Funtoo Linux Web Browsers

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Funtoo Linux offers a number of possibilities when it comes to Web browsers. This page is intended to give you an overview of what is available, their various trade-offs, and also provide tutorial-style instructions on how to set them up so they offer full functionality. Additionally, instructions are provided on how to set up the Oracle Java Runtime Environment for running Java applets.


Before installing a Web browser, ensure that you have a functioning X environment or desktop environment set up.

Google Chrome (binary)

The Google Chrome (binary) ebuild is www-client/google-chrome. Google Chrome is a very good Web browser. This browser is a great option for those who want a full-featured browser up and running quickly without a lot of complication.


  • It's very fast to install, because it does not need to be built from source.
  • It includes support for Adobe Flash and PDF viewing built-in, which works right away with no additional configuration.
  • It works well with PulseAudio with no additional configuration required.
  • Overall, the browser looks fantastic and is very fast.


  • It's based on a binary for Debian systems, and sometimes depends on outdated versions of ebuilds to run.
  • The stable Google build of Google Chrome (www-client/google-chrome) has a bug where the text in the address bar "wiggles" as you type. This is fixed in later versions, but not in the reliable "stable" binary that Google is currently shipping. If you are a perfectionist, having a browser that is so close to perfect but with this one fatal flaw will gnaw on your soul until you replace it with something else (like Chromium with the classic theme.)

Google Chrome Installation

As root, you first need to accept the Google Chrome license, as follows:

# emerge google-chrome --autounmask-write

Now, run etc-update and accept the changes made to /etc/portage/package.license. Now, emerge:

# emerge -a google-chrome


Chromium (www-client/chromium) is the from-source version of Google Chrome, and is a very good option for people who like Google Chrome but who want to build from source. Like most modern Web browsers, it does take a very long time to build -- up to several hours on a dual-core system, and about an hour on a 4-6 core system.

After emerging, it requires a special helper package www-plugins/chrome-binary-plugins for Adobe Flash as well as PDF viewing support.


  • It is built from source, so it has fewer issues with dependencies than Google Chrome, yet it is very similar in functionality.
  • It looks great, and works well.
  • With an easy emerge of www-plugins/chrome-binary-plugins, it provides identical functionality to Chrome in regards to Adobe Flash and PDF support.


  • It takes a very long time to build, even on a modern system, so be prepared to wait.

Installing Chromium

To install Chromium, you will need to enable the minizip USE flag for sys-libs/zlib, and I also recommend enabling aura for Chromium itself, which is a new GPU-accelerated architecture. Add the following lines to /etc/portage/package.use:

sys-libs/zlib minizip
www-client/chromium aura

Okay, now it's time to emerge Chromium:

#  emerge -a www-client/chromium

This will take a long time to complete. After you're done, emerge Chrome helper programs to enable Adobe Flash and PDF viewing support. First, review and accept the license:

# emerge www-plugins/chrome-binary-plugins --autounmask-write

Now, run etc-update and accept the changes that it made to /etc/portage/package.license. Now, emerge the plugins for real:

# emerge www-plugins/chrome-binary-plugins

Making Chromium Look Sexier

If you like the default "blue" look of Chrome, and want Chromium to look like that, go to the "3 bar" menu in the upper right, go to Settings, and under Appearance, click Use Classic theme. Flash some gang signs to imaginary onlookers, and you are done.

Firefox (binary)

The Firefox binary Web browser, www-client/firefox-bin is another good option. It is more feature-rich as opposed to the "lean and mean" Chrome/Chromium.


  • Firefox is a great, full-featured Web browser.
  • It is quick to install, because it is a binary.


  • It works well with ALSA by default, but requires tweaks to get working with PulseAudio.
  • A separate merge of www-plugins/adobe-flash is required for Adobe Flash support.

Installing Firefox

First, emerge Firefox itself. This is quick:

#  emerge www-client/firefox-bin

By default, Firefox does not support Adobe Flash. Let's fix this:

#  emerge www-plugins/adobe-flash --autounmask-write

Now, run etc-update and accept the changes that Portage made to /etc/portage/package.license. Now, let's get Flash installed:

#  emerge www-plugins/adobe-flash

Firefox is now installed!

Firefox and Audio

By default, Firefox will try to use an ALSA device for audio. To get Firefox to use PulseAudio, create an .asoundrc file in your Firefox user's home directory that looks like this:

{    type pulse
    hint.description "Default Audio Device"
ctl.!default {
    type pulse

This will route ALSA to PulseAudio by default -- I believe you may need to restart your X session to get these changes to apply.

I also recommend emerging media-sound/pavucontrol -- the PulseAudio Volume Control app. Some casual tweaking in here to set the output device for Firefox should result in audio working for you.

Oracle Java Runtime Environment

Enabling a Java Runtime Environment isn't a must-have for everyone, but it's nice to have installed in case you need it. And some of us have a need to run a Java app now and again, so let's look at getting it installed. It's quite easy to get going.

First, let's accept the Oracle Java SE License:

# emerge dev-java/oracle-jre-bin --autounmask-write

Now, run etc-update and accept the changes it made to /etc/portage/package.license. Now, let's emerge the Oracle JRE:

Important: Please ensure that the nsplugin USE flag is enabled when you run emerge, below. This enables the Web browser plugin.
# emerge -a dev-java/oracle-jre-bin

The Oracle JRE is now installed.

Running Java Applets

If your Web browser prompts you for an application to run .jnlp files, instruct it to use /opt/oracle-jre-bin- (also known as "Java Web Start".) You can also use javaws to run .jnlp files from an xterm.

Java and Security

Starting with Oracle JRE and higher, Java has enhanced security settings and may refuse to run some Java applets. Normally, this is fine and good, unless you absolutely need to run an app and Java is refusing to run it. To get around this, open up an xterm as your browser user and go to the Java bin dir, and run ControlPanel as follows:

$ cd /opt/oracle-jre-bin-
$ ./ControlPanel

Now, go to the Security tab and click the Edit Site List... button. Add a URL for the site from which you are downloading the Java Applet. Now click OK and save your changes, and try running the Java applet again. It should now be allowed to run.

"Java Not Allowed" in Chrome-Based Browsers

If you load a Web page with a Java applet on it, you may see a Java logo with text underneath that says "Java not allowed". To resolve this issue, visit the following URL in your browser:


This will display a list of all plugins enabled in Chrome. You should see a plugin called something like this:

Java(TM) - Version: 10.45.2

Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.45.2 for Mozilla browsers

Check the "Always Enable" checkbox and then reload the page with the Java applet, and it should load properly.