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Chromium playing nicely within a Gnome/Compiz DE (on Goblins desktop!) although recent bugs (previously non-existent) slightly spoil the experience somewhat. If you want to see a picture of Chromium running within a KDE/Compiz DE on another one of my rigs, visit: http://www.twitpic.com/nlygw/full

Before publishing an article which I am really looking forward to – Ahhh Youre killing the FOSS! I thought I would post an update on my experiences with the latest build of Chromium, that being 4.0.242.0.

Please note that this is not intended as a comprehensive review, merely an update on my observations with Chromium in its current build.

Anyone who was reading this blogazine around May 09 will remember that I went away on a trip to Poole and bought a netbook for my surfing and posting whilst I was away.  You may also remember that I had to settle for an XP one since the mobile broadband dongle would not work with a Linux system.  It was whilst I was stuck with this system that I remembered how poor IE was for me and decided if I was going to have to use XP, I would be damned if I would also suffer IE.

This was when I was introduced to Chrome and upon my return started looking at running Chromium on Linux.

Ive been with the builds since the very early days (I wish I could remember the number) and since trawling through my blog to find the earliest version I looked at is not my idea of a good Tuesday night, I thought I would skip that and simply concentrate on the state of Chromium today.

IN OPERATION

Chromium on my rigs is blisteringly fast, it always was.  In the earlier builds there were a few stability issues in respect of JAVA input boxes, but these were not frequent enough to present a huge problem.   Once Flash was implemented and was stable, for me Chromium really took off as a browser and I found myself using Firefox less and less.

Today Chromium is still blisteringly fast, JAVA input boxes are still smooth/fast and I found that they were far more responsive than Firefox (correct up to the latest version I have 3.5.1)  Incognito mode is a great little mode although I don’t really find myself facilitating it.

Somewhere around July (I think) a few builds of Chromium came with a small picture of a face in the top right hand corner of the window (without any explanation).  I really should Google that as it was a mystery I never got around to solving.

By August 09 I found that I very rarely (if ever) needed to run FF (obviously Quake Live being the exception to this) September came and went which is when I found an issue with the software.

At the time I considered it to be a bug created as a side effect to something else, presuming that it would be fixed in October, although now we are in November and the bug is still present (see below) That being said it is a minor issue when one looks at the performance boost it has over other browsers, although since then a few other bugs cropped up which I felt needed mentioning.

BUGS WITH CHROMIUM

1.  The ability to open links from external software into Chromium is no longer working.  If this had been an issue from day 1, it would not have been a problem.  This bug though only appears to have materialized around the September/October time.

2.  Java input boxes can freeze when data is copied and pasted into them from the same page.  The freeze is limited to that particular tab, but its particularly annoying when you are replying to a comment.  There is a work around that I use which is right click on the offending tab, select duplicate and then move to the duplicated tab and continue editing (as it is no longer frozen)  This particular problem appeared around the end of October.

3. WordPress no longer seems to play as nicely with Chromium.  This could be a fault of WordPress or Chromium.  Every so often I appear to get logged out of my blog account and when trying to log back in, my password is not recognized.  If I login via the main page there is no problem.  This issue seems to appear randomly and can happen if I am trying to embed a picture into my text.  The second WordPress issue Ive found is that when previewing a post, you are no longer able to save the draft.

As you can see these bugs are more annoying than prohibitive, but just as I was beginning to consider removing FF completely from my system, I will now have to wait until these issues are resolved.

Screenshot-YouTube - FINNTROLL - Trollhammeren (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - Chromium
A clean look, fast operation & very happy with Metal on Youtube!

CONCLUSIONS SO FAR

I still love Chromium, with the new bugs cropping up it has hampered my enjoyment of the package but then it should be remembered that its still quite early in its development.  I love the style of the tabbed browsing of Chromium and the location of my shortcuts.  Speed has and still is the most impressive part of Chromium and that trend continues.

I haven’t found any sites that crash Chromium since about August and there are so many great features of the software, I simply don’t have the time to list them all.

The Chromium themes are a nice idea, but Ive yet to find a theme that doesn’t look a complete mess.  The simple designs are fine, but some of the more fanciful ones, just look awful in my opinion on my desktop.

In closing, I cannot assume that these bugs are global and they could be localized to my particular rig/distro, but whatever the answer I am not so keen to recommend Chromium as I was a few months ago.  With that in mind I would expect these issues to be ironed out as it matures and I still think that it will be a fantastic browser in the future.

It looks like Firefox will be staying on my system for some time to come.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com