Zed Lopez

Chromium: Useless (to Me, for Now)

I’ve been frustrated with Firefox grinding to a halt over time, and needing restarting. I’ve heard tell that Google’s Chromium browser is much faster on Linux, so I thought I’d try it.

It took as long as the first time I tried to type something in a text field to be bit by this bug. The X Window System supports essentially a second shift key, called mode_switch. The other keys can have different definitions for all four of their unmodified, shifted, mode_switched, and shifted and mode_switched meanings.

So far as I know, most distributions don’t do anything with them by default, but I use them extensively to provide, among other things, a set of cursor keys under my fingertips, without requiring moving my hands.

In Chromium, it’s as if mode_switch is being held down all the time, so those keys can only produce the cursor movement, and not their normal text values, leaving me with half my keyboard missing.

A developer has marked it WontFix, saying it was a gtk problem that’s been fixed in more recent versions. It’s a problem that doesn’t occur in any other gtk app; the gtk bug the developer cited as responsible is clearly unrelated; and I tried updating my gtk with no effect.

I’ll try delving into the code myself, but this is the extent of my gtk experience.