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I have been trying to understand if Google's Chrome web browser is truly open source. Some people claim that it is, while others claim that it integrates binary blobs for which the source is completely closed.

What is the truth on this?

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Google Chrome is not fully open source, but closely based on the open-source Chromium project, which itself is built around the open-source Blink engine. Chromium still includes tight integrations with many Google services though. But Chromium is perfectly usable as a browser.

Other than Google Chrome, a large number of browsers and similar projects are based on the Chromium/Blink open source components, such as Brave, Vivaldi, Edge, and Electron.

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  • Thanks. So are both Chromium and Blink 100% open source? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jul 2 at 17:09
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    @RockPaperLizard yes, Blink is a part of Chromium, and Chromium uses a wild mixture of (compatible) open source licenses for its various parts. Chromium is also packaged by the Debian project, which runs automated license checks and is very thorough about licensing status. Debian members also detected when some Chromium versions did download blobs with unclear licensing status. – amon Jul 2 at 17:19
  • Thanks amon. Does Chromium still download blobs, or is all the executable code now furnished with the distributed build? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jul 3 at 1:36
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    @RockPaperLizard That was a one-time incident, and Chromium is now free of blobs. I mentioned the incident to illustrate that the Chromium–Chrome split isn't always perfect, but that the Debian project is really really good at tracking license compliance. – amon Jul 3 at 9:54
  • Thank you! I appreciate your help. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jul 3 at 10:02

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