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ChromeOS team listens to Linux community, brings back ext2/3/4

It's great to see a community response to an unpopular decision actually have an impact.

Linux penguin
Credit: DeviantArt/Ghost482

A few days ago I wrote an article about how the ChromeOS developers decided to remove support for the ext file systems (ext2, ext3 and ext4) from the ChromeOS file browsers. I made it pretty clear in that article that I felt this was a colossal mistake that could potentially alienate huge groups of Google and ChromeOS's most vocal supporters – Linux users.

Obviously, I wasn't the only person who felt that way. The issue on code.google.com itself (315401) contained nearly a hundred declarations against that decision. Some of my favorites:

“Is this some kind of a joke?”

“So, on a linux box, we can't have a linux FS? Seriously?”

“I can't believe support for HFS+ is left in but ext removed.”

“Looks like google is trolling linux users again”

Oh, and my personal favorite:

"Sounds very very stupid"

Then, the following comment was posted to that very issue. I'm going to quote the whole thing... because it is awesome.

"Thanks for all of your feedback on this bug. We’ve heard you loud and clear.

We plan to re-enable ext2/3/4 support in Files.app immediately. It will come back, just like it was before, and we’re working to get it into the next stable channel release.

Please star this bug to get the latest updates. We’ll post everything here."

The change to add ext2/3/4 support back into the ChromeOS file browser happened, literally, six hours after that statement was made.

This brief event has endeared me to ChromeOS and the team behind it. They made an unpopular decision, listened to the complaints from their user/developer community, and reacted in a way that shows that they care about Linux users. And, hot damn, they reacted fast.

Kudos to everyone involved. Kudos to the developers who made an unpopular decision (never easy to do). Kudos to the user community that spoke out quickly, clearly, and (for the most part) in a friendly way. But, most of all, kudos to the people who made the decision to listen to the users and support Linux file systems.

As of right now, I don't really use ChromeOS. I'm typing this article on an Android tablet, and the laptop next to me is running openSUSE – those tend to be my two Operating Systems of choice. But things like this make me start wondering if I should add a Chromebook to my collection of daily gear.

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