Google Chrome for Linux (and Mac)

Codeweavers has got a Linux ‘version’ of Chrome!!! (And a Mac version too.)

Chromium is the new Google browser. It is good because it is open source. (Yes, Virginia, that is one criterion for being ‘good’). Also, it might be good for other reasons. My friend Gayle really likes it, for instance. I might especially like the fact that it is multi-threaded, so when some moron produces a web site that crashes my browser over there (pointing to left side of monitor) I don’t lose the thing I’m working on over here (pointing to right side of monitor) like I did the other day (angry, frustrated look on face).

THIS IS AN EXPERIMENTAL PRODUCT so don’t use it unless you like to experiment.

To install the Mac version, just drag and click and everything will be fine after that. As with all things Mac, we can assume it ‘just works’ (please let us know if you try it!)

For the Linux version, you need to “use the appropriate tools for their respective Linux distributions to unpack the installer package” which means, if the package is in your distro’s package list, click the little box and say “ok.”

If the package is not in your distro’s source list, then you will need to download it from this page but if you are downloading the .deb package onto a Ubuntu machine, you won’t have to click on it like you do with a Mac. It just works.

(Linux users will always have to enter a password to install new software, of course)

I’ve got it running and it works just fine. Does not seem to like embedded videos yet, but I’m sure that is just a matter of a bit of tinkering. Then, it will just work!!!


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    September 22, 2008

    The one complaint I’ve heard about Chrome is, “It’s blue. It clashes with the internet.”

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2008

    Here is what I want Google Chrome to do: I want Google Chrome to have one instance that logs me on to Google using one identity (say, my main one), another instance that logs on using, say my Sb identity, and perhaps a third (I have two persona on Google, I think, owing to some glitch in Google). In other words, I don’t want to be logging in and out of Google all the time. I wonder if it will be able to do that..

    Other than sleeping, I’ve been able to spend about 6 hours per week (week, not day) at home, so although it took me only seconds to install it this morning, I have not had the chance to actually use it yet…

  3. #3 Stephanie Z
    September 22, 2008

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re insane. Your schedule, that is, not your desire for effective identity management. Although, come to think of it, that sounds a lot like my week this week.

  4. #4 Barry
    September 22, 2008

    It’s multi-process rather than multi-threaded, surely? That way a process can die and only take out its tab rather than the whole browser (as well as there being advantages for security).

    I’ve heard that plugin compatibility (presumably including video) is a big issue.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2008

    Barry: Yes. I can’t vouch for the term Google uses in its promotional material (posted earlier somewhere on this site) but what you are saying is correct. A tab is a separate process some how disguised as part of the ‘program.’

    That I like a lot, considering how the internet tends to behave.

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich
    September 22, 2008

    I’ve been using it on my Windows laptop and it is nice and speedy. It doesn’t have all the extension doo-dads that Firefox has, and I haven’t had a plugin problem.

  7. #7 Dan J
    September 22, 2008

    Crossover Chromium for Linux (and Mac OSX) is just a proof of concept at the moment. I guess it’s Sort of like IEs4Linux that lets me have IE 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 7.0 installed on my Ubuntu machine. Yes, that’s certainly punishment of a sort. I use them for testing purposes in basic web site cross-browser development. For more detailed work I use virtual machines running Windows in VirtualBox. As such, it probably will give you a taste of what Chrome for Linux will be, but not quite the full flavor.

    As for the multiple personas in Google, I’m not sure. I guess it depends on how the browser references cookies. If it separates the cookies based on the tabs, then you’d be okay. I don’t personally know of any browser that does it this way, but it’s an interesting concept. One way to do it would be to set up a separate config directory for the browser within your home directory, and then specify which directory to use on the command line when starting the browser. My wife and I had it set up in a similar fashion with Opera for Windows on a single PC several years ago. One shortcut started her Opera, another started mine. Of course, you’d then have two instances of the browser open, not simply separate tabs.

  8. #8 eddie
    September 22, 2008

    I’d love to try this chrome. Most of my browsing is on my sony ericsson mobile phone using Opera Mini. This doesn’t do video so I miss a lot of your posts until a day or so later when I can get online with a PC.

  9. #9 Dan J
    September 22, 2008

    Okay, it is installed and running. I’m browsing and posting from it now. The user interface seems to be very minimalist, which is something that I often like and appreciate.

    The first oddity that I noticed is endemic to many Windows programs running through wine: The leading is off on some characters within each line of text. It varies with the size of the text, so it isn’t very noticeable in the body text, but is quite evident in the headlines.

    One other thing that seems rather odd is what seems to be the top right corner of a very light blue box (just taller than the bottom scrollbar, and about 300px wide) with a slight drop shadow sort of “hovering” at the bottom left of the program’s window. It doesn’t scroll with the page or with resizing the window. The really odd thing is that this box stays on top of other windows when I give them focus, and then shows a vertical resizing pointer when I mouse over it. It is now showing a URL at for commenting-error.php. I have no idea what it’s for. I do see this box on the screenshot at CodeWeavers, so I guess it’s supposed to be there, but shouldn’t be on top of all windows.

    The two pulldown menus, one for preferences, one for file, print, encoding, etc., seem very intuitive. The browser itself is very quick and responsive, which is not the norm for most programs running through Wine. New tabs are run as separate processes. Google’s “task manager,” accessed through the “file > developer” menu, can be used to kill the process for individual tabs.

    It looks and “feels” quite nice. Once they get a true native Linux version up and running, I’ll definitely add it to my installed browsers. I test my web sites in a wide variety of browsers, and I can’t leave this one out as its popularity is sure to grow.

  10. #10 clinteas
    September 23, 2008

    I might give it a spin under Linux,never on Windows,I want to be able to monitor the network connections first,to make sure that damn thing is not phoning home.I have to say,I have a rather large problem with Google’s data collection habits,and im suspicious Chrome might be no different.

  11. #11 Mike Peatman
    September 23, 2008

    Looking forward to trying it.