I want to run Chrome in a VM (VirtualBox on Mac) for some testing. However, I don't really care which OS I use for it. Which would be the lightest OS I could run Chrome on?

I imagine it would be some Linux distro, but Chrome only supports 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04+, Debian 8+, openSUSE 13.3+, or Fedora Linux 24+ and the various Windows (although I only have access to Windows 10).

1 Answer 1


Chromium - which is a recompilation of the open-source components of the Google Chrome - works also on 32-bit Linuxes.

I would do a 32-bit Debian1 system in the vm, with a minimal window manager (like icewm), and then I would use Chromium on it. 4GB RAM would be far more than enough (don't worry on the 32-bit RAM limit - 32-bit Linuxes can see up to 64GB RAM. It is an intel CPU feature named PAE, which was being intentionally disabled by the Microsoft at Win7sp1).

1Ubuntu has no 32-bit versions since 16.04, my experience with the quality alternatives is not enough good.

  • Can one install extensions on Chromium? Sep 11, 2020 at 22:02
  • @ywc93919bcaoo Yes. Btw, there is a recent bug (rooting in the incompatibility between some libc changes and chrome changes), so you need to call chromium as chromium --no-sandbox today, if it won't work. (Having the whole thing in a VM means also that you don't really need the sandbox)
    – peterh
    Sep 12, 2020 at 6:47
  • Doesn't Debian come with a window manager, so icevm wouldn't help?
    – user760900
    Sep 17, 2020 at 17:08
  • @user760900 I don't know, what is the default window manager in Debian on this week ;-), but it does not even matter - you can use a VM what you would like to. I personally prefer ratpoison, it is yet more lightweight than icewm, but it requires a little learning because it is keyboard-only. ;-) Among the intuitively usable, super light-weight VMs, icewm is the most well-known. The problem of the OP to want a lightweight VM was probably the lack of RAM, "lightest" means here "low ram need". This is why I suggested icewm.
    – peterh
    Oct 4, 2020 at 20:50

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