[Pkg-chromium-maint] Bug#841401: chromium: doesn't update extensions

Dave Hibberd d at vehibberd.com
Wed Feb 22 11:04:17 UTC 2017


Now that this has filtered through to testing proper, I've seen a number
users, and myself, have issues with Chromium and the extension
environment. Despite the debian/NEWS statement, the functionality I've
extended my browser with  being missing was a huge surprise. Hunting
down the solution, leading me back to the Debian bugtracker and seeing
these discussions was somewhat a letdown also - unpicking the changes is
not an easy or obvious process.

This whole move feels actively user hostile in its current
implementation - I've had people asking why their extensions are broken
as they are aware they can no longer use ublock/signal/etc. People use
extensions like https everywhere, adblockers, disconnect.me and more to
enhance their privacy and protect themselves online. Do we, as a
project, have the resources to start packaging extensions that people
want to use and keep them up to date?

The extension updater being broken opens a whole world of potential
security updates and complaints from users with people running
potentially vulnerable , out of date code in their browser without
realising it.

The given solutions are editing /bin/chromium or starting chrome with
the --enable-remote-extensions are not good enough. I won't habitually
change from my browser startup process of "alt-f2 > chromium > return",
and I don't expect less technical / Debian inclined friends would change
their shortcut or manually edit the launcher to comment things out. 

If the intention of the chromium maintainers is to keep this behaviour,
can we at least investigate a more user friendly way of implementing it
- using debconf to ask whether the user wants to use external extensions
on the initial setup of their profile or at browser install time as a
system-wide setting? It would give the user a more obvious choice about
what was happening on their system. 

At the moment, the general feeling I've got has been that people no
longer wish to use chromium if the extension ecosystem is not easily
available and will move to another browser with extensions still
available. That would be disappointing and is avoidable.



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