Seeing how much of Chrome Unboxed’s foundation rests on Chrome OS and cloud computing, we’re big fans of the open web and the ever-evolving tools that come with the territory. That said, Chrome OS is still lacking in one particular area and I’m afraid we’re still a few years away from a web solution. Yes, I am talking about video editing. There are more and more great web based video creation tools out there and for many users they are doing whatever it takes to create quality content for the classroom, marketing materials, etc. However, for serious content creators and studios, these tools simply won’t be enough. Fortunately, Chrome OS has evolved a lot over the past ten years, and times they change.
Since Linux apps for Chrome OS first appeared in beta, we’ve continually tested apps that could fill the gap for users who need a little more from their Chromebooks. Video editors were at the top of my list and I have successfully installed and even used a handful of Linux based editors using the Crostini container. At first, the experience was less than tasty, and oftentimes editors crashed at random or the frame rates were so bad they just weren’t viable to use. Now that Linux on Chrome OS has had some time to mature, you can actually find lighter editors that work well enough to get the job done, but until recently there weren’t any developers who paid attention to it. watch out for Chrome OS in this department.
Now that Tiger Lake Chromebooks are a thing, I had very high hopes that Davinci Resolve could actually run on Chrome OS thanks to the much anticipated Iris Xe graphics. I am sad to report that, at the moment, this is not the case. I tried running Davinci on a Tiger Lake Core i5 and it still fails to recognize the new onboard GPU and it just won’t work. That leaves us with options like Flowblade, Kdenlive, and others. These work on Chrome OS if you know how to install them, but a particular group of developers have finally thrown their hats in the ring and come up with an official installation method for Chromebooks.
OpenShot is a powerful free and open source video editor. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The Linux version comes as an AppImage, which makes it compatible with most of the major Linux distributions. It is for this reason that it is easily “installed” and run on Chrome OS through the Linux container. While looking for updates to the most common video editors, I found that OpenShot had packed its AppImage with an installer specifically designed for Chrome OS and this is very exciting news. Not only does OpenShot offer professional quality editing, it also integrates with Blender and Inkscape for graphic design.
As I mentioned, the version for Chrome OS is nothing more than Linux AppImage, but the developers of OpenShot took the time to package it with an installer that makes the package executable and creates a desktop icon for your Chromebook. These are features that are not out of the box when you get the traditional AppImage file from the website. Now I ran the installer and the package opens and runs as expected, but it looks like a bug is causing OpenShot to crash when you move the video to the timeline. It seems they are aware of the problem and I am sure a fix will arrive ASAP. In the meantime, you can download the daily version of OpenShot and launch it with a single command. Open your Linux terminal and run the following command. When prompted, select “yes” to create a desktop icon for the application. To use Blender and Inkscape, you will need to install these packages separately.
bash <(wget -O - https://openshot.org/files/chromeos/install-daily.sh)
Why is this important
As I mentioned before, Linux-based video editors on Chrome OS are nothing new, but the fact that OpenShot has recognized the Chromebook ecosystem is a step in the right direction for the platform as a whole. . As Google continues to tweak Linux on Chrome OS and more tools become readily available, the options available to users could expand exponentially if developers see the validity of the operating system and that means that users can finally switch to Chrome OS completely instead of hanging on because of one or two pieces missing. I sincerely hope this is the first of many app developers who will see that Chrome OS has enough merit to spend some much-appreciated time focusing on Chromebook-specific development.