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Fixing Chrome Flickering on Ubuntu with Radeon Graphics

Ubuntu 15

If you’re using Google Chrome on Ubuntu with Radeon Graphics and have experienced an unusual flickering issue, this guide is for you. We’ll go through some potential solutions to this problem, including disabling hardware acceleration and enabling Vulkan support. Let’s get started.

Quick Answer

To fix Chrome flickering on Ubuntu with Radeon Graphics, you can try disabling hardware acceleration in Chrome or enabling Vulkan support. Disabling hardware acceleration can be done in the Chrome settings, while enabling Vulkan support requires installing the necessary packages and enabling specific options in Chrome flags.

Understanding the Issue

The flickering issue typically occurs after upgrading to Chrome version 85.0.4183.83 on Ubuntu 20.04.1. Some users have also reported similar glitches after their system goes into sleep or suspend mode. While the exact cause of this issue is unclear, it appears to be related to how Chrome interacts with the Radeon graphics hardware.

Solution 1: Disable Hardware Acceleration

One of the simplest solutions to this issue is to disable hardware acceleration in Chrome. Hardware acceleration is a feature that allows Chrome to offload certain tasks to your GPU, which can improve performance. However, it can sometimes cause issues, particularly with certain graphics cards.

To disable hardware acceleration:

  1. Open Chrome and go to chrome://settings.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and click on Advanced.
  3. Under the System section, turn off the Use hardware acceleration when available option.
  4. Restart Chrome.

Disabling hardware acceleration can resolve the flickering issue, but it might also result in slower performance in certain scenarios. If you notice a significant slowdown after disabling hardware acceleration, you might want to try the next solution.

Solution 2: Enable Vulkan Support

Vulkan is a new-generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs. Enabling Vulkan support can potentially resolve the flickering issue in Chrome.

Before you can enable Vulkan support, you need to enable the Universe repository and install the necessary Vulkan packages. Here’s how:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Enter the following command to enable the Universe repository:
sudo add-apt-repository universe

The add-apt-repository command adds a repository to your list of sources, allowing you to install packages from that repository. The universe repository contains community-maintained free and open-source software.

  1. Update the package list with the following command:
sudo apt-get update

The apt-get update command retrieves information about new and updated packages from the repositories and updates your local package index.

  1. Install the Vulkan packages by entering the following command:
sudo apt-get install libvulkan1 mesa-vulkan-drivers vulkan-utils

This command installs the libvulkan1 library (which provides the Vulkan API), the mesa-vulkan-drivers (which are open-source Vulkan drivers), and the vulkan-utils (which includes Vulkan tools and utilities).

After installing the necessary Vulkan packages, you can enable Vulkan support in Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome and go to chrome://flags.
  2. In the search bar, type Vulkan.
  3. Enable the options for Vulkan and Skia Renderer for Webview.
  4. Restart Chrome.

Conclusion

The flickering issue in Chrome on Ubuntu with Radeon Graphics can be quite annoying, but the solutions provided above should help resolve it. Remember to always keep your system and applications updated to prevent such issues in the future. If you’re still experiencing problems, consider reaching out to the Ubuntu or Chrome support communities for further assistance.

How can I check my Chrome version on Ubuntu?

You can check your Chrome version on Ubuntu by opening Chrome and typing chrome://version in the address bar. This will display detailed information about your Chrome installation, including the version number.

How do I enable/disable hardware acceleration in Chrome?

To enable/disable hardware acceleration in Chrome, open Chrome and go to chrome://settings. Scroll down to the bottom and click on Advanced. Under the System section, you can toggle the Use hardware acceleration when available option to enable or disable hardware acceleration.

How do I enable the Universe repository in Ubuntu?

To enable the Universe repository in Ubuntu, you can open a terminal window and enter the command sudo add-apt-repository universe. This command adds the Universe repository to your list of sources, allowing you to install packages from that repository.

How can I update the package list in Ubuntu?

To update the package list in Ubuntu, open a terminal window and enter the command sudo apt-get update. This command retrieves information about new and updated packages from the repositories and updates your local package index.

Can I enable Vulkan support in Chrome without enabling the Universe repository?

No, enabling the Universe repository is necessary to install the necessary Vulkan packages. The Vulkan packages are not available in the default repositories, so you need to enable the Universe repository to access them.

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