On 01/08/2017 07:05 PM, Richard
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This sounds like a big problem, but it might not be hard to fix.
Could someone give me additional information?
> Hi guys, since Chromium is blacklisted as nonfree software  we have a
> serious issue. KDE is migrating their apps to QTWebEngine which contains
> Chromium as the embed engine inside it. 
What does "embed engine" mean?
What jobs does it need to do?
Is it possible to use Iridium instead of Chromium?
Can you tell me the names and addreses of a few people in KDE that
it would be useful to discuss this with?
> What does "embed engine" mean?
To "embed the engine" in this context = running another program
inside your own. The code to do it for QT is as simple as:
import QtQuick 2.1
import QtWebEngine 1.0
It allows developers to quickly create GUI programs that contain
the entire Chromium platform (more than just a web-engine, since
Chrome is also developing ChromeOS), without actually having to do
any of the work usually required for a backend web engine. This
makes for pretty programs with different layouts, all using the
same web engine. To quote one of the QT development websites...
"As the build includes Google Chromium, which has over 9,000
source files, it will take some time to complete. My build took
about forty-five minutes to compile the software on a standard
quad-core CPU laptop....
In summary, QtWebEngine is planned to replace QtWebKit as the
web-rendering engine for Qt. It will likely be included as part of
the Qt 5.4 release. While QtWebKit will continue to be available
for binary compatibility, new development will focus on
QtWebEngine. I encourage you to take a look at it and consider
using it in your Qt applications."
It's essentially the same as Internet Explorer was doing in times
past for Visual C++. Users can drag and drop widgets to create
"pseudo-browsers", all powered by the same embedded engine. That
is why there were (and are) so many non-free browsers. There are
in reality only a few free web-engines, and many re-branded
"browsers" that mere put shiny new graphics on old engines.
> What jobs does it need to do?
What a web-engine/layout engine needs to do is quite complex. It
is difficult to describe in one e-mail, but the best article I
could find is from a Mozilla developer. I am including the
highlight of the article below:
"Let’s talk terminology. A browser engine is the portion of a web
browser that works “under the hood” to fetch a web page from the
internet, and translate its contents into forms you can read,
watch, hear, etc. Blink, Gecko, WebKit, and Trident are browser
engines. In contrast, the the browser’s own UI—tabs, toolbar, menu
and such—is called the chrome. Firefox and SeaMonkey are two
browsers with different chrome but the same Gecko engine.
A browser engine includes many sub-components: an HTTP client, an
parsers, interpreters, and compilers), and much more. Those
components involved in parsing web formats like HTML and CSS and
translating them into what you see on-screen are sometimes called
the layout engine or rendering engine."
The above complexity is also why no one wants to do it, they just
depend on others to do that work for them and then "embed an
engine" into their pseudo-browsers and other programs for rapid
> Is it possible to use Iridium instead of Chromium?
Unfortunately, Iridium has merely used a few inox-patchsets and
GUI branding to the Chromium engine. In addition to not blocking
non-free addons, it does not solve the non-free license issues,
per outstanding bug ticket:
Another project, ungoogled-chromium goes much further, and yet
still admits defeat. Here is the state of Ungoogled-Chromium:
In addition to features from Debian,
and Iridium Browser:
- Replace many web domains in the source code with non-existent
alternatives ending in
qjz9zk (known as domain
- Strip binaries from the source code (known as source cleaning)
- This includes all pre-built executables, shared libraries,
and other forms of machine code. They are substituted with
system or user-provided equivalents, or built from source.
- However a few data files (e.g.
that define page models for the DOM Distiller) are left in
as they do not contain machine code and are needed for
- Disable functionality specific to Google domains (e.g. Google
Host Detector, Google URL Tracker, Google Cloud Messaging,
Google Hotwording, etc.)
- Add Omnibox search provider "No Search" to allow disabling of
- Disable automatic formatting of URLs in Omnibox (e.g.
http://, hiding certain parameters)
closes (onbeforeunload events)
- Bypasses the annoying dialog boxes that spawn when a page
is being closed
- Added menu item under "More tools" to clear the HTTP
authentication cache on-demand
- Force all pop-ups into tabs
- Disable Safe
- Disable WebRTC
- This will be configurable in the future.
- Disable intranet redirect detector
- Prevents unnecessary invalid DNS requests to the DNS
- This breaks captive portal detection, but captive portals
- Add more URL schemes allowed for saving
- Note that this generally works only for the MHTML option,
since an MHTML page is generated from the rendered page and
not the original cached page like the HTML option.
- (Iridium Browser feature change) Prevent URLs with the
scheme from connecting to the Internet
- Also prevents any URLs with the top-level domain
(as used in domain substitution) from attempting a
- (Iridium and Inox feature change) Prevent pinging of IPv6
address when detecting the availability of IPv6
- Support for building Debian and Ubuntu packages
- Creates a separate package
for the SUID sandbox
- Not necessary to install if the kernel option
- Windows support with these changes:
wow_helper.exe from source instead of
using the pre-built version
swapimport.exe from source instead of
downloading it from Google (requires customized syzygy
yasm.exe from source instead of using
the pre-built version
- Use user-provided building utilities instead of the ones
bundled with Chromium (currently
- Do not set the Zone Identifier on downloaded files (which
is a hassle to unset)
DISCLAIMER: Although it is the top priority to eliminate bugs and
privacy-invading code, there will be those that slip by due to the
fast-paced growth and evolution of the Chromium project.
Per Ungoogled-Chromium bug ticket #117:
"I don't know if any fork of Chromium complies with the free
software guidelines. If you are using Debian or Ubuntu, I adapt
all of Debian's changes to ungoogled-chromium. I've also stripped
almost all of the binary blobs through source cleaner (all of the
machine code is gone; some data in binary form for page
distillation and international components for unicode)."
"Closing as wontfix since this is impractical to
accomplish without rewriting larger portions of source code to use
free software. There simply isn't enough manpower."
> Can you tell me the names and addreses of a few people in
KDE that,it would be useful to discuss this with?
Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone in KDE or QT, but they
should definitely be made aware of this issue if they are not
already. It present serious freedom concerns. Perhaps some one
else can help with this information and reaching out to them?
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Packager