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Social Networks Google Software Upgrades

Flock Switches To Chromium For New Beta 154

Posted by timothy
from the one-stop-blabbing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Flock, the social networking browser, has moved from Firefox open source code to Chromium in its latest beta. The new Flock is essentially a combination of Chrome and TweetDeck, as you can sign in to Twitter and Facebook accounts and look at a single feed that incorporates updates from both. Currently, the beta is only available on Windows, but a Mac version is slated for later this year."
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Flock Switches To Chromium For New Beta

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @07:32PM (#32608196)

    I dont give a flock

  • by denzacar (181829) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @07:33PM (#32608198) Journal

    Get the Flock outa here!

    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:27PM (#32608872)

      Mozilla corporation seems to be pretty badly run. They solicited donations for the NYT ad(some of my poor college friends scraped together money for it) while overpaying the CEO($500K per year)! The management was supposed to find different ways of getting funding but Mozilla is still dependent totally on Google(which competes with it's own rival browser). Mozilla made $66 million in revenue just in 2006 while development was largely done by unpaid volunteers.

      In the meantime, Firefox was quite bloated, crash prone and lost the speed race to Chrome, Thunderbird stagnated and nothing really innovative or useful came out of Mozilla labs. Ubuntu will probably switch to Chromium and Firefox will start losing search revenue. . Probably the only thing going for Firefox are extensions(Chrome supports extensions now) and proper Adblock. Things are so bad that the CEO is planning to step down [computerworld.com]

      Sad to see one of the epitomes of FOSS go down in flames like this.

      • by roca (43122)

        I would dispute most of those assertions, but even if they were all true, it doesn't necessarily mean Mozilla is badly run. Web browsers are an incredibly competitive environment, there is massive investment from many competitors, and it is very hard to be successful. I mean, I think Apple and Opera are well-run companies but their browsers are basically going nowhere in market share. Safari gets a bump every time Apple releases a device where Safari is the only browser you're allowed to run.

      • by dirtyhippie (259852) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:21PM (#32609488) Homepage

        Firefox is hardly "going down in flames".

        Sure, it's lacking some features (such as process-per-tab, über-fast javascript execution) that chrome has, but it's still well ahead of Opera and IE. I've still never seen this "crash prone-ness" that people talk about with regard to firefox, maybe because I've always used adblock plus? In any event I suspect it will go away with 3.6.4, which pulls flash and other plugins out of the browser process.

        Thunderbird, on the other hand, isn't doing so great. But I'd say that's as much about the rise of gmail and other good webmail based systems as anything else. I would even argue that Mozilla has made the right decision to de-prioritize thunderbird work given the "put literally everything including apps on the web" atmosphere these days.

        • by isorox (205688)

          Sure, it's lacking some features (such as process-per-tab, über-fast javascript execution) that chrome has, but it's still well ahead of Opera and IE. I've still never seen this "crash prone-ness" that people talk about with regard to firefox, maybe because I've always used adblock plus? In any event I suspect it will go away with 3.6.4, which pulls flash and other plugins out of the browser process.

          All it takes is some dodgy dns issue, and firefox grinds to a halt across all tabs (although I can't rep

      • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Friday June 18, 2010 @02:06AM (#32610242)

        Probably the only thing going for Firefox are extensions(Chrome supports extensions now) and proper Adblock.

        Safari supports extensions [apple.com] now too so that's going to take a big bite out of their mac market share. Probably the best thing Firefox has going for it now is dev tools like Firebug [getfirebug.com]. I remember how nimble and fast it used to be back when it was still called Phoenix, what the hell happened ?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by silanea (1241518)

          Safari supports extensions [apple.com] now too [...]

          Not to say you are wrong in your prediction, but remember that it is the extensions that have to support Safari to get people to switch from Firefox, not the other way around.

        • In my experience, Firefox is the most stable browser on a Mac. Virtually never crashes.

          Yes, this probably is because it handles Flash better than other browsers, but there you go; I use Flash.

        • by skarphace (812333)

          Probably the best thing Firefox has going for it now is dev tools like Firebug [getfirebug.com].

          Virtually every decent browser in existence already has this functionality. Maybe not quite as good as firebug, but the idea is there. See Opera and Safari.

  • I'm kind of curious... why Chromium and not the base WebKit project? Are they piggybacking off the browser gui as well or something? It's not terribly hard to build your own browser atop WebKit, and performance wise, both the official version and Google's implementation are neck and neck speedwise. I'm not a web browser developer or anything, but every time I've used WebKit I've been able to integrate it easily into my apps with little overhead. Just wondering why Flock opted for several layers of projects

    • Re:Why not WebKit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @07:51PM (#32608326)

      Yes, they are using the GUI as well. And they are probably doing so to cut development time for other things they care about more than reimplementing another GUI around WebKit.

      • Re:Why not WebKit? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Quaelin (172970) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @08:03PM (#32608394) Homepage

        Exactly. (I'm one of the Flock devs.)

        Chromium is much more than just WebKit, and Flock is reusing most of that. Their UI was very well thought-out, and their V8 JavaScript engine is incredibly fast -- making it a perfect platform for Flock's application layer code which is almost entirely JavaScript.

        BTW, since the original article doesn't contain links, here's the site where you can grab the beta if you're so inclined:
        beta.flock.com [flock.com]

        Mac version is in the works.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @08:38PM (#32608608)

          Linux version?

        • by tyrione (134248)
          ``Exactly. (I'm one of the Flock devs.)</p><p>Chromium is much more than just WebKit, and Flock is reusing most of that. Their UI was very well thought-out, and their V8 JavaScript engine is incredibly fast -- making it a perfect platform for Flock's application layer code which is almost entirely JavaScript.</p><p>BTW, since the original article doesn't contain links, here's the site where you can grab the beta if you're so inclined:
          http://beta.flock.com

          Mac version is in
      • I didn't realize Chromium was open source. I thought it was closed like Microsoft's IE/ Is Safari open source?

        • Safari is closed-source but uses WebKit. Apple contributes code to the WebKit project, but does not share the sources for the complete Safari browser.
        • by Kitkoan (1719118)
          Note: next time when in doubt, try Google first. You get less dickish replies (normally).
    • by BZ (40346)

      > It's not terribly hard to build your own browser atop WebKit

      Well, you just have to provide a networking library, a crypto library, a user interface, a cache, and a few other minor things like that.... How "hard" that is depends on whether you have those easily available and whether they play well with each other.

      • "Well, you just have to provide a networking library, a crypto library, a user interface, a cache, and a few other minor things like that.... How "hard" that is depends on whether you have those easily available and whether they play well with each other."

        Hm, are you sure? WebKit is built on top of both CFLite, which includes networking classes. I'm also pretty sure WebKit includes a caching engine too. And in the project there are native views for most major platforms.

        In fact, I see a lot of tutorial's lik

        • by BZ (40346)

          > Hm, are you sure?

          I was, but it looks like people have been adding stuff into the webkit repository.

          > WebKit is built on top of both CFLite, which includes networking classes.

          It doesn't quite have an HTTP implementation, say.... at least that I can find.

          > I'm also pretty sure WebKit includes a caching engine too.

          Looks like there is one now, yes. It's interesting that Chrome doesn't use it (and I'm not sure Safari does either, but of course it's hard to tell).

          > I see a lot of tutorial's like th

  • by cupantae (1304123) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `llienoram'> on Thursday June 17, 2010 @07:48PM (#32608318)

    I know that this doesn't really matter to Mozilla per se, but Firefox is coming under some tough times in the near future. I have to say, I do fear for the future of my favourite browser (my favourite by a mile, dispite its flaws).

    They're soon losing the Google funding and support (probably).
    They seem to be not taking ANYONE's side on anything.
    H.264
    Ubuntu, even, seem like they'll switch to a custom Chromium browser in the next couple of releases.
    They don't seem to be leading the market in features at all any more, and only seem to limply suggest that it's the best by focusing on security (note: I DO think it's the best, what I mean is the public image).

    Do other Firefox fans feel that the market might deem it unnecessary or out of touch?

    • by bunratty (545641) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @07:57PM (#32608368)
      Why would they be losing Google's funding, and if they do, why wouldn't they be able to get funding elsewhere? If Ubuntu switches to a different browser, Firefox will lose only a small fraction of its users. I don't think they've ever lead the market in features; they've led the market in quality. You may have a point on H.264, but they're making an ideological stand to support only freely available technologies. If they need to support H.264, they'll do it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CAIMLAS (41445)

        I don't think they've ever lead the market in features; they've led the market in quality.

        You've got that completely backwards - at least for the past >=5 years.

        Firefox was first awesome because, compared to the alternative, it was fast - damn fast - and lightweight. It also used modern standards, which could certainly be considered a 'feature'.

        Then Firefox dominated amongst geeks due to the extensions - the very large, typically high quality extensions. The extension API was a non-trivial part of this - ie, a "feature".

        As for quality? Have you given Chrome/Chromium a fair shake? I switched f

        • by bunratty (545641)
          I've been using Firefox for years. If anything, it's only become even better. The other browsers have been catching up, but still aren't as good. I've tried Chrome, but it has quite a few problems. I do have minor problems with Firefox, but worse problems with other browsers. I have two extensions installed, including AdBlock Plus. It works great!
    • by jasonwc (939262)

      I think the H.264 point has been mooted by the introduction of WebM (VP8 + Ogg Vorbis). If VP8 is in fact patent-free, it is a good alternative for streaming online video as it provides quality equivalent to H.264 Baseline Profile. In fact, Firefox had builds supporting WebM BEFORE Chrome. Chrome's first release came one day after the public announcement whereas Firefox already had a build at the time of announcement with such support.

      MS has stated an intent to include WebM in IE9. Firefox and Chrome alrea

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      So.. Firefox is taking a stand on H.264 for good reason, and in the process given WebM an opportunity to get off the ground. This isn't such a big deal for now because 99% of web video is still being served via Flash at this point. I don't know where that debate will end up, but I wouldn't bash Firefox for that.

      As for revenue from Google, I'm not aware of that revenue going away. If it did, I'm certain one of the other search players would be willing to pay for default premiere placement in Firefox - as

      • by Dwedit (232252)

        SRWare Iron has site-based permissions blocking by use of the adblock.ini file. Then you combine that with an element hider to get rid of the HTTP Error stuff that permissions blocking leaves behind.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jasonwc (939262)

        I wonder if there is some issue on your system causing performance problems with Chrome. For example, I know there is an incompatibility between Nod32 4.0 and Chrome 5 that causes insanely high ping. I was getting 10 ping in speedtests on Firefox 3.6.3 and 550 ping in Chrome 5. After upgrading to Nod32 4.2 the issue was fixed. Chrome went from sluggish to blazing.

        I find Chrome to be as fast, or faster than Firefox in all circumstances. It is usually faster. The browser loads instantly on a Core i7 system wi

        • by jasonwc (939262)

          BTW, I use Firefox 3.6.3 and Chrome 5. I've used Firefox since it was Phoenix, and Mozilla before that. I love Firefox for the amazing extensions, Awesomebar, recently closed tabs etc. but I also like testing out new browsers, and I have to say I'm very impressed with Chrome. I really like that each tab is sandboxed in its own tab. It makes everything more responsive, and the rendering speed is ridiculous. There really is nothing better than having a browser load before you have the opportunity to remove yo

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Since chrome lacks a real base of plugins it is fast, but useless. Call me back when they fix that little issue.

          • by jasonwc (939262)

            I'm using Adblock, FlashBlock, and Session Manager in Chrome. While Adblock isn't as good as Adblock plus, it works fairly well. I certainly wouldn't say Chrome lacks a base of plugins.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Vimperator, the chrome plugins like it suck. Without vimperator I can't even be bothered to look for the other plugins I want. Is there a noscript for chrome?

        • by Fnkmaster (89084)

          Okay, I'll be more specific, since this is 100% reproducible for me. It's not a ping time issue, or a networking issue - pages load at perceptibly the same speed for me (i.e. I'm not sure which loads/renders the page faster, but it doesn't seem like the difference is that big a deal on most pages). Firefox may be marginally faster in this area, but that could just be an HTTP pipelining setting or something like that.

          What drives me bonkers with Chrome is the scrolling of pages. When I mousewheel-scroll, w

          • by jasonwc (939262)

            Odd, it scrolls fine for me in Chrome 5.0.375. There is a slight delay while the page fully loads, but after that it scrolls smoothly. Firefox is smooth immediately, but the delay is at most 1/10th of a second.

            What build of Chrome and OS are you using?

            I'm on Windows 7 and am using Chrome 5.0.375. I compared against Firefox 3.6.3.

            • by Fnkmaster (89084)

              Windows 7, using SRWare Iron 5.0.380. But I've observed the same thing with official Chrome builds too. Perhaps I'll try to replicate on my desktop at home, which is also Windows 7 with a quad core Q6600, but a much beefier Nvidia graphics card (whereas my work desktop has some craptastic old ATI card in it).

      • by cupantae (1304123)

        I appreciate how thoroughly you've gone through all these points, and I agree with almost all of it. I certainly agree with anything and everything about the technical superiority of Firefox...

        However, I don't think that those Javascript tests do anything other than to influence the geekier computer users. At the end of the day, any evidence that Chrome is faster than other browsers is enough. It's enough to put "Try Chrome! It's faster, easier and better!" (or whatever) on the Google homepage. The masses w

        • by cupantae (1304123)

          Sorry for the double-post. I just want to clarify that, where I come from, "grand" means "OK", not "of high quality".

      • by Shados (741919)

        I have the opposite experience: Chrome renders waaaaaay faster than Firefox for me, even for javascript-less (or almost) pages.

        That said, personally, when I say "Firefox is slow", it tends to be a broad way of talking about its start speed and memory usage that make IE look good.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      I know that this doesn't really matter to Mozilla per se, but Firefox is coming under some tough times in the near future. I have to say, I do fear for the future of my favourite browser (my favourite by a mile, dispite its flaws).

      FF is coasting. What is it coasting on? It's amazing base of extensions. Once that base of extensions is replicated for Chrome, that's pretty much it. For what it's worth, it's still my default browser, and I foresee it being that for quite some time.

    • by westlake (615356)

      I know that this doesn't really matter to Mozilla per se, but Firefox is coming under some tough times in the near future.

      It certainly does matter to Moz if Google pulls the plug:

      "In 2006 the Mozilla Foundation received $66.8 million in revenues, of which $61.5 million is attributed to "search royalties." Mozilla Foundation [wikipedia.org]

      That is as close to 90% as makes no difference.

      It strikes me as worrisome that this is the best and most recent look at the foundation's finances that the Wikipedia has to offer.

      H.264

    • by Rhaban (987410)

      They don't seem to be leading the market in features at all any more

      They haven't for several years now.

  • Chrome Extensions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Thursday June 17, 2010 @08:53PM (#32608678) Homepage Journal

    So now Flock is Chrome + Javascript application layer on top of that. The Flock devs are aware they can basically write javascript extensions, right? Those extensions will work on all 3 platforms of Chrome/Chromium.

    Why not just release them as pure Chrome extensions and call it a day? What is the benefit of calling it a separate browser?

    The Chromed Bird extension for Chrome was what caused my wife to switch over. It is my favorite Chrome extension for any platform.

    Flock was taken a Linux/Mac/Win product and turned it into a Windows only product without offering anything new or worthwhile.

    • Re:Chrome Extensions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Quaelin (172970) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:25PM (#32608862) Homepage

      Why not just release them as pure Chrome extensions and call it a day? What is the benefit of calling it a separate browser?

      Chrome extensions don't allow for the UI we added in Flock. No sidebars, etc...

      Also, extensions are much harder to monetize than browsers, so it would be a lot harder to make a successful business out of it that way.

      Third, we're going for mass market rather than niche. Extensions are cool and all, but most web users out there don't have a clue what an extension is, let alone a browser.

      The new Flock will be Windows/Mac at least. Linux is still a possibility too. We think the new version offers an improved experience for most users. Not quite as feature-full as the old version, true, but it's much faster and simpler which is a good trade-off for most users.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        What limitations on the UI changes do plugins impose?
        Maybe this is why nothing like vimperator exists on chrome.

        • If Chromed Bird is any example, you can add an icon to the toolbar, pop up a mini-window to display content, do animations and transitions, etc.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            That's it?
            Vimperator significantly alters the look of firefox. It even adds modality, so to type this I am in insert mode.

            • I don't know how much more you can do. I know you can write extensions basically in pure HTML5/JS.

              The question is why bother releasing a Windows only browser that is basically Chrome plus javascript application layers that only duplicate existing functionality that is available on multiple platforms?

  • by GF678 (1453005) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @10:33PM (#32609248)

    Chrome/Chromium still doesn't have an adblocker that actually blocks ads instead of just hiding them. Adblock Plus saves bandwidth, finishes loading a page quicker because you'll never get hung up on a slow/dead ad server, and neatly reformats the page to work without the ads.

    Once THAT level of functionality in an adblocker arrives with Chrome/Chromium, only then will I consider switching. And don't tell me to use a HOSTS file; what if I want to whitelist certain sites?

    • by Zarel (900479)

      Chrome/Chromium still doesn't have an adblocker that actually blocks ads instead of just hiding them. Adblock Plus saves bandwidth, finishes loading a page quicker because you'll never get hung up on a slow/dead ad server, and neatly reformats the page to work without the ads.

      "Finishes loading a page quicker" isn't necessarily true. Most of the sites I frequent either don't have ads, or let me turn off ads, and even the ones that don't, ads load asynchronously, so Chrome is usually still faster than Firefox+ABP.

      It's been a while since I've used either AdBlock (again, the sites I frequent are usually reasonable about them), but the last time I checked, ABP for Chrome is better at reformatting the page than ABP for Firefox, so that doesn't apply either.

      Bandwidth is the only real o

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tgpo (976851)
      Time for you to switch then: "New in version 2.0: Ads are actually BLOCKED FROM DOWNLOADING now, instead of just being removed after the fact!" https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom [google.com]

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