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The Demise of Chromium as Free Software

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Google
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  • This is why Leading Linux Distros going to remove Chromium from their Official Repositories

    Jochen Eisinger from Google team mentioned in a discussion thread that they will be banning sync support system of Chromium. This lead to lot of frustration in the Linux Dev community & rage against googles sudden decision.
    This Decision can kill small browser projects & lead the web to single browser monopoly i.e. Google Chrome!

    As a result of the googles decision multiple distros are strictly considering removal of Chromium from their official repositories. Leading distros like Arch Linux, Fedora, Debian, Slackware & OpenSUSE have stated that if the sync support goes down from google they will definitely remove chromium from their official repositories.

  • Chromium 88 removes Flash support [Ed: But DRM added]

    I uploaded a set of chromium packages to my repository today. Chromium 88.0.4324.96 sources were released two days ago.

    The release notes on the Google Chrome Releases Blog mention 36 security fixes with at least one being tagged as “critical” but the article does not mention that Flash support has been entirely removed from Chromium now.

    Adobe’s Flash was already actively being blocked for a long time and you had to consciously enable Flash content on web pages, but after Adobe discontinued Flash on 1st of January 2021 it was only a matter of time before support in web browsers would be removed as well.

    Let’s also briefly revisit the topic of my previous post – Google will remove access to Chrome Sync for all community builds of the open source variant of their Chrome browser: Chromium… thereby crippling it as far as I am concerned.

  • Chrome 89 Preparing To Ship With AV1 Encoder For WebRTC Usage [Ed: Massive patent trap]

    Now that Chrome 88 released, attention is turning to Chrome 89 of which an interesting technical change is the enabling of AV1 encode support within the web browser.

    Going back to 2018 there's been AV1 decode support within the browser when wanting to enjoy content encoded in this royalty-free, modern codec. But now for Chrome 89 is coming AV1 encode support.

    AV1 encode support is being added for the WebRTC use-case for real-time conferencing. Web applications like WebEx, Meet, and Duo (among others) already support using AV1 for better compression efficiency, improved low-bandwidth handling, and greater screen sharing efficiency. While hardware-based AV1 encoding isn't yet common, Chrome Linux/macOS/Windows desktop builds are adding the ability to use CPU-based AV1 encoding.

Use Chromium? Sync Features Will Stop Working on March 15

  • Use Chromium? Sync Features Will Stop Working on March 15

    Users of the Chromium web browser are about to lose access to several key features, including bookmark and password sync.

    Google is cutting off access to a number of private APIs used in Chromium builds from March 15, 2021.

    Among the APIs nixed are those supporting the browser’s account syncing services, translation, and spell checking.

Linux distributors frustrated by Google's new Chromium web brows

  • Linux distributors frustrated by Google's new Chromium web browser restrictions

    While Google Chrome is easily the most popular PC web browser, it's open-source big brother, Chromium, doesn't have that many users, but it's always had some fans on desktop Linux. Now, though, that love affair is in trouble.

    Google claims it recently found un-named third-party Chromium-based browsers integrating Google cloud-based features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that were intended only for Google Chrome users. In other words, "This meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium-based browsers."

Fedora's Chromium maintainer suggests switching to Firefox

  • Fedora's Chromium maintainer suggests switching to Firefox as Google yanks features in favour of Chrome

    Fedora's maintainer for the open-source Chromium browser package is recommending users consider switching to Firefox following Google's decision to remove functionality and make it exclusive to its proprietary Chrome browser.

    The comments refer to a low-key statement Google made just before the release of Chrome 88, saying that during an audit it had "discovered that some third-party Chromium-based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google's use... we are limiting access to our private Chrome APIs starting on March 15, 2021."

    Tom Callaway (aka "spot"), a former Fedora engineering manager at Red Hat (Fedora is Red Hat's bleeding-edge Linux distro), who now works for AWS, remarked when describing the Chromium 88 build that: "Google gave the builders of distribution Chromium packages these access rights back in 2013 via API keys, specifically so that we could have open-source builds of Chromium with (near) feature parity to Chrome. And now they're taking it away.

Chromium restrictions by Google

  • Google to Limit Chrome Sync API following Current Audit

    Google has announced that it will be limiting access to private Chrome APIs that enable features such as Chrome sync and Click to Call so that only its browsers can use them.

  • Google is removing the ability for Chromium browsers to accidentally sync Chrome user data

    Google has taken the open-source code for Chromium and has put countless hours on top of it with their own in-house development teams to create experiences that are unique and competitive. The third-party browsers which were able to access Chrome Sync were not identified publicly via the Chromium Blog, but as a result of this, Google is limiting access to its private Chrome APIs starting March 15, 2021.

  • Limiting Private API availability in Chromium

    During a recent audit, we discovered that some third-party Chromium based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s use. [...]

  • Google to limit Chrome sync API following audit

    The web giant said that users of some third-party browsers were able to sign in to their Google Account and store and retrieve their Chrome sync data in their third-party browser. The data they could access includes bookmarks and presumably passwords. Google isn’t happy this is happening and has said that the APIs that enable these features will be restricted from March 15, 2021.

  • What’s The Deal With Chromium On Linux? Google At Odds With Package Maintainers

    To the average Chromium user, this doesn’t sound like much of a problem. In fact, you might even assume it doesn’t apply to you. The language used in the post makes it sound like Google is referring to browsers which are spun off of the Chromium codebase, and at least in part, they are. But the search giant is also using this opportunity to codify their belief that the only official Chromium builds are the ones that they provide themselves. With that simple change, anyone using a distribution-specific build of Chromium just became persona non grata.

    Unhappy with the idea of giving users a semi-functional browser, the Chromium maintainers for several distributions such as Arch Linux and Fedora have said they’re considering pulling the package from their respective repositories altogether. With a Google representative confirming the change is coming regardless of community feedback, it seems likely more distributions will follow suit.

Mozilla RUINS Firefox, Google RUINS Chromium.

  • Mozilla RUINS Firefox, Google RUINS Chromium.

    It's feels like every day is moving farther away from the idea of a FREE AND OPEN SOURCE web. That's depressing, especially watching Mozilla make dumbfounding decisions that further diminish its market standing.

Google should really open source Chromium

  • Google should really open source Chromium

    On March 15, 2021, Google will limit access to many Chrome application programming interfaces (API) inside the open-source Chromium web browser. Google's doing this because, "third-party Chromium-based browsers integrating Google cloud-based features, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, that were intended only for Google Chrome users".

    In other words, "this meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium-based browsers".

    [...]

    That's especially true when you consider just how dominant Chromium is in the web browser world. You could even argue that Chromium is the single most important end-user, open-source program in the world. Think about it. With 90% control of the browser marketplace, that's not just people "using" the web. No, it's 90% of people buying goods from Amazon; working at their jobs using Microsoft 365; running their line of business programs such as Salesforce, and on and on.

    It's time to think about taking Chromium out of Google's control and giving it to a neutral third-party foundation. If Google doesn't want to go along with this idea, fine. Fork Chromium. It won't be the first or last time a top open-source program has been forked.

    Yes, the problem here isn't with the code itself. It's with the rules that Google has applied to its APIs. We've just had our noses rubbed into how those service APIs have locked developers into a world where Google calls all the shots.

    It's not easy to replace those API service functionalities. Just ask the developers behind the Google-less Android /e/OS operating system and smartphones. But, it can be done, and it could be done much easier by a community foundation with, or without, Google's help.

Google Yanks These Features From Chromium...

  • Google Yanks These Features From Chromium...

    Chromium is open source project which Google Chrome is built upon and for the longest time it has made use of some Google Chrome APIs for some it's features however after March 15th that will be changing as Google will be pulling support for these features from the browser.

Chromium losing Sync support in early March

  • Chromium losing Sync support in early March

    Google has announced that they are going to block everything but Chrome from accessing certain Google features (like Chrome sync) starting on March 15. This decision by Google is going to affect Arch's chromium package a bit earlier, on March 2, when Chromium 89 gets released.

    We know for sure that data syncing will stop working (passwords, bookmarks, etc.). Other features such as geolocation or enhanced spell check might continue to function for a bit longer. Extensions integrating with Google Drive might misbehave and LibreOffice will lose access to documents stored there.

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