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Chromium - Open Source Chrome

As you might have noticed from our Google Chrome coverage, we're pretty excited about the potential -- even if it hasn't lived up to everyone's expectations. Much of that potential is tied-up in the architecture used to create Chome. As Google continued to reiterate during yesterday's webcast, Chrome is open source.

The open source project is called Chromium, after the metal used to make chrome. In typical Google fashion, the project page has documentation, FAQs, and build-instructions. Even though Chrome is only available for Windows XP and Vista systems right now, users on Linux and Intel Macs running Mac OS X Leopard can compile the Chromium source and run some command line tests (in the case of Linux) and TestShell (OS X). The UI layers for Linux and Mac systems have not been developed -- but many of the underlying core modules can be tested.

One of the most frequently asked questions in our liveblog yesterday (and a question asked by the press at the end of the webcast) was about the potential for extensions for Chrome. As of right now, there is not an extension API. While one of the Googler's alluded to its inclusion in a future build (he seemed to stop himself from being too specific), it was also pointed out by the guys at Mountain View that the open source nature of the project can allow savvy developers to create their own extension-friendly browser.

In addition to Chromium, Google has also open souce the new JavaScript engine employed by Chrome, V8. V8 is written in C++ and can be run standalone or embedded in a C++ application. It runs on XP, Vista, Mac OS X Leopard and Linux distros running on IA-32 (x86) or ARM processors.

I haven't had a chance to look at all the documentation, though I'm certainly interested in playing around with V8 and maybe even cracking out Visual Studio 2005, to take a better look at all of this stuff.

So developers -- what do you think of Chrome and Chromium?

Tags: chromium, google, google-chrome, open-source