[How To]Prevent Ubuntu from updating Google Chrome to v35

[How To]Prevent Ubuntu from updating Google Chrome to v35

Google Chrome 35 was released a couple of weeks back with an array of new features, fixes and a new graphics stack Aura. In this version the global menu for Ubuntu Unity, which was missing from the previous builds, also makes a comeback.

While bringing new features to the table, Google have dropped a few. One of the biggest exclusion is NPAPI plugin support in favour of the newer and better PPAPI. The big drawback of dropping NPAPI is that Google Chrome v35 onwards will not be able to support Java plugins anymore. PPAPI is still new and no Java plugin support is present at the moment. This means that anyone using applications which uses Java to run are at a loss. They will have to use a different browser, namely Firefox, the only alternative at the moment. 

Java? What runs on Java ?

Java web plugin is deemed to be insecure, a security risk and can cause crashes. However, a lot of apps – from banking, paying tax, enterprise applications like Citrix ica client (Linux) and trading apps use Java to run.
Chromium devs say they wont port NPAPI architecture to the new Aura stack in Linux as its too much work for an insignificant amount of installs. Windows and Mac versions will continue to have NPAPI for a longer period until an alternative is found. This may be 6 months to 1 year from now.

Workaround?

For Linux users,  there are two options :

1. Switch to Firefox 
or
2. Downgrade or stay with Google Chrome 34

How to downgrade?

Note: Please sync your profile with Google or other sync services before downgrading
To keep Chrome functioning, please downgrade your Google Chrome to version 34. You can download the deb here: http://mirror.pcbeta.com/google/chrome/deb/pool/main/g/google-chrome-stable/
Then use synaptic package manager to lock upgrades for google-chrome-stable package as shown in the screenshot below.

Chrome 34 doesn’t have any glaring bugs, so you can use it safely for the next 3-6 months. I am hoping by that time some patch will be added.

Like Command line ? 

Use this one-liner to block Google Chrome from updating during regular update schedules

sudo apt-mark hold google-chrome-stable

[update]Profile issues after downgrade

You may encounter profile corruption after downgrading. If you are using chrome sync, then just remove the ~/.config/google-chrome folder and start again. All settings will be synced from the Google servers.

If however, you don’t, you can use this small tutorial from supersuer.com to recover the data. 

Sayantan Das

Sayantan is a DevOps Consultant by the day and works mainly with Ansible and Linux . He is a AWS - SA and RedHat Certified Engineer . He loves to tinker with Linux systems .

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