Chromium

I’ve been using the Chromium browser a fair amount lately, and while it takes some getting used to, it’s quite an admirable browser.

Initially I installed Chromium in order to test web sites under it to make sure I didn’t need to handle any glaring issues (like is often needed with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Opera); but it seem to render most everything almost identically to FireFox and Safari (though there’s definite differences in the timing of the rendering).

For the most part I work on web pages that use fairly simply JavaScript to alter the appearance or provided better user interaction (Web2.0), I really know very little about HTML5 (I’ve run some tests on various browsers — but let’s leave HTML5 to those who really know something of substance).

I don’t know if it’s because it’s what I’m used to or because the human engineering in FireFox is better… but it certainly feels more natural using FireFox to browse and download (plus I like the “Page Info” and the “Error Console” tools a great deal).

One other thing I like about FireFox is that it’s ostensibly the same experience on Windows, OS-X, and Kubuntu… and it’s not the default browser on any of them — of course I can same the same thing about Chromium (well, except for OS-X).

Chromium, though, really takes a slightly different approach to browsing the web; and I think the developers really felt like their approach was simpler… and maybe it is.  After all, humans do not have any innate ability to use a particular tool — they have to learn, and maybe the FireFox tool has become somewhat ingrained in the tool-box of any internet user since it builds on the original web browser (Mosaic) and really has never attempted any large paradigm shift.

Chromium also presents the feel of something larger than a browser (and it is — after all, it’s a fundamental part of the Chromium OS project as well); and perhaps that’s what makes it feel slightly alien no mater what environment you run it in (of course, to me, Chromium OS feels very fairly alien in itself — but then again, I’ve only run hacked builds, so we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions about the OS just yet).

One thing I’ve fairly confident of is that Google will evolve Chromium until it has a reasonably large share of the market (I think Wave might be the only Google project that was abandoned — and I suspect that will find itself re-incarnated in some future Google effort).

While I don’t see the “resistance is futile” tag line on Chromium any time soon, I think it’s probably worth taking a look at — you might find it less alien than I do — and it certainly seems to work well as a browser (once you learn what buttons to press and how to hold your head).

Originally posted 2010-10-20 02:00:35.