Everybody has heard of Chrome and Firefox, but there are a great deal of other options. Today we’ll be looking specifically at Google Chrome and it’s open source counterpart Chromium.
What is Open Source?
When referring to software, open source means that you have access to the source code. Normal programs are compiled into code that cannot be read or used by a programmer, but source code is the original language that gets essentially translated when it’s compiled. Basically what this allows is for anybody to take the software which they downloaded, and make changes to it for themselves.
Chromium: The Open Source Chrome
Google Chrome is not open source, even though you can develop extensions and add-ons, you cannot modify the program itself, however Google Chrome is based off of open source software. You can use this software with Chromium, a fully open source browser that is very similar to Google Chrome. This allows anybody to make changes and distribute them. This is a huge advantage for a programmer.
Advantages of Chrome
There are definitely a lot of advantages to Chrome. Chrome has some proprietary bits and pieces that actually make a difference. Google Chrome has support for a variety of proprietary file formats, Chromium has none. What does that mean? That means that Chromium can’t play MP3s natively, as MP3 codecs are not open source software, in addition to a variety of other filetypes.
Another major advantage is Flash, Chrome has high compatibility with Adobe Flash Player built in, which updates Flash with chrome. This keeps Flash updated regularly, in a way that no open source browser could.
What about Firefox and other Open Source browsers?
Chromium isnt the only open source browser, and it doesn’t pretend to be, Firefox had been the go-to choice for years. Chromium is mainly just an open source equivalent to Google Chrome. For those who prefer the Chrome layout and design, but still want to stick with open source software, Chromium is the way to go.
There is also Chromium OS, which is a GNU/Linux operating system based off Chromium, this is what you would find on a Chromebook.
In conclusion for somebody who wants to program and modify their Chrome browser using the advantages of its open source programming, Chromium is the way to go. However, at surface value and for the average user, regular Chrome is more capable and the better choice.