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Read PDF files in Chromium

September 30 2013
Some of us, for some reason, do prefer to use the Chromium web-browser instead of it's counterpart Chrome. The performance of Chromium is, sometimes, better than that of Chrome, but there is a problem: the lack of a built-in plugin to read PDF files.

We can easily surpass this problem by using the official PDF plugin shipped with Chrome. In order to do that in a Linux we will have to extract the .deb file of Chrome and place the plugin somewhere else. Let's see.

First, you have to download the development version of Chrome, download the version according to your achitecture, either 64 bits or 32 bitsAfter you download the file, open a terminal and, assuming your file is in the "Downloads" folder, type

 cd ~/Downloads

 ar vx google-chrome-unstable_current_amd64.deb

 tar --lzma -xvf data.tar.lzma

Change the last part of the filename from ...amd64.deb to ...i386.deb if you use a 32 bits system. This will extract the files within the .deb you downloaded. Now, let's grab the plugin and place it in the propper folder. If you use Mint or Ubuntu.

sudo cp opt/google/chrome-unstable/libpdf.so /usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins/


If you use openSUSE (if you have a 32 bits system write lib instead of lib64)

$ sudo cp opt/google/chrome-unstable/libpdf.so /usr/lib64/chromium/

and finally, check if it's working, if it's not lets give the file permission to run. In Ubuntu and Mint

$ sudo chmod a+x /usr/lib64/chromium-browser/libpdf.so

In openSUSE

$ sudo chmod a+x /usr/lib64/chromium/libpdf.so

That's all. At this point your Chromium installation should be able to read PDF files.

Geri Geri O. Morales
Maths Grad student at UNAM.
With experience in Linux server administration and web development
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