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Chromium is an open source web browser. The project was founded by Google, which built Google Chrome on top of the code of Chromium. Sadly enough, only a Windows version of Google Chrome as been released, leaving the rest of us in the dust.

Chromium project logo

What I learned today is pretty awesome.

While I knew that Linux and Mac versions were in the works, I found out that a PPA repository for daily builds of Linux’s Chromium does exist ! (we’re talking about a native non-using Wine version)

Before explaing how to install it, let me just specify we’re talking about alpha builds, and pretty incomplete ones. Just basic web surfing works.:  Chromium may don’t work, make your loose data or make your loose your cat. Remember if that anything breaks, you’re on your own – install it only if you’re confortable with restoring your system/data. Also keep in mind this disclaimer on the PPA’s launchpad page:

Ubuntu daily builds of the Chromium browser.
The PPA is maintained by a bot, so it contains completely untested builds, mostly useful to track regressions or if you are curious, or just brave.

The package is still a work-in-progress, so is Chromium, please be patient.

FAQ: no native 64bit debs planed for now. The amd64 package is using ia32-libs.

Project page for Chromium in Ubuntu: https://launchpad.net/chromium-project

How to install Chromium on Ubuntu

Open your /etc/apt/sources.list file !

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add these lines at the very bottom of it:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main

then upload and install:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Update: due to some bug Chromium requires the msttcorefonts package to actually show content (otherwise it will just show a blank content area). So, make sure to have multiverse repositories enabled and also type:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

(thanks bjoerns2000 !)
—-

Update ! How to install Chromium on Fedora ? Follow the instructions on this post !

The you’ll find Chromium in your Internet menu. This is what will appear when you first start it.

Chromium for Linux: first start

Aesthetically it comes with a blueish toolbar, that doesn’t follow your theme settings, it looks nicely blending in the screenshots just because of my white theme. This is how Chromium appears using the human theme. Compared with a nautilus window.

screenshot_0021

Getting rid of the debug terminal

By default, the menu entry created by the Chromium package will open the browser inside a debug terminal. That means that you’ll see two windows appearing every time you launch it, the browser itself and a terminal console full of debug/error messages. And if you close the terminal, the browser itself will close. :-(

Getting rid of it is quite simple, and unless you’re a developer you really don’t need it. (also note the Chromium team doesn’t need people to post bug about the project until it gets more mature, so you don’t need it even as a bug reporter)

Right click on the Application menu then select Edit Menus:

Right click on the menu bar then click 'Edit Menus'

Then look for Chromium Web Browser inside the Internet section and change the Type entry from Terminal Application to Application.

Change the "type" into "Application"

No more terminal !

A few screenshots

Because everybody likes’em.

New tab homepage

How a new tab appears

This is how history appears

This is how history appears

screenshot_006

Of course the history is searchable.

Leftovers

At a first test the browser is pretty fast ! I didn’t had the time to test it properly but it seems quite nice for being an alpha. Also I like the sober toolbar, which scaringly looks like some Firefox setup ;-) . I really think Chromium for Linux has a long way. While most features are still missing, seems the most difficult part is done and works.

Install it, test it, and let me know how it feels !  If you write an article about it, be sure to link me or post a comment here with the link of your article, so I can know your opinion about it !

Note: If it’s a while you read my posts, now you know how much right I was.

Before leaving you to play with Chromium, let me repeat one thing (and again and again), as I can’t stress it enough, this is an alpha build. The default homepage you’ll see when you open the browser, will explain the concept even better:

This is a pre-alpha build of Chromium on Linux. It is woefully incomplete.

It’s ‘Chromium’, not ‘Google Chrome’:

Chromium is an open source browser project. Google Chrome is a browser from Google, based on the Chromium project. This is a build of Chromium. No versions of Google Chrome for Linux will exist until Google makes an official release.

Please don’t file bugs:

At this point there are so many gaping holes that finding bugs is not the problem and dealing with them is just a distraction.

Blogging about it is not helpful:

Chromium’s problem is not a lack of media attention, but an excess of it. Coverage encourages people to try it out in this incomplete state which only creates negative first impressions. Also, dealing with misunderstandings/questions etc only distracts the team from the job of improving it.

Likewise, keep in mind that we won’t see your comments if they’re on a random blog somewhere.

Frankly I don’t agree with the last section (otherwise I wouldn’t have post this, of course), but I agree with them that a sober waiting attitude is the right behaviour for everyone willing to test the (any) alpha release (tabs don’t really work, incognito mode doesn’t work, etc edit: well, a little bit)

[via pollycoke.net - warning: italian language]

PS: if after spending your time on this post you have some other to waste, check some other howto. If you plan to waste some other time in the near future, why not subscribe my rss ?

72 Responses

  1. bypasser

    @Stefano Forenza
    How did you make new tabs look like this:
    stefanoforenza.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/screenshot_004.png

  2. Stefano Forenza

    @bypasser: that was the defaul new tab content. That has been replaced with the standard warning in the last updates.
    You can see it typing chrome-ui://newtab/ in the location bar. ;-)

  3. bypasser

    @Stefano Forenza
    Thanks. I just wonder if there is any way to change about:linux-splash to chrome-ui://newtab/ ?
    BTW, what is the default download dir and can it be changed by editing ~/.config//chromium/Default/Preferences?

  4. Stefano Forenza

    @bypasser: since Preference editing is not implemented yet, I think you’re right in your guess: only way to change the default behaviour is to edit config files. I didn’t dig about what and how to change configs, and won’t.
    Feel free to let us all know what you find, though, if you decide to research it yourself :-) .

    Also keep in mind that new updates *may* reset your precious and hardly worked upon configurations ;-)

  5. bypasser

    Well, it seems neither homepage, nor new tab page can be set yet. In windows that can be done with:
    “homepage”: “about:blank”,

    “homepage_is_newtabpage”: true,
    Anyway, download directory can be set and “Home” button can be added to the toolbar:
    “download”: {

    “default_directory”: “/some/directory”,

    “directory_upgrade”: true,

    “extensions_to_open”: “”

    },
    “browser”: {

    “show_home_button”: true

    },

  6. [...] Thx to [0] Milis Ubuntu-Indonesia [1] Stefanoforenza and bjoerns2000 [2]Issue [...]

  7. apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 4E5E17B5

  8. Rémi

    for the key problem :
    sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xfbef0d696de1c72ba5a835fe5a9bf3bb4e5e17b5

  9. Installed Chromium today on Jaunty and works great! Amazing speed!
    Seems better than Firefox………need to explore more to get the reality.

  10. Chris

    I just went through the instructions on Mint 7 RC1, and all seemed to go well, but when I click on it in my menu nothing happens. Where might I start to solve this?

    Thanks

  11. Stefano Forenza

    @Chris: I’d start to invoke the browser from the command line and see what happens.

  12. Chris

    Well… for full disclosure, my Linux experience is measured in days, that said I’m a quick learn, how do you launch Chromium from the CLI?

  13. Stefano Forenza

    @Chris: open a terminal and type “chromium-browser”.

  14. Joyrock

    Same problem for me, Mint 7 RC and when I click on it in my menu nothing happens.

  15. Joyrock

    nicolas@nicolas-desktop ~ $ chromium-browser
    [9433:9433:7099962922:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/common/temp_scaffolding_stubs.cc(140)] Not implemented reached in static bool FirstRun::IsChromeFirstRun()
    [9433:9433:7100042264:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/metrics/metrics_service.cc(707)] Not implemented reached in static std::string MetricsService::GenerateClientID()
    [9433:9433:7100217827:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/tab_contents/tab_contents_view_gtk.cc(80)] Not implemented reached in virtual void TabContentsViewGtk::CreateView()
    [9433:9433:7100269109:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/renderer_host/render_widget_host_view_gtk.cc(205)] Not implemented reached in virtual void RenderWidgetHostViewGtk::DidBecomeSelected()
    [9433:9433:7100269168:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/tab_contents/tab_contents_view_gtk.cc(195)] Not implemented reached in virtual void TabContentsViewGtk::RestoreFocus() Need to restore the focus position on this page.
    [9433:9433:7100284989:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/common/temp_scaffolding_stubs.cc(140)] Not implemented reached in static bool FirstRun::IsChromeFirstRun()
    [9433:9434:7100285057:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/common/temp_scaffolding_stubs.cc(131)] Not implemented reached in static bool ShellIntegration::IsDefaultBrowser()
    [9433:9433:7100421919:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/renderer_host/render_widget_host_view_gtk.cc(366)] Not implemented reached in void RenderWidgetHostViewGtk::Paint(const gfx::Rect&)
    [9433:9433:7100792580:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-2.0.180.0~svn20090508r15648/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/gtk/location_bar_view_gtk.cc(189)] Not implemented reached in virtual void LocationBarViewGtk::UpdatePageActions()

  16. tomas

    Most probable cause for not starting is that currently the browser can not be run with older CPUs which do not support SSE2 instructions, see -> code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=9007

    @Joyrock
    The output you posted doesn’t show that the browser crashed, just some usual errors (it’s PRE-ALPHA you know…) and it’s better to use pastebin.com for stuff like that.

  17. railane

    I have the same problem, only the error message is slightly shorter… :

    [5057:5057:9505484170:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-3.0.182.0~svn20090523r16844/build-tree/src/chrome/common/temp_scaffolding_stubs.h(69)] Not implemented reached in static bool GoogleUpdateSettings::GetLanguage(std::wstring*)
    [5057:5057:9505484638:ERROR:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-3.0.182.0~svn20090523r16844/build-tree/src/chrome/common/temp_scaffolding_stubs.h(57)] Not implemented reached in static bool GoogleUpdateSettings::GetCollectStatsConsent()

    I’m posting just in case…
    If anyone had an idea, I’d be grateful.

  18. Thanks for these clear instructions.

    I have referenced your site on my blog in Welsh about Ubuntu.

    http://ubuntucymraeg.nireblog.com/post/2009/06/26/google-chromium

  19. thank you for install explain …

  20. dougz

    Appreciate this PPA. It looks like a change may be required. After updating today, I get
    fdz@dell-jaunty:~$ chromium-browser &
    [1] 4597
    fdz@dell-jaunty:~$ [4597:4597:2026613381:FATAL:/build/buildd/chromium-browser-3.0.193.0~svn20090708r20142/build-tree/src/chrome/browser/zygote_host_linux.cc(63)] The SUID sandbox helper binary was found, but is not configured correctly. Rather than run without sandboxing I’m aborting now. You need to make sure that /usr/lib/chromium-browser/chromium-browser-sandbox is mode 4755 and that /var/run/chrome-sandbox exists
    — some info –
    LinuxSUIDSandbox

    With r20110, Chromium on Linux can now sandbox its renderers using a SUID helper binary. This is one of several sandboxing solutions which we envision supporting.

    (See http://dev.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/sandbox for general information on Chromium sandboxing.)

    The SUID helper binary is called ‘chrome_sandbox’ and you must build it separately from the main ‘chrome’ target. When spawning the zygote process (LinuxZygote), Chromium will check for a binary this binary at /opt/google/chrome/chrome-sandbox. You probably want to change this in the code (chrome/browser/zygote_host_linux.cc). Suggestions about how to better handle this are welcome (A GYP variable?).

    Note: you have to change the underscore from the build target into a hyphen. This is because SCons doesn’t support underscores in target names :(

    In order for the sandbox to be used, the following conditions must be met:

    * The sandbox binary must be executable by the Chromium process.
    * It must be SUID and executable by other.
    * /var/run/chrome-sandbox must exist.

    Source — http://code.google.com/p/chromium/wiki/LinuxSUIDSandbox

  21. greenpossum

    Thanks for those instructions. Sadly network options, in particular proxy settings are not implemented yet. I guess I’ll have to wait as this Intrepid machine is behind a proxy.

  22. tomas

    @greenpossum
    If you are using gnome, you can adjust your proxy settings in gnome-network-preferences and chromium will connnect through the proxy specified there.

  23. dougz

    Anyone notice what appears to be recent regressions, particularly in rendering?

    I’m in the habit of downloading all updates to Chromium, as they are made available. I was using it for most of my browsing, except for a couple of sites where rendering was an issue.

    It has been fascinating to watch the browser evolve. While there have always been the expected alpha-level issues, I thought that progress was remarkably smooth. Last week’s updates were an exception. I noticed occasional startup and functionality issues that appeared to be regressions. Usually fixed the nest day.

    However, I’ve found that rendering has been an ongoing issue. Sites that used to render smoothly are unusable. I give each day’s update a try and will continue to use it until I hit a significant number of ill-rendered sites. Then I switch back to Firefox.

    Not a gripe; I’m just surprised to see the regressions, given the smooth progress prior to last week. Maybe it is just due to vacations…

  24. tomas

    @dougz
    Could you post links to the site which have problems? Haven’t noticed any rendering issues with the sites I usually visit.

    BTW, FLASH plugin now works with chromium :) Just copy it to /usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins . And flashblock that works well has been posted by Ciantic here -> chromespot.com/chrome-plugin-discussion/545-chrome-flashblock-2.html (the one by vhanla doesn’t block most of them).

  25. greenpossum

    gnome-network-preferences: Is there a KDE equivalent? I’m using Kubuntu.

    I’ve already tried:

    http_proxy=http://blahblah:8080/ chromium-browser

    and it actually displayed that it didn’t understand that environment variable setting instead of ignoring it.

  26. dougz

    @tomas
    I’m having trouble reproducing the problem. I may have to get back to you on this.

    Here’s what I noticed yesterday and today. Start Ubuntu Update Manager and get Chromium updates. Start Chromium and go to google reader and gmail. Browse through my mail & RSS feeds.

    I remember having problems following feed links from the tuxmachines.org RSS feed. Either the tuxmachines.org summary page wouldn’t render or the “read more” tuxmachines.org target page wouldn’t render. I noticed the same problem with some political sites, but can’t remember which. All pages were OK with FF 3.1 and 3.5.

    I just started Chromium again (same build as earlier today), went to google reader, found no new linux news, selected “all items” to use old feeds, and tried to reproduce the problem. Everything worked fine. Went to tuxmachines.org and tried a bunch of links and everything worked fine. Don’t understand.

    FWIW — Chromium 3.0.194.0 (0) updated 06:30 EDT running on Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04, all updates applied.

  27. dougz

    @tomas
    Another render failure –

    http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/07/13/1336235/Strong-Passwords-Not-as-Good-as-You-Think?from=rss

    Slashdot and tuxmachines used to render fine for me.

  28. tomas

    @dougz
    Latest daily build here. Don’t see anything wrong in zdnet and tuxmachines (maybe because I use adsweep or maybe you have some problems with fonts?); slashdot at first renders a bit incorrectly but after scrolling a bit down everything’s back to normal. Maybe you should report the issue with slashdot?

    @greenpossum
    Never liked KDE for being so cluttered. Anyway, don’t know where gnome-network-preferences stores its settings and the best thing I can think of now is to install gnome-control-center if you are not afraid of all the dependences it will pull.

  29. dougz

    @tomas
    Installed the latest Chromium daily build 15 minutes ago. Tried the problem pages and they rendered perfectly. Even tried reboot and doing my normal morning startup routines and pages were fine.

    I don’t use adsweep. I’m running the base fonts plus a few TT fonts.

    Given that I had minimal rendering problems prior to **about** 7 July and the same sites had always rendered fine before, I’m betting on a regression that got fixed in the most recent build.

    Now to try installing flash!

  30. greenpossum

    Found where KDE configures the proxy, Computer > System Settings > Network Settings, but no use.

    I think I’ll just wait for them to catch up with the other browsers. Chromium’s cute but I have work to do.

  31. dougz

    @Tomas
    New version is much better, but still get some rendering failures. Happens with a number of sites, but is somewhat intermittent. E.g., http://www.tuxmachines.org/node/38130

    The consistent failure mode is that graphical elements like filled boxes, jpg/gifs get displayed, but text does not. Graphical google ads get displayed, complete with working link. Google ad boxes fail to display ad text or links.

    I’m not going to report this because automated testing should be catching it, particularly given the loss of advertising content. ;-)

    It’s only an alpha…

  32. tomas

    @dougz
    Hmmm… Latest daily build and still can’t see anything wrong with tuxmachines. Tried with adsweep and without – everything seems to be ok, google text ads work too when not using adsweep. Maybe you should try to install msttcorefonts?

  33. dougz

    @Tomas
    msttcorefonts 2.6 & ttf-mscorefonts-installer 2.6 are installed.

    As I said, it was very intermittent. I browsed 10+ tuxmachines.org pages successfully today before I got a fail. At that point, the fail page was a consistent fail. Same pattern on another site I visit regularly. Also got a fail on a site I visited for the first time. At that point, I’m pretty much done with Chromium for the day. I’ll try again tomorrow.

    Rendering used to be better; never got tuxmachines.org fails. It will get fixed. It’s alpha and bugs are to be expected.

  34. tomas

    Just for info: to use netscape plugins now enable-plugins command line switch is required:
    chromium-browser –enable-plugins
    The list of currently known plugin bugs can be found here -> http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/list?can=2&q=os:linux+label:plugins

  35. dougz

    Credit where due — used Chromium heavily all day with ***zero*** rendering failures.

    Only changes on my system today were the daily updates of Chromium and Firefox 3.5 Shiretoko (including Ubuntu Firefox branding and xulrunner)

  36. ethnopunk

    chromium-browser
    /usr/lib/chromium-browser/chromium-browser: error while loading shared libraries: libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

  37. tomas

    @ethnopunk
    Do you have libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0 in /usr/lib? If not, reinstall libgtk2.0-0 .

  38. dougz

    More credit where due. All of the pages that *never* rendered for me have been working since my last post. Yahoo!, latimes, etc.

    Blast from the past — “Aw, Snap!” error today on page http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2009/07/kindle_gets_company_with_barne.html?wprss=fasterforward

    That page is fine on Firefox 3.5. Chromium fails on page reload.

    One hundred steps forward, one back. Not bad.

  39. These sources also work now already:
    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
    deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

  40. Bob

    Stefano, your instructions worked like a champ for Ubuntu 9.10. Chromium is running perfectly… Thank you…

  41. tgdesign

    sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 5A9BF3BB4E5E17B5

  42. Jonah Bron

    Key fix didn’t work for me. Command needs two dashes before the arguments. This works:

    sudo apt-key adv -–recv-keys -–keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 5A9BF3BB4E5E17B5

  43. John CC

    Background
    I recently kicked an old laptop (Toshiba Satellite A10) back into life as a dedicated terminal for use ONLY for secure Internet Banking. To achieve this I installed Linux-Ubutu 9.10, and Google Chrome for Linux from http://www.google.com/chrome?platform=linux&hl=en.
    Everything works fine, even though it says it’s a Beta version.
    The reason I selected Chrome is the SECURE billing it gets, compared to all the other browsers.
    But here is the rub: the security relies on a “sandbox”, and this in turn relies on exploiting Windows security features. So this leads to my question – if you could be so helpful as to give me the benefit of your experience and technical judgement:
    If I am running Ubuntu, does that mean the “sandbox” is not activated in Chrome?
    Do you know of future plans to introduce a Linux version of Chrome with this feature or similar enhanced security features?
    Are there other secure browsers which function under Linux OS, which serve my purpose?
    I was interested to read some of the earlier comments about limitations of Chrome running in Linux systems (not possible to cut&paste – I noticed the same) but I am willing to put up with all that if the system is SECURE,
    I would be very grateful for any feedback you can help me with on this theme.
    Best regards = John

  44. Tried Chrome for Ubuntu today. Really glad I have Firefox! FF does everything I want. Chrome pretty much does what I don’t want.
    1. Doesn’t offer HTML in web site based email Compose (site thru Dot5)
    2. Doesn’t work with games in Pogo. Will go to site but won’t open the games.
    3. Locks up suddenly. Trying to post question(s) in Ubuntu Absolute and it locked up about 5 lines into entry, highlighted entire entry, refused to accept further text, would not close, required shutdown/restart to get out of it.

    I’m not a programmer and don’t want something that requires me to spend a bunch of time looking for solutions and applying them. Looonnnngggg way to go for Chrome.

  45. Hi, can i post link of your great tutorial on my blog about ubuntu? I’d like to use your tutorial in my article Firefox vs. Chromium. Blog will start on 20.4.2010. My team and i have already made some tutorials and articles. Thanks for answer, m1so

  46. Hi,

    I’ve just installed Chromium, everything went fine. The first time I launched it it asked me which default search engine I wanted (google, yahoo and another one) so I chose one. Now, when I lauch it, it appears on the taskbar (“launching chromium”), then disappears and.. nothing else. Any idea? I’ve installed the MS fonts as well.

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