Thursday, 16 August 2012

Publishing Chrome on XenApp 6.x (or not)

When I was asked to get Chrome on Citrix, I thought this was going to be easy.  Really, its a web browser.  What could go wrong? 

Lots.

First problem, Chrome installs into your local AppData folder by default.  In the past people came up with some wacky solutions to this but there is now an MSI download from Google which installs into c:\Program Files (x86)\…

https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/browser/

Great, problems solved – a Chrome v21 browser which is not installed “per user”.  I I know Google release a new major version every other week or so, so I would rather stream it than install it to install this to my Citrix servers.  Installing it either way  was bizarrely complex as the MSI hangs forever during installation with the message “Please wait while the application is preparing for the first use”.

image

On a Citrix server this sometimes means there is another msiexec process running at the same time in another session, but not in this case.  Anyway, I found a solution on Lukas Beeler’s blog and resolved my issue by importing some registry settings – save these lines as a .reg file and they should allow the installation to work:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services\TSAppSrv]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services\TSAppSrv\TSMSI]
"Enable"=dword:00000000

Great!  All problems resolved I publish two icons for Chrome on XenApp – one Streamed, one Hosted.  Neither work!  They just sit there not rendering any pages.

image

You can’t even get into settings.  Its useless.  And from what I read, this is basically a known issue!  This is the official Citrix article on this problem, though I sadly don’t get the really professional “aw, snap” message:

http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX132057/

This is one of the many Google Forums articles with this problem I've found:

http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=84045

And I try it in a published desktop, which works fine – but I specifically want it as a seamless application.  So I follow the instructions in the Citrix article and add “-no-sandbox” to the command line parameters of the application and suddenly everything works – except I now get a dirty big error telling me I have made the browser less secure – which I have.  In their words, “Stability and security will suffer”, though I would argue its more stable now!

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And the solution?  No idea, and if anyone has a solution, do let me know.  The solution is that you publish it in a Desktop or live with using “no sandbox mode”, with the security problems and error.  I’ve read it might work if you use app-v, though others say not. 

This is all not endearing me to Chrome though, especially since this appears to have been an issue since at least v12.

4 comments:

Jonathan said...

They were suppose to address the no sandbox mode issue in later versions of Chrome which they never did...sadly.

Also if you are looking for a more professional version of Chrome, without the google updater service try SRWare Iron, it's a little faster and more secure.

Labmouse said...

Yes, I noticed that Citrix claimed tentatively there was a "possibility" that the issue would be fixed in v18. Since we’re on v21 I guess it was not possible!

Iron looks very nice. Same problems on Citrix of course, but a refreshing change from Google’s interesting take on privacy. And indeed worth it to lose the annoying updater service.

Ranjith Jain said...

Hi, The above information helped me to resolve the crashing issue while publishing Chrome. But I've a different scenario, when I need Chrome as a default browser & a third party application opens Chrome upon clicking a button. Here i have no control to include chrome switch (--allow-no-sandbox-job)during chrome launch. Is there any way to fix this. I'va also reported this @ https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=234104.

Thanks

Martin Gustafsson said...

Still having this issue?

I have issues using the browser via remote desktop sessions when another user is logged on as console user and have solved it by disabling the gpu acceleration with --disable-accelerated-compositing

Same thing goes for Firefox/Thunderbird, need to disable the gpu accelaration there as well.

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