Distros consider removing Chromium after Google revokes private API access to features

Google has upset a lot of FOSS developers after revoking access to API features. Chromium removal from various distros is being considered.


Arch

http://web.archive.org/web/20210119202706/https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/arch-dev-public/2021-January/030263.html

If (or when) the above workaround fails, I am going to stop maintaining
Chromium and be in favor of dropping the package from our repos

Debian

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=972134

Currently, the way that chromium is being maintained is far from the
standards that we expect in Debian.

Fedora

Google has announced that it is cutting off access to the Sync and “other Google Exclusive” APIs from all builds except Google Chrome. This will make the Fedora Chromium build significantly less functional (along with every other distro packaged Chromium).

Slackware

https://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/g/embedder-dev/c/NXm7GIKTNTE/m/KAcRVtGGCAAJ

From the email I received I understand that the ability to use Google Sync will be removed from my API keys used to build this Slackware Chromium browser binary. The value of the Chromium package for endusers will drop right to zero if that is true. I honestly see no reason to continue compiling and packaging Chromium for Slackware if the Google developers present in this group confirm this policy change by Google.

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Chromium is just as bad as firefox. You can’t trust either, and chrome is waaay worse. I don’t see this as a loss. Might redpill a few normies.

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https://www.falkon.org/

Used to be Qupzilla, but now it’s Falkon.

My FIDO2 keys work. It supports Adblock and Greasemonkey. Search has it’s own bar.

My initial reaction was that I couldn’t live without all of my plugins from other browsers, but it’s not so bad.

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I really don’t see this as being a loss. It’s not like this is the first time Google has killed a feature. If you want first party features, then use a first party product. Firefox also has syncing, plus there’s a whole host of syncing plugins available for whatever your browser preference.

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It’s sad there’s really nothing that isn’t chromium or Firefox under the hood. How did we get here?

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Tried it for a while but something just didn’t click for me. They also need to streamline their spellcheck support.

Been using Brave since I really want to get away from Mozilla and don’t want to use Chromium/Chrome except as a backup browser, but apparently it’s just as bad as Chrome and FF. If Ubuntu/Kubuntu stop packaging Chromium (Ubuntu only has it as a Snap even) it would be no loss to me, except that FF seems to depends on chromium-codecs (so they probably won’t drop it altogether).

Isn’t Brave built on the Chromium/blink engine though?

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Yep

I think falkon is probably the best option for getting away from that since it’s qtwebengine but that’s still driven by chromium code for displaying most things afaik.

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Meh. I think this is a good thing, but not a reason to dump chromium.

The shit being removed is shit i don’t want anyway?

I see this more as a “whoops, that shouldn’t have been dirtying up your application with its taint, we’ve now clensed it” rather than “Chromium is bad!”.

As to how we got here? Well, i’m sure RMS would say this is what you get when you don’t GPL everything, but based on the results of HURD, my comeback would be that at least we have shipping products.

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Ungoogled chromium might be what you want.

It is, but so are most “alternative” browsers out there. The difference, supposedly, is in privacy stock settings and plugin support. What I meant to say is that privacy wise Brave is not that much better than FF or Chrome (in stock configuration).

Or Librewolf might be an option if you don´t want it to be chrome based anything.

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There is Pale Moon/Basilisk, based on XUL.

RIP Presto. Current Firefox loses relevance and market share daily while the parasitic board keeps increasing their fat salaries.

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To which RMS would respond that giving up our freedoms for convenience is what got us here.

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I don’t really understand why people are upset. If someone is willing to send their browser data to google for syncing, why would they also somehow care about the finer points of privacy of using chromium vs chrome.

And why does google have to provide the web hosting for this? Clearly the privacy/foss solution would be to have your own private sync server, which makes killing chromium all the more nonsensical.

This seems like there are really multiple issues going on, people are talking past each other, with the result being sensationalized in foss news.

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I want muh open source but also pls let me have muh telemetry. Its as free as free gets IMO.

The thing that doesnt make sense to me is how they intend to stop the workaround by using chrome API keys.

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Here are the APIs that the chromium project lists:

  • Calendar API
  • Contacts API
  • Drive API (Optional, enable this for Files.app on Chrome OS and SyncFileSystem API)
  • Chrome Remote Desktop API
  • Chrome Spelling API
  • Chrome Suggest API
  • Chrome Sync API (This will NOT work on Android!)
  • Chrome Translate Element
  • Chrome Web Store API
  • Chrome OS Hardware ID API (Optional, Chrome OS)
  • Device Registration API (Optional, Chrome OS)
  • Google Cloud DNS API
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Google Cloud Storage JSON API
  • Google Maps Geolocation API (requires enabling billing but is free to use; you can skip this one, in which case geolocation features of Chrome will not work)
  • Google Maps Time Zone API
  • Google Now For Chrome API (Optional, enabled to show Google Now cards)
  • Google+ API
  • Nearby Messages API
  • Safe Browsing API
  • Speech API (See the “Speech API” box at the top of the page)

Out of these, stuff like the Cloud DNS API are probably useless to anyone not willing to run Chrome. Who distrusts google enough to refuse to run chrome, but want to run their DNS with google.

Others like the spelling API and the speech API, are excellent that they are getting lost IMO. Now there is no need to worry about what I am writing getting sent to google because a setting switch was flipped. Same with the maps API; now I only will fill in my location manually when I want to instead of websites begging for it.

There are two real losses IMO. One is the safe browsing API, which is actually a decent security help (if sometimes a bit overzealous). The other is the sync API.

However, google had/has an open source implementation of the sync API server (for dev purposes), so hopefully, that can be spruced up by some people and we can start self-hosting our own chromium sync servers.

Also, xBrowserSync exists, as does Bitwarden, both of which are decent alternatives to the built-in bookmarks and password options. However, for extensions and history, there is not really a great other option to the built-in sync.

So basically I think this is excellent news overall, and basically agree completely with @Log

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its worth noting that there are some instances where there is not a chrome build for a distro but there is a chromium build.

theres also instances where I have wanted both chrome and chromium on the same system. Niche I know but surely im not alone there.

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Market share loss can entirely be placed at the foot of mozilla doing chrome things and trying to play politics with your browser.

From what I can see, people are not upset.

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