- System requirements
- Get the code
- Setting up the build
- Build Chromium
- Run Chromium
- Running test targets
- Update your checkout
- Tips, tricks, and troubleshooting
- Next Steps
I have installed the latest chromium from source code successfully in Debian Stretch by the following instructions.
- A 64-bit Intel machine with at least 8GB of RAM. More than 16GB is highly recommended.
- At least 100GB of free disk space.
- You must have Git and Python installed already.
Most development is done on Ubuntu (currently 14.04, Trusty Tahr). There are some instructions for other distros below, but they are mostly unsupported.
$ git clone https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/tools/depot_tools.git
depot_tools to the end of your PATH (you will probably want to put this
~/.zshrc). Assuming you cloned
$ export PATH="$PATH:/path/to/depot_tools"
Get the code
chromium directory for the checkout and change to it (you can call
this whatever you like and put it wherever you like, as long as the full path
has no spaces):
$ mkdir ~/chromium && cd ~/chromium
fetch tool from depot_tools to check out the code and its
$ fetch --nohooks chromium
If you don’t want the full repo history, you can save a lot of time by
--no-history flag to
Expect the command to take 30 minutes on even a fast connection, and many hours on slower ones.
If you’ve already installed the build dependencies on the machine (from another
checkout, for example), you can omit the
--nohooks flag and
will automatically execute
gclient runhooks at the end.
fetch completes, it will have created a hidden
.gclient file and a
src in the working directory. The remaining instructions
assume you have switched to the
$ cd src
Install additional build dependencies
Once you have checked out the code, and assuming you’re using Ubuntu, run build/install-build-deps.sh
You may need to adjust the build dependencies for other distros. There are some notes at the end of this document, but we make no guarantees for their accuracy.
Run the hooks
Once you’ve run
install-build-deps at least once, you can now run the
Chromium-specific hooks, which will download additional binaries and other
things you might need:
$ gclient runhooks
Optional: You can also install API keys if you want your build to talk to some Google services, but this is not necessary for most development and testing purposes.
Setting up the build
Chromium uses Ninja as its main build tool along
with a tool called GN to generate
files. You can create any number of build directories with different
configurations. To create a build directory, run:
$ gn gen out/Default
- You only have to run this once for each new build directory, Ninja will update the build files as needed.
- You can replace
Defaultwith another name, but it should be a subdirectory of
- For other build arguments, including release settings, see GN build configuration. The default will be a debug component build matching the current host operating system and CPU.
- For more info on GN, run
gn helpon the command line or read the quick start guide.
This section contains some things you can change to speed up your builds, sorted so that the things that make the biggest difference are first.
By default, the build includes support for
Native Client (NaCl), but
most of the time you won’t need it. You can set the GN argument
enable_nacl=false and it won’t be built.
Include fewer debug symbols
By default GN produces a build with all of the debug assertions enabled
is_debug=true) and including full debug info (
symbol_level=1 will produce enough information for stack traces, but not
line-by-line debugging. Setting
symbol_level=0 will include no debug
symbols at all. Either will speed up the build compared to full symbols.
Disable debug symbols for Blink
Due to its extensive use of templates, the Blink code produces about half
of our debug symbols. If you don’t ever need to debug Blink, you can set
the GN arg
Icecc is the distributed compiler with a central scheduler to share build load. Currently, many external contributors use it. e.g. Intel, Opera, Samsung (Googlers use an internal system called Goma).
In order to use
icecc, set the following GN args:
linux_use_bundled_binutils=false use_debug_fission=false is_clang=false
Using the system linker may also be necessary when using glibc 2.21 or newer. See related bug.
You can use ccache to speed up local builds (again, this is not useful if you’re using a Googler using Goma).
Increase your ccache hit rate by setting
CCACHE_BASEDIR to a parent directory
that the working directories all have in common (e.g.,
/home/yourusername/development). Consider using
CCACHE_SLOPPINESS=include_file_mtime (since if you are using multiple working
directories, header times in svn sync’ed portions of your trees will be
different - see
the ccache troubleshooting section
for additional information). If you use symbolic links from your home directory
to get to the local physical disk directory where you keep those working
development directories, consider putting
alias cd="cd -P"
.bashrc so that
cwd always refers to a physical, not
logical directory (and make sure
CCACHE_BASEDIR also refers to a physical
If you tune ccache correctly, a second working directory that uses a branch
tracking trunk and is up to date with trunk and was gclient sync’ed at about the
same time should build chrome in about 1/3 the time, and the cache misses as
ccache -s should barely increase.
This is especially useful if you use
git-new-workdir and keep multiple local
working directories going at once.
You can use tmpfs for the build output to reduce the amount of disk writes required. I.e. mount tmpfs to the output directory where the build output goes:
mount -t tmpfs -o size=20G,nr_inodes=40k,mode=1777 tmpfs /path/to/out
* note **Caveat: You need to have enough RAM + swap to back the tmpfs. For a full debug build, you will need about 20 GB. Less for just building the chrome target or for a release build. ***
Quick and dirty benchmark numbers on a HP Z600 (Intel core i7, 16 cores hyperthreaded, 12 GB RAM)
- With tmpfs:
- Without tmpfs
Build Chromium (the “chrome” target) with Ninja using the command:
$ ninja -C out/Default chrome
You can get a list of all of the other build targets from GN by running
out/Default from the command line. To compile one, pass the GN label to Ninja
with no preceding “//” (so, for
Once it is built, you can simply run the browser:
Running test targets
You can run the tests in the same way. You can also limit which tests are
run using the
--gtest_filter arg, e.g.:
$ out/Default/unit_tests --gtest_filter="PushClientTest.*"
You can find out more about GoogleTest at its GitHub page.
Update your checkout
To update an existing checkout, you can run
$ git rebase-update $ gclient sync
The first command updates the primary Chromium source repository and rebases
any of your local branches on top of tip-of-tree (aka the Git branch
origin/master). If you don’t want to use this script, you can also just use
git pull or other common Git commands to update the repo.
The second command syncs dependencies to the appropriate versions and re-runs hooks as needed.
Tips, tricks, and troubleshooting
If, during the final link stage:
You get an error like:
collect2: ld terminated with signal 6 Aborted terminate called after throwing an instance of 'std::bad_alloc' collect2: ld terminated with signal 11 [Segmentation fault], core dumped
you are probably running out of memory when linking. You must use a 64-bit system to build. Try the following build settings (see GN build configuration for other settings):
- Build in release mode (debugging symbols require more memory):
is_debug = false
- Turn off symbols:
symbol_level = 0
- Build in component mode (this is for development only, it will be slower and
may have broken functionality):
is_component_build = true
- Information about building with Clang.
- You may want to use a chroot to isolate yourself from versioning or packaging conflicts.
- Cross-compiling for ARM? See LinuxChromiumArm.
- Want to use Eclipse as your IDE? See LinuxEclipseDev.
- Want to use your built version as your default browser? See LinuxDevBuildAsDefaultBrowser.
If you want to contribute to the effort toward a Chromium-based browser for Linux, please check out the Linux Development page for more information.