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Ubuntu flirts with Chrome instead of Firefox

Ubuntu flirts with Chrome instead of Firefox

Future editions of Ubuntu Netbook Remix could ditch Firefox for Google's Chrome, according to rumours.

The next edition of the Ubuntu Linux distribution could come with added Google, with rumours circulating that Canonical is looking to replace Mozilla's Firefox with Google's Chrome browser.

As reported over on UberGizmo, the next edition of Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix - a variant of Ubuntu designed specifically for netbook format devices and customised to make the most of the often cramped display resolution available - due for release in October of this year is said to be coming with Google's Chrome browser in place of the traditional Firefox.

Canonical is a business, and while the operating system is free it still needs to turn a profit - and it's quite likely that Google, keen to get its browser in front of as many eyes as possible, will be willing to pay Canonical for each new user. Chrome is often lauded for its compact interface - important on a netbook - and speed on low-memory devices, too - which fits well with the netbook remix philosophy.

However, there's a flaw in the plan: while the Chrome code is technically open source, the truly open source edition is known as Chromium - which is already available as an optional install from Canonical's official software repositories. Traditionally, Canonical has avoided distributing any software which doesn't conform to a true open source licence with Ubuntu - but has occasionally made exceptions, such as in the case of current default browser Firefox which features open code but requires the user to agree to terms and conditions of use.

So far Canonical has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours, but with early builds of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.10 due shortly it will be interesting to see which browser is featured - and whether Canonical chooses to split its user base, with its desktop editions running Firefox while the netbook remix gets Chrome.

Do you think that Chrome is the perfect fit for netbooks, or if Canonical is looking to ditch Firefox should it be looking to the fully open Chromium instead? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

18 Comments

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rickysio 14th May 2010, 13:17 Quote
Chromium.
proxess 14th May 2010, 13:40 Quote
Firefox with a bunch of nice plug-ins can occupy very little space. But from an out-of-the-box perspective, chrome is better in that case, and is also a bit more light weight (vs Firefox functionality tho).
aussiebear 14th May 2010, 14:04 Quote
Chrome is freeware.
Chromium is open source.

Chrome is based on Chromium; but has integrated proprietary bits like GoogleUpdate (automatic update system) as well as Adobe Flash integration as of version 5.
Quote:
Traditionally, Canonical has avoided distributing any software which doesn't conform to a true open source licence with Ubuntu.

"Restricted" and "Multi-verse" repositories contain Adobe Flash, Reader, Nvidia proprietary drivers, etc. So we're already passed the point of what line Canonical is willing to cross for their target market.

I don't think it matters for Ubuntu. They're targeting an audience who doesn't give a damn about open source; but are all too willing to reap the resulting benefits of it.

Besides, its always been known that Canonical will eventually turn Ubuntu into a commercialised platform. (Use an "App store"-like solution to sell commercial software on top of their distro.)

So I say, go ahead: Stick Chrome on Ubuntu as the default browser.
javaman 14th May 2010, 14:07 Quote
sounds good. Using chome on my netbook atm since I dont really car about add ons and it doesn't have the extra window space is brilliant. Im also looking to jump to linux since xp support will run out soon plus I dont want to pay for windows 7 for a netbook! the only thing im trying to find is if Blackberry desktop runs on linux for thethering purposes.
rickysio 14th May 2010, 14:57 Quote
I'd personally use firefox, since I use hide caption titlebar plus, which makes Firefox less resolution hogging than Chrome.
bowman 14th May 2010, 14:58 Quote
I don't know what Chrome looks like on Linux nowadays, but if it comes with the horrible Vista Basic-like skin it does on Windows I would say no to this.
proxymoron 14th May 2010, 15:47 Quote
It doesn't really matter what they choose as the default, as you can get any of the others really quite easily anyway. If you're savvy enough to know about alternative OSs, you'll know about alternative browsers: it's not really the same as having a default browser on Windows, where many people don't even know that there are different browsers.

FWIW, I run Chrome as the default on my 9.10 netbook, because it runs much quicker than FF3.5 and that's the priority for me on a netbook. That said, the new beta of Opera seems quicker still.
MajestiX 14th May 2010, 17:29 Quote
Chrome has heaps of plugins what are ya'all talking about
proxess 14th May 2010, 17:41 Quote
hide caption titlebar plus + stratini theme + autoHide StatusBar + Hide Menubar + Bookmarks on menubar + Faviconize Tabs = super uper mega win screen-saving firefox (and resource hogging, just a bit).
Fordy 14th May 2010, 17:43 Quote
Definitely on the netbook remix, I'd prefer it on desktop too.

Gone completely off FF...
ssj12 14th May 2010, 21:12 Quote
kind of stupid to do this considering Firefox 3.6.4 and FireFox 4 is coming. With all the fixes I'm pretty sure Mozilla is also focusing on resource reduction.
Iorek 14th May 2010, 23:03 Quote
Chrome isn't too bad, I still prefer Firefox though, definately a lot nicer when it comes to web development (with all the plugins etc)
dgurion 15th May 2010, 01:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
sounds good. Using chome on my netbook atm since I dont really car about add ons and it doesn't have the extra window space is brilliant. Im also looking to jump to linux since xp support will run out soon plus I dont want to pay for windows 7 for a netbook! the only thing im trying to find is if Blackberry desktop runs on linux for thethering purposes.

There's an application called "barry" which lets you tether the blackberry with Linux and use the BlackBerry's internet connection.
dgurion 15th May 2010, 01:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgurion
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
sounds good. Using chome on my netbook atm since I dont really car about add ons and it doesn't have the extra window space is brilliant. Im also looking to jump to linux since xp support will run out soon plus I dont want to pay for windows 7 for a netbook! the only thing im trying to find is if Blackberry desktop runs on linux for thethering purposes.

There's an application called "barry" which lets you tether the blackberry with Linux and use the BlackBerry's internet connection.

More information http://www.netdirect.ca/software/packages/barry

Sorry for being off topic..
Star*Dagger 15th May 2010, 02:04 Quote
At least it isn't the Prime Evil of Browsers: IE

I'd just package them both and let the consumer use what they want, simple.
phel21 15th May 2010, 09:59 Quote
Canonical is selling out. Its just another step in a well established pattern. They would go for Chromium instead if they really care about "open". Their agenda is no longer to promote linux as a viable alternative, but to distribute software of questionable origin that makes users vulnerable to future attack from patent bullies.
perplekks45 15th May 2010, 11:30 Quote
I like Chrome for its speed but I still use FF for my daily browsing on my desktop. On my notebook [4+ years old] I'd definitely not run FF thanks to it being quite a bit hungrier than Chrome in my experience.

Therefore I welcome that and will definitely give it a try on the notebook.
schmidtbag 18th August 2010, 01:52 Quote
i use chrome on my linux netbook and its noticeably better than firefox. i haven't used firefox in over a year now on all of my computers (i use opera as well). i think firefox would be a fine browser to equip on regular ubuntu but chrome or chromium is a definite must for the netbook remix
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