How to install Chromium (Google Chome) on Gentoo Linux

Update: As of 27th August the buildbot now provides 64-bit builds. Thanks Jeff :)

The other day I was surfing the web and read an article about Google Chrome in some sort of hacking competition – this then prompted me to check out Google’s progress on porting Google Chrome to Linux and Mac. For those that don’t know Google Chrome is Google’s attempt at making a browser. So far it seems like a really good attempt.

It seems as though lately the Linux builds (I ignored the Mac stuff – but I hear it’s getting good too) seem to be getting to a usable state. Definitely not finished, definitely buggy, but usable. So, like any other Gentooer, I began trying to find out how to get it.

Step 1) Any ebuilds out there?

Why bother do hard work myself if somebody’s already put it in portage? With some google-fu it seems as though there are a couple ebuilds. One by the French, and another by the Chinese. The French one (have not tested) is available in the `THE` overlay, available by doing layman -a THE. The chinese one seems to be called “Shellex-overlay”, and can be accessed here. I’m not quite sure what the French one does as the ebuild didn’t really like my amd64 system (note: Google Chrome only supports 32-bit as of writing). However the Chinese one fared better and provided me with a binary. If you are on a 32-bit system (x86) you should try those ebuilds.

If you don’t want to compile from source, check the depencies list just a bit further down, then check out the build bot. Note: the build bot provides binaries for Windows, Linux AND Mac, so if you’re on a Mac, you’re in luck!

For more information, you should visit the Chromium Linux Building page.

Under `Prerequisites`, it lists down the dependencies as packaged by the Ubuntu system. Here is the list of dependencies as what Gentoo calls them:

  • Python >= 2.4
  • Perl >= 5.x
  • gcc >= 4.2
  • bison >= 2.3
  • flex >= 2.5.34
  • gperf >= 3.0.3
  • pkgconfig >= 0.20
  • nss >= 3.12
  • gconf
  • glib
  • gtk-engines-murrine
  • nspr
  • corefonts
  • freetype
  • cairo
  • dbus

Their version requirements are listed as needed.

Step 2) What about 64-bit systems?

There are several techniques of getting Chromium on a 64-bit system. However no matter what, I highly recommend that you create a 32-bit chroot. If you want to track each library individually and symlink your system to hell (as I first attempted), be my guest, but you’re wasting your time. So, first create a chroot by following this nifty guide.

Once you’ve got your chroot up, you can either try out the ebuilds I mentioned before, compile it yourself from source (via Google’s instructions) or be lazy and grab the binary from the Chromium build bot. I have tested the latter two techniques (can’t trust the French nor the Chinese!). To compile it yourself from source, follow the Chromium Linux Building page. Note: you will require quite a bit of HD space (the sources tarball itself is 640MB+), I also suggest you bootstrap from the tarball, the subversion checkout seems a lot longer and a waste of time really. Finally, if you’re just interested in getting the binary and running Chrome (not development), I would do use Release mode (see the building page for instructions). Of course, after making sure you have the dependencies I listed above, you should have Chrome compiled!

If you’re lazy and don’t want to compile, there is a build bot.

Step 3) Run Chromium on Linux!

At this stage, you should have the Chrome binary (either by compiling from source or ebuild, or getting the build bot binary). Now you just have to run the program and enjoy. If you’re running using the chroot, you should use the xhost hack. Do xhost local:localhost outside the chroot, then try run the binary again. Obviously you don’t want to waste time setting up X in the chroot.

Finally, here is a screenshot of Chromium running on Fluxbox! (I normally use KDE, but I wanted a more lightweight WM when compiling Chromium) You might also consider doing nice -n 10 when compiling if you want to continue doing your stuff. In fact, I’m running Chrome right now on KDE to write this post. It’s very fast, uses about 1% CPU, separates itself into different processes per tab, and so far seems pretty “stable”. However I have found that opening a file browse dialog (eg: in an upload form) makes Chromium jump up to about 50% CPU, which sucks.

Any thanks, issues or problems feel free to ask.


Gentoo installed (again).

My mum got a new laptop the other day and I’ve just put Gentoo Linux on it. *awaits exclamations of “WHAT!? … you cruel sick person.”*

Well, obviously I would hide everything that’s considered “complex” and keep her happy on a GUI all the time (KDE). That’s the great thing about Gentoo. You can make it exactly how you want it. So I can make it super user-friendly and people won’t tell the difference between it and something like Ubuntu. Or, I could even make it purposely crash randomly if I wanted to emulate The Windows Experience™.

The installation was flawless (I normally do something stupid and end up getting kernel panics), and took about 20 minutes (excluding time waiting for it to download source files and .isos at 5kb/s, and the time waiting for it to compile). Manual kernel config – flawless. No problems with setting up the xorg-server either. The Internet was pretty much plug and play.

Laptop is amd64, nvidia graphics card, 2gb RAM, 120GB HD space.

Congratulations to the Gentoo developers for creating such a great distribution!