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Google Announces Chrome For Mac and Linux Dev Builds 251 251

Dan Kegel (who admits to being a Chrome developer) writes to point out a post from Mike Smith and Karen Grunberg, Product Managers for Google Chrome, with some good news for non-Windows users who want to play with Chrome: "In order to get more feedback from developers, we have early developer channel versions of Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux (for a couple of different Linux distributions), but whatever you do, please DON'T DOWNLOAD THEM! Unless of course you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software." (The announcement continues below.)
"How incomplete? So incomplete that, among other things , you won't yet be able to view YouTube videos, change your privacy settings, set your default search provider, or even print.

Meanwhile, we'll get back to trying to get Google Chrome on these platforms stable enough for a beta release as soon as possible ..."
The downloads are available through the Chrome developer's channel.
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Google Announces Chrome For Mac and Linux Dev Builds

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  • by TitusC3v5 (608284) on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:58AM (#28219891) Homepage
    Why would I need this? I already have a webkit browser with tabs on top.

    Because multiple players means competition, and competition means innovation, which leads to a better browsing experience for all of us, regardless of which you're using.
  • Re:It's okay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Plunky (929104) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:19AM (#28219999)

    Open Source software is about freedom, and freedom to do your own thing is definitely a big one. But the Open Source market is also unlike the standard free market. Instead of getting better products due to competition, you get worse products due to the split of resources. By taking interest away from Firefox, Google is possibly killing the only serious competitor to IE.

    I don't think open source software is necessarily about what you want it to be. Just because Firefox is better than the competition today doesn't mean that Firefox will always be the best but if nobody tries to make anything better then stagnation will ensue. Monoculture is bad no matter who is director and I would rather see 20 options than 2.

  • Re:It's okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wootest (694923) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:33AM (#28220081)

    Even if the rest of that argument (let's not have competition now that the browser I think is good is winning) made sense and all that matters is killing IE, Chrome is an additive force. In a world with only IE and Firefox, if you disliked Firefox, there'd be no alternative. There are people who like Chrome better than Firefox; if your goal is killing IE, that's *more* switchers, even if a bunch also switch back and forth between Firefox and Chrome.

    However, outside of that, there's nothing bad with having many browsers around. What is bad is having many contrary *concepts* around. Chrome didn't drag a new rendering engine in, they used WebKit, which is good. Actually, they used a fork of WebKit, which is bad, but WebKit has been able to handle this stuff by merging in the necessary abstractions in the past.

  • Re:It's okay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:41AM (#28220125)

    Luckily, Firefox works great.

    Not on a Mac it doesn't. While Fx 3.0 is far better than previous versions on a Mac, it's still pretty poor. And you can't use Fx 3.0 on older Macs at all.

    Adblock and flashblock etc are coming for Chrome. I use Firefox now, but unless Fx4.0 works significantly better on a Mac, and is multi-threaded, my continued use of it is time-limited. That's entirely Mozilla's own fault. They seem to be focusing on rebuilding Firefox as the Netscape suite, rather than actually making the core browser work efficiently.

    Google has, unfortunately, been very slow about developing Chrome for Mac (as they usually are for all their software, Macs users appear to be an afterthought for them). This version appears to be intel only -- I sincerely hope that this is going to change. I have an old G3 running 10.3 that looks great and works well for surfing and playing music. I'd absolutely love to get Fx 2.0 off it, and use a browser that works effectively.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:42AM (#28220129)

    Trust me, I admire Google. But I am mad at them for using the "wrong" toolkit in developing Chrome for Linux. Slashdotters, this is *my* opinion having used both toolkits and deployed software though not as complex as a browser on all operating systems.

    And I have at least one supporter [purinchu.net] on this front.

    What they should have done is to fund development of Chrome using the "right" tool for the job. What would be wrong with that?

  • Re:intel only (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lisaparratt (752068) on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:59AM (#28220209)

    Undoubtedly due to the Javascript JIT.

  • CPU Usage... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy (189467) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:04AM (#28220229) Homepage

    Here's why I'm excited about/anxious for Chrome on OS/X:

    I used Firefox for awhile, a couple of years back. It bogged down the CPU, especially after running for awhile.

    So I switched to Opera (and shortly thereafter went from Windows to OS X). It was a peppier experience. But with newer releases, and the increasing use of Flash (I think) on the Net, it started getting slower and slower. I don't like having my fan run while I'm simply sitting and reading a static page. Turning off all plugins seems to avoid that, so I point the finger at Flash. But not having Flash, or only having it on demand, is fairly annoying. Also, there's some sites Opera just won't render properly. Not many, but some.

    So I switched back to Firefox, with the advent of 3.0. Even doing nothing, sitting with a few static pages open (and Adblock, Flashblock) it seems to still hover at 10% CPU usage. Bleh. Enough to keep my fan humming all the time.

    When I tried Chrome on Windows, I was quite excited, with the process-per-page approach. I can see *what* page is slowing things down, and kill it if I chose. That's my biggest beef with Opera/Firefox (I won't even let IE into the discussion :P): you can't tell *what* page is slowing down your browser. I've tried JavaScript debuggers, other dev tools to try and found out, but have had no success.

    I'm praying that Chrome on OS/X will be my salvation (although I've become dependent upon some Firefox extensions, particularly vimperator :P). Upon first glance, it looks pretty good (and I'm using it to post this article). It seems to suck up 30% CPU for 20 seconds or so *after* finishing loading a page, but then does settle down.

    Right now I have about 5 tabs open, and each is using 2-3%, which is slightly concerning. That could add up to be just as bad as Firefox/Opera. But for now, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt of being an early release, and keep my fingers crossed that the "Browser That Finally Doesn't Suck [CPU]" is on the horizon...

  • by vandan (151516) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:18AM (#28220293) Homepage

    I find the Chrome interface quite revolting. But what's even worse is the psychotic bitchings of Ben Goodger [google.com], former Mozilla developer. My response to Ben [homelinux.org] discusses the issues he raised.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:32AM (#28220353)

    Because you want one that doesn't suck.

    And that would be the one that doesn't let you change the (marketing dept. approved I presume) privacy settings and search engine?

    I smell a rat.

  • Does the job? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rxmd (205533) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:38AM (#28220397) Homepage

    I would bet that while you can't print, view YouTube videos or change your privacy settings yet, the core functionality of aggregating data about the user's browsing behaviour and sending it to Google with a uniquely identifiable ID is firmly in place.

  • Re:CPU Usage... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:46AM (#28220455)

    But.. Why don't you just use Safari or Webkit?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:49AM (#28220483) Homepage

    Using the Fedora Linux here and have been for a rather long time. I am very much "anti-advertiser" simply because they have a huge propensity to "go too far" with their advertising and data collection. (I have nothing against advertising when it comes to respectful means that the customer seeks out for himself.) Google, for everything else they do in terms of evolving the internet technologies, is still an advertiser. I don't trust them. I can't imagine why anyone else would either.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:56AM (#28220525) Journal

    Really, an alpha build is expected to be considered a finished product? They never said we won't let you change privacy settings/search engine, it's called "we haven't even bothered coding features because this isn't stable".

    If your ass smells like rats, that explains where your head is.

  • Re:Wha...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by noundi (1044080) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:12AM (#28220653)
    It seemed more like flamebait and I didn't realise it was a joke, I apologize for that. However in my defense idiots posting such comments seriously aren't rare to find on /.

    Again, my apologies. :)
  • by Nimey (114278) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:27AM (#28221351) Homepage Journal

    You know, there are these things called "bookmarks". It's a lot smarter to use those instead of keeping open more tabs than you can use at once. You can even bookmark a group of tabs!

  • Re:Phoning home (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mallumax (712655) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:31AM (#28221413) Homepage
    You can use chromium [chromium.org] if you don't want to use the google branded Chrome. Chromium will not send any data to anyone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:55AM (#28221725)

    As an Opera user, I haven't suffered at all from all of the innovation.

    Also notice that I did not need to put the word innovation in quotes.

  • Avoiding software monoculture. On both OS X and Windows, Safari has been shown to have a substantial number of security flaws. Even if I liked its minimal configurability and general look and feel (I don't, but that's a personal thing) the security issues would lead me to avoid using it, much like IE6. (Hmm... is this some kind of rite of passage for a browser bundled with an OS? I hope Apple gets its security act in gear faster than Microsoft did - they're starting to become popular enough to be a worthwhile target.)

  • by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:14AM (#28222841)

    It would have been smarter to use Qt than to have very Windows- and Mac- customized ports, and then you would have got a Linux port for free. You can use QGtkStyle (included in Qt 4.5, but you can run it yourself now) to make Qt apps look like GTK ones.

    Qt may be a cross platform toolkit, but the reality is that you don't get the same level of responsiveness out of it on all platforms as you can get using platform specific tools.

    In a market like the web browser market, feeling a little sluggish compared to the competition is fatal, and they were completely correct not to use Qt for all platforms. Not that I'm sure GTK is the best choice for Linux, but for a project like Chrome, it's definitely the right choice to use the best tools available on each platform even if it means rewriting a lot of code.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:45AM (#28223369)

    Hate to break it to you dude, but here's the reason Google didn't use Qt: they don't want to beta-test and work around your software. Sure, Qt in theory works on Linux, Mac and Windows, and newer versions can even be made to look reasonably native. What do you do when it doesn't work? Say a control looks weird on Windows, or the layout spacing is weird on OS X, or you want to add a widget that's a little outside Qt's standard set (such as a tab bar that melds with the title bar at the top of the window), or you run into a performance problem. If you're using Qt, your only option is to go debug someone else's giant library, learn how it works, then learn what is the minimal way to change it so it does the thing you wanted, then hope that your change can get integrated into trunk so that you don't have to maintain your own fork of Qt going forward. If you develop your own UI toolkit on each platform, it takes a bit longer to get started, but you can ensure that you have full control over the software, that it's blazingly fast, and that you have a developer who understand exactly what it's doing. Qt is "good enough" if you just want to get a GUI on the screen on 3 platforms and forget about it, but it's not there for getting a *great* GUI. And the whole point of the Google Chrome team is to write a fantastic GUI; not Bob's Open Source Music Player, not Joe's Programming Editor, but a web browser that people spend 90% of their computer time interacting with. Qt is obviously still in development, and eventually it *may* turn nice enough that people want to write native Windows and OS X apps in it, or it may turn out like GTK and look like crap even with the "native" look. But in general it's going to be harder to make a cross-platform toolkit than to work separately on each platform when you care about the details.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 07, 2009 @08:13AM (#28240579)
    99.9% of the interface for google earth is OPENGL based. Qt is a very thin layer... and google's experience with Earth was: cross-platform sucks, and GTK is a better choice for developing on Linux. Get the fuck over it.

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