Chromium browser in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS without snap to use in docker container

Ubuntu team has its own vision for the snap ( service and that’s why they have moved the really big and difficult to maintain Chromium browser package in the snap package. Unfortunately, the snap has many issues with docker containers and in short, it is way difficult to run snap in a docker container. The user may just want not to mess with snap packages (despite this is the future according to the Ubuntu team) or like most developers they all need a browser for their tests executed in a container.
Whether you are a developer or an ordinary user this article is for you, who wants Chromium browser installed not from the snap service under Ubuntu 20.04 LTS!
There are multiple options, which could end up with a Chromium browser installed on the system, not from the snap service:

  1. Using Debian package and Debian repository. The problem here is that using simultaneously Ubuntu and Debian repository on one machine is not a good idea! Despite the hack, Debian packages are with low priority –
  2. Using Google Chrome It is just a single Debian package, which provides Chromium-like browser and all dependencies requesting the Chromium browser package are fulfilled.
  3. Using Chromium team dev or beta PPA ( for the nearest version if still missing Ubuntu packages for Focal (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS).
  4. more options available?

This article will show how to use Ubuntu 18 (Bionic) Chromium browser package from Chromium team beta PPA under Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal). Bionic package from the very same repository of Ubuntu Chromium team may be used, too.

All dependencies will be downloaded from the Ubuntu 20.04 and just several Chromium-* packages will be downloaded from the Chromium team PPA Ubuntu 19 repository. The chances to break something are really small compared to the options 1 above, which uses the Debian packages and repositories. Hope, soon we are going to have focal (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) packages in the Ubuntu Chromium team PPA!


An example of a Dockerfile installing Chromium (and python3 selenium for automating web browser interactions)

RUN apt-key adv --fetch-keys "" \
&& echo 'deb bionic main ' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/chromium-team-beta.list \
&& apt update
RUN export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive \
&& apt-get -y install chromium-browser
RUN apt-get -y install python3-selenium

First command adds the repository key and the repository to the Ubuntu source lists. Note we are adding the “bionic main”, not “focal main”.
From the all dependencies of the Bionic chromium-browser only three packages are pulled from the Bionic repository and all other are from the Ubuntu 20 (Focal):

Get:1 bionic/main amd64 chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra amd64 84.0.4147.38-0ubuntu0.18.04.1 [1174 kB]
Get:5 bionic/main amd64 chromium-browser amd64 84.0.4147.38-0ubuntu0.18.04.1 [67.8 MB]
Get:187 bionic/main amd64 chromium-browser-l10n all 84.0.4147.38-0ubuntu0.18.04.1 [3429 kB]

Here is the whole Dockerfile sample file:

#   Docker file for the image "chromium brower without snap"
FROM ubuntu:20.04

#chromium browser
#original PPA repository, use if our local fails
RUN echo "tzdata tzdata/Areas select Etc" | debconf-set-selections && echo "tzdata tzdata/Zones/Etc select UTC" | debconf-set-selections
RUN export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive && export DEBCONF_NONINTERACTIVE_SEEN=true
RUN apt-get -y update && apt-get -y upgrade
RUN apt-get -y install gnupg2 apt-utils wget
#RUN wget -O /root/ "" && apt-key add /root/
RUN apt-key adv --fetch-keys "" && echo 'deb bionic main ' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/chromium-team-beta.list && apt update
RUN export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive && export DEBCONF_NONINTERACTIVE_SEEN=true && apt-get -y install chromium-browser
RUN apt-get -y install python3-selenium

Desktop install

The desktop installation is almost the same as the Dockerfile above. Just execute the following lines:
Keep on reading!

Mirror the official Ubuntu repositories using aptly

This article is to show mainly how to work with aptly by mirroring an official Ubuntu mirror. If you want to know how to install and a brief description of what is aptly you may want to read our previous article – Install aptly under Ubuntu 18 LTS with Nginx serving the packages and the first steps

What we are going to do – this is what you need to have a mirror of an external application repository:

  1. Install aptly in Ubuntu 18 LTS
  2. Create a mirror in aptly
  3. Create a snapshot of the mirror created before
  4. Publish the snapshot to be used in other servers.

and at the last step there is an example how to use the mirror in your local machines.

STEP 1) Install aptly in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

As mentioned already you may follow our article on the subject – Install aptly under Ubuntu 18 LTS with Nginx serving the packages and the first steps. The following steps are based on this installation!
The aptly home directory is in “/srv/aptly”. We use the “aptly” user and change to it to manipulate the aptly installation.

STEP 2) Create a mirror in aptly.

Prepare the keys (aptly needs to have the Ubuntu keys in its trustedkeys keyring):

aptly@srv:~$ gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/ubuntu-archive-keyring.gpg --export | gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring trustedkeys.gpg --import
gpg: key 3B4FE6ACC0B21F32: 3 signatures not checked due to missing keys
gpg: key 3B4FE6ACC0B21F32: public key "Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key (2012) <>" imported
gpg: key D94AA3F0EFE21092: 3 signatures not checked due to missing keys
gpg: key D94AA3F0EFE21092: public key "Ubuntu CD Image Automatic Signing Key (2012) <>" imported
gpg: key 871920D1991BC93C: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key
gpg: key 871920D1991BC93C: public key "Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key (2018) <>" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 3
gpg:               imported: 3
gpg: public key of ultimately trusted key 212A3D20E4D3351D not found
gpg: marginals needed: 3  completes needed: 1  trust model: pgp
gpg: depth: 0  valid:   1  signed:   0  trust: 0-, 0q, 0n, 0m, 0f, 1u

Probably you would like to have “main” and “universe” for the three bionic, bionic updates and bionic security.
First, main and universe for bionic repository. main is ~16G and universe is ~136, these numbers will vary in future when more packages are added.
Two commands are need for the aptly mirror:

  1. create – create the mirror.
  2. update – download the repository contents locally.

Keep on reading!

Debug Ubuntu preseed failure – select and install software

Preparing the preseed for unattended installation sometimes could be challenging. This article presents the right way to analyze an installation failure in one of the main steps – “select and install software”.
There is a ubuntu installation preseed file for our Bionic unattended installation, which uses the “pkgsel” to install first packages in the new system:

d-i pkgsel/include string openssh-server wget vim git python gpg ntp
d-i pkgsel/upgrade select full-upgrade
d-i pkgsel/update-policy select unattended-upgrades

When an installation step in the preseed of a unattended installation fails the setup stops with a “Continue” confirmation.

main menu
“select and install software” – step failed

Here is what you can do to check what exactly fails in step “select and install software”:

  1. Start a shell in the current installation boot. Press “Ctrl+Alt+F2” to start the shell. You may use “Ctrl+Alt+F3” and “Ctrl+Alt+F4” for two more consoles and “Ctrl+Alt+F1” to return to the installation wizard.
  2. Check the /var/log/syslog, in which file the debconf writes the logging information.
  3. Find the lines where the step “select and install software” starts and look for errors after that. In this file, you can see all the step titles during, which the setup passes and they are named the same way the windows’ titles during the installation wizard.

Here is the real world output

Presing the “CTRL+ALT+F2” to start the BusyBox built-in shell, which is ash not bash!

Be careful there are some difference between ash and bash.

main menu
Installation wizard – BusyBox built-in shell (ash)

Last 20 lines shows the problem – pkgsel failed to install packages in step “select and install software”.

The installation wizard stops.

main menu
debconf logging using syslog – pkgsel

The problem is in the package “ntp”, the setup cannot install the “ntp” package because of unmet dependencies.

Because it is not so important to install ntp at this stage we added the package to the script executed in “preseed/late_command” and removed the package from the pkgsel line in the preseed file. In general, our problem was because we set local repositories for the bionic packages, but the setup cannot update list of available packages when the you set Bionic mirror to be unofficial local repository.

main menu
Package because of unmet dependencies