How to Install Google Chrome and Chromium in Ubuntu Linux 9.10

In the beginning, there was Internet Explorer. The sole entrant in the Internet browser category at the time, it maintained and in truth, still maintains the majority of the web browser market share.

Over time, new competition entered the browser wars including: Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera, Apple’s Safari.

Now, there’s a new kid in town. Google, the company that brought us Gmail, Google Earth and Google Apps, has introduced their browser, called Chrome. Chrome first appeared on the Windows platform, but has expanded into the Linux space.

Google Chrome is based on open source project, Chromium.


Google Chrome vs. Chromium — Aren’t They the Same Thing?

Google Chrome & Chromium

Since Chrome is based on the Chromium code, they are indeed exceptionally similar. Yet, there are a few differences.

There are the little things, like the icon color (you’ll notice Chromium’s is blue and Chrome is multi-colored), file/profile locations and plugin compatibility.

However, I’d argue that the difference that may matter most to general users is stability. Chrome is the stable product, while Chromium, well, isn’t.

Let’s take a closer look at these.

• Google Chrome (Stable)

If you download and install Chrome from Google’s website, you have the stable version. The stable version is funneled fixes and updates, based on the work done in the Beta channel. If you want the version that just works, without annoying crashes or other unknown snafu’s, choose this option.

• Google Chrome beta

The technical community will be familiar with the concept of Beta testers. Essentially, these are folks who boldly volunteer their time, and systems, to test new software.

Google’s beta version is updated monthly, with new features from the development channel. It is a solid version, but still not so much as the stable software.

• Chromium

Chromium is the open source project that is the basis of the Google Chromes browser. It’s experimental software, and you’ll open yourself up to the headaches that go along with that if you choose this option.

The benefit is that you’ll be able to see and test features that will (assuming they pass through testing rigors) eventually end up in the stable version of Chrome. You’ll need to be committed to documenting and reporting bugs if you’d like to aid in the development process.

Installing Google Chrome & Chromium in Ubuntu

Initially, Chrome wasn’t available under the Linux platform, but is now an easy 32 or 64 bit download from Google’s website.

Some Linux users prefer to use the command line in lieu of the graphical interface. If you’re in that came, fire up a terminal window and type: sudo apt-get install google-chrome

If you’re like me though, and occasionally like to skirt technology’s bleeding edge, follow these command line steps to install Chromium (chromium is also available via synaptic):

1. Open the terminal and execute the command given below to edit the source.list file. I use gedit, but you may use any editor, just be sure to substitute your application name where you see “gedit” below:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Add the two lines below to source.list. Save the file and exit.

deb karmic main
deb-src karmic main

3. Next, we’ll need to add the GPG key:

sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver 0xfbef0d696de1c72ba5a835fe5a9bf3bb4e5e17b5

4. Update the source list so that the system recognizes the new software sources:

sudo apt-get update

5. Finally, install Chromium:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

To start Chromium, you will find it under Applications -> Internet -> Chromium Web Browser.


Create an Application Launcher

You can always launch Chromium from the command line by typing: chromium-browser. But if you’d like to add a desktop launcher, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on top of the menu and click: Add to panel
  2. Select custom application launcher
  3. Type in a name
  4. Type command: chromium-browser



Chrome Productivity Tips & Fun

Chrome Extensions

Extensions, alternately called plugins, allow you to customize your browser, improving productivity and functionality. Firefox is known for its plethora of addons. Most Chrome extensions will work with Chromium, but again, as this is experimental software, results may vary.

Extensions may be downloaded through Google.

To install, click on the customize icon in the top right corner and select Extensions, then Get more extensions at the bottom of the screen. Click on the extension you want, then click on install.


Here are a few, must have’s:

Hate those annoying pop-up ads? Install AdBlock Plus.

To display the number of unread Google emails in the browser address bar, try this Gmail extension.

Backup and sync your bookmarks across computers and browsers with Xmarks Bookmarks Sync.

Follow and post to your twitter account with Chrome Bird.

Web Developers migrating from Firefox will be happy to see Firebug Lite. Firebug allows you to edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.


Chrome Themes

Themes can be used to change the window colors and background image on the new page tab. You can add themes to your Chromium installation by clicking on the customization icon, select options, then under personal stuff tab, select appearance and get themes. You can test and apply the themes with one click.



Final Thoughts on The Browser Wars

My experience with Chromium has been mixed. It is the fastest browser I’ve used, but there are still difficulties with rendering certain pages. And plugins/extensions have a long way to go before they match the wide range of options available with Firefox.

Still, I see Chrome and Chromium as more than worthy entrants into the browser wars. With its current cycle of development, it will be interesting to see where it ranks between Explorer and Firefox at the end of the year.



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