Is Google Chrome open-source?

The German blog datenschutzbeauftragter-online questioned the assertion that Chrome is open-source. They pointed out the paragraph 10.2 of the license:

You may not (and you may not permit anyone else to) copy, modify, create a derivative work of, reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise attempt to extract the source code of the Software or any part thereof, unless this is expressly permitted or required by law, or unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google, in writing.

Which is a remarkable constraint for an open-source product. Regarding the open-source project you’ll find Chronium, which is the open-source project behind Chrome. datenschutzbeauftragter-online argued that Chronium isn’t Chrome and while Chronium is open-source, Chrome isn’t open-source at all. You can find on the Discussion Group the following interesting phrase which underlines their point of view:

Google Chrome is built with open source code from Chromium

And now, have a look again that their comic where they claim that Chrome is open-source. It’s pretty strange for me that this hasn’t discussed in the press so far…

Well, if open-source is important for you, take Firefox. That’s a real open-source project or otherwise just continue browsing with the IE7. You won’t miss anything.

UPDATE (04/09/2008):

TheRegister is making fun with the original comic... (Thank you Ian 😉

Comments (4)

  1. Aztherion says:

    I think you’re missing a point here. Choosing "Chrome" is not just about making a choice between "open source" or "proprietary software". Chrome adds a lot of functionality, not to mention performance, that other browsers lacks.

    I’m a long time fan of IE but I’ve quickly grown to like Chrome – be it truely an open source project or not – and I honestly think most would if they tried it.

  2. int19h says:

    Chromium is the name of the open-source _project_. Google Chrome is a trademarked name of the _product_ that is build from the sources of the aforementioned project. So, yes, Chrome is open source.

  3. flo2005 says:


    I like Chrome because it has a quite original design and Chrome is, like all Google-products, focused to the essential. I blogged 2 days ago some points that I like about that product.  My point today is to question the believe that Chrome is open-source. This is especial in case of Chrome crucial since the business model of Google is based on their capacity of collecting and analyzing user-data and by offering a browser this product gets extremely delicate. Google arguments, that people can trust Chrome since it is supposed to be open-source. My point is: Chrome isn’t open-source, so why trust in Chrome ?

  4. flo2005 says:

    I tried to point out the difference between the project and the product since the key-argument of Google is: You can trust Chrome since it’s open-source (and anybody can read the code and figure out what we are doing with your confidential data). Obviously Chrome is based on Chromium, but is still different and you are not permitted to find out what these differences might be.

    Take in contrast to Chrome the open-source browser Firefox: You know the code that is used for a build and you can download that branch ( That’s why you know perfectly what this browser does. For me Chrome is as open-source as WSAD. Eclipse is open-source, WSAD isn’t. With Chrome it seems to be quite similar…

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