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Chrome Complicates Mozilla/Google Love-In 307

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-water-is-wet dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla CEO John Lilly has admitted the Firefox maker's relationship with Google has become 'more complicated' since the company launched its own browser. Mozilla is dependent on Google for the vast majority of its revenue and has previously worked closely with the search king's engineers on the development of Firefox. But that relationship appears to have cooled since Google released Chrome in the summer. 'We have a fine and reasonable relationship, but I'd be lying if I said that things weren't more complicated than they used to be.'"
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Chrome Complicates Mozilla/Google Love-In

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  • Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by contra_mundi (1362297) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:09AM (#26199631)
    I think we're about to see if Google really isn't evil.
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by liquidpele (663430) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:13AM (#26199657) Journal
      They're not evil (yet?), but they're not a charity either. If they were evil, they would have cut off all funding the moment chrome took off to try and hurt Firefox. Google appears to be genuinely supportive to me, but that doesn't mean they can't do their own thing too.
      • Fortunately for Mozilla, Chrome has never "took off."

        It's not that great really, more of the same.

        • Poor choice of words, I just meant when it shipped. I do wonder how supportive of Mozilla Google would be if it did take off though. I think they support Mozilla right now because they are the largest in the browser market besides Microsoft, but if that were to change... I think Google wants better browsers to help it's business, so I don't think their love is towards Mozilla as much as it is towards better browsers on people's computers.
      • by jmyers (208878)

        Evil does not equal dumb. If Google wants to destroy Firefox, cutting off all funding in an instant is not the way to do it. They should enter as a nice guy until they reach a feature level and market share level where they can pull out the rug. Then they will pick up defecting FF users. If they piss off alternate browser users at this early stage they have no chance.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)

        What are you talking about? Google doesn't care about how many people are using their browser, they care about how many people are looking at their ads.

        They want Firefox+Chrome+other-default-to-google-search-browers to have as much market share compared to non-default-to-google browsers as possible. They could give a shit if it comes via Chrome or not (I doubt that Chrome is even tangentially part of strategic planning, it is probably much more a result of the rather open corporate culture (open in the sens

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851)

        They actually can't do that. They've been skirting a very serious MS sized antitrust action for some time now and if they start engaging in that sort of activity they will end up on the wrong side of a DoJ action.

        The feds have been rather generous in their investigative and regulatory efforts into Google's control of the online advertising market, if they start using that influence to overtly harm competitors that's definite cause for an antitrust action.

    • Re:Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:19AM (#26199735) Journal

      I think we're about to see if Google really isn't evil.

      Just remember that it's not evil to not support a competitor.

      • Re:Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jugalator (259273) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:21AM (#26199765) Journal

        Oh, and the obvious addition: It's not evil to compete, either. (not even if you're Microsoft)

        • Re:Hmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by at_slashdot (674436) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:30AM (#26199873)

          The Devil is in the details.

        • Oh, and the obvious addition: It's not evil to compete, either

          To quote John D. Rockefeller: "Competition is sin."

          Google has every right to "compete" in the browser market.

          However, is it really competition when Mozilla relies on its competitor for the vast majority of its funding? Mozilla's entire future is in the hands of Google. It'll only be around so Google can beat anti-monopoly laws.

      • Well, it's one thing to compete with someone, another to collaborate with someone in a market you're not fighting for, then entering that same market as a competitor.

        If not evil, at least it won't make you friends. Ask Hasso Plattner and Larry Ellison... :P

    • Re:Hmm. (Score:5, Informative)

      by De Lemming (227104) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:24AM (#26199807) Homepage

      I don't think they're evil, but this is a good point for Mozilla to review their funding options. From the article:

      [Mozilla CEO John] Lilly admits Mozilla will have to wean itself off its dependence on Google dollars. "Our goal is to be an advocate for the web for 50 or even 100 years, and you can't depend on any one organisation," he added.

      • Re:Hmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Slashdotvagina (1434241) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:53AM (#26200141)

        Of course, replacing an estimated $70 million a year in revenue is easier said than done, especially if these types of search deals dry up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crayz (1056)

        Does anyone think the web per-se will still exist 25 years from now, much less 100? Clearly to some extent all the major players(Mozilla, Google, MS, Apple) want to push the web in a variety of directions. Can Mozilla give us a vision of what sort of Mozilla product we'd be using say 15 years from now to browse the "web"

        That's not sarcasm, I'm genuinely curious. 15 years ago Mosaic had just been released. Today people can message each other online using a wireless network that didn't exist back then, on a t

  • by fullymodo (985789) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:10AM (#26199639)
    Maybe Google thought they were "on a break"...
  • So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:12AM (#26199647) Homepage Journal

    It's not like Mozilla has some trade secrets to hide from their partner. All the secrets of making a browser seem to be released regularly as source code.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by williamhb (758070)

      It's not like Mozilla has some trade secrets to hide from their partner. All the secrets of making a browser seem to be released regularly as source code.

      Source code isn't everything. There is a lot of trade wisdom, such as "oh, this is why this other on-the-surface simpler technique doesn't actually work out in practice", that is rarely written into the source code or documentation but that you can get access to if you have a close relationship with the developers. So Google's relationship with Mozilla

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:14AM (#26199669)

    Things are going pretty good. You're scooping some flavors, having some fun, and earning some money. The boss is pretty cool, but one day he brings in his son and tells you he's going to start working there, too. At first you're training the kid, showing him the ropes, and things are going pretty well. But then, before you know it, he's the assistant manager and you're still just a scoop jockey. Yup, that's life.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or if he brings in his daughter, you marry her.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:29AM (#26200711)

      There's something disturbing in your analogy.

      For instance, where's the car?

  • Ideally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:14AM (#26199671) Homepage Journal

    While Chrome may "complicate" their relationship, ideally there should be as many browsers on the market as possible. Microsoft's monopoly over the web produced a sort of tunnel-vision toward website development. Having a variety of browsers available has been changing that. The more browsers available, the more pressure will be placed upon companies to support standards compliance.

    So while Mozilla and Google may compete, doing so is in both their interests. In addition, competition is in the consumer's interest because it keeps pushing the browser market forward and gaining us great features like HTML5 compliance, process isolation, privacy modes*, malware protection, etc.

    * I've found this to be an excellent way to use an admin login on a site where I also have regular user credentials.

    • by not already in use (972294) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:21AM (#26199761)

      privacy modes*

      * I've found this to be an excellent way to use an admin login on a site where I also have regular user credentials.

      Well played, sir. Well played.

      • by Andr T. (1006215)
        He's Batman. How could we expect anything less?
      • * I've found this to be an excellent way to use an admin login on a site where I also have regular user credentials.

        Well played, sir. Well played.

        "Yeah, I'm both a user and administrator on startrekfursuitsex.com but perhaps I've said too much..."

        (I don't know if that's a real site but I'd still advise everyone to not try visiting it)

      • Heh. Sorry, I just figured out that trick the other day and just had to share. Being a programmer, I'm terminally lazy about everything. And nothing is more annoying than either having to log out of my current account -OR- open a completely different web browser. (I used to do the latter.) I got the bright idea yesterday of using Chrome's incognito mode as a method of circumventing this issue. One incognito window, and *BAM* I'm clear from my browser's normal sessions and cookies. As a bonus, the browser do

    • Re:Ideally... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:35AM (#26199935)

      I don't agree. I feel a majority of the Chrome users are former Firefox/Opera/Safari users. When a dominant minority group (Firefox) is fractured or segmented... it doesn't hurt Internet Explorer. In fact, it helps it.

      ----- Current Breakdown -----
      Internet Explorer 71.11%
      Mozilla Firefox 20.06%
      Safari 6.62%
      Opera 0.75%
      Netscape 0.46%
      Google Chrome 0.74%)
      Other (0.24%)

      ----- Fun Numbers ----- (100% made up)

      Internet Explorer 60%
      Mozilla Firefox 15%
      Safari 10%
      Opera 1%
      Netscape 1%
      Google Chrome 12%
      Other 1%

      With the above made up numbers, I can still hear our CFO saying "see, we should focus on Internet Explorer... everyone else doesn't even have 20% share! And, that 'Firefox' thing is going DOWN! "

      I'd love to see some information as to what browser current Chrome users transitioned away from.

      • Re:Ideally... (Score:4, Informative)

        by dword (735428) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:01AM (#26200245)

        I'd love to see some information as to what browser current Chrome users transitioned away from.

        Here [wikipedia.org] you go!

        • by Tanktalus (794810)

          I'm just not sure what I count as... I use firefox for about 60-70% of my browsing, but nearly any time there's a URL to click on elsewhere (in my konsole, in kmail/kontact, xchat), it opens in konqueror. Should some of these numbers add up to more than 100% then? Or, more likely, does it just count whatever I happened to use at their site(s), and thus be somewhat biased toward primary browsers, ignoring the strength (and importance!) of secondary browsers.

      • by owlnation (858981)
        I suspect that very few Chrome users are former Safari users. Just simply because Safari has very little penetration outwith Mac users, and Chrome isn't available for Mac.

        Personally, I can't wait until Chrome is available for Mac. I will be switching from Firefox pretty quickly. Firefox has never worked well on the Mac, although the current version is much better than the horrid mess that was Firefox 2.0.

        I don't see any issue with Google competing with Mozilla on this. May the best browser win. If the
        • Re:Ideally... (Score:5, Informative)

          by jonasj (538692) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:51AM (#26201041)

          Personally, I can't wait until Chrome is available for Mac. I will be switching from Firefox pretty quickly. Firefox has never worked well on the Mac, although the current version is much better than the horrid mess that was Firefox 2.0.

          May I ask if you have tried/considered Camino (formerly Chimera), the Mozilla project's native Mac OS X browser? (Same engine, just a native GUI)

          http://mozilla.org/projects/camino/ [mozilla.org]

      • Re:Ideally... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:18AM (#26200531)

        Then point out that 40% of the potential customers are being turned away ....

        If you ran a shop and you made the doors awkward for 30-40% of your customers and lost trade because of it you would get fired ...

        It is still the case that a lot of websites are designed on Firefox tested on Safari/Opera/Chrome etc ... and then heavily modified to work in IE7, and then more so to work on IE6 ...

        A few design to IE7 then find that it does not work on IE6 or anything else ... and spend more time redesigning it ...

        • by Chemisor (97276)

          > Then point out that 40% of the potential customers are being turned away ....

          That depends on who your customers are. If you are selling some technical product, or something that runs only Linux, you can ignore IE users completely, since IE does not run on Linux and no self-respecting geek would use it anyway. Likewise, if you would like to only sell to intelligent people, perhaps to save on tech support costs, then making a site that doesn't work in IE is an effective way to do it.

        • by lwsimon (724555)

          I build websites professionally, and most of us build to Firefox, because of its superior development tools - Firebug, Yslow, and others. Its also relatively standards-compliant, though I find WebKit to be better in practice.

          I typically have IE7, Firefox, and Chrome open, and test in IE and Chrome every couple of changes. For IE6, after I'm done, I unlink the stylesheet, and rebuild the whole thing, usually in a slightly more simplistic style, while maintaining look and feel. Once both are done, I add be

      • With the above made up numbers, I can still hear our CFO saying "see, we should focus on Internet Explorer... everyone else doesn't even have 20% share! And, that 'Firefox' thing is going DOWN! "

        I'd love to see some information as to what browser current Chrome users transitioned away from.

        It's too bad you can't fire that CFO if he can't see IE drop from 70% to 60% marketshare and think IE is dominant, *particularly* if developing to open standards enables you to hit 100% of the market. Barring browser-specific workarounds to address showstopper bugs where some browser doesn't follow w3c fully/correctly, no web development should be targeting any browser.

  • Pentrose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pentrose (1414005) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:17AM (#26199715)
    I don't use the Google Browser because I don't want all my browsing history and everything else put in their databases. I think they are overstepping their welcome. Common Google, how about the security of what we post, look at and search for? Are you the FBI? NSA? CIA?
  • by javacowboy (222023) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:25AM (#26199819)

    I tried Chrome, and while I find it's a refreshing innovation in GUI design for a browser, it has a *long* way to go to match Firefox's features.

    Also, it's not yet-cross platform, and from what I understand, it'll take some doing before there's even a Mac version.

    There's no browser for me that comes close to Firefox in terms of features. Many will argue that Opera does, and this may be true, but I find the interface a little too alien for my preference.

    Also, there's the question of privacy, which Google has a poor track record on. Will Firefox users start to trust Google? I'm not so sure.

    • by garcia (6573)

      I tried Chrome, and while I find it's a refreshing innovation in GUI design for a browser, it has a *long* way to go to match Firefox's features.

      The thing about Chrome that is the most attractive is its small footprint (aside from the god damn GoogleUpdater running in the background) and speed in loading. My main machine at home is an underpowered laptop and Chrome is smoking the living shit out of a fresh install of Firefox (i.e. no add-ons installed) speed wise, especially in booting up.

      Do you remember wh

      • by Kent Recal (714863) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:19AM (#26200545)

        Do you remember when Firefox came out as an alternative browser and its main focus was being on slim and fast? Well, those days are gone and we now have a bloated monster which takes for-fucking-ever to boot on my slower machine.

        They're working on it. If you dare you can take a look at a nightly [mozilla.org] and see for yourself. For me it's now almost as fast as opera and that is under linux. Firefox used to be a real dog under linux, mind you, even worse than the windows version.

        Why is this, I really want to know?

        Well, I guess they can only do so much. We have tons of new features and an amazing Addon-System by now, the guys who developed all that probably couldn't focus on performance at the same time. But the good news is, as said, it's improving and one of your next fox updates will give you a nice speed boost.

        • by garcia (6573)

          They're working on it. If you dare you can take a look at a nightly and see for yourself.

          I have run the nightlies and had been running Minefield (as suggested here once before) for a while before I realized that WordPress 2.7's admin panel wasn't saving drafts of my posts automatically. Thinking it was a WordPress issue I reported a bug and then later found out it was a Minefield issue. I "upgraded" to Shiretoko (I believe that's what it was) and it worked again but other failures in basic functionality ap

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          Time for a car analogy:

          My Volkswagen Bug is nice and fast and has a small foot print but it can't tow a fully loaded semi-trailer. Their working on it so soon we'll have a small fast Volkswagen Bug that can tow a lot.

          What do you mean the new Volkswagen Bug is nearly the size of a house and weights 20k lbs?

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        The "google updater" is the fault of your OS rather than google...
        If the OS provided a standard way to check for updates, then it wouldn't be necessary for google and other vendors to write their own... For something which is internet facing like a web browser, an auto update mechanism is absolutely essential.

    • by renoX (11677) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:59AM (#26200217)

      >>I tried Chrome, and while I find it's a refreshing innovation in GUI design for a browser, it has a *long* way to go to match Firefox's features.

      The thing is: the reverse is *also* true!
      Firefox has also a long way to go before matching Chrome on some features such as responsiveness (thanks to Chrome's multi-process architecture).
      I've dropped Firefox due to its poor responsiveness, I'm currently using Opera but my trials with Chrome were quite positive too.

      So in one 'word': YMMV.

  • Use of resources (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:37AM (#26199961) Homepage Journal

    If Google felt that a browser with Chrome's security / capability needed to exist, then they should have opened a dialog with Mozilla to discuss how FireFox could be enhanced to that end. Google could have provided funding or coders to help make that possible.

    Internet Explorer has lost ground, but that is primarily because there has been a single, well-defined alternative - Firefox. Segmentation of the alternative-to-IE market at this point could be disastrous. The sleeping giant has already been awakened, and Microsoft has turned IE from a piece of crap that had languished for years into a modern, legitimate browser. Microsoft won't make the same mistake twice, and they are aggressively working to regain their browser market share.

    I can only think of three logical explanations for Google to release their own browser:
    It is really just an experiment, and Google will just pull the plug on it out of the blue. They've done this before with other experimental projects.

    They want Chrome to replace Firefox as the alternative to IE, so they will have complete control over the market. This makes sense, because the web browser is the total point of interface to their multi-billion dollar industry. It is logical that they would want direct control over that component.

    They did try to get Mozilla to make changes to Firefox, but their requests were ignored.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Google is aggressively advertising Chrome lately, so I doubt they'll be pulling the plug on it

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      Your post was interesting until I read:

      Microsoft has turned IE from a piece of crap that had languished for years into a modern, legitimate browser

      Uh ? When did IE7 become a legitimate browser ?
      It's super crappy, slow as hell and almost as buggy as IE6. And IE8 will continue with a super slow Javascript engine, when Javascript becomes more and more important.

      And you also argue that Microsoft won't do the same error twice. Well, I think they lost the edge since XP. They are no more the leaders since a few years ago. They keep copying excellent ideas from their competitors, and transform them into underwhelming fea

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        The lack of a decent JS engine is what will kill IE, if anything will.

        The web is getting to the point now where even the most simplistic business's site will have some javascript on it. A menu system, a scrolling news section, *something*.

        From now on, when users pick up an alternate browser, they won't see the standards support, or better privacy features, or add-on capability - they'll see that facebook loads fast and all their widgets are faster too - because the javascript engine for Firefox and Chrome

    • Microsoft won't make the same mistake twice

      It wasn't a mistake; IE (and the internet with it) languished for years for a reason.

      They want Chrome to replace Firefox as the alternative to IE, so they will have complete control over the market.

      Or perhaps they just want anyone but Microsoft to control the market, because Microsoft's MO has been to attempt to undermine and destroy their competitors utterly, by any means they can. Having a company like that with a monopoly of the browser market must make Google very nervous - browsers are the only conduit for users to reach Google and see their ads and use their online office suites etc.

      Did you consider that their m

    • Have you seen IE8?

      Gets the Lowest score in the compatability tests (Less than some mobile phone browsers)
      Gets the lowest score in the Javascript tests ... (and cannot even complete some!)

      when are they going to turn it into a legitimate browser ?

    • by BlueParrot (965239) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:50AM (#26201013)

      Microsoft won't make the same mistake twice

      Yea, that would be totally unlike Microsoft.

    • Re:Use of resources (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lord Bitman (95493) on Monday December 22, 2008 @12:16PM (#26201443) Homepage

      you seem to have forgotten that little "be bold" thing. It's always easier and usually better to implement first and ask questions later. Good ideas will be adopted by others, bad ideas won't have wasted everyone else's time in discussions which lead to nowhere.

  • Well, yeah. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Millennium (2451) on Monday December 22, 2008 @10:48AM (#26200083) Homepage

    Of course it complicates things. Perhaps this should serve as a wake-up call to the Mozilla folks, seeing at this is now makes the developer (after AOL and Apple) to, having initially showed strong support for Mozilla's projects, ultimately reject Gecko when the time came to make its own browser.

    The only common thread between these three companies (among others) and their rejection of Gecko is Gecko itself: they've embraced a wide variety of other engines, they stand in opposition to Microsoft to varying degrees (including, in some cases, none at all), and the browsers they ultimately produced tend to follow many different paradigms and philosophies. Yet all of them agree, in the end, that Gecko was not going to get the job done. Something is very wrong with that picture, and it bothers me how the Mozilla team seems to take it so nonchalantly.

    I say all of this as a Firefox fan who is nonetheless worried about the future of the engine that made standards-compliance important on the Web again. I have a few guesses as to what mistakes might have been made, but I don't claim to know for certain. What I do claim to know is that something needs to be done, even if the first step is just to figure out exactly what that is.

    • Re:Well, yeah. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AvitarX (172628) <<gro.derdnuheniwydnarb> <ta> <em>> on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:20AM (#26200553) Journal
      The AOL rejection is weird, because they purchased Netscape, but it made sense. They already had their users hearing murmuring that AOL was not the internet, the last thing they wanted was to have their users not be able to visit online-banks.

      If AOL had embraced Gecko, I wonder where they would be. They would have been seen as a force of good for internet standardization, and it probably would be the thing they do that makes them the most money right now. Considering they made their millions selling internet adds back in the day, you would think they could see the potential.

      The choice of Apple to ignore gecko, and instead start from a very primitive engine and build on it is quite interesting. They clearly saw shortcomings in Gecko that they thought they could avoid, and felt that re-creating the wheel was an expense well spent (KHTML was pretty poor back then, with terrible DHTML support, and rendering differences to the extreme, in fact, until Safari 3, webkit was like stepping back 3-5 years and using Gecko).

      The fact that developers are in general using webkit now when faced with the choice (many OSS browsers are switching even) is very telling too. It wasn't just Apple that saw shortcomings.

      Nokia had a mobile browser they were working on using Gecko, but I bet the purchase of Trolltech will alter that choice to a point.

      That pretty much leaves Sugar, and Firefox. Of course, the fact that Firefox has all those great extensions is a strong point in its favor, with the web developer tool bar being awesome, but hardly relevant to most people.
    • Re:Well, yeah. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Monday December 22, 2008 @11:48AM (#26200989)

      I found the source code to be repulsive. I could not possibly take over that code and make my own browser out of it, except for minor GUI changes maybe.

      I was looking into a problem for ReactOS [reactos.org] where the installer would explode, and just browsing the source made my head hurt. There were nearly-identical copies of files in a number of places - so that I couldn't determine which were the files included in the build - or maybe all were... and it wasn't just an old version, these files were out of sync with each other and being maintained separately.

      There is no way I would let anyone but Mozilla Foundation play with that code.

    • by jonasj (538692)

      The only common thread between these three companies (among others) and their rejection of Gecko is Gecko itself: they've embraced a wide variety of other engines

      What?

      You are talking about AOL, Apple, and Google, right? "embraced a wide variety of other engines"? AOL stuck with Internet Explorer's engine in their product, and Apple and Google are both using the KHTML-derived WebKit in theirs. How is one company sticking with IE and the others using ONE other alternative engine in any way a "wide variety" of engines? You make it sound like they went "anywhere but Gecko" when in reality they just went to WebKit.

  • Mozilla will have Google's support as long as FF marketshare stays big and that google search textbox keeps bringing google several hits.
  • Rules of investing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755)

    If you looking at a company you might want to invest in, always look at where their income comes from. If most of it comes from a single location, that is a DAMN risky investment.

    If a majority of Mozilla's incoming comes from Google, then Mozilla isn't financially sound. They should have started looking for other revenue streams long ago.

    • But, Mozilla is F/OSS.

      That means they don't need revenue. They will make money supporting it. Lord knows an internet browser is a COMPLICATED thing!!!!!

      Wait, that just isn't working, is it?

      --Toll_Free

  • Google doesn't care if Chrome succeeds or dies because other browsers step up to the plate and incorporated Chrome's features. I see Chrome doing several things:

    * It puts more pressure on the other browsers to adopt WebKit as their rendering engine. WebKit is quickly becoming the default browser on the "Internet Device" market thanks to Google and Apple, and this will put more pressure on FireFox and Opera to adopt it. Or at least emulate it better. Apple and Google would love to see FireFox and Opera becom

  • Gecko vs. WebKit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Monday December 22, 2008 @02:41PM (#26203533)
    I don't understand why folks are calling this "evil." I see the biggest difference from everything I have read, is that WebKit is better suited for low resource (memory, CPU, power) utilization than Gecko is. Given that the mobile computing is the next "fertile" ground for marketing and capitalization, releasing Chrome as a desktop equivalent of whatever Google plans to do in the mobile arena (maybe in Android) seems like a really "good" idea; particularly if Firefox isn't as ideal for specific environments and platforms they are targeting for their products.

    I get that people like Firefox, but I don't understand the mentality that Firefox has some fundamental right to exist and anyone who does anything differently, in competition or cooperation that leads to a decrease in adoption is "evil." Even if Google is being "evil" that is pretty objective, where the legal reality is that Google has a duty to its investors; a legal duty, and if Chromium gets them closer to meeting their goals, then as much as one might not like it, they are doing what is the "least evil" in the eyes of those whose pocketbooks are proping Google up, and the government who has decreed that public companies have this duty. What Google does not have, is a bona fide responsibility to do anything for or against an independent third party, no matter how novel or great anyone or group of people think that 3rd party is.

    If Firefox really is as great as many seem to think it is, it should flourish in the open market. I mean, it is already free-as-in-beer which is pretty difficult to compete with.

    I don't care what anyone says and I'm willing to deal with being modded down, but a larger part (that most are willing to admit) of what made IE the dominant browser today is that IE4 "was better" in user experience and provided a better platform for developers than Netscape 4.x-n did. I'm not saying Microsoft's underhanded tactics weren't a big part of it... but IE4, for as often as it is bemoanded for ActiveX, made a "good enough" platform for the time, to bring "fat binary applications" to the web/intranet when Javascript/HTML (before flash, before AJAX, before frameworks like .NET or Rails) alone were not up to par to bring the same functionality that a full executable would.

    This drove a lot of places I've worked to *require* IE for internal applications, because cross-platform didn't matter because everyone was on PCs or could Citrix into a Terminal server if it was important enough for the few Mac departments.

    It could easily be said "no, it was because IE was there and IT didn't want to install Netscape on all those computers", but I have to say, if it provided any functionality IE didn't, the cost would have been negligible if it made our employees more efficient.
    If Firefox is better, it will survive whatever is trown at it, and if it can't, then the market has deturmined that it "shouldn't."

We can predict everything, except the future.

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