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Tsiry Sandratraina
Tsiry Sandratraina

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Developing on ChromeOS: Exploring the ChromeOS Flex and Nix Combo


Developers have traditionally relied on Windows, macOS, or Linux distributions as their primary development environments. However, with the advancements in ChromeOS, the operating system developed by Google, it's worth exploring the possibilities it offers for developers. In this article, we will dive into ChromeOS as a development environment and explore the combination of Crostini and Nix to enhance your development workflow.

ChromeOS: embracing the cloud

ChromeOS is an operating system designed around the Chrome web browser, emphasizing cloud-based applications and services. While not initially considered a full-fledged development platform, ChromeOS has evolved and now offers options to support developers.

Linux Support with Crostini

One of the key features that make ChromeOS more developer-friendly is Crostini. Crostini enables the execution of a Linux container within the ChromeOS environment. This Linux container provides access to a terminal, package manager, and the ability to run Linux applications, opening up the door to a range of development possibilities.

Nix: Reproducible Environments

Nix, a powerful package manager and build system used primarily in the Linux ecosystem, can significantly enhance your development workflow on ChromeOS. With Nix, you can define your development environment as a set of packages and configurations, ensuring reproducible builds and the ability to create isolated development environments.

Installing Nix

To install Nix on your ChromeOS device, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal in your ChromeOS environment (using Crostini).
  2. Run the following command to download and execute the Nix installation script:
curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf -L | sh -s -- install
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  1. Follow the instructions presented during the installation process. The script will guide you through setting up Nix and configuring your environment.

Once the installation is complete, you'll have Nix available in your ChromeOS environment.

Unlocking Development Potential

Combining ChromeOS and Nix can unlock new possibilities for developers on Chromebooks. The Linux environment provided by Crostini allows you to leverage the Linux ecosystem and run various development tools and programming languages. Nix ensures reproducibility and simplifies the sharing of development setups across different machines.


While ChromeOS was initially perceived as a limited platform for development, the introduction of Crostini, along with the reproducibility of Nix, has expanded its potential as a viable development environment. Developers can now harness the power of ChromeOS, leverage Linux tools and applications and ensure consistent development setups with Nix. While ChromeOS may not be suitable for all development workflows, it's certainly worth exploring for web and cloud-based development tasks.

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