Monday, August 3, 2009

Chromium on Linux Coming Along

Chromium is coming along nicely on Linux. Using the chromium-daily PPA the browser is really getting some polish now: GTK theming is almost perfect, with a few minor glitches here and there; The Flash plugin is working well on many sites (there may still be some bugs, though); Developer tools and the task manager are mostly working; most (if not all) font settings are working. Some of the missing/buggy features:
  • The toolstrip isn't complete (it displays when an extension is using it, but that's about it).
  • The top of some of the stock GTK images used in buttons (eg: the stop button) are cut off (minor).
  • HTML5 video element doesn't appear to work yet (on Ubuntu 9.04 x86_64 using the packages from the PPA). I assume it works if you use the official builds, though. It's working now (Aug 06, '09), but still has some bugs.
  • Chromium's Task Manager doesn't yet show the individual memory usage for tabs sharing a process. (don't know if it does on Windows, but I thought it did)
  • Chromium's Task Manager doesn't show CPU usage for individual processes (they all show the same usage).
  • about:memory isn't working yet.
  • There are some problems with certain window managers (eg: OpenBox's borders controls don't disappear when you switch to Chromium's controls, or don't come back when you switch back to OpenBox's. Not sure whether that's an OpenBox problem or Chromium one, but it happens with other WMs too).
  • There's still one Zombie process (called chromium-browse, for some reason) under the main chromium-browser process. All the other processes appear to go under a separate process for whatever reason.
  • Text (font?) display isn't quite right yet (using DejaVu Serif/DejaVu Sans 13, the dots in password input boxes are irregularly spaced).
  • Language settings aren't visible (or implemented?) yet.
Aside from those and a few other problems, things are looking good! Just remember that if you decide to use the chromium-daily PPA that these are possibly unstable, definitely untested builds, and that there is the possibility of bad stuff happening. If you're looking for a stable browser, you should probably wait until Google releases a stable version of Chrome themselves, or until Chromium is included in your distribution's stable repository. ;)

[This post is now out-dated; many of the issues have been mostly or entirely fixed. Those that aren't, may be soon; the reverse may also be true. Such is the way of bleeding-edge software.]

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