Chromium May Become Default Ubuntu Browser in Version 13.10

by Ostatic Staff - May. 20, 2013

Ever since 2005, Ubuntu has delivered Mozilla's Firefox browser as its default browser, which has made millions of Ubuntu users loyal users of Firefox. But Firefox is hardly the only browser choice that Ubuntu users have. If you've tried Chromium--the open source core of Google's Chrome browser--you already know that it's fast, clean and very stable. That has now produced a lively discussion going on online about whether Ubuntu 13.10, due later this year, should ship with Chromium as the default browser.

Much of the discussion surrounding making Chromium the default browser in Ubuntu sprang out of the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, where many developers supported the switch. As Google made clear at its recent Google I/O conference, the Chrome browser has made huge market share gains in the past year, and Chromium presents an interface familiar to Chrome users. Development for Chromium is also robust and fast-paced.

But there is another reason why Canonical may want to tie Ubuntu development to Chromium development. Google has seen its Chrome strategy working on many kinds of mobile platforms, ranging from Chromebooks to smartphones. Canonical has ambitious plans for bringing Ubuntu to phones, tablets and other platforms. Chromium development may dovetail with these plans for Ubuntu in serendipitous ways, as Canonical seeks to deliver common interfaces and experiences for Ubuntu users on many kinds of devices.

Especially as Canonical moves forward with Ubuntu Touch and the other components of its mobile plans, watch for a switch to Chromium as the default browser. And, users of Firefox on Ubuntu may be surprised to hear that Chromium is absolutely competive with Firefox. I use both browsers on Ubuntu, and see many advantages to Chromium, including performance advantages.