How to make Chrome work on Kodibuntu

Last modified: Fri Jan 27 11:28:18 EST 2017

Running the Chrome browser on Kodi has been difficult for a long time.  The hacks that are needed change with different versions.  The following procedure worked for me with Kodibuntu 15.1 "Isengard" (updated from 14.0) using the software that was current as of September 2015.

A keyboard is required.

  1. If Kodibuntu is already updated to the current version, skip to step 6.
  2. "Exit" Kodi (using the shutdown button) and log into lubuntu (changing from Kodi to lubuntu using the leftmost button in the upper-right corner of the login screen).
  3. Open a terminal from the "Start menu" and do the following commands (from Upgrading Kodi Media Center).
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    
  4. Reboot.
  5. Log out of lubuntu and log back into Kodi.
  6. Install SuperRepo by following the nontrivial instructions provided.
  7. Install Chrome Launcher from SuperRepo.  The version that I got was 1.1.1.  Note that this add-on lives under Programs.
  8. "Exit" Kodi (using the shutdown button) and log into lubuntu (changing from Kodi to lubuntu using the leftmost button in the upper-right corner of the login screen).
  9. Launch Chromium from the "Start menu" and use it to download the .deb package for Chrome direct from Google.
  10. Open a terminal from the "Start menu" and manually install the .deb package for Chrome.
    $ cd Downloads
    $ sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-*.deb
    $ sudo apt-get -f install
    
    The apt-get command is needed to force installation to complete after the normal dpkg command bails.
  11. Using vi in the terminal window, manually edit the file /home/dave/.kodi/addons/plugin.program.chrome.launcher/script.sh to say the following:
    #!/bin/bash
    /usr/bin/google-chrome --window-size=1920,1080 --window-position=0,0 --chrome-frame "$@"
    
    The openbox window manager that the original script attempts to run doesn't help anymore (something broke in Kodi 15) and isn't required.  The fullscreen window size must be specified or Chrome will only cover a small portion of the screen.
  12. Make that file executable (chmod 755).
  13. Log out of lubuntu and log back into Kodi.
  14. Go into Chrome Launcher add-on settings and check the box for "Use custom Chrome/script path."  It wasn't necessary to change the path, which already included the file changed above.
  15. Web pages launched with Chrome Launcher now come up with Chrome covering the entire screen.  To leave Chrome, type Alt-F4.

Fix for:  no sound in Chrome

  1. In System → Settings → System → Audio output, set "Keep audio device alive" to Off.
  2. If necessary, hardcode the correct Alsa device by adding --alsa-output-device=plughw:x,y to the chrome command line in script.sh (substituting the right numbers for x and y).

Fix for:  Chrome suddenly stops working for no reason

2015-09-27:  Chrome Launcher updated and broke itself.

  1. It made all scripts in .kodi/addons/plugin.program.chrome.launcher non-executable.  Fix with chmod 755 *.py *.sh
  2. It overwrote the customized script.sh.  Reinstall version shown above.

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