We barely ended the discussion on Chrome’s sandboxing feature and how hard or easy it is to implement such functionality on Mac OS X and Linux, and we have the Chromium project releasing the first builds of Google Chrome for Linux and Mac OS X “officially”. Nightly builds for these platforms have been available since earlier this year, but this is the first time the project puts out actual releases for Mac and Linux.
Google Chrome comes in three different channels: stable, beta, and developer, with the last of those being the most unstable. The Chrome builds for Mac OS X and Linux fall into the developer category, and therefore, are quite buggy and unstable. “Whatever you do, please DON’T DOWNLOAD THEM!,” Mike Smith and Karen Grunberg, Product Managers, write on the Chromium blog, “Unless of course you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software.” These builds are quite incomplete, as they don’t do Flash, you can’t change the privacy settings, set your default search provider, or print. In addition, the Linux builds do not have sandboxing.
Sadly, I don’t have a Linux installation at my disposal currently to test out the Linux variant, but I did test the Mac OS X build. The version number is 18.104.22.168, and it looks and acts like, well, Chrome. There’s really little to tell here, since if you’ve used Chrome on Windows, you’ll be able to dive right into Chrome on the Mac. I’ve loaded various pages, and haven’t yet encountered any issues, but I’m sure more prolonged usage will turn up some serious bugs. As said, several options are still missing from the dialogs, and the import feature doesn’t work either, so it’s not yet ready for general use.
Still, releasing these builds will get some more eyes on the code, which is always a good thing. It’s a sign that the Mac and Linux variants of Chrome are closing in on the stable channel, and that the day comes nearer and nearer when I can use my favourite browser on all three platforms. Joy!