Its taken a while, but the Linux version of Google’s Chrome is really starting to catch up with its Windows counterpart, both in terms of features and stability.

I have been using the dev releases of Chrome for a while now and recently I have been able to make the switch to using it as my default channel. In fact, I haven’t used Firefox in weeks!

Getting the web browser is easy if you are using a Debian based distribution, such as Ubuntu. Simply download the package from the Chromium website and the package manager will do the rest. Not only will it install the browser, it will also add the Google repository so you are kept up to date.

Most of the features that you would expect from a web browser are now complete, including Flash support. Extensions are also now available, although not yet completely implemented on Linux. One of the main features that you might miss is printing, so keep another browser available.

I have made the move to using Chrome as my default browser on Linux mainly because Firefox 3 is just so slow, and not just at the rendering of pages. On my desktop, start up takes upwards of 10 seconds. Chrome doesn’t take more than 3.

Where Chrome really shines is on my netbook. Once Firefox loads, it can only handle around 4 tabs before it really starts to feel sluggish, and GMail is just unusable. Chrome does not have these problems. I can have half a dozen tabs open, including GMail, and my netbook is still just as responsive.

Of course, it is still an early release, so there is the odd problem. I have noticed once or twice that Chrome can eat up the CPU, and playing a Flash video can sometimes be a bit flaky. But these happen rarely, and even with this I already feel that Chrome is the best web browser available on Linux.