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Fixing Ubuntu Screen Sharing on Google Chrome: Black Screen Issue

Ubuntu 7

In the world of remote work and online meetings, screen sharing has become an essential tool. However, Ubuntu users may encounter a black screen issue when trying to share their screen on Google Chrome. This article provides a detailed guide on how to fix this common problem.

Understanding the Issue

Before diving into the solutions, it’s important to understand the root of the problem. The black screen issue often arises due to the incompatibility between Google Chrome’s screen sharing feature and the Wayland display server protocol used by default in Ubuntu.

Solution 1: Switch to X.org Display Manager

One of the most effective solutions is to switch from Wayland to the X.org display manager. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the terminal. You can do this by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard.
  2. Run the following command: sudo nano /etc/gdm3/custom.conf

This command opens the custom.conf file in the nano text editor with root permissions. The sudo command is used to grant these permissions, while nano is the text editor and /etc/gdm3/custom.conf is the file path.

  1. In the opened file, look for the line #WaylandEnable=false and uncomment it by removing the # symbol. The line should now read WaylandEnable=false.

This line is a configuration setting that controls whether Wayland is enabled or not. By uncommenting it, you’re disabling Wayland.

  1. Save the file and exit the text editor. To do this in nano, press Ctrl + X, then Y to confirm the save, and finally Enter to exit.
  2. Reboot your system for the changes to take effect.

After the reboot, your system should now be using the X.org display manager, which should resolve the screen sharing issue.

Solution 2: Enable WebRTC PipeWire Support in Chrome

Another solution is to enable WebRTC PipeWire support in Chrome. This can be done as follows:

  1. In the Chrome browser, enter chrome://flags/#enable-webrtc-pipewire-capturer in the address bar.

This URL takes you to the experimental features (flags) page in Chrome, specifically to the “WebRTC PipeWire Support” flag.

  1. Change the “WebRTC PipeWire Support” flag from “Default” to “Enabled” using the drop-down menu.

This flag controls whether Chrome uses the PipeWire multimedia processing framework for WebRTC, the technology behind real-time communication in browsers.

  1. Relaunch Chrome for the changes to take effect.

Enabling this flag can improve compatibility between Chrome and Wayland, potentially resolving the screen sharing issue.

Solution 3: Use an Alternative Browser or Meeting Platform

If the above solutions do not work, consider using an alternative browser or meeting platform. Firefox and Microsoft Edge are good browser alternatives that have better compatibility with screen sharing in Ubuntu. For meeting platforms, Zoom is a popular choice.

Conclusion

Screen sharing issues can be frustrating, especially when you’re in the middle of an important meeting. However, with the solutions provided in this article, you should be able to resolve the Ubuntu screen sharing black screen issue on Google Chrome. Remember to test screen sharing after applying each solution to see if the issue is resolved.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on Ubuntu, check out our other articles here.

How do I know if my Ubuntu system is using Wayland or X.org display manager?

You can check which display manager your Ubuntu system is using by running the command echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE in the terminal. If the output is "wayland," then your system is using Wayland. If it is "x11," then your system is using X.org.

Can I switch back to Wayland after applying Solution 1?

Yes, you can switch back to Wayland if you want. To do this, open the terminal and run the command sudo nano /etc/gdm3/custom.conf. In the opened file, uncomment the line #WaylandEnable=true by removing the # symbol. Save the file and exit the text editor. Then, reboot your system for the changes to take effect.

How do I relaunch Google Chrome?

To relaunch Google Chrome, simply close all instances of the browser and then reopen it from your applications menu or by clicking on its icon in the taskbar/dock.

How do I check if WebRTC PipeWire Support is enabled in Chrome?

In the Chrome browser, enter chrome://flags/#enable-webrtc-pipewire-capturer in the address bar. If the "WebRTC PipeWire Support" flag is set to "Enabled," then it is enabled. If it is set to "Default" or "Disabled," it is not enabled.

Can I use multiple browsers or meeting platforms simultaneously?

Yes, you can use multiple browsers or meeting platforms simultaneously on your Ubuntu system. This can be helpful if one browser or platform is experiencing issues with screen sharing. Simply open the alternative browser or meeting platform alongside the one you are currently using.

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