Feren OS
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Feren OS

Chromium has been removed from Web Browser Manager in Feren OS

I’m writing this post to inform users about the reasons of the recent removal of Chromium in Feren OS’s Web Browser Manager.

Before I continue, however, I’d like to note that this DOES NOT currently affect Feren OS Classic and all Feren OS versions based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as Chromium is still in its purer, normally packaged, form (hence these justifications don’t apply to them).

With that out of the way, I’d also like to mention that this was a tough decision to make — I made a poll on Twitter about who uses Chromium even at https://twitter.com/Feren_OS/status/1418335135670456321 to see if this move would be a potential dick move for most users or not. However, with the turn-out of this poll, I’m more comfortable in saying this choice is for the best. My sincerest apologies to those who use Chromium, however.

Now, onto the reasons:

Linux Mint’s Chromium’s edits could potentially have lasting damage to Chrome Sync

The main reason for this removal is because I’ve recently noticed a potentially significant issue with Chromium from Linux Mint… at least back when Chromium had Google Sync anyway: The Linux Mint edits spread to synced profiles as well if the user initiates sync with their Google account from a Mintified Chromium.

This can have small effects, such as Mint bookmarks, however I’ve also noticed it has at least had a bigger effect on my Chrome profile as it will now always start with an extra tab to the Linux Mint Start Page, alongside the home page tab. They CAN be reversed with changes to Settings, however it still has its impact on user experience, with the Mintification even being permanent for some people (who can’t be bothered to undo the result).

With this in mind, and the likelihood of that having potentially happened to people and potentially happening again someday if Google restores syncing functionality to Chromium, this is my main reason for removing Chromium from Web Browser Manager.

What about other alternatives?

Let’s be fair here — the only viable alternatives at this point are:

  • Going back to Debian’s Chromium
  • Switching to Snap’d Chromium
  • Switching to Flatpak’d Chromium

However all of these have their own benefits and major downsides. Quite frankly, I just don’t want to go through that process of suggesting people move over to a new Chromium, and making Major Updater switch users to a different Chromium package, again, especially since it seems like it’ll end up like how it ended up when switching to Mint’s, and how that has ended up now.

What about the Major Updater’s Chromium transition?

Honestly at this point I don’t know what I want to do with that. I think given the significance of that main issue with using Mint’s one, I will just have to end up removing the Chromium transition code entirely for it… landing users on the Snap’d Chromium version instead.

I have to question if it’s worth it putting in all the effort to transition users to, say, a Flatpak’d Chromium instead, after all. Will users even care, and will the limitations of the Flatpak’d Chromium just bite users back instead, even?

What about those using Linux Mint’s Chromium currently in Feren OS?

For those using Linux Mint’s Chromium currently in Feren OS, don’t fret as nothing will change for you, until the next Major Update, of which by the time it arrives New Store should already be in Feren OS, and during that Major Update you will be prompted about transitioning to either Snap’d or Flatpak’d Chromium if you’re still on Linux Mint’s Chromium.

Speaking of New Store…

Chromium will return in New Feren OS Store

To end this off on a positive note, Chromium will make its return to Feren OS as an installable application in the Store once New Feren OS Store is completed and debuts in Feren OS, with Chromium being planned to be available from Store using the Snap Store source, if not also a Flatpak source being choosable as well.

Until then, my apologies.

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The Official Medium page for Feren OS, an Operating System built on Ubuntu designed for the people who want to take back control of their computer.

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