Daily Archives: January 22, 2021

Chromium 88 removes Flash support

I uploaded a set of chromium packages to my repository today. Chromium 88.0.4324.96 sources were released two days ago.

The release notes on the Google Chrome Releases Blog mention 36 security fixes with at least one being tagged as “critical” but the article does not mention that Flash support has been entirely removed from Chromium now.

Adobe’s Flash was already actively being blocked for a long time and you had to consciously enable Flash content on web pages, but after Adobe discontinued Flash on 1st of January 2021 it was only a matter of time before support in web browsers would be removed as well.

Let’s also briefly revisit the topic of my previous post – Google will remove access to Chrome Sync for all community builds of the open source variant of their Chrome browser: Chromium… thereby crippling it as far as I am concerned.

To test my own hypothesis, I built a Chromium 88.0.4324.96 package without using my Google API key. This evening I have been testing that package in private (the package in my repository does include my API key!). As expected, the browser starts up with a warning about missing API key and reduced functionality as a result, pointing you to their support page at https://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/api-keys . Also as expected, adding a .conf file in /etc/chromium/ directory in which I export the values for my API key,¬† ID and ‘secret’ passphrase to the shell environment restores the original functionality of the browser. Good to know that my advice actually was correct.
Then I removed my API key/id/secret and substituted them for Google’s own API key/id/secret (which you can find without too much effort among others in the Chromium source code where they are included unmodified since the beginning). I can confirm that the browser still worked correctly – I just had to re-authenticate to Chrome Sync to get the sync process un-paused.

Let’s see where this leads. Arch Linux is challenging Google Chromium team about the legal implications of using the public Google API key. I myself believe that using these keys in a distro package will land us in murky waters and that this is not the way forward. If anything, I will offer a API-key-less Chromium package and encourage users to request their own API key for private use.

Now, go fetch that new chromium package! And give Pat a chance to upload  more than 1500 recompiled Slackware-current packages in the meantime.

Fri Jan 22 19:17:44 UTC 2021
Mass rebuild against the new glibc complete. This batch consists only of
rebuilds - no new packages or upgrades. Enjoy the fresh binaries!