stick it to Google 
I think it would have been far, far more impressive to use Quantum (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Quantum) or WebKit (https://webkit.org), with the added benefit that nw.js is already up and going for the Webkit engine (and likely would have sufficed as an Electron replacement that they could drive forward, but I suppose they own Electron now with Github acquired)
For its not Apple anymore and certainly not Mozilla that is the prime competitor nowadays to Microsoft, its Google (With Chromebooks in the schools, and their small business and cloud offerings) and Amazon's Web Services division that are their main competitors now.
While I don't know how all the business logic went into this and ultimately came up with this being the best calculation at hand, I think this would have played better in the media too (especially if they leaned on Mozilla)
 I know Chromium != Google, but its pretty hard not to see that most of Chromium's development is downstream from Google and Google employs and/or otherwise has had some direct influence over the core team
It makes strategic sense to go with Chromium if they're aiming for ARM64 support if they can get a huge amount of work for free directly (as opposed to incidentally) from Google to support clang on Windows – which is a much bigger undertaking than it seems at first glance.
The technology that article mentions is Microsoft's Intel->ARM translation, which is surprisingly good, and entirely unrelated to Firefox.
The "optimized" build they're talking about is almost certainly natively-compiled ARM64, and the reason it's hard is because Rust is built on an older llvm version...which doesn't have Google's patches that improve support for Windows ARM64.
I'm not sure if quantum is actually all that different from pre-57 minus servo, however servo isn't magic, and only a small portion of that is really rust.
Overall firefox's codebases aren't meant to be used by anyone else. Chromium and v8 are.
Nobody is competing on browser market share any more, that's a lost cause. With so much traffic going to mobile and apps now, it just doesn't make sense to be re-inventing the wheel when they could be investing in features that actually matter.
I imagine they'll appreciate Microsoft essentially making Chrome work better within Windows, but that's about it. They'll accept pull requests, but doubt they'll give up much of anything in the way of control.
Given how nodejs is still not fragmented (remember io.js), and things are getting along well, I am positive it can be done.
Microsoft has really shown it can do Open Source well and is willing to let go of its ego if it means more developers/users on their platform.
Also Google makes a shit ton of money off chromium through the search bar. Edge is chromium + bing bar.
If Edge doesn’t do stupid shit like log you in the browser, blast ads in your face, I am very willing to consider another browser.
Chromium won. It has the largest market share. V8 powers both chromium and nodejs. Google showed Microsoft that Open Source can be insanely profitable if there is a money making engine complementary to it.
Microsoft’s money makers are Azure, Office, Bing and surface devices. Open source software brings them a ton of good will and new users.
Historically, they’ve used the “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” strategy quite often, and maybe that’s what’s happening here. But maybe I’m being overly skeptical/borderline cynical...
Microsoft was 2-5-10x the size of its EEE targets. Oracle, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. these days are equals. And equally ruthless.
Old quotes need to be adapted for the present day.
It's still better because Chromium is open-source, but I do worry that we're going to have a problem in the future with a lot of broken sites (YTMND-style).
This is already the norm. I use Safari and find many sites have issues. Before that I used Firefox and many sites had issues.
Typically the JS works, but styling often looks different (and worse) on Safari and Firefox.
I develop for Firefox first as well.
"transparent 0" is not a standard way of defining things, and bad use o CSS in production.
I don't have any proof but my suspicion is that I've seen more sites failing Safari since Mojave.
I really dislike (& distrust!) using Chrome now, especially for e-commerce sites or anything with SMS based 2FA as Safari's ability to pull codes automatically from messages is a godsend.
Chrome also frequently attempts to cover up incorrect code with what it thinks the author probably meant. Firefox tends to be much better than Chrome at following the actual spec.
I tend to develop primarily with Chrome first for some different reasons (ability to disable CORS, support for self-signed certs with WebSockets, and its better debugging of WS frames), but I always make sure to test later with Firefox and Safari, and occasionally find code that worked in Chrome, but doesn't elsewhere, and the reason is almost invariably always that Chrome didn't follow the spec.
The browser vendors taking the lead over standards committees is how we got this far into HTML5, especially including Apple's/Safari's decision to ditch flash, and the WHATWG actually moving us forward vs the W3C.
Unless Blink has a history or an expectation of deprecating serious functionality in the future, is it really so bad if websites follow what's Chrome-compatible instead of 'a web standard'?
Let's imagine for instance that Google develops something called "Google Pay". Let's now imagine that WHATWG works on something called "WebPay".
In a multiple-engines world, there would be pressure for Blink to support (and keep supporting) most major credit cards & payment mechanisms to let users pay using WebPay.
In a single-engine world, one single manager at Google will have sufficient power to decide that WebPay supports only Google Pay.
Feel free replace Google Pay and WebPay by any other technology strategic to Google.
For all intents and purposes, web browsers are operating systems running web applications, taking care of security, etc.
And all these Chromium-derived browsers are skins and utilities on top of Google's browser/OS.
What, really, is a downside to having an open-source web engine that all browsers use? I'm failing to see one. The web would become less fragmented; the web standard would be (only slightly) irrelevant, and we would move forward without having to deal with browsers interpreting the spec/standard differently, which is what happens currently in a lot of cases.
1. Chrome will remain the dominant web browser
2. the Chromium repository itself is owned by Google
The only leverage Microsoft is in forking Chromium, but that does nothing to Chrome's market.
Google themselves forked WebKit when they couldn't get along with Apple. And that was back when Chrome wasn't as pervasive.
So what makes you think Google would give a crap about Microsoft today?
So, by your own logic, if Microsoft ends up in a disagreement with Google about the direction of chromium, whats to stop them from just forking it and becoming the new dominant engine?
Chrome will only remain the dominant web browser as long as its users view it as worth the hassle. If Edge is built upon chromium in the future, I'm not going to sit here and say that Chrome will remain the dominant browser following that.
We can sit here and talk about 'what ifs' all day.
Them switching to Chromium is essentially admitting defeat and inability in building a modern browser.
KitKat was released in 2013 as well as Blink in the same year.
Apart from Blink being a WebKit fork, WebKit itself is not "the dominant engine" anymore at least since 2014.
https://developer.chrome.com/multidevice/webview/overview Since 4.4 it is based on Chrome, not WebKit. Since I think version 6, on all the Google phones it defaults to using Chrome for WebView instead of the "WebView for Android" browser.
They won't do it, because the entire team at Google is staffed by C++ folks. How is that a better outcome?
But a real plan to do this requires a great deal of thought and serious consideration about how you get from here to there, whether there are long-term engineering velocity costs, etc. You don't just say "Rust is more memory-safe" and let that phrase alone mean "so obviously you're a dinosaur if you don't switch to it".
Even Mozilla is taking a lot of time and effort to introduce Rust-based components to Firefox. Making big changes to enormous projects used by huge numbers of people is not something you do lightly.
Still, though, we'd happily consider it.
I think it's fair to say that a Rust proposal would have been dead-on-arrival a couple of years ago. It'd be seen as far too risky. It would have remained so in a world where Blink was the only browser engine.
It's a classic innovator's dilemma: with fewer browser engines, the fewer risks the industry will take. More browser engines allow more seemingly-risky innovations (such as parallel styling/layout, or Rust) to break through.
The trickiest part is the proving that the different approach technology is enough better to warrant a switch. Very often, new approaches don't live up to expectations (not saying this is the case for the tech you're talking about).
2. The issues here don't have to do with whether the technology "works" (it does), but rather "developer velocity" and other more social/political concerns.
1. When you're experimenting with a seriously new technology or approach, the most likely outcome is that you'll fail, especially at the market adoption level. Being able to conduct your experiment at a lower cost is still a net positive, except for one point: having invested less, you are more likely to abandon the experiment early, because of the sunken costs fallacy. That doesn't necessarily need to be the case.
2. Developer velocity/productivity is something that you can demonstrate - as long as the difference is consistent, like, not 10% faster, but 80% faster. Other social/political concerns are a different thing, but really, gaining market adoption based only on those is VERY difficult - if that wasn't the case, I don't think we would be having this discussion at all, because Firefox would have a much higher penetration.
So, the point is, how is having a completely separate codebase going to help with having success? It could attract a higher number of idealistic developers, but the additional work required is very likely to negate that advantage.
It certainly doesn't hurt to do compelling things in Rust in a browser engine, but doing compelling things in Rust in some other project entirely would also be motivating.
To look at it from another angle, Mozilla itself had a reason to try to tackle some problems with Rust. It didn't need a competing browser engine using Rust in order to move forward with that plan. And the plan wasn't "well, we'll try this because we can somehow fall back on a competing engine if this doesn't work". So if your argument were true, I don't see how Mozilla could have moved on this either.
In the end people do things because the potential benefit justifies the costs and risks, and having a competitor do something is not the only way of determining potential benefit.
Edge does. I'm curious to see how this will work.
If all of our leading browsers use the same engine, the answer to that is one and the same.
I mean, I get the point you're trying to make, but the argument doesn't really fit with what I'm saying. As far as I'm concerned go ahead and rewrite Blink in Rust or Go or Common Lisp. As long as it is the main engine, or adheres to the web standards, it really makes no difference to me.
For example, a security bug in chromium becomes vastly more dangerous if everyone is working off that code. That said, hopefully there’ll be fewer of those because everyone is focused on the same codebase.
The questions seem to be “how many browser engine implementations is truly necessary for a healthy ecosystem?” And “has the spec gotten so bad that it’s not feasible for the ecosystem to support a sufficient number of independent implementations?”
Seems like <5, and maybe <3 is the answer to the first, and the answer to the second is we’ll see what happens to servo in 2019...
That takes a somewhat limited in scope view as to what a web standard is; by most measures, what the WHATWG produces is as much a standard as anything the W3C does, and is certainly comparably useful to other implementers.
> Unless Blink has a history or an expectation of deprecating serious functionality in the future, is it really so bad if websites follow what's Chrome-compatible instead of 'a web standard'?
If someone wants to build a new web browser, can they do it without having to spend huge amounts of money on reverse-engineering Chrome and being bug compatible with it?
Blink is open source- you want to encourage innovation in the usability and utility of the browser and let people compete on market share of their browser product not how people’s web apps that run on that platform work or don’t work - The key is it’s open we’ll never have another IE6. Anyone can compile Blink. Look Microsoft is focusing on getting it to work on arm- cool. This is the opposite of locked to windoze only.
* There is a number of implementations of the same platform.
* Those implementations are competing and the market encourages them to be in-compatible with each other.
You can avoid that bad state by having an explicit standard and applying pressure on all implementations to meet that standard. It usually comes at the expense of slower innovation.
But another viable way to avoid that bad state is to simply not have competing implementations. A single canonical implementation also solves the problem of ensuring all users get a compatible experience. It can come at the expense of evolving in a way that doesn't meet user needs because there isn't a competitive incentive to win users.
I don't think there are perfect solutions, but I also don't think it's the end of the world if this becomes a monoculture. There are tons of "platforms" that are effectively mono-cultures and seem to be OK. Every rechargeable tool company has its own battery pack form factor. Up until recently, each laptop company had a different port for the AC adapter.
What I think this is really showing is that the market size of the web is shrinking relative to the size of the browser standards. Mobile apps have eaten up so much user share and HTML+CSS+JS+etc. has gotten so big and complex that the desktop web market can't effectively support multiple independent browser implementations any more. It's just too much work for too little return.
There's maybe an interesting lesson here in not letting your platform get too complex. New features are always nice, but they have a cost. If you pile on too many of them, you may undermine your platform's ability to support multiple independent implementations.
Let's be clear: that is the future you are advocating.
I'm guessing this is a stressful day around the Mozilla watercooler. This is bad news for Mozilla. Web authors will target the behavior supported by a majority of user browsers. With many independent browsers, there is no implementation majority, just a plurality. Majority behavior only comes from a standard and all implementers are incentivized to work with that standard.
When there's only a few, it's possible for a single one to become the de facto "standard". The web is effectively moving to a first-past-the-post election. Because Microsoft is adopting Chromium, Mozilla's engine and Safari may very quickly become minority ones.
This might suck for users, but that's not entirely clear. Obviously, in a perfect world, there would be infinite engineers building infinite implementations of every platform. In reality, every engineer-hour spent working on, say, a new implementation of COBOL is an hour not spent on software that might impact more users' lives in more important ways.
Maybe a couple of commodity web browsers and engineers working on other more important stuff is better for society? How many implementations of CSS does the world really need? <shrug>
Either way, I'm not advocating anything. I'm more interested in understanding what are the causes and effects — both bad and good — of a platform going from three implementations to two. I'm approaching this as sociology, not as someone who has skin in the game.
I do work for Google and did work as part of the Chrome org, but I don't have enough expertise to make any claims about whether this is an overall good or bad thing for the world. I'm just interested in all of the consequences.
Shouldn't users have the best possible CSS engine? If there's only one, and it's beholden to the reporting structure at Google, then disruptive innovations are less likely to happen.
People who don't work at Google should be allowed to develop the Web platform, without asking Google for permission.
Shouldn't they have the best possible COBOL compiler? The best possible VRML renderer? The best possible ICQ client?
Obviously CSS is way less dead than those, but there is always an opportunity cost. It's not a valid engineering argument to say "we should spend resources on X" without considering what else those resources could be spent on.
My initial comment is really just observing that maybe Microsoft's move actually does imply that they believe, no, the world doesn't need another CSS engine. I don't know if that's true or not, but I think it's interesting to ask the question.
We sort of a tacitly assume that the web will grow and grow forever and ever. But maybe that's just because we've only seen the first half of its life cycle. Maybe it is reaching a plateau and becoming a commodity. There are good questions about whether that's true and, if so, whether that's a good thing.
But I don't think it's illuminating to just assume the best way to improve the world is to have as many browser implementations as possible. Like an entire Dyson sphere populated solely by engineers each writing their own HTML parser.
> then disruptive innovations are less likely to happen.
Maybe the disruptive innovation has happened and the disruption was to move off the web. The Internet and HTTP is doing great. What mobile app isn't on the Internet? Maybe HTML+CSS+JS is no longer the optimal user interface language for it.
> People who don't work at Google should be allowed to develop the Web platform, without asking Google for permission.
I guess I don't see what you're getting at. Browsers don't write themselves, so if you don't want to ask one of a couple of giant rich corporations to do something, that means you better have deep pockets yourself.
Even if Microsoft kept their web engine, how does that help? Now instead of asking Google, Mozilla, and WebKit for permission, you have to ask Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, and WebKit for permission and then get them to all agree on it.
The owner of the repo is Google. Google gets last word on anything Microsoft wants to include in Chromium/Edge.
That has no impact on what MS can do downstream as long as it's an open license.
If Microsoft, or Opera, or anyone else downstream wants to pull out parts of Chromium and replace them with Rust components (including a parallel renderer), they are free to do so. It increases their maintenance cost to maintain the unique components, but so would maintaining a whole separate from-scratch project instead of being downstream.
Edit: We all know why they want everyone to switch don't we, but think about all the now admittedly false marketing! It's not like they stopped the aggressive marketing for a few years and now saying that they can no longer keep up. They probably are doing it now still and implying that Edge is better. Is the marketing really so uninformed about such big decisions?
It does matter. From the comment above "browser vendors taking the lead over standards committees" means influence on where the technology is heading, specially for rendering engines. Remember how long it took IE to implement canvas? This was a way to avoid a new "OS" over a OS (Windows)
Also I suspect Microsoft will have far more actual influence by driving development of Chromium than with their own rendering engine. It's pretty hard to drive new standards when you are barely achieving the current ones. Microsoft's focus on Electron for cross-platform development kind of informs this move as well.
(Not saying that Google will necessarily do such a thing, but I think Microsoft would prefer them not even having the option.)
And if Google abandons/closes Blink, MS will be forced to spend a bit on browser development again. (Or they'll just fork Firefox.)
Currently it's a win-win for them. They need the web to deliver their services (outlook, office365, azure), now they can develop those cheaper, as they don't have to spend that much on testing as Edge and Chrome will be likely very close.
The CEO Nadella however has no interest in this kind of thing carrying on, hence the Axe.
With hindsight, perhaps the recent "crazy" efforts of the Edge team to increase usage and prove some kind of value were in-fact a last-ditch effort by sections of Microsoft to maintain a high-level of browser investment.
Because it's not inferior in all ways? Edge has far better support for anything touch (Firefox and Chrome as still awful in this respect) and the battery life using Edge is far better than any of the other browsers.
I'm always forced to use Edge at times because of how much better those aspects are, even though other things are worse.
I also wonder if this is why they're going with Chromium; they can work on getting better touch and battery life on Windows built into the thing.
I mean if Microsoft can somehow shed the "Windows 10 spies on me" sentiment echoed so much around these parts then they might be able to capture some market share from Google who is more and more being perceived as big brother spying on you.
I doubt this move will help them but it will definitely make the justification for Enterprise adoption of Chrome a little harder.
It's meant to illustrate that this is hardly the only time this has happened, and that one should think carefully about not only whether marketing is accurate but whether it's comprehensively addressing everything you might care about.
Because the quality of the product has nothing to do with Microsoft wanting to maintain dominance at all costs. But don't worry, they will continue to try this with the Chromium-based browser, too.
Everyone keeps saying this, but nobody is actually doing anything about it. People (myself included) talk about how a monoculture is bad, but we still don't use Edge. We talk about how more competition in the browser space is a good thing, but we still complain when the latest features or security benefits are missing from a browser. And then when the feature lands, nobody cares.
We complain about how bloated and slow browsers are getting, but completely ignore those which are/were slimming that down. And we talk about how Chrome and V8 are taking over the world, but we won't use tech like node-chakracore despite it being a very positive experience when I last used it.
I'm assuming that Microsoft is spending a shitload of time and money on their browser engine, and it was still getting very little usage. They have great performance, some really cool security features, lots of great user-oriented features, and it very rarely gave me issues as a developer, but still nobody (again, myself included) used it. Can you blame them for not wanting to continue?
I feel the same as you, this sucks. But I can't blame anyone but myself, because I don't use Edge (despite using Windows as my daily-driver), and I most likely won't switch to it, and it has very little to do with its capabilities as a browser, and more to do with network effects (i'm used to chrome, my information is in chrome, I'm used to the dev tools in chrome, and I personally and selfishly have no reason to switch to Edge, even if it's technically better)
You can't blame the company for not wanting to continue pouring money into something which is getting very little usage or return on investment at all. At least by working with Chromium more people are going to get the benefits of their work.
Yep, the same can be said for Firefox. There are hundreds of threads with hundreds of comments on places like Hacker News and Reddit and Ars Technica, all grousing about how Google is the behemoth that is taking over, Chrome is bloated and slowing down and e-mails all of your personal bits to Google, oh woe shouldn't there be a equal competitor in the market, blah, blah...
But too few people actually put their clicking where their talking is and switch to any other browser. People seem hardwired to say "yeah I know it sucks but I want to use Google and thus I want to use Chrome."
Far fewer people with software development skills--that I sorely lack--bother to contribute to Firefox (or, heaven forbid, Thunderbird) development to fix those problems.
Meanwhile, I hug Firefox just a little bit closer every year, wondering if this year is the year that the project fails or simply stops moving forward or whatever. I'm thrilled that companies like Privacy, Krypt.co, and even Capital One still make Firefox extensions and I use them daily. But for how long, when every technology-oriented person on the planet seems hell-bent on using Chrome, outcomes be damned?
I tried to switch to Firefox Quantum earlier this year as my daily driver. I had some minor annoyances, but I ended up switching back to Chrome for the devtools.
I have often wondered what is the killer feature that Chrome dev tools has that Firefox does not that forces people to switch back to Chrome as this seems to be a common refrain and while I don't work on the dev tools I sometimes wonder what awesome feature I am missing in Chrome...
In some cases, I actually find Chrome lacking. For example, the ability to see what events are attached to a dom element.
DISCLAIMER: I do not work on the developer tools for Chrome or Firefox and don't do much CSS.
The problem is not with you or other users, the problem is with using adoption as a metric to determine success/failure of a browser. Sure FF needs adoption for funds, but for companies funded outside of that model a browser needs a BDFL not subject to the whims of adoption levels during different internet periods for us to have a vibrant ecosystem. But it won't happen because renderer implementation count is the least important and most costly metric.
IMO, what's happening here is not based (mostly) on adoption, rather it's about upkeep. The level of effort for browser maintenance outweighs its value for most regardless of user count. Hence the want to leverage existing codebases, share code, and add little flexibility that would exponentially expand the maintenance surface area. This will remain the general trend until a new form of hypertext (or a reduced form of existing) is in widespread use with the goal of implementation ease instead of just targeting ease. I don't suspect that'll happen anytime soon either if ever.
Even if Edge did run on Linux and were open source . . .
. . . and I'm just being honest here, and I'm probably not alone . . .
I just don't trust Microsoft.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they've truly changed. I'm not trying to imply anything about Microsoft, but merely express my own internal feeling about them. I doubt I am alone.
This is not to imply that I trust Google either.
Well, not that confused, I guess it ties in to Windows quite a bit and it's probably not worth it for them. Still I hope they do it.
But open sourcing it for the sake of practical domain knowledge, if not history, would be good.
can't... it's really difficult to retroactively open source something.
Only a few developers grok the code and they work for your company and are about to move on to another project.
Tooling is usually proprietary and tied into some 3rd party infra....
Look at OpenJDK... Sun and Oracle dragged their feet FOREVER on this and the project still has problems because of it...
Should have been OSSd in 2005 but Sun was insanely naive.
EEE, astroturfing and similar bait and switch tactics has been so common for decades that some companies are guilty until proven innocent.
The only company I can think of that EEE-as-a-strategy might apply to is AWS, and I say this with huge reservations because their priority is still their customers.
Far as open-sourcing their stuff, I think they're holding off on that to preserve their profitable lock-in in legacy market. Harder to clone their key dependencies if the code isn't open. Even opening the data formats like for Office wasn't enough to make a copy that renders all existing documents perfectly. That was by design, too.
I think it makes more financial sense for them to keep existing stuff closed followed by Embrace with Microsoft-oriented Extend on open stuff. I doubt they'll Extinguish since they don't have enough clout to do that in this market. Probably in most markets now.
Ah the only second ISO Standard for the same thing. With transparent definitions like: if option XYZ is set, render the output like Word 97.
Blatant corruption by a standard gremium.
What should Mozilla do now? Should they just give up? Now that everywhere except ios/macos is blink (and v8 i think, i'm not sure after reading the announcement) why should anyone care for firefox?
Should also Mozilla start using chromium as a base? Mozilla will still be able to add quite the value in term of functionality, and with a bigger focus on privacy than google. I'm honestly not sure anymore.
Maintaining a browser is a hard work and it's getting harder, so it's (i think) unlikely a new player will ever enter the game, and having one engine where to test thing will make the job of creating websites and webapps simpler, on the other hand a monopoly can be a very bad thing for the web.
I like firefox a lot, and it's my daily driver, but if tomorrow they change the engine, i probably won't even notice, and not having to maintain the entire stack may allow them to better focus on other area, like decentralization, privacy, addons and services (firefox send is amazing), and may even allow a easier experimentation with new webapi.
I'm really not sure how to feel about this...
On a side note: I really do hope they make chromium and especialy CEF more modular. it's amazing to embed a web browser inside a app, but it's very hard to override some of his behavior, for example: while it's easy to have a custom cookie management system, there are no api to override localstorage or the chronology, only some workaround.
In a past work project we needed to build a thin client for a intranet and one of the requirement was, basically, an encrypted browser profile, custom CA management, client certificate and some other things, doing that using cef was very hard and it used a lot of hacks.
edit: correct some grammar
Is Chromium de-facto controlled by Google, or more community driven?
The main part of Chromium that matters here is the content layer and below. The biggest single piece of that is Blink, which already uses a governance model with public intent-to-implement/ship notices that anyone can propose or give feedback on.
The single largest group of committers are employed by Google, but there have been increasing contributions, including to core function and direction, from external people; for example, Opera folks were key in helping change the memory model in Blink ("Oilpan").
I would guess that Microsoft would keep using Chorus rather than adopting V8, but if they aren’t, then V8 has contributions from eg. Node.js
And as states in the article: Edge on Android and on ARM seems to already be Chromium based
What I'm effectively asking is this:
1. If Google opts to steer Chromium in a way that the community finds objectionable, could the community stop it?
2. If the community opts to steer Chromium in a way that Google finds objectionable, could Google stop it?
Overall, it doesn't feel like there is a community at all, it's more like Google deciding everything then tell external contributors as a courtesy. I believe there can be technical influences driven by non-Google contributors but that's pretty rare.
That said, perhaps Microsoft can be an exception if their participation is big enough.
The answer to that is obvious. Of course not.
Google owns Chromium's repository. Even if the "community" decides to fork Chromium, Google owns Chrome, so any fork of Chromium is completely irrelevant. That's because people download and install Chrome and not obscure Chromium forks.
And that is why web standards are important ;-)
Remember: Chromium itself is an “obscure fork” of WebKit...
Yes, exactly like those two.
>> "Remember: Chromium itself is an “obscure fork” of WebKit..."
Actually when Google forked WebKit, Chrome wasn't obscure at all. But yes, that's the perfect proof that Google doesn't want to cooperate when they aren't pulling the strings.
First they switched their engine to Blink, then predictably after 3 years sold out to an obscure Chinese private equity fund.
I'm insanely excited about it!
I've been working on a new reader and documentation manager for PDF and cached web content:
It's based on Electron and targets Chromium.
What I'm hoping happens here is that this means more focus on Chromium and potentially more work on Electron + Carlo.
Electron is amazing but it's pretty bloated per app. If it's made lighter weight and something like Carlo can just use the OS installed browser in an isolated process you'll have the best of both worlds.
You can use web standards to build your apps and at the same time dock into native OS features without the massive bloat.
Right now Polar is about 100MB to download and uses about 200MB of RAM. Not the end of the world but also not super fun.
There's the issue of one central monoculture but there's still the opportunity to fork if chrome/edge gain too much market share.
With Edge, Blink, and Webkit competing for marketshare, app developers are forced to at least think about sticking to web standards or risk losing a chunk of potential users. In a world where only Blink exists and all developers care about is that things work in Blink, any new browser entering the market now not only has to worry about compliance with official web standards, they also need to worry about emulating the idiosyncratic behavior of Blink that developers have discovered and started abusing or taking advantage of. The actual standards essentially become moot and Blink becomes the real standard. And while, sure, Blink/Chromium is open source, with both Google and Microsoft heavily invested in its development and direction, who do you think is going to have all the power in making the important decisions?
I guess the Chrome team itself aren’t happy about this. Will make standards work harder for them. Better to have the Edge team build alternative implementations of standards in their own engines than to implement even more stuff in Chromium.
Chrome already has a hard time not running ahead of the rest of the web, they don’t need more people to speed it up even further.
The readme goes into more detail than the blog post announcement, including emphasis on Windows on ARM, information about WebRTC for UWP, and explicit confirmation that they plan to bring Edge to Windows 7 and 8 as well as macOS.
Also, looks like they're using the MIT license.
If they won’t continue to use Chakra, what happens to that project then? It is open sourced and there’s work to make Node.js use it: https://github.com/nodejs/node-chakracore
All the more important to support Servo and Gecko – we can’t have all browsers be of WebKit origin – we rather need more initiatives like Servo, that reinvents the engine from scratch, optimized for modern environments.
In the beginning, IE was speedier than Edge. Had more features too. Edge was fragile and froze often. Updates fixed some of the speed issues. I froze my windows update so, I don't know how it stacks up right now.
To increase Windows store usage, MS also decided to tie Edge extension to the Windows store. This wouldn't have been a problem. In fact, I like the idea of getting all my stuff in one place. However, MS decided to create the annoying store app. I'm on a desktop, a real computer. Why on earth can't I open the store on a browser and have the installer do its work in the background? This is where I drew the line with Edge.
I'm not surprised that Edge's marketshare declined with increased Windows 10 marketshare. Edge is Microsoft's second Windows 8. They are both PC software designed to please mobile users and infuriate PC or touch-less users. And both hide settings - make it a chore to change minor settings.
I believe throwing Windows Phone under the bus has come back to bite Microsoft in the ass and Edge is just a trailer.
Microsoft is still gutting Windows 10 - turning it into a phone OS for desktop users, replacing working software with incomplete toys.
As far as I'm concerned, Google didn't beat MS in the browser game. MS simply frustrated IE users over to Chrome by forcing Edge on them.
Windows is the next software MS will abandon for Google's alternative. All Google has to do is not mess up android.
If you remember Nokia/MS's failed fork of Android you'll feel the chill. Microsoft now sells android smartphones in both its online and retail stores.
I predict MS is not done with Edge. At the end, they'll abandon that too for Chrome. And all they'll do is change the default search engine to Bing.
I think this was a big mistake. I hope they mirror what Google is doing with the Chrome store. As a developer, I had to: 1) Port my Chrome extension into a UWP app 2) Embed another win32 exe to read/write SQLite databases because UWP don't do that. 3) Pay $100 to open a developer account 4) After compiling the extension, reading blogs to figure out how to even upload the correct files 5) Have Microsoft deny my extension because it required special permissions (the win32 exe) 6) Still no extension uploaded.
Why would they? That's not how open source works. If the KDE devs that made Konqueror wanted to capture value or do it for monetary gain they would have made a closed source browser and I doubt Apple would have then picked it to build WebKit.
Apple is what made WebKit predominant, the KDE devs simply did a great job and should be very proud of what they've done, but it doesn't make sense for there to be policy change around open source for recompensating devs when their projects take off.
Making something open-source does not mean you don't want to make money off it.
Many, AIUI, were employees of Trolltech, and I assume Trolltech paid its employees.
EdgeHTML and Chakra will still be maintained; I was told that the transition to Chromium for web views in UWP and the like is a longer term plan.
I really wish that instead of doing this Microsoft would just stick with EdgeHTML and maybe open-source it.
Google should not be happy about this.
Makes it harder for them and everyone else to push web standards forward.
I'd really like to understand the rationale behind this choice. What they'd like to leverage from Chromium that Blink alone wouldn't have?
Not completely true, many "model" part is shared with Chromium code (given the liberal license) while "view" part can be different.
It's really not clear in this blog post. What does "Chromium-compatible web platform" mean? Which part of Chromium is the "platform" in question? This blog post doesn't have enough answers.
They already had chakra working with nodejs.
Rendering engines are mammoth projects. I’ve contributed to Chakra, v8 and nodejs. They are somewhat manageable codebase. Blink codebase is insane.
I speak for myself - I believe that decrease in diversity of implementations of the Web standard and drift toward a monopoly is harmful to our vision of the Internet and ultimately will hurt the Open Web.
If Edge had 35% marketshare I'd be more concerned, but nobody was using it, and web developers hated trying to make their sites compatible.
Good riddance to IE/Edge of old :)
It is probably up for Mozilla to make a choice: will we implement the standard or will we mimic the behavior of Blink for compatibility reasons (which may be incorrect in some cases).
Microsoft, in its short-sighted way, thought that tying the browser to Windows would be an "advantage," because of things like "better integration with the OS" and throwing the Edge updates in there with the Windows updates, without needing a different update channel.
However, this was short-sighted was because of the following reasons:
- Edge development would remain very sluggish compared to the development of Chrome and Firefox, as new major features would have to wait until Windows itself gets new major features (which happens every 6 months, rather than 6 weeks).
- It would mean Edge would not be cross-platform, a huge strategic mistake on Microsoft's part. People want to use the same browser across devices.
- The proprietary "features" Microsoft would build in Edge over time that only work with certain versions of Windows will come back to bite it in the ass in the future.
Realy? Id prefer different browsers optimised for the device. I don't even think theres much similarity between the desktop and the mobile browser anyway.
Any benefits other than bookmark sharing etc?
> We will evolve the Microsoft Edge app architecture, enabling distribution to all supported versions of Windows including Windows 7 and Windows 8, as well as Windows 10. We will also bring Microsoft Edge to other desktop platforms, such as macOS.
The fact is that if they want to support Windows 7, 8.1 and macOS it naturally cannot be kept as UWP app, as their infrastructure requires Windows 10 features.
That may be so, but is there anyone outside of MS who believes in UWP? Not even stalwart MS exclusive devs seem to do so.
Mainstream support for Win7 ended in 2015, for Win8.1 in January 2018. The only mainstream supported versions of Windows are various Windows 10 editions.
I wonder if they thought about picking Gecko instead.
My bet is that Google will announce in the next weeks or at the next io a foundation for dealing with chromium. The only thing which itches me with that a bit is ChromeOS. But maybe that is more a plugin thingy.
I see it as a positive for keeping Google in check.
Chrome's marketshare is insane. Google could autoupdate Chrome overnight push out some wild update like requiring you to sign in to use their browser or something else like default rendering everything to AMP wrappers for example... who knows / tinfoil hat time.
Now there's a solid and non-disruptive quick switch default that is already installed (sorry FF, Brave) on Windows machines similar to what Apple has with Safari.
You could even charge people for the heavy duty version that might use some Azure services. The only issue with this is charging people requires tying their browser to the payment method.
That will remove plenty of IE rendering issues and also the need to link a whole CEF to get Chromium rendering in your application.
I am just curious how competitiveness works in FAANG.
Now, there may be some point in the future where I open a Microsoft browser and do more than barf on myself and download Chrome.
> We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS.
Honest question, I don't think I ever looked, and now I am back on GNU/Linux.
On Windows, there is no build of vanilla Chromium, as far as I could find out. Then again, I did not try very hard, because I started using Firefox back when it was still called Firebird; the only incentive I had to check out Chromium on Linux were some web sites that did not work very well with Firefox (VPS console on Vultr, Netflix).
So whilst it's a dark day for browser engine diversity, I don't see it as a blow against the Web overall (i.e. as a popular platform to develop for) as Google/Chrome is the driving force behind making Chromium more powerful to close the experience vs native Apps with initiatives like PWAs of which a side-effect is we'll be able to use new APIs sooner and increase web developer velocity by having 1 less browser engine we need to test against.
A lot of people see browser wars as a gauge for the health of the Web but I consider the biggest threat to the "open web" is native mobile Apps which needs to become more capable in order to be able to deliver the same integrated experiences. In that light I don't see the competition of more browser engines making the Web better. Chrome wasn't created in reaction to competition, it was created because there was none left with MS leaving IE6 (and the main interface into the Web) to wither and die. IMO competing browser engines are holding the Web back with not being able to use new APIs as they're available, needing to cater for the lowest common denominator and having to test and support against a matrix of different browser engines and versions.
It would be a different story if I thought Google would pull back investment in Chrome after they achieve total dominance, but I don't see that, their current strategy is winning where they benefit in a faster, stronger more popular Web and have been lifting the state of the art browser development since Chrome/V8's inception. Of course we now have to worry about Google thwarting the direction of Chromium to their benefit to the detriment of their users, the best way to minimize that is to have multiple collaborators committing to the Chromium project like MS Announces suggests they're doing. IMO it would be in Firefox's best interest to also switch to and collaborate on Chromium as well. Their market share is fading into irrelevance and after Edge/Chromium I see less developers investing their time to test on FF. I believe their efforts would be best spent on innovating on the browser's UI and function as I don't see how maintaining an alternative browser engine is a competitive advantage, IMO it's one of the reasons for their decline in market share. They should still be able to achieve their objectives the same way Vivaldi and Brave are doing with their added privacy protections in their Blink forks.
Would seem like a shame to lose the work done on that project.
I wonder what they realize the next. A Compiler?
Microsoft throwing away the IE engine in favor of one more or less standard rendering engine is a huge win for web developers everywhere!
It's also something that would have been unimaginable in the Steve Ballmer era.
Competition is good. Monoculture is bad.
That said, supporting all of the standards in a way that makes everyone happy is completely impossible. And if you're not in first place, it's just Cost, Cost, Cost for you.
I don't blame them for doing this, but I'm sad about it.
As a customer, meh, less competition.
That said, there seems to be tons of competition on various formats, web competes with podcasts, mobile apps, and I would even say websites like Medium/youtube.
It's a tragedy that companies and standards committees can't give you APIs / SDKs / Standards that just work.
When a company gives up, that's not good.
And a huge loss for users everywhere. Now that Chrome is becoming the main web target, Google (an adtech company) basically controls the internet.
If you want to push competition and choice, encourage everyone to use Firefox (or Safari if they only use macOS).
And still, it was some competition to Chrome and Firefox.
> encourage everyone to use Firefox.
Which can be done while also lamenting the loss of a Firefox competitor, especially when said loss gains Firefox nothing.
We can lament the passing of Edge, but I wonder how people would have felt if instead of Edge they just had this announcement as the replacement for IE. Would we have cared? No one seems to miss IE.
There actually might have been an outcry over this. I'm not aware of any Firefox forks, for example, that aren't focused on privacy. MS would have been the first to fork FF and undo lots of the privacy features in the browser (engine).
With Chrome/Chromium, there's a reluctant acceptance of data-harvesting and (unethical) tracking.
I wonder if MS gave the above scenario some thought...
MS went with Chromium because they want that implicit "best viewed in Chrome" compatibility.
The decision-making process varies based on where in the codebase you are. Blink has a lot of details on this, because it's what impacts the web platform and where we've needed to work with the most external input; you can read the various process summaries on https://www.chromium.org/blink . Things are less well-specified as you move up the stack because there's been less need to specify them. Perhaps that will change going forward.
Employee participation is the same as for Opera, Intel, Samsung, Yandex, etc. today: review and commit code, be an OWNER, participate on the mailing lists. Chromium tries to be a true open-source project.
As for disagreements about direction, I think the existing web platform discussions among all vendors provide an example of how disparate companies can come together and try to agree directionally. People from Brave, Opera, etc. already participate in those forums despite basing their browsers on the Chromium core. Blink sets a high bar for shipping features that have interop risks, so it's already true that the goal is consensus rather than a fractured web. And I'm sure Microsoft would not be keen to use Chromium if they didn't feel like they would have significant directional input where desirable.
Most of the concerns expressed in these comments seem reasonable on their face but also sound like the people expressing them haven't actually contributed to Chromium/Blink. I encourage people to chip in changes and even express opinions on our mailing lists. We try to welcome such contributions :)
MSFT is already contributing to Chrome, e.g. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=893460
From my position sitting at the crossroads of Clang/LLVM and Chrome (the team I work on developed clang-cl), all the interactions I've seen with MSFT are positive.
This is a blessing for developers but a curse and threat for the web going forward.
"Embrace, extend, and extinguish"? At this point, with google, I'm not even sure if it's a bad thing, if true.