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A Crostini Meltdown

The Crostini Linux containers on my Google Pixelbook melted down after I upgraded the Pixelbook to the stable release of Chrome OS 74, a reminder that Linux Apps (Crostini) is very much in beta.

I’ve written the details of what occurred, the trigger seems to be that I had two containers. After Chrome OS 74 installs and you launch a container, such as by starting the Terminal app, you see a message telling you that the Linux apps is being upgraded and the app you wish to run will load after the upgrade completes.

I saw the message for the primary container, named penguin, and everything worked as planned. The meltdown began when I started Gnome Terminal, which was in the second container, the one in which I was running Docker. The upgrade message appeared but the upgrade did not seem to complete. After letting it run for an hour, which was much longer than the prior upgrade, I restarted the Pixelbook, and either that or the upgrade rendered the container usable.

From here a few attempts to fix the problem cascaded the meltdown to primary container too. My attempts to re-build and restore the primary container from a backup failed and I am left to re-building from scratch. Not totally awful given that I had no real data in either container, just apps with a bit of data synced to a cloud or github.

I am not entirely sure what happened. I might have been too impatient and the second container may have upgraded had I just let it run. Or, it might be that running Docker in the second container created problems.

The moral of this blog post is that even if you are sticking to the Chrome OS stable channel, Linux Apps (Crostini) is still in beta and thus breakage can and will occur.

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