GnuCash Linux on Chromebook via Linux Beta Crostini

I’ve been looking for some time for a solution to run the GnuCash free accounting software local on the Chromebook, now we have it.

This is not the android version of GnuCash via Google Play, this is a full install of GnuCash Linux running in a Linux Container on the Chromebook.

Here is how to install it.

Turn on the Linux (Beta) container for your Chromebook under the settings (you might need a more current Chromebook, I’m running Google Chrome OS version 73 on a Samsung Chromebook 3 XE501C13-K02US as of this writing).

Once the Linux (Beta) is installed and run (this will take some time), you will get a command prompt, this is containerized Linux.  From here you can use the apt-get command to install GnuCash from the default Debian repository.  Simply type:

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install gnucash

Once the gnucash install is finished (this will take some time too), you can run the GnuCash program by just typing the command “gnucash” (as indicated in the above image).

This will launch the GnuCash user interface and one can start creating a new GnuCash file or use an existing one.

A couple of notes:

  • The current version in the Debian repository is GnuCash version 2.6.15, the latest in the version 2.6.x series is 2.6.21, not sure if this will be updated anytime soon.
  • The current latest version of GnuCash is 3.5, so for simple accounting the 2.6.15 version may be suitable
  • The gnucash files are installed in their respective directories to run the program and any .gnucash data files can be saved in the linux container which is also available as a folder on the Chromebook after installing the Linux (Beta).
  • I’m looking into more if the current GnuCash 3.5 code can be manually installed in the linux container (it should), but will take time to understand it more and get it running.
  • A GnuCash Icon will be added as part of Linux App group on the Chromebook (see the image below).

So for the cost of a Chromebook one can now get into free double entry accounting software.


– Dom


5 thoughts on “GnuCash Linux on Chromebook via Linux Beta Crostini

  1. HI Dom,
    Thanks so much for this info.!
    Have used Gnucash for keeping track of my Business since 2010.
    Just installed it to a Chromebook Plus v1. Previously had to run from Windows.
    Just getting started with Linux and this is the first program so far. Version 3.4.
    Hopefully goes well from here.

    1. Yes, I’ve been playing with chromebooks and gnucash recently, noticed v10 of Debian was now part of the crostini image and now you can access a v3 of gnucash. Thanks for commenting.

  2. A hearty thanks from me too Dom. I followed your instructions to the letter, and can now access and update my gnucash files, with several years worth of accounts, on my chromebook. Consider myself a bit of a luddite, so this has made me very happy!

  3. I use gnucash now version 3.10 on a desktop in Ubuntu. I found a repository that provides that version for Ubuntu. I also run that version on a netbook and a raspberry pi. Gnucash needed to be installed from source on those machines because Linux Mint (netbook) and Raspbian Stretch did not offer 3.10 and since I use Gnucash with MySql I wanted the versions to match. It compiled ok on both the netbook and the Pi but there were a bunch of libraries that I had to track down before it would finish. This is maybe not for the faint of heart perhaps but was worth the effort. I’m considering a Chromebook to replace the ageing netbook which brought me to your article. I assume you can install libraries and do compiling in the Linux container?

    1. Hi James, yes you can compile code on the Chromebook Crostini Container (or VM) and run GUI based applications like the package installed ones. I knew the compile of the latest versions of GnuCash on Linux were a bit involved based on reading I have done. Glad to hear you have attempted it, I would like to hear more and give it a whirl when I have time. Thanks for the comment!

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