How-To

How to Download Python on Chromebook

In the modern world of computing, Python has emerged as a versatile and powerful programming language favored by many professionals for its simplicity and robustness. If you’re using a Chromebook, a device known for its security and ease of use, installing Python might seem a bit tricky due to its cloud-based architecture. But fear not, as we’re about to guide you through several methods to get Python up and running on your Chromebook. These range from straightforward approaches to slightly more technical ones, and we’ll make sure you’re equipped to tackle each step with confidence, no matter your expertise level.

how to download python on chromebook

Linux (Beta) on Chromebook

One of the most straightforward methods for installing Python on a Chromebook is by using the Linux (Beta) feature that is available on most modern Chromebooks. This feature allows you to run a Linux terminal and applications and, by extension, lets you install Python just as you would on a typical Linux distribution.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Enable Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook:

    • Go to your Chromebook settings and scroll down to ‘Linux (Beta)’.
    • Click ‘Turn On’, and follow the steps to install the Linux container.
    • Once the installation is complete, a Linux terminal window will pop up.
  2. Install Python:

    • In the Linux terminal, type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install python3 and press Enter.
    • The system will download and install the Python package. If prompted for confirmation, press ‘Y’ for yes.
    • Validate the installation by typing python3 --version and press Enter. It should return the version of Python installed.

Summary:

Installing Python via Linux on Chromebook is user-friendly and doesn’t involve complex procedures. This method benefits from the Chromebook’s built-in features and provides a stable environment for Python. However, given that Linux (Beta) is still a beta feature, you may encounter some inconsistencies or bugs.

Crouton

For older Chromebook models or for users who need a more traditional Linux environment, Crouton provides a way to install a full Linux distribution alongside Chrome OS. This method is more complex and not officially supported by Google but offers greater flexibility.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Enable Developer Mode:

    • This can typically be done by holding down the Esc and Refresh keys, then pressing the Power button.
    • Follow the prompts to turn on Developer Mode, which may take some time and will wipe your local data.
  2. Install Crouton:

    • Download Crouton from https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton.
    • Once downloaded, press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a terminal, type shell, and press Enter to enable a full bash shell.
    • Install your desired Linux distribution by typing sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce, if for example, you want the XFCE desktop environment.
  3. Install Python in the Linux Distribution:

    • Once the installation is complete, enter the Linux environment by typing sudo startxfce4 (or the relevant start command for your desktop environment).
    • Open the Linux terminal and install Python with sudo apt-get install python3.

Summary:

Installing Python through Crouton provides a more traditional Linux environment on a Chromebook, allowing for greater control and functionality. This method is better suited for advanced users, as it requires unlocking Developer Mode, which disables some security features.

CodeAnywhere

CodeAnywhere is a cloud-based development environment that can be accessed through any web browser, including Chrome on a Chromebook. It allows you to write, run, and debug code in various programming languages, including Python, without installing anything on your device.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Create a CodeAnywhere Account:

    • Visit the CodeAnywhere website and sign up for an account.
    • Follow the onboarding process to create your development environment.
  2. Set Up a Python Container:

    • Once logged in, create a new project and select Python as the environment.
    • CodeAnywhere will provision a container with Python pre-installed.
  3. Start Coding:

    • Open the CodeAnywhere editor and begin writing your Python code.
    • You can run the code directly within the browser and see the output.

Summary:

CodeAnywhere simplifies the process of coding in Python on a Chromebook by removing the need for any installations. It’s great for beginners and offers portability. However, as it relies on internet connectivity, it may not be ideal for offline development.

Jupyter Notebooks

Jupyter Notebooks provide an interactive computing environment that’s perfect for data analysis, visualization, and educational purposes. You can run Jupyter Notebooks on a Chromebook without installing Python locally using online services like Google Colab.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Access Google Colab:

    • Visit the Google Colab website, and sign in with your Google account.
    • Click on ‘New Notebook’ to create a Jupyter Notebook.
  2. Use Python Within the Notebook:

    • Begin typing your Python code into the cells provided.
    • Run the code by clicking on the play button or pressing Shift + Enter.

Summary:

Jupyter Notebooks are an excellent way for Chromebook users to get started with Python, especially for educational or data science tasks. They are easy to use and accessible through the browser. The main downside is their reliance on an internet connection and less control over the computing environment.

Repl.it

Repl.it is an online coding platform that supports multiple programming languages, including Python. It provides a collaborative and interactive coding experience directly in your browser, no setup required.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Sign Up or Log In to Repl.it:

    • Go to the Repl.it website and either sign up for a new account or log in to an existing one.
  2. Create a New Python Repl:

    • Click the ‘+ new repl’ button and select Python as the language.
    • Start coding in the web-based editor provided.

Summary:

The benefit of using Repl.it is that it does not require any configuration and is very straightforward to use. It’s cloud-based, so your projects are saved online and can be accessed from anywhere. However, the performance might be limited by your internet connection.

Termux

Termux is an Android application that provides a powerful Linux terminal environment. Since Chromebook now supports Android apps, it is possible to install Termux and use it to run Python scripts.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Install Termux from the Google Play Store:

    • Open the Google Play Store on your Chromebook and search for Termux.
    • Install the Termux app.
  2. Install Python in Termux:

    • Open Termux and update its package repository by typing pkg update.
    • Install Python by typing pkg install python.

Summary:

Termux brings a Linux terminal environment to your Chromebook without needing to enable Linux (Beta). This method is straightforward but might have some limitations with package management and complex project dependencies.

Skulpt on a Webpage

Skulpt is an in-browser implementation of Python that allows you to run Python code on any web page without any server-side processing. It’s a tool that’s especially useful for teaching and learning Python concepts.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Set Up a Webpage with Skulpt:
    • Create an HTML file and include the Skulpt scripts.
    • Add an element where you want your Python code to run, and include a script to handle the execution of Python code within the page.

Summary:

Skulpt is a great educational tool for Python and can be especially useful for simple scripting and demonstrations. It’s easy to set up for basic use but may not be suitable for full application development.

Cloud9

Cloud9 is a cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) that was acquired by Amazon and is part of AWS Cloud9 services. It supports collaborative coding and includes a code editor and terminal access.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Set Up an AWS Account:

    • Go to the AWS website and sign up for a new account or log into your existing one.
    • Navigate to the AWS Cloud9 service to set up a new development environment.
  2. Launch a New Cloud9 Environment:

    • Choose ‘Create environment’ and follow the steps to configure your environment, selecting Python as part of the setup if possible.
    • Once your environment is ready, you’ll have access to a full-fledged IDE with Python capabilities.

Summary:

AWS Cloud9 is a sophisticated option offering a powerful coding environment and a vast array of tools for development. While it may have a steeper learning curve for newcomers, it provides a professional-grade experience. Bear in mind the potential costs associated with AWS services.

PyDroid 3

PyDroid 3 is an Android app that serves as a mini Python 3 IDE with extras that can be installed on your Chromebook. It’s a good solution if you want to run Python code on the go.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Download PyDroid 3 from the Google Play Store:

    • Search for PyDroid 3 in the Google Play Store and install it.
  2. Write and Run Python Code:

    • Open PyDroid 3, which allows you to start typing Python code right away.
    • Run your scripts directly within the app’s environment.

Summary:

PyDroid 3 gives you a mobile Python coding environment with powerful features. While convenient and easy to use, it may not be as robust as a full desktop IDE for larger projects with many dependencies.

GalliumOS

GalliumOS is a Linux distribution specifically designed for Chromebooks, meant to be a replacement for Chrome OS. It is a more advanced solution and may not be suitable for all users, as it involves replacing the existing operating system.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Prepare a Bootable GalliumOS USB:

    • Download the GalliumOS ISO file and create a bootable USB drive.
    • Enable Boot from USB on your Chromebook by turning on Developer Mode.
  2. Install GalliumOS:

    • Boot from the USB drive and follow the installation prompts.
    • After installation, boot into GalliumOS and install Python using the terminal.

Summary:

GalliumOS is a full-blown Linux replacement for more advanced users who want complete control over their Chromebook. The downside is that it requires replacing Chrome OS, which might void the warranty and no longer provide the simplicity and security associated with it.

With these various methods, Chromebook users from novices to seasoned tech enthusiasts can harness the power of Python for a wide range of applications. Whether you’re looking to dabble in programming for the first time or take on more complex projects, there is an approach to suit your needs.

Conclusion

Learning Python on a Chromebook is possible and there are several pathways to explore depending on your comfort level and project needs. From using built-in features like Linux Beta to cloud-based platforms or even changing to a different OS like GalliumOS, each method caters to different users and situations. While some barriers exist due to the Chromebook’s unique architecture, with the right tools and guidance, you can turn your Chromebook into a versatile coding machine.

FAQs

1. Can Chromebooks run Python without Linux?
Yes, there are methods to run Python without using Linux on a Chromebook, such as using cloud-based IDEs like Repl.it, Jupyter Notebooks, or CodeAnywhere.

2. Is enabling Developer Mode safe for my Chromebook?
Enabling Developer Mode on a Chromebook disables some of the built-in security features and will wipe your local data, so it should be done with caution and ideally by users who understand the risks.

3. Can Python programs created on a Chromebook be transferred to other computers?
Absolutely, Python code is platform-independent, so programs developed on a Chromebook can be transferred and run on any other system that has a Python interpreter.

Larry R. Jimenez
I'm the senior editor of techverbs.com. I help people solve their computer problems and recommend reliable products. My area of expertise includes electronic or hardware products, Windows, Mac, and application tricks. I'm active in the various online tech communities where he provides help for new computer issues as they are released.

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