This week, Google released the first 78 version in the “stable” channel of their Chromium sources – the basis of Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi and even the Edge browsers, and of course the Chromium open-source browser itself. The release notes contain a fairly long list of security issues (CVE’s) which were taken care of.
I built packages for you today, so that you can enjoy the latest&greatest Chromium browser on Slackware 14.2 or -current.
What’s new in Chromium 78?
- Tab hover cards. If you have a multitude of browser tabs open, it becomes difficult to recognize which tab has what page open. From now on, if you move your mouse over a tab you will see a small ‘hover card’ showing the title and the hostname of the page you have open in there.
- Dark mode. You can now force ‘dark mode’ on every web site, whether the web site supports it or not. The web site code is not changed at all, and Chromium will perform a smart color inversion. You can choose between several algorithms. This is an experimental feature still, so you will have to enable it via chrome://flags like so:
- Chrome Password Safety tool which was available as an extension since February of this year has now been folded into the core of the browser. This feature will inform you of weak, leaked or re-used passwords in your list of saved passwords. Later on, Google is going to add functionality that will warn you when you try to use a password which is leaked online – even if you do not save your passwords in the browser.
Still an experimental feature in this version of Chromium, you will have to enable it first via chrome://flags:
- A new extended menu which appears if you click “customize” in the lower right corner of the ‘new tab‘ page. Decorate the ‘new tab’ with your own background image or a different theme. This is still an experimental functionality so you have to enable it explicitly via chrome://flags :
- Just missed the deadline for Chrome 78:
DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH): Google has started a field test of its newly developed technology to tunnel your DNS queries through regular HTTPs requests. This security feature will be invaluable to those of you who do not want to risk 3rd parties to sniff your DNS requests for instance on a public Wi-Fi network. It will also prevent potential DNS spoofing attacks.
This Google blog article about DoH explains the caveats of using their implementation and the difference with the Mozilla Firefox implementation of DoH. Firefox enables DoH by ecapsulating your DNS requests in HTTPs and sending those to a CloudFlare server, while Chrome honours your existing DNS configuration (like paternal controls and safe browsing). The Chrome browser will check if your DNS provider is among a list of DoH-compatible providers, and swiches to your DNS provider’s equivalent DoH service. If the DNS provider isn’t in the list, Chrome will keep using regular DNS requests. Therefore, you’ll have to actively check whether this feature is going to work for you.
As said, that same blog page mentions that this feature did not make Chrome 78 at the last moment.
Also good to know is that the field trial is only going to be enabled for a small percentage of Chrome users (and not on Linux or iOS at all) – once it gets enabled. Not sure if this is going to be available to all of us Linux Chromium users any time soon.
Enjoy the new browser release!
Thank you Eric!
DoH is evil in many countries, where ISPs do not spy on users and no law requires to do so, like Europe through GDP and Australia – even with its data retention laws which explicitly excludes DNS and web traffic.
Googles method should be applauded unlike mozilla’s. though you can disable it should you wish.
DoH may play its part in public wifi as Eric eludes to, but, in reality if you are that paranoid you’d be using Tor or a VPN and hopefully not hackable joke tht turned out to be nordvpn lol
I know it’s just a field test for now, but I find it odd that Mozilla is doing the “wrong” thing, while Google is doing the “right” thing in respect to DoH.
Here’s an interesting point of view about DoH for those who care about privacy:
Thanks Eric, the dark mode looks really nice.
I see that fedora builds a version of chromium with vaapi patches for hardware acceleration,
and those used to work well with my radeon card. Is there a possibility that you can add these
patches too or would they break compatibility with other cards?
I applied the VAAPI patches years ago but stopped with that two years ago – https://git.slackware.nl/asb/commit/chromium/build/chromium.SlackBuild?id=1a92da1d959d9932beac66d2838488b742b23744
It was not worth the issues they caused.
I have no idea about the quality of these patches nowadays but I have no inclination to try that out.
This version of chromium with widevine plugin is not working on my machine. I rolled back to the last version of chromium and now netflix is working again. Can you confirm this problem or is it just something on my machine I need to fix?
Yes I have this problem too but I could fix it with these commands and starting Chromium again:
# mkdir -p /usr/lib64/chromium/lWidevineCdm/_platform_specific/linux_x64/
# ln -s /usr/lib64/chromium/libwidevinecdm.so /usr/lib64/chromium/lWidevineCdm/_platform_specific/linux_x64/
Can you confirm?
I just tried it and it did not work for me. I checked to make sure the symlink was good and it is but still get playback error on netflix.
After creating the symlink, make sure that Chromum is really stopped and all its processes are gone. Then start Chromium again. Go to https://netflix.com/ and try to start a movie. If the error appears nevertheless, do a ‘force refresh”: Shift-Ctrl-R. Worked for me.
I have an updated package locally, because the manifest.json file needs to be copied into the /usr/lib64/chromium/lWidevineCdm/ directory as well.
Also, I was assuming that your OS is 64bit. For 32bit Chromium the directory name is different.
Anyway, I could verify that the new packages for chromium-widevine-plugin which I just uploaded work in a 64bit and in a 32bit Slackware-current VM as well as on my own laptop.
Please tell me the architecture and version of your Slackware installation if the issue persists.
Yes I am running Slackware64. And the new widevine package is working.