Ubuntu flirts with Chrome instead of Firefox

May 14, 2010 | 11:55

Tags: #browser #chromium #firefox #google-chrome #mozilla-firefox

Companies: #canonical #chrome #google #mozilla #ubuntu

The next edition of the Ubuntu Linux distribution could come with added Google, with rumours circulating that Canonical is looking to replace Mozilla's Firefox with Google's Chrome browser.

As reported over on UberGizmo, the next edition of Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix - a variant of Ubuntu designed specifically for netbook format devices and customised to make the most of the often cramped display resolution available - due for release in October of this year is said to be coming with Google's Chrome browser in place of the traditional Firefox.

Canonical is a business, and while the operating system is free it still needs to turn a profit - and it's quite likely that Google, keen to get its browser in front of as many eyes as possible, will be willing to pay Canonical for each new user. Chrome is often lauded for its compact interface - important on a netbook - and speed on low-memory devices, too - which fits well with the netbook remix philosophy.

However, there's a flaw in the plan: while the Chrome code is technically open source, the truly open source edition is known as Chromium - which is already available as an optional install from Canonical's official software repositories. Traditionally, Canonical has avoided distributing any software which doesn't conform to a true open source licence with Ubuntu - but has occasionally made exceptions, such as in the case of current default browser Firefox which features open code but requires the user to agree to terms and conditions of use.

So far Canonical has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours, but with early builds of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.10 due shortly it will be interesting to see which browser is featured - and whether Canonical chooses to split its user base, with its desktop editions running Firefox while the netbook remix gets Chrome.

Do you think that Chrome is the perfect fit for netbooks, or if Canonical is looking to ditch Firefox should it be looking to the fully open Chromium instead? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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