Chromium official/release builds and icecc

You may already be using icecc to compile your Chromium, either by following some instructions like the ones published by my colleague Gyuyoung or using the popular icecc-chromium set of scripts. In those cases, you will probably get in some trouble if you try to generate an official build with that configuration.

First, let me refresh what an “official build” is called in Chromium. You may know that build optimization in Chromium builds depends on two flags:

  • is_debug
    Debug build. Enabling official builds automatically sets is_debug to false.

  • is_official_build
    Set to enable the official build level of optimization. This has nothing
    to do with branding, but enables an additional level of optimization above
    release (!is_debug). This might be better expressed as a tri-state
    (debug, release, official) but for historical reasons there are two
    separate flags.

The GN documentation is pretty verbose about this. To sum up, to get full binary optimization you should enable is_official_build which will also disable is_debug in the background. This is what other projects would call a release build.

Back to the main topic, I was running an official build distributed via icecc and stumbled on some compilation problems:

clang: error: no such file or directory: /usr/lib/clang/7.0.0/share/cfi_blacklist.txt
clang: error: no such file or directory: ../../tools/cfi/blacklist.txt
clang: error: no such file or directory: /path/to/src/chrome/android/profiles/

These didn’t happen when icecc build was disabled, so I was certain to have found some limitations in the distributed compiler. The icecc-chromium set of scripts was already disabling a number of clang cleanup/sanitize tools, so I decided to take the same approach. First, I checked the GN args that could be related to these errors and identified two:

  • is_cfi
    Current value (from the default) = true
    From //build/config/sanitizers/sanitizers.gni:53

    Compile with Control Flow Integrity to protect virtual calls and casts.

    TODO(pcc): Remove this flag if/when CFI is enabled in all official builds.

  • clang_use_default_sample_profile
    Current value (from the default) = true
    From //build/config/compiler/

    Some configurations have default sample profiles. If this is true and
    clang_sample_profile_path is empty, we’ll fall back to the default.

    We currently only have default profiles for Chromium in-tree, so we disable
    this by default for all downstream projects, since these profiles are likely
    nonsensical for said projects.

These two args were enabled, I just disabled them and got rid the compilation flags that were causing trouble: -fprofile-sample-use=/path/to/src/chrome/android/profiles/ -fsanitize=cfi-vcall -fsanitize-blacklist=../../tools/cfi/blacklist.txt. I’ve learned that support for -fsanitize-blacklist is available in upstream icecc, but most distros don’t package it yet, so it’s safer to disable that.

To sum up, if you are using icecc and you want to run an official build, you have to add a couple more GN args:

clang_use_default_sample_profile = false
is_cfi = false

Updated Chromium on the GENIVI platform

I’ve devoted some of my time at Igalia to get a newer version of Chromium running on the GENIVI Development Platform (GDP).

Since the last update, there have been news regarding Wayland support in Chromium. My colleagues Antonio, Maksim and Frédéric have worked on a new Wayland backend following modern Chromium architecture. You can find more information in their own blogs and talks. I’m linking the most recent talk, from FOSDEM 2018.

Everyone can already try the new, Igalia-developed backend on their embedded devices using the meta-browser layer. I built it along with the GDP but discovered that it cannot run as it is, due to the lack of ivi-shell hooks in the new Chromium backend. This is going to be fixed in the mid-term, so I decided not to spend a lot of time researching this and chose a different solution for the current GDP release.

The LG SVL team recently announced the release of an updated Ozone Wayland backend for Chromium, based on the legacy implementation provided by Intel, as a part of the webOS OSE project. This is an update on the backend we were already running on the GDP, so it looked like a good idea to reuse their work.

I added the meta-lgsvl-browser layer to the GDP, which provides recipes for several Chromium flavors: chromium-lge is the one that builds upon the legacy Wayland backend and currently provides Chromium version 64.

The chromium-lge browser worked out-of-the-box on Raspberry Pi, but I faced some trouble with the other supported platforms. In the case of ARM64 platforms, we were finding a “relocation overflow” problem. This is something that my colleagues had already detected when trying the new Wayland backend on the R-Car gen. 3 platform, and it can be fixed by enabling compiler optimization flags for binary size.

In the case of Intel platforms, compilation failed due to a build-system assertion. It looks like Clang’s Control Flow Integrity feature is enabled by default on x64 Linux builds, but we aren’t using the Clang compiler. The solution consists just in disabling this feature, like the upstream meta-browser project was already doing.

The ongoing work is shared in this pull request. I hope to be able to make it for the next GDP release!

Finally, this week my colleague Xavi is taking part in the GENIVI All Member Meeting. If you are interested in browsers, make sure you attend his talk, “Wayland Support in Open Source Browsers“, and visit our booth during the Member Showcase!

Attending BlinkOn 8

Next week I will be in Tokyo to attend BlinkOn 8! It will be a great opportunity to meet the Chromium community and share what we are doing.

Godzilla at Shinjuku

I will give a lightning talk about the challenges of making Chromium run on embedded platforms. I hope to spark the curiosity of the audience in this complex field!

EDIT: some pictures from the event:

GENIVI-fying Chromium, part 3: multi-seat

In the previous blog posts, we described the work to bring the Chromium browser to the GENIVI Development Platform (GDP) using the latest version of the Ozone-Wayland project. We also introduced our intention to develop multi-seat capabilities on that version of the Chromium browser. This post covers the details of the multi-seat implementation.


The GENIVI stack is supposed to allow applications run in multi-seat mode. A seat is a set of input/output devices like, for example, a touchscreen and a keyboard; one computer (the head unit) connected to several seats should be able to assing applications to each seat and let them run independently. Hence, our goal is to let one Chromium instance manage several browser windows at the same time and independently, getting their input from different seats.

Renesas Salvator-X board running Chromium on two seats

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Browsers in the 16th GENIVI AMM

I’m currently in Birmingham, ready to attend the 16th GENIVI All-members meeting!

We will be showcasing the work we have been doing lately to integrate Chromium in the GENIVI platform. I’m also holding two presentations:

  • Integration of the Chromium Browser in the GENIVI Platform, where I will present the status of the integration of the Chromium browser in the GDP and the plan for the next months. Slides available here.
  • Update on the Open Source Browser Space, where I will provide the latest news on the ever-changing world of Open Source browsers, and in particular regarding browsers supporting Wayland natively. Slides available here.

See you there!