Google Chrome for Linux

I have seen a variety of stories around the web extolling the virtues of the new browser from Google: Google Chrome.  At the moment, it is still a beta available only for Windows and Mac, but it seems to be an, erm, internet browser I suppose.

To be perfectly honest and frank, I find it incredibly difficult to get excited about a web browser.  To me, the browser is a tool, not a way of life.  For comparison, go now and find a carpenter – I’ll wait.  Got one?  Good.  Now explain to your carpenter that there is a new hammer available.  Gauge the carpenter’s reaction.  Now contrast and compare with all the hoopla over Google’s offering.  Now decide who the hammer should be used on.

Gosh, I sound grumpy, don’t I?  The fact is that Chrome looks like a decent offering.  It has tabbed browsing, which we all should now expect.  It has a way to import your bookmarks from your existing browsers, again, we should all expect that.  It displays pages from the internet.  The best thing, in my opinion, is that it is very minimal and there is little that is not functional about it:

Chrome tab and menu bar

Chrome tab and menu bar - click for full pic

As you can see, it has a very clean look.  Unless Google decide to add masses of bolt ons, it should be a very useful browser indeed.  But they didn’t release it for Linux.  The bastards.  Many of Google’s apps have Linux counterparts – Picasa being one of them.  Now these aren’t direct ports, they usually have Wine embedded in them to make them work.  But not Chrome – Chrome can be beta tested by Windows and Mac users, but not Linux users.  This seems a little unfair to me.  After all, it is arguable that the only reason Internet Explorer was forced to improve and to offer tabbed browsing was down to the success of the Mozilla and Firefox browsers.  Even now, does anyone really care at all about Safari?

Luckily, innovation and awkwardness come naturally to the plucky programmers with an interest in Linux.  CodeWeavers have, again, stepped up to the mark.  With Crossover Chromium available for free (as in no cost) they have enabled us to use Chrome via the CodeWeavers Wine implementation.  Which means that I am able to download it and show you this (click the pic for full size):

Chrome on Debian Linux

Chrome on Debian Linux

In an ideal world, there would be no need for Wine, Cedega, Play on Linux or CodeWeavers to exist.  In an ideal world all apps would be available for all platforms.  In this world, though, they are needed and gratefully so.  It is the work of CodeWeavers and Wine that helps to break down the final barriers for a lot of people – those people who really need to run Microsoft applications but who want to also run Linux.

Anyway, to step down off my soapbox, Chrome (in it’s beta state) looks to be a useful addition to the current crop of browsers available.  It is one in a line of Google applications, along with GMail, Calendar, Talk, Docs, Video and the rest.


Posted on 20 September, 2008, in Computer Stuff, Open Source and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. it’s funny, the more i use Chrome, the more unstable it seems to get… crashes a lot more, can’t handle sites with flash, hangs every time i close a tab… all that to say, i’m switching back to Firefox

    movie buff’s last blog post..Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

  2. I haven’t, and don’t plan to, used it enough to break it really. It doesn’t appear to do anything that FF doesn’t and the stuff it does do I don’t need. That said, and because I don’t want to come across as totally negative, it is good to have a choice and kudos to Google for trying to build something from the ground up.

  3. IMHO, they released it too early.

    Releasing a new browser that isn’t multi-platform and that doesn’t even have things like RSS feed functionality is never going to go down in the annals of fame as a stunningly good idea. They should have gotten it further along before they let people start downloading it.

    Dominic’s last blog post..Blast from the past

  4. I think, in line with a lot of their offerings, they want a massive beta test/tell us what you want. Not a bad idea, but you then get a browser designed by the internet – that can’t fail, can it?

    Oh yeah, and welcome back Dom 🙂

  5. True, but.. RSS feeds? Did they really need to be TOLD that people would want some way to handle those?? Even if all it did was tell you that the website in question HAS a feed, it would be something.

    Oh well.. I assume they know what they’re doing 🙂

    And thanks, it’s nice to be back!

    Dominic’s last blog post..Blast from the past

  6. I’m going to write a new browser using Visual Basic and the Microsoft IE control and call it “Papa Hari World Web Browser”. It will feature Hari’s Corner as the home page (non-changeable).

    I can see the million download mark already 😛

    hari’s last blog post..Roadmap of my blogging system

  7. That would ge good Hari – you could also make it so that whenever you opened a new tab, it would automatically load up Hari’s Corner too.

  8. Nobody can beat a CS student’s first web browser project in Visual Basic with the Microsoft IE control. 😛

    hari’s last blog post..Roadmap of my blogging system

  9. When do we get to see PapaHariOS?

  10. I agree, people get too excited over a browser. I don’t even need Google Chrome, Firefox is good enough.

  11. I don’t even have Windows to test Chrome out but then again, I’m with Ray. I can really care less about trying a new browser. I don’t even test new distributions any longer.

  12. I remember the excitement when FF first came out and when the original Mozilla browsers came out. But that was a long time ago. Now, we’re used to having a choice so one more just adds to the noise. It looks nice and I’m sure it will be a welcome addition to the Google apps list. I just can’t get excited about it.

  13. Ray,

    It takes a lot to get me excited about anything nowadays. I think that’s the first sign of getting old. This sucks! Now I’m all depressed.


  14. I am very much satisfied with Firefox so why switch to Google Chrome?

  15. To me from a site developer standpoint it just seems like one more browser to cross check compatibility with…I think there are plenty of choices already. Like you said, a hammer is a hammer, and another hammer isn’t going to make me jump around to try it.

    Chelle@Stupid Stuff’s last blog post..7 Best Dumbest Blog Widgets Ever

  16. Something that is a bit scary about a browser by a company like Google is that it can gather mass amounts of information about browsing habits of users. Not only that, Google will probably use that data to adjust search rankings.

  17. Yep, I think the tinfoil hat wearer in all of us will be a little wary of that. My big gripe is that it simply doesn’t do anything new. Maybe that will change, but it’s a simple functional browser right now, but nothing magical.

  18. Sadly Chrome isn’t available on my Mac yet. I’m pretty happy with firefox but I do love all things Google.

    I agree with what others have said about tin hats and all that. Every time I search for something on my iPhone I know that Google knows where I am and what I’m looking for.

    Paunchiness´s last blog post..Win an Apple® iPod® Shuffle

  19. I can only agree with the talk about tin hats. I recently instaled the google toolbar for firefox, but I removed it after realising what i had agreed to in the terms.
    Don’t think I will chane to chrome, especially when I think about what they might monitor

  20. I’m not especially bothered by the tracking – we’re pretty much tracked every step of the way anyway. It’s just that it doesn’t bring anything special to the table, imo. Tabbed browsing is old hat – even Internet Explorer has it. Plugins are done well by Firefox or Opera. And Google has a nasty habit of starting something and then losing interest to roll it into something else or just stop doing it.

    ray@place of stuff´s last blog post..I Know How You Got Here!

  21. I just love Google Chrome. It looks so cool. However, I believe that it could improve. Youtube always shuts down!

  22. I don’t even need Google Chrome, Firefox is good enough.

  23. i liked it. but firefox more custimizable

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