I just discovered that chromium will only be released as a snap package.

How can I continue to get chromium, without snap? Is this possible without building from source?


  • Please let's keep to the question as stated - not "what do you have against snap?"
  • I'm not asking how to remove snap (I realize that would break Ubuntu)... just how to use chromium as it is now, a deb.


No, this is not a duplicate of that linked question. I don't need to know "why it's a snap". I want to know how to use it without snap.

Right now there is building from source, and some random PPA mentioned below. I hope someone can advise us of trustworthy alternatives.

  • I don't use chromium but does askubuntu.com/a/1200343/248158 work for you? – DK Bose Jan 21 at 8:57
  • @DKBose I'm very (VERY!) tempted to use that ppa, but without offense to it's maintainers... it's just some random ppa. If it had more "traction" I'd use it. Right now it has only 3 maintainers. I'm gonna keep an eye on it though... thanks! – lonix Jan 21 at 9:00
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    Does this answer your question? Why apt package chromium-browser installs snap package instead? – N0rbert Jan 21 at 18:32
  • @N0rbert No but thanks. That is the "why" - I wanted to know how to continue getting it without snap (hopefully as a deb). Maybe with time someone will post a decent solution here, or that PPA will get some traction (I'm wary of it right now). – lonix Jan 22 at 7:18

You can use Chromium from the Debian buster repository.
For example, if your Ubuntu release is eoan (19.10):

  1. Remove Ubuntu chromium packages:

    sudo apt remove chromium-browser chromium-browser-l10n chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra
  2. Add Debian buster repository. Create a file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list with the following content:

    deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian buster main
    deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian buster-updates main
    deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates main
  3. Add the Debian signing keys:

    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys DCC9EFBF77E11517
    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 648ACFD622F3D138
    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys AA8E81B4331F7F50
    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 112695A0E562B32A
  4. Configure apt pinning. Create a file /etc/apt/preferences.d/chromium.pref with the following content:

    # Note: 2 blank lines are required between entries
    Package: *
    Pin: release a=eoan
    Pin-Priority: 500
    Package: *
    Pin: origin "ftp.debian.org"
    Pin-Priority: 300
    # Pattern includes 'chromium', 'chromium-browser' and similarly
    # named dependencies:
    Package: chromium*
    Pin: origin "ftp.debian.org"
    Pin-Priority: 700
  5. Install Chromium again

    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install chromium

This should install the latest chromium from the debian-security repository and look like this:

$ sudo apt install chromium
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
  chromium-common chromium-sandbox libjpeg62-turbo libminizip1 libre2-5
Suggested packages:
  chromium-l10n chromium-shell chromium-driver
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  chromium chromium-common chromium-sandbox libjpeg62-turbo libminizip1 libre2-5
0 upgraded, 6 newly installed, 0 to remove and 9 not upgraded.
Need to get 56,6 MB of archives.
After this operation, 202 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
Get:1 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu eoan/universe amd64 libminizip1 amd64 1.1-8build1 [20,2 kB]
Get:2 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster/main amd64 libjpeg62-turbo amd64 1:1.5.2-2+b1 [134 kB]
Get:3 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu eoan/universe amd64 libre2-5 amd64 20190801+dfsg-1 [162 kB]
Get:4 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates/main amd64 chromium-common amd64 79.0.3945.130-1~deb10u1 [257 kB]
Get:5 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates/main amd64 chromium amd64 79.0.3945.130-1~deb10u1 [55,9 MB]
Get:6 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates/main amd64 chromium-sandbox amd64 79.0.3945.130-1~deb10u1 [141 kB]

As you can see, only Chromium related packages are fetched from the Debian repository, but all others like libminizip1 still come from your Ubuntu repository.

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  • This is excellent, and just the sort of cleverness I was looking for! I'm changing the accepted answer to this! Thanks! – lonix Jan 28 at 5:21
  • I used a similar approach. Details here: askubuntu.com/a/1206502/164224 – ʇsәɹoɈ Jan 29 at 4:10
  • @ʇsәɹoɈ Thanks. I saw that approach but wasn't sure whether to try it. From what I understand ubuntu breaks if snap itself is removed, because it ships various system things as snap. So it's not just chromium. Wasn't that your experience? – lonix Jan 29 at 6:10
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    @lonix I haven't removed snapd from my system yet, but snap list tells me that the only things it currently manages are itself and gtk-common-themes. I might just leave it installed, in case Canonical ends up replacing more important deb packages with snaps. (I might also drop Ubuntu if they do that.) As long as there isn't a snap directory cluttering my home dir, I can tolerate snapd lurking in the background for now. It might even become useful to me if they fix bug 1575053 and learn from their mistake there. – ʇsәɹoɈ Jan 29 at 19:12
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    security deb gave me error, have to use: deb security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free – Ferroao Jan 31 at 17:35

Without getting into the why, what you're asking for is someone, somewhere to maintain the deb of Chromium. There is a time and resource commitment to do that work, providing the build for you. There's a couple of options.

You specified a way of getting Chromium without building from source. So you're after binary packages which are not packaged as a snap. One option is to get the builds from the upstream Chromium project themselves via https://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/download-chromium

Another would be to use an older release of Ubuntu - such as Ubuntu 18.04 LTS - which still ships a binary deb of Chromium. At the time of writing 18.04 has Chromium 79 - the same as the version in 16.04, and is the latest.

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