Packaging Request #140

Possible to make a libre version of Chromium (web browser)?

migathesecond - over 10 years ago - . Updated almost 4 years ago.

% Done:



First off, I've really taken a liking to Chromium. I've used it in the past, and I like the interface and how quick of a browser it is. However, I have heard about license issues in the past, involving unlicensed files in the source code. I have noticed that in the source, LICENSE is the BSD license. Doesn't that mean that any files without a license are under that license? If not, is there a way to remove those files without reducing any significant functionality to the browser? Do these license issues even still exist? I'm guessing so, because chromium-browser still conflicts with the 'your-freedom' package.

I'd really like to be able to use Chromium on a fully free system. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I don't really know how difficult it would be to make a libre Chromium. I'd like to find out where to start, and hopefully, with the help of the community, bring what I believe is one of the best web browsers to Parabola.

If anybody wants to take a look at the source code, here is one of the latest versions:

Related issues

Related to Packages - Freedom Issue #1167: [chromium][electron][qt5-webengine][qt6-webengine] QTWebgine/Electron embeds "entire Chromium platform"confirmed

Related to Packages - Freedom Issue #1231: [electron] embeds Chromium platform (or part of it), recommends nonfree DRM pluginsfixed2017-03-14




Updated by mtjm over 10 years ago and following messages suggests the problem being old and not checked in new releases, maybe it could be easily fixed (i.e. check what unlicensed files are in a recent release). There is also the issue of it recommending nonfree extensions and plugins which needs fixing separately before it's unblacklisted.


Updated by martin over 9 years ago

The Debian Project is building packages of chromium with the following Copyright File [in this case for sid]:

TL;DR It's an utter mess to read through.


Updated by martin about 9 years ago

Latest info detailing the connections made to Google servers on the start-up.


Updated by icarious over 8 years ago

I carefully checked for licenses from . A simple ctrl+f search for "no copyright* unknown" and I found around 70 files (approx) with unclear licenses. And also the possibility of non-free recommendation remains. Unless these issues are fixed, this keeps Chromium a lot distant to be included in Parabola, as FSDG compliant distributions include packages with clear licensing policies which respects freedom. Hope this clears the doubt.


Updated by migathesecond over 8 years ago

A year later, and still the copyright issues remain. Saddening, but I've stuck with (and like better than Chromium now) Iceweasel since I started using Parabola. Unfortunately I don't see these issues being fixed either.


Updated by Anonymous over 7 years ago

  • Tracker changed from Freedom Issue to Packaging Request

Updated by mytbk almost 7 years ago

Previously someone talked about Iridium in Trisquel's mailing list , and I've put it on AUR:

The Free Software Directory page for Iridium:


Updated by lkcl about 6 years ago

martin wrote:

The Debian Project is building packages of chromium with the following Copyright File [in this case for sid]:

TL;DR It's an utter mess to read through.

right. i wrote "" to deal with exactly this scenario. google that and you'll find it immediately.

basically what it does is a fuzzy-match search on anything that looks like a copyright notice, and builds up an internal dictionary of what's ACTUALLY in the files. it then reads the entirety of the debian copyright file and creates another internal dictionary.

then, using a horrible, horrible but unavoidable O(N^3) algorithm, a tree-walk is carried out to find out what is MISSING from the copyright file, and, also, if there are any discrepancies.

be warned, it takes a LONG time to run, and running on the chromium sources could take several days: it used to be 1/2 an hour on the code i ran it on, and that was a couple of thousand source code files.

interestingly it can actually find copyright notices even in jpeg and png images, which i didn't expect.

anyway, what i'm saying is: you don't have to do the job by hand, there's a tool for it.


Updated by isacdaavid over 5 years ago

  • Related to Freedom Issue #1167: [chromium][electron][qt5-webengine][qt6-webengine] QTWebgine/Electron embeds "entire Chromium platform" added

Updated by isacdaavid over 5 years ago

  • Related to Freedom Issue #1231: [electron] embeds Chromium platform (or part of it), recommends nonfree DRM plugins added

Updated by dllud over 5 years ago

Any news on this? Iridium seems the way to go, they disable a lot of features related to third-party plugins:

It would be great if someone could run lkcl's script or something similar on top of Iridium. I guess they've removed some of the problematic files. It might be easy to ask them to remove any that are left.

Although IceCat/IceWeasel does the job when it comes to web-browsing, I often need a Webkit-based browser to test sites that I'm developing.


Updated by bill-auger almost 4 years ago

  • Status changed from open to not-a-bug

a libre version of chromium would imply that the phantom problematically (un)licensed files were identified and removed or (re-)licensed - if these were identified and added to the original upstream bug report, the upstream, would probably address it themselves; and then there would be no freedom issues with chromium for any distro

whenever a freedom issue comes up, the first option is always to patch it - so the question of "is it possible to make a freed version?" is implicit in every freedom bug report - over the years, issue #1167 has become the hub for all issues related this chromium/qt5-webengine/electron issue; so this one is redundant now

there is a newer packaging request, specifically for ungoogled-chromium now #2512

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