Replacing Firefox with Google Chrome

Jim Campbell jwcampbell at
Thu Jan 28 15:04:23 UTC 2010

Hi All,

Thanks for your input, and for bringing some of these issues to our
attention.  I'd like to try and summarize some of the issues and concerns
that people have.

On Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 5:31 AM, Marko Oreskovic <markoresko at>wrote:

> Vincent wrote:
> > Also, Chrome extensions aren't yet as powerful, as the Adblock
> > lookalikes for Chrome can't actually block ads from being loaded, just
> > prevent them from being displayed. This exposes you to a lot more
> > scrutiny from advertising companies.
> Also +1 against Chrome as default anywhere.
> I use Noscript extension for Firefox and Seamonkey and I mostly could
> not survive without them with the degree of use I have. (Javascript and
> flash abuse all over internet is very extensive)
> Also there is Chromium instead of that Chrome that is Google-controlled.
> I do not trust Chrome at all.
> There are many things that Chrome is doing that ordinary browser should
> not do, regarding user privacy, and is used and could be used to track
> user on internet:
I mentioned Google Chrome in the subject of my message, but at this point we
would only be considering Chromium.  Relating to the article
Marcos linked to above, I think this would have the following implications.
Please consider these as comments on the issue, not advocacy of one browser
over the other.

- Client ID - I don't think this would be relevant, as we would be using an
Ubuntu package.  I'd be glad to know if my thoughts here are incorrect.
- Time Stamp - Same as above.
- Suggest - May be an issue, although I think this behavior also occurs with
the Firefox searchbar.  In a way, the address bar on Chromium is a big
searchbar, though.
- Alternate error pages - I'm not familiar with this issue.  The site says,
"Depending on configuration . . . "  Can anyone explain if there is a
setting for this?
- Error reporting - This is user-configurable, but I will check the default
setting for Chromium.
- RLZ-tracking - Not sure if this would apply to Chromium, as it is an
Ubuntu package, not direct from Google.  I'd be glad to know if this does
apply to an Ubuntu Chromium package, though.
- Google Updater - Not applicable to an Ubuntu Chromium package
- URL-Tracker - It's unclear to me what the problem is here (i.e., I can't
understand how they've phrased the issue).  It sounds like the google home
page is opening?  But it is dependent on the configuration?  Can anyone else
explain this?

I'll make a few other notes.
1) I checked, and Ubuntu's deal with Yahoo will not impact Chromium (or any
other browsers) in X/K/Ubuntu.  All other browsers will stay with their
default searchbar configurations (as appropriate).  Of course, Chromium
would default to a Google search, similar to most browsers.
2) With regards to translations, I checked the Chromium's packager, and he
said that they would have to "bend" the Chromium package to get it
translatable via Launchpad.  Thus, this remains an outstanding issue at this
time, and there's no promise that this would be resolved in time for Lucid.
3) I agree about the less powerful adblock extensions, but how many people
use these?  Is having them available going to impact the core set of Xubuntu
users?  I am not saying that it absolutely will not impact the core set of
Xubuntu users, I am just asking the question.  How many Xubuntu users rely
on adblock?  If there is not a good adblock extension now, will a better
adblock extension be possible down the road, or does Chromium's setup
prevent something like this from working well?
4) Xubuntu does try to emphasize lightness where possible, and we strive to
make Xubuntu usable on systems with less memory.  From the Xubuntu strategy
document, "Xubuntu does not exclusively target users with low, modest, or
high powered machines but instead targets the entire spectrum with a strong
focus on enabling lower end machines. Xubuntu's extra responsiveness and
speed, among other positive traits, can be appreciated by all users
regardless of their hardware."  Chromium would have a clear advantage here,
even compared to FF 3.6.
5) The issue of patented codecs brought up by Andrew Blomen is an
interesting one.  I agree that we should encourage use of Free codecs where

What do people think?  Given all of this, I'm not so sure that Chromium is
the best fit for Xubuntu, at least for now.  The translation issue is
important to our users, and the codec issue is important to me.  The privacy
issue seems important to some, but I tend to think that most anything we do
on the internet can be tracked somehow (unless we use the extreme step of
using Tor or something).  The smaller memory footprint provided by Chromium
would be a "nice to have" feature, but we've survived using Firefox for a
good while - using it for a LTS would probably be the best thing to do.

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