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Customer-hosted installation of rendering software

Looker requires rendering software called Chromium to send or download data in image-based formats — HTML and PNG or PDF files — and to use features such as Paper size and Expand tables. This page explains how to install rendering software on a customer-hosted instance of Looker.

Chromium is already installed for Looker-hosted instances.

Chromium rendering waits for all resources requested by the page to be completed before it sends the “finished” signal that prompts Looker to produce the rendered content. Due to the number and frequency of these resource requests, some networks can falsely flag the requests as malicious, causing them to drop, which will delay your rendered jobs.

The Chromium Project is an open source project started by Google to share the non-proprietary parts of Google Chrome.

Chromium installation requirements and prerequisites

Looker supports release versions of all major enterprise Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, CentOS, and Amazon Linux. This page provides instructions for installing Chromium on Ubuntu, Debian, and RedHat/CentOS/Amazon Linux.

Chromium must be installed into an executable path on the machine that hosts the Looker instance. The Looker application needs to access Chromium using the chromium command or via a custom path set with the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable.

To run Chromium on a Looker instance, Chromium 86 or later is required, but Looker recommends using the latest available version. If your Looker instance is installed on Debian, Chromium requires Debian 9 (stretch) or later.

If you are installing Chromium on a clustered Looker installation, the Chromium version on each node must be fully identical. Even minor differences, such as different build numbers, can interfere with Looker’s rendering capabilities.

If your data contains non-English characters, install Google’s Noto Fonts package in addition to installing Chromium.

This font package is several GB in size.

To install this font package, run these commands in your command line:

mkdir -p /tmp/fonts cd /tmp/fonts curl -O https://noto-website-2.storage.googleapis.com/pkgs/Noto-unhinted.zip unzip Noto-unhinted.zip mkdir -p /usr/share/fonts/opentype/noto cp .otf *.otc /usr/share/fonts/opentype/noto mkdir -p /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto cp *.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto chmod a+r -R /usr/share/fonts//noto fc-cache -f -v

If successful, then:

cd $HOME rm -rf /tmp/fonts

Installing Chromium on Ubuntu

The Looker application needs to access Chromium using the chromium command or via a custom path set with the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable. For Ubuntu installations, you must install the Chromium web browser and then set an alias so that the Looker application can find the installation.

Looker recommends using the sudo command when performing any steps that require elevated permissions. Do not install Chromium when you are logged in as the root user. If you install Chromium while logged in as the root user, Looker might not be able to execute PDF or PNG rendering.

  1. Fonts must be installed on the system for Chromium to start. You can install fonts using the command line interface. For example, this command installs the default fonts on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

    apt-get install fonts-freefont-otf

  2. To install Chromium, run:

    apt-get update && apt-get install -y chromium-browser

  3. Must either alias chromium-browser as chromium or export the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable. To alias chromium-browser as chromium, place the following in the ~/.bashrc file:

    alias chromium='chromium-browser'

    To make this alias known to Looker, run this command on the command line:

    sudo ln -s /usr/bin/chromium-browser /usr/bin/chromium

  4. After you set any of the optional environment variables, restart the Looker application for them to take effect. You may also need to restart any open terminal sessions, or run source ~/.bash_profile to get the terminal to read the new configuration.

After installing Chromium you should get a valid response from chromium --version if you have not set the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable or $CHROMIUM_PATH --version if you have set the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable.

Installing Chromium on Debian

Looker recommends using the sudo command when performing any steps that require elevated permissions. Do not install Chromium when you are logged in as the root user. If you install Chromium while logged in as the root user, Looker might not be able to execute PDF or PNG rendering.

Chromium requires Debian 9 (stretch) or later.

If your Looker instance uses Docker with a bare-bones Debian installation, install procps and ensure you are not running as root.

  1. Fonts must be installed on the system for Chromium to start. You can install fonts using the command line interface by running:

    apt-get install fonts-freefont-otf

  2. To install Chromium, run:

    apt-get update && apt-get install -y chromium

  3. After you set any of the optional environment variables, restart the Looker application for them to take effect. You may also need to restart any open terminal sessions, or run source ~/.bash_profile to get the terminal to read the new configuration.

After installing Chromium you should get a valid response from chromium --version if you have not set the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable or $CHROMIUM_PATH --version if you have set the CHROMIUM_PATH environment variable.

Optional Chromium environment variables

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