If you want or need to use a VPN with Chrome OS, one of the easiest ways is to download one for Android like NordVPN or Private Internet Access. Chrome OS is able to integrate with these VPN apps to protect your browsing and your Android apps’ networking, but this protection was never extended to Linux apps. Google is finally looking to change this, after months of being aware of it.
Early last year, Google made it possible for Chrome OS to integrate directly with the many VPN apps available in the Play Store. While Chrome OS has long had a way of manually configuring VPN settings, Android VPN app support dramatically simplified the experience.
When Linux apps support came last Spring, it brought a new level of productivity to Chrome OS, but users pretty quickly figured out that their Chrome OS VPN settings were not being respected. This kept some corporate and enterprise users from being able to connect to their company’s required VPN, limiting the usefulness of Linux apps.
The problem was somewhat alleviated, earlier this year, by the ability to use Linux-based VPN apps like OpenVPN using a community-discovered workaround. Despite this workaround, users still sought a more permanent and convenient solution.
Almost a year after Linux apps support’s launch, Google is finally putting a proper fix in place, according to a new code change created this morning on the Chromium Gerrit. Entitled “route Crostini VM traffic through VPNs,” its purpose is clear when you remember that Chrome OS’s Linux apps support is codenamed “Crostini.”
This change helps Chrome OS identify the networking being done by virtual machines, like the one used by Linux apps support, and passing it through the standard VPN settings. For the networking savvy, this is done by handling the VM’s TAP interface.
The code change is still under active development, so it could still be a few days before it arrives even in Chrome OS’s unstable Canary builds. If everything works smoothly, though, we could see proper VPN support for Linux apps arrive by Chrome OS 75.