/powerlevel9k.git ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/themes/powerlevel9k
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To change our zsh configuration we need to install a text editor, if you're like me and don't know how to vim, πŸ‘‰ sudo apt install nano . After this, let's create and change our zsh config and tell it to use our Powerlevel 10k theme. Hit nano ./zshrc and change the ZSH_THEME line to the following πŸ‘‰ ZSH_THEME="powerlevel9k/powerlevel9k" . Hit Ctrl + X and 'Y' to save and exit.

Press Ctrl + T to open a new terminal window and type zsh . You should already notice some differences.

Setting Terminal Theme & Font

As of this writing, it is no longer possible to add transparency or change custom fonts on the Chrome OS terminal. I've tried several methods, like installing gnome-terminal and terminator, but the result was a downgraded version of both terminals with anti-aliasing disabled. So I've settled for one of the built themes, Dusk, which in my opinion looks better than most 'stock' themes I usually see in terminals.

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I've also tried to give the terminal a custom CSS & font via the following command, which works, but only for the powerline-web-fonts supported fonts.

To run this, tap Ctrl + Alt + J on your Terminal.

term_.prefs_.set('user-css', 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/wernight/powerline-web-fonts@ba4426cb0c0b05eb6cb342c7719776a41e1f2114/PowerlineFonts.css');
term_.prefs_.set('font-family', '"Source Code Pro", monospace');
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In the end, you should end up with something like this πŸ‘‡

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In the end, I had just noticed that the Chrome OS team actually updated the preferences for their native terminal. On a previous version I was able to install P10K and run my usual configuration. Since this happened, I needed to tweak the P9K settings. If you want your terminal to look like mine just paste this onto your ~/.zshrc file.

I've tried to replace most glyphs, which were prone to errors by emojis which should be rendered just fine by the Chrome OS terminal. Here's the end result

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That's it for now. If you liked it follow me on Twitter

Discussion (1)

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katari profile image
katari

thank you verry nice

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