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Chromium Browser

Chromium is free and open-source software developed by the Google-sponsored Chromium project. The source code can compile into a web browser. New versions of the code are published daily.

Google uses the code to make its Chrome browser, which has more features than Chromium. Many other browsers are also based on Chromium code, mostly Microsoft Edge and Opera.

Google and Microsoft add their proprietary code to Chromium that builds services like the browser's automated update mechanism and features such as its tab user experience (UX) to create the actual Chrome and Edge.

Chromium's user interface is minimalist. Google required making the browser lightweight (cognitively and physically) and fast.

Chromium is an entirely free and open-source software project. The Google-authored portion is released under the 3-clause BSD license. Other parts are subject to various licenses, including MIT, LGPL, Ms-PL, and an MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license.

A four-part version number identifies chromium releases, e.g., 47.0.2491.0 (Chromium 47 initial release 23 August 2015). The components are major.minor.build.patch.

  • minor reflects scheduling policy.
  • patch identifies content progression.

A Major.minor branch point schedule is published. Branch points occur roughly every six to seven weeks. The published dates are the last branch date of each Chromium (Major) release and are tied to the Google Chrome development cycle. They lag the initial Chromium release by about 40 days and precede the next by about 2.

How does Chromium Differ from Chrome?

Here are the following differences that make Chromium differ from Chrome, such as:

  1. Chromium provides the vast majority of source code for Google Chrome, including the user interface, the Blink rendering engine, and the V8 JavaScript engine. Google chose the name "Chromium" because chromium metal is used in chrome plating.
  2. Chromium is a subset of Chrome and Edge since Google and Microsoft bolt on other components and features to the former to craft their wares. Everything in Chromium is in Chrome and Edge, but not everything in Chrome or Edge is in Chromium.
  3. Google provides the automatic update mechanism or built-in support for digital rights management (DRM) components that let Chrome and Edge play copyrighted content.
  4. The main difference is for those who have chosen Chromium over Chrome or Edge is that it collects all information earlier and transfers less information to Google later.
  5. Chrome and Edge can send crash reports and usage statistics to Google and Microsoft, while Chromium cannot. In Chrome, that collection and transmission are off by default. In Edge, such data harvesting may be on or off, depending on the operating system.
  6. Chrome has the same user interface functionality as Chromium. It changes the color scheme to the Google-branded one. Unlike Chromium, Chrome is not open-source, so its binaries are licensed as freeware under the Google Chrome Terms of Service.
  7. Windows and Mac users also download an extra background app, which keeps Chrome updated, and on Linux, this function is done by the system management tools. No just background support is provided with Chromium, and there are no automatic updates either.
  8. Some of the features that exist on Chromium, but not on Chrome, are extensions. Chrome is restricted from using any extension that is not available on the Chrome Web Store. However, the open-sourced browser can use those 3rd party extensionsas well.
  9. Chromium feeds Chrome with an extensive repository of source data and code developed by anyone working on the Chromium project. This includes the user interface, rendering of Blink, etc.
  10. These Chrome features are not present in a default Chromium build:
    • Automatic browser updates.
    • API keys for some Google services, including browser synchronization.
    • Licensed codecs for the popular H.264 video and AAC audio formats.
    • Tracking mechanisms for usage and crash reports.
    • The Widevine DRM module.

How to Download Chromium?

Chromium is the basis for many of today's most popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Edge's latest iteration. Chromium is an ongoing open-source project that can freely be used by other developers wishing to make their browsers over the top of it, and you can use the base version of Chromium yourself, too.

You will not find an official Chromium browser download page. Instead, to install Chromium, visit the web page where developers post the latest hourly builds, or code updates, of Chromium for download.

Chromium used to be a bit tricky to install on Windows but is now a lot simpler than it used to be. To install Chromium on Windows, follow the following steps:

Step 1: Click on the following link to install the latest version of Chromium for Windows,

https://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/chromium-browser-snapshots/Win_x64/871221/chrome-win.zip

Step 2: After completing the downloading open the folder.

Step 3: Click on the Extract all button to extract all files.

Chromium Browser

Step 4: After extracting the files, double click on the file to open it.

Chromium Browser

Step 5: Your computer prompts you to confirm that you would like to open a program from an unverified publisher.

Step 6: Then, click on the Run button.

Chromium Browser

The Chromium browser should startup. You should also find shortcuts to the program on your desktop and under the Start Menu in the Windows taskbar.

Chromium Snapshots

Chromium snapshots are built several times a day automatically by Buildbot Buildworkers and made available as binary code releases. Once a snapshot has been built, it is placed in a directory in the chromium-browser-snapshots root directory, and it is automatically tested.

If the snapshot passes the automated testing, it is placed in a directory in the chromium-browser-continuous root directory.

Chromium builds can be downloaded for most Linux distributions and BSD operating systems from their respective software repositories. Chromium builds for Windows and Mac can be downloaded directly. Unlike Chrome releases, Chromium releases do not automatically update.

Chromium as Toolkit

Chromium as a toolkit is also commonly used. Still, without Google's acceptance of a stable ABI or API upstream, every project using it as a tool maintains a fork of Chromium with an API wrapper. Many of the browsers listed previously are based on these forks rather than the upstream project directly.

However, all actively maintained forks rebase frequently onto the main branch, avoiding them forking off to being completely separate projects over time. An active toolkit fork includes the following:

  • Chromium Embedded Framework
  • Electron
  • QtWebEngine"Qt WebEngine Overview - Qt WebEngine 5.11". doc.qt.io. Retrieved 21 October 2018.

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