Not at all, its a good question!! as this is still a huge point of confusion even in the developer community, let alone people outside it and Google have not done a great marketing job with it.
Basically Chrome Packaged Apps (Googles marketing material just calls the “Chrome Apps” now) are a bundle of html/css/js in a zip file, like extension which they grew out of, installed via the web store or side-loaded that come with a manifest file that importantly describes the permissions the app wants.
Unlike extensions, this gives Apps access to a very broad API:
that for instance includes access to the FULL devices file system (under users initial approval), device hardware (USB, BT), raw sockets, etc.
BUT if you look through the API docs, you’ll see that they are very different from both the traditional POSIX and the Node API (which is pretty close to posix-in-js).
Infact you can think of the Chrome API as an equivalent to the Electron APIs, so porting Atom to them would be difficult and a big job. But hey, people have written whole x86 virtual machines in JS so its not impossible and even likfely doable by 1 person (initially).
There’s also very tight restrictions on runtime code loading so as I said, that would need to be especially worked around and might perhaps prevent a port from the Electron APIs to the Chrome APIs altogether, though looking at the list of Electron modules, there seems to be a reasonable overlap with the Chrome APIS.
@mark_hahn hope that helps to clarify things?