Google Still Doesn't Trust Linux GPU Drivers Enough To Enable Chrome Video Acceleration

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 3 October 2018 at 05:12 AM EDT. 185 Comments
It's 2018 and while Linux GPU drivers have improved a lot in recent years, Google engineers still don't find them reliable enough to ship the Chrome web-browser with GPU video decoding enabled.

There was a discussion once again about shipping Chrome with Linux GPU video acceleration enabled. But once again Chrome developers feel that the cons and increased maintenance burden of having to deal with Linux GPU video acceleration problems outweigh the benefits of a better Linux video playback experience and possible power-savings. Of course, that's unless talking about Chrome OS where they do have GPU video acceleration within their Linux-based OS.

Besides the maintenance burden itself, other reasons attributed to not supporting it are that AMD/Intel drivers rely upon VA-API where as NVIDIA's preferred video acceleration route is now with their proprietary NVDEC interface. As well, "the constant stream of incoming issue due to new hardware, driver, or distribution release. Many of these issues are not even directly attributable to this or that acceleration feature (e.g. causing random memory corruption or GPU hangs), so even investigating to narrow down a blacklist entry is significant non-trivial work. As we do not have the resources to commit to dealing with this continued incoming stream of issues, and we don't want to compromise the first goal (stable and secure browser), our choice is not to enable these acceleration features on Linux."

More discussions within this Chromium bug report.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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