When it comes to the world of Linux, it’s understandable that certain software and drivers could be shaky at first; a lot of works goes into writing a driver from scratch and continuously maintaining it. However, over the years, Linux GPU drivers have matured a lot. Well, Google doesn’t think so.
It’s not hidden that Linux users running Chrome web browser often struggle with streaming HD video content, and it often results in huge power consumption and overheating.
If Google decides to ship Chrome with Linux GPU video acceleration enabled, this problem could be solved. But, as per Chrome engineers: “Our goal is to have a Stable and secure browser first, and a GPU-accelerated one second, when possible.”
In simple words, Google considers it a lot of work to maintain a GPU accelerated Chrome and finds it more challenging due to the “general lack of quality drivers.”
Chrome engineers have also listed the continuous flow of new hardware, distros, and drivers as the reasons behind this decision. To some Linux enthusiasts these reasons might make sense, to others they might not.
It’s also worth noting that Google does provide a similar option to enable and disable hardware acceleration in ChromeOS, which is based on Linux. In the Chromium bug thread, a user trashed Google for this disparity:
“ChromeOS with ~0.3% desktop market share matters more than ~2% linux users :) It’s really sad my 4-year-old android phone with 2gb ram and a shitty mobile CPU+GPU runs chrome(ium) smooth as silk and my last-gen linux desktop struggles to play a 1080p video and stutters scrolling single opened tab.”
Find the complete Chromium bug report discussion thread here.