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At more than 1 month from the windows only version (I was right), Google Chrome browser is still Windows only. Truth to be told, this doesn’t bother me too much, as I doubt I’d ever use that as a daily browser nor for web development. I am just posting to bet about when a native, official (i.e. from google, not some hack of any kind), linux version will be available.

My bet is a Linux version won’t be available before of March 2009. (well, I actually think it will take them until September 2009 at least to release but lets be optimistic.)

The above provided that they don’t just give up and release yet another wine-based hack.

So here’s my double bet: March/September (highly optimistic/optimistic).

What’s your bet ?

16 Responses

  1. Alessandro

    Who really cares? Linux has a 3% market share, so, if I was a developer, I’d develop programs for the remaining 97%. What would you do? :-)

  2. Stefano Forenza

    What I actually do is developing software for that 3% folks, thanks :) .

  3. Alessandro

    I don’t (and I’m richer than you :P ).

  4. Mark Baaijens

    I think you are right, Stefano. But does is it matter? When FF 3.1 is released, it will be on par with Chrome concerning speed with the new javascript engine, see some details here: http://lifehacker.com/5044668/beta-browser-speed-tests-which-is-fastest

    With Prism (extensiion of FF) you already have the ability to ‘host’ your webapp in a different window (like Chrome can do). That said, it is good to see some competion in the browser arena, everyone wins.

    @Alessandro. I’m developing cross-platform, does that mean I’m smarter?

  5. Alessandro

    @ Mark: Perhaps you are :-) But it was just a joke between Stefano and me. We’re good ole friends and I am no developer (and I’m not going to use Chrome).

  6. Stefano Forenza

    @Mark: actually.. no. Chrome doesn’t offer any compelling (or not) reason to switch. Just throwing out my guessed release dates and waiting to see if I got it right or not :) .

  7. jimcooncat

    As far as I can see, Google Chrome is not something that can be trivially ported from Windows to Linux. The “one process per tab” model (if that’s accurate) would mean that Windows and Linux versions will be dramatically different software if they are to have the same feature set.

    We don’t know about their development process; it could be that they have been developing for both platforms all along and just finished the Win version first. I’d like to think that’s the case anyway, and since they say they use Linux for most of their internal stuff, their own staff might be after the devs to finish up quickly.

    50 cents says late January 2009.

  8. Well, if it takes that long. At least there are taking the time doing a good port of chrome to different platforms. Firefox on Linux is a mess, a slow poke without comparison. The Mac port doesn’t look any better. They are carrying this much Windows specific code in their application you could cry. They still use their own subpar toolkit with some even worse wrappers so the browser looks at least a little bit native.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m using Firefox, I really love the whole extensions scene but I wouldn’t use it if there were viable alternatives.

    We’ll see what chrome will look like when it comes to Linux, next year.

  9. Asa

    @jimcooncat you’re right that the Linux version will be completely different. There was a post on the official blog on how great it is that they extensively use windows specific security features for the sandboxing. when I asked about the Linux/Mac versions they said its under development and the implementation details haven’t been decided. I don’t think Linux has a security system that similar to windows, so the sandbox will have to have different feature sets. The way security works in Linux vs Windows is so different that there can’t be a direct port.

    http://blog.chromium.org/2008/10/new-approach-to-browser-security-google.html

  10. Stefano Forenza

    Asa: Ok, I got it. 2010..

  11. If developers use the Gtk libraries to develop something, is that “giving up and releasing another Gtk-based hack?”
    If developers use the Webkit libraries, is that “giving up and releasing another Webkit-based hack?”
    I just don’t understand the irrational snobbery of people who think of the WINE libraries as somehow not being proper Linux. They’re as much a part of our OS anything else with a “lib” in front of it that isn’t installed by default…

  12. Asa

    @Wolfger

    Wine is an excellent tool for programs you don’t have the source to. I play World Of Warcraft under wine and it works as good as it does on windows.

    Wine libraries are not ‘proper Linux’ they are a compatibility layer so that you can write for windows and run on Linux. This means that every bug in the windows API must be reproduced in wine for compatibility. If you look at the link in my last comment you’ll see that for sandboxing Google is using windows security models for the sandbox. I suspect that those security layers don’t exist in wine, or the ones that do are probably stubs that simply tell the program that its functioning but don’t really do anything. The Windows security models simply don’t translate directly to Linux so any security wine provides will not be the same as what is on windows.

  13. @Wolfger there wouldn’t be anything wrong with using wine if you could manage to get it to integrate in the desktop properly let alone problems with sound.

    But it’s the same thing I’ve to say about firefox, just use some toolkits already available.

    The main problem about Chrome and Wine however is licensing. Wine is LGPL licensed and would require a Wine-based Chrome to be LGPL as well, which it is not. Chrome isn’t even open source, it would be a severe violation of the license. Chromium uses multiple licenses though, but lacks a lot of functionality and those parts incompatible with the LGPL wouldn’t do any good for that matter either.

    So there is a reason there will no, or should no Chrome port using wine.

    You just gotta hate BSD style licenses…

  14. Stefano Forenza

    @Wolfger: Rationality for rationality, I have some problems with wine that prevents me to consider it an optimal solution:

    - bad integration with the filesystem (click save as and you are presented with c: and z: drives..)
    - alien toolkit (but guess google it’s going to use an alien, own, toolkit anyway)
    - still stubbed everywhere

    While I’d appreciate someone developing a program and testing it with wine in order to let it run on linux *either* – I for sure consider non-sense to develop a linux only application on wine. Sure, Google Chrome falls in the former category, but from google (and for a browser application) one would expect a little more, no ?

    By the way, the actual linux code of chrome does not use wine, and switching it to wine would be what I would consider an hack.

    @Julian: Google already used Wine for its software (Picasa). I don’t know if it’s actually open source, but I guess not. LPGL clauses make a difference between statically and dynamically linked libraries, and I guess because of that clauses Google software can be proprietary even using wine.

  15. @Stefano

    I know and I think that’s exactly the problem, they can’t make it “one” application it would have to be chrome+wine not chrome for linux and while this might not that of an issue for a software like picasa it probably isn’t the safest and most secure way to run a browser.

  16. marku

    i tried chrome on the xp side and liked the fact that someone finally made tabs usable without being a pain. i am one who hates tabs, but they seemed to be a natural way of working with chrome. i did not leave it on because of the constant hard disk activity which made me nervous about what was going on. went back to old faithful firefox and if i ever use windows again it will be there. you have a darn good blog. marku.

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