Ubuntu – Why can’t Chromium suddenly access any partition except for /home


I just upgraded to Ubuntu 19.10 and to my horror I discovered that the default browser Chromium can no longer access other partitions than /home.

This means that my partitions containing music and videos (/multimedia) for instance are no longer accessible e.g. to upload into Google Drive. This includes USB partitions.

I found another description of this phenomenon here: https://fosspost.org/reviews/distributions/ubuntu-19-10-review where it says

"Also, while we acknowledge that most users will only need to access their home folders, it’s worthy to mention that you no longer can access system files & folders from inside Chromium (You can’t access anything except your home folder). This means that if you are to upload a file or an image for example into the Internet using an uploading website, then this file/image must be in your home folder, as you can not access directories such as /usr, /etc or other directories located in your root partition. In fact, you no longer can access any other partition at all, this includes USB sticks and other booted partitions:"

I wonder why this behaviour been introduced? it violates the whole idea of multiple disks, partitions and symlinks. Btw, this still works for Firefox.

My questions are

  • Are there any plans to fix this?
  • I expect one reason for this behaviour is about security. If so, is it possible to explain why and how that makes for better security? The files on other partitions are legitimately accessible by the user anyway e.g. through symlinks. But with this change, I'll have to move them to /home before uploading so still accessing them although more slowly and cumbersome.
  • If this behaviour is now permanent, the question is how should we incorporate multiple disks in our filesystem?
  • Alternatively, can someone tell me how to find and install the debian package. I haven't been able to locate it?

This is not a duplicate of What is the classic mode of snap, and why do some snaps not install without it (e.g. MS Visual Studio)? because that is about a specific error during installation that I didn't get. My question is about the access chromium has in Ubuntu 19.10.

Anyway, I solved the problem via the following command by using the original debian package from Google:

sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable

After that I can now access my other partitions again.
I know this is hacky in the sense that the package isn't native to Ubuntu so I would really like to get some advice on how to incorporate multiple disks and partitions with this new restricted behaviour of Chromium.

Thank you very much

Best Answer

If you do a search back you can see whatever I learnt about it in this thread https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/call-for-testing-chromium-browser-deb-to-snap-transition/11179/ . I'll also point you to https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/chromium-browser/+bug/1832711 where I filed a bug about issue accessing my NFS shares

where Olivier Tilloy (osomon) states

If you connect the removable-media plug, you should be able to access files and directories mounted under /mnt and /media. That won’t resolve your issue with NFS shares seamlessly, but maybe you can mount them there?

Looking at that bug report I ran

snap connect chromium:removable-media

then I reported that drag&drop worked like it did before switch to snap.

I didn’t change my mounts as I didn’t want to, but I added a few extra mount entries in /etc/fstab to load the my shares in /mnt/ too for the directories (NFS for me) that I wanted to be able to access in chromium. After that I had no issues.

Please note as this was all done 13-June-2019, my memory is a now little faded… but what I did works for me equally well on my now Ubuntu 20.04.