Chromium via Wine lacks polish and more

Wanna give Google Chrome a try on the Mac? Be warned: this port is unstable and lacks more than just a spit-shine, but it's still fun to play around with.

CodeWeavers have successfully ported a build of Chromium, Google Chrome's codebase, to non-PowerPC Intel Macs using Wine. Unfortunately, it's incredibly buggy, and while it proves that Chrome can eventually run on the Mac, CrossOver Chromium is more about demonstrating the utility of Wine than creating an effective version of Chrome for the Linux and Mac platforms before Google does.

CrossOver Chromium replicates Google Chrome on a Mac, but not well. (Credit: CNET Networks)

In fact, in the CrossOver Chromium FAQ, that's precisely what CodeWeavers states: "This is just a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do." They go on to assure users that they plan to support more of the nitty-gritty features of Chrome, including process security and memory management.

Based on version of Chromium, a big part of the problem is stability. Typing in "nytimes" into the Omnibar caused Chromium to crash. There's a noticeable lag time, probably about half a second, when typing in text fields or even the Omnibar itself. There are also problems rendering images and text, with occasional reports of compressed pictures and misaligned type. However, ripping a tab off into its own window did work without fail. Hands-down, that's one of the best things about Chrome.

If you use Chromium to visit, you'll notice that it picks up the Windows page instead of the Mac one. The browser also sports the default Windows Vista theme, which is hilarious to see on a Mac but less effective as an aesthetic. Users also must use the Windows hotkey commands, so it's Ctrl+T for a new tab, not Option+T.

The bottom line is that as an advertisement for Wine, showing how it can run Windows apps without a Windows installation underneath them, this is great. It's not aimed at the casual user, though, so download with caution and don't expect more out of this than it can currently give--which isn't much.