Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Sep 2008 11:15 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones With the recent surge in WebKit adoption, many have stated to question the usefulness of Mozilla's Gecko browsing engine, claiming that WebKit is far superior. Some even go as far as saying that Firefox should ditch Gecko in favour of WebKit. Ars Technica's Ryan Paul explains why that is utter, utter bogus. "From a technical perspective, Gecko is now very solid and no longer lags behind WebKit. A testament to the rate at which Gecko has been improving is its newfound viability in the mobile space, where it was practically considered a nonstarter not too long ago. Mozilla clearly has the resources, developer expertise, and community support to take Gecko anywhere that WebKit can go."
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Competition is good
by patrix on Tue 9th Sep 2008 11:52 UTC
patrix
Member since:
2006-05-21

If anything, they should both survive to foster good competition and force each other to improve rather than stagnate.

Reply Score: 21

RE: Competition is good
by systyrant on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:19 UTC in reply to "Competition is good"
systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

I agree with your statement. Just because it's open source doesn't mean it doesn't need competition to inspire progress.

My only thought, as a web developer, is it would be nice if browsers were able to switch between some of the different engines.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Competition is good
by stestagg on Wed 10th Sep 2008 11:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Competition is good"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

as a web developer, is it would be nice if browsers were able to switch between some of the different engines.


As a web developer, this would spell for Chaos. To ensure that your websites still work, you'd STILL have to test them against each browser, given that browsers impose default styles on the engines, but now you would also have to test them against each browser-engine combination, making compatibility testing far more complex.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Competition is good
by LB06 on Thu 11th Sep 2008 12:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Competition is good"
LB06 Member since:
2005-07-06

That is why we have thing called open standards.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Competition is good
by mmu_man on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:40 UTC in reply to "Competition is good"
mmu_man Member since:
2006-09-30

Technodiversity is as important as biodiversity if we want to survive in the infosphere ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Competition is good
by hobgoblin on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Competition is good"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

a very correct statement, that...

Reply Score: 1

Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:07 UTC
agrouf
Member since:
2006-11-17

Epiphany uses the gecko engine, not webkit and so does Galeon. I've never heard about iCab, Omniweb or Shiira. Google chooses Webkit and suddently it's like gecko is outdated. there are more browsers based on gecko than on webkit, for many specialised needs. There is even the uBrowser to browse the web on a GL surface. I don't really know where he got this idea about webkit being the superior browser. gecko has always been more complete and more powerful than webkit and is likely to be for the decade to come. It comes at the price of size, and it is not suitable for memory constrained devices, but for normal computer, it's the web engine of choice. When I read this article, I thought it was really weird. It sounds as if gecko is catching up to webkit.

Edited 2008-09-09 12:25 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Epiphany?
by joekiser on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:10 UTC in reply to "Epiphany?"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

Back in April, the development team decided that only Webkit would be supported in future releases:

http://mail.gnome.org/archives/epiphany-list/2008-April/msg00000.ht...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Epiphany?"
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

My bad, I didn't know that. I can see why they want to use webkit in Epiphany (size and that they use the same technologies as GNOME). I don't believe gecko has any less momemtum though. It's still the most used web engine in the world (except maybe that of IE, but we'll never know what web engine they use).

Edited 2008-09-09 12:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by jjezabek on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
jjezabek Member since:
2005-08-07

I can see why they want to use webkit in Epiphany (size and that they use the same technologies as GNOME).

Precisely which technologies are you talking about?

It's still the most used web engine in the world (except maybe that of IE, but we'll never know what web engine they use).

They use an engine they call Trident, more officially known as MSHTML. It can easily be used by programs needing HTML rendering and documentation is also readily available. Of course you cannot get the source code, but honestly - have you ever made any use of Webkit/Gecko (simple unpacking does not count as using)? Of course there are people who need the source code, but 99.9% of users and 90% of developers do not.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17


Precisely which technologies are you talking about?

I got it from the link provided by the other poster: "it uses libsoup for the network layer, and GStreamer for the <video> and <audio> tag support in HTML5."
The other reasons they gave looks like right reasons to me.

They use an engine they call Trident, more officially known as MSHTML. It can easily be used by programs needing HTML rendering and documentation is also readily available. Of course you cannot get the source code, but honestly - have you ever made any use of Webkit/Gecko (simple unpacking does not count as using)? Of course there are people who need the source code, but 99.9% of users and 90% of developers do not.

Actually, the source code is very important when the vendor does not bother to compile its engine for your machine. It allows some developers to compile and several hundreds of millions of users, not necessatily developers to use the browser. The license is very important too.
And actually I have made use of the source code of gecko. Indeed, there was an organisation that decided to save power by changing the colors of the browser from black on white to white on black (it makes a difference on CRT monitors and the organisation is about energy savings). Unfortunately, there was a bug in Firefox that made some menus appear transparent instead of opaque with this settings. It took me 5 hours to fix it quick and dirty and the organisation was happy.

Edited 2008-09-09 14:08 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Epiphany?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Mozilla made a huge bet on XUL and xpcomm many years ago... and today they have to point out the few and little known applications which actually make any use of them, outside of Firefox itself... where they admit that using them too heavily was one of their biggest mistakes.

Regarding the article point about Gecko having the potential to be as lean and mean as webkit... the Minimo guys have been trying for years to slim Gecko down and have gotten nowhere.

Gecko is a great browser core for the late 1990s. Webkit is a great browser core for today. To a great extent, Gecko is a victim of its huge, complex, and now crufty code base.

To those people who say that "choice is good". You're darned right! Shortly after "Mozilla Foundation" spawned "Mozilla Corp" the Mozilla guys felt complacent enough to treat Linux distros as second class citizens, making the preparation of security updates as difficult as possible and enforcing nitpicky trademark restrictions which compelled distros to jump through ridiculous hoops like calling their browser "Ice Weasel".

Now there is a choice, and developers are leaving (or avoiding) Gecko in droves. KDE has always used KHTML, kissing cousin of Webkit. Epiphany is moving exclusively to WebKit just as fast as they can. (The move will be complete by 2.26, but is quite usable today.) Google gave Gecko the brush off in favor of webkit. Minimo has close to zero penetration of the embedded market. Now mozilla Corp says it wants to make Firefox integrate better with Linux. How the mighty have fallen. And I cannot say that I am saddened by it.

I wonder how many weeks it will take Chrome to pass up Firefox over at W3Schools?

Edited 2008-09-09 14:53 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

Mozilla made a huge bet on XUL and xpcomm many years ago... and today they have to point out the few and little known applications which actually make any use of them, outside of Firefox itself... where they admit that using them too heavily was one of their biggest mistakes.


I'm curious; where have they admitted this?

And as for "few and little known applications", you DO realize that every one of the many popular Firefox extensions happens to be a XUL application. Even if XUL/XPComm's usefulness were limited to this alone, I would say it has been worthwhile. It is something that Webkit and MSHTML cannot even touch.

And, there are actually many, many XUL applications in use as we speak. I personally did a fairly major corporate touchscreen application using it. XUL is a very good choice for corporate "intranet" applications where the company need simply specify the browser for all desktops to use and rich GUI apps can be run directly over HTTP. And XUL/Javascript is way, way ahead of HTML/Ajax.

Reply Score: 8

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm curious; where have they admitted this?

Please RTFA. There is a clearly marked link to the Scott Collins quote on the first page.

And, there are actually many, many XUL applications in use as we speak.

What color is the sky on your planet? Because here it is blue, and XUL apps are rarely seen in actual use. Provide a list of these "many many apps" along with estimated user bases. And yes, I do note the importance of actual users here. For example, Chatzilla still exists. But how many people actually use it?

I would like to thank you, however, for posting your views on the matter, rather than engaging in the more common practice of just doing a "drive-by modding" of any post critical of Mozilla/Firefox/Gecko. Unlike that strategy, yours shows that you have genuine confidence in them.

Edited 2008-09-09 15:37 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Tue 9th Sep 2008 16:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Epiphany?"
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18


Please RTFA. There is a clearly marked link to the Scott Collins quote on the first page.


Yes, I found that right after I posted, but I figured I would wait for the inevitable F-ing. If you will notice, he does not say that XUL and XPCOM were overused, but simply that XPCOM was used too much in low-level components where it really wasn't needed. I still consider that significantly different from how you painted it.

I certainly have no motivation to provide the list you demand of users and applications (especially because you chose to ignore the many Firefox extensions that are quite roaringly popular). As I said, many of them are internal corporate applications, which I read about by participating in various Mozilla-related mailing lists. No, I can't quantify but neither can you.

I agree it is nowhere near as popular as C# or Visual Basic, but it is no technological "dead end". It has worked fine for me in a corporate app of middling popularity, used by a handful of large companies and about 50 smaller ones. And since Gecko/XUL shows no signs of going away, I am not anxious for its future. It is a nice niche that no other application framework has handled properly. Yes, there were some major warts in early implementations, but it is getting to be a great lightweight technology for distributed client apps. Why tear it down?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by RawMustard on Wed 10th Sep 2008 11:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

XUL runner is nice and all and I've done touch screen apps myself using it. But you have to admit, the documentation around it is crap and it's way too difficult to use for a lot of wannabe developers, not to mention its long winded routines you have to jump through just to accomplish simple tasks as open a file or save it.

I would not like to see xul disappear, but if they want more people to use it, they had better put more effort into it and make some IDE to program in it easier!

If they did that, thousands would flock to it like VB i'd reckon.
And better support for linux wouldn't go astray either.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Wed 10th Sep 2008 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Epiphany?"
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

XUL runner is nice and all and I've done touch screen apps myself using it. But you have to admit, the documentation around it is crap and it's way too difficult to use for a lot of wannabe developers, not to mention its long winded routines you have to jump through just to accomplish simple tasks as open a file or save it.


You'll get no argument from me there. Especially since I started my app back in 2003 when the documentation truly was abysmal, AND several fairly big changes were made in the XUL engine and Javascript API that completely broke my app during that time. The only decent documentation I found at the time was McFarlane's "Rapid Application Development with Mozilla", but it is a little outdated by now.

I would not like to see xul disappear, but if they want more people to use it, they had better put more effort into it and make some IDE to program in it easier!

If they did that, thousands would flock to it like VB i'd reckon.


At one point there were several XUL/JS IDEs in progress, but none of them made the big time. Ironically, there was an IDE done *with* XUL/XPCOM (ActiveState's Komodo), and yet it was not an IDE *for* XUL. (Honestly, a general-purpose programmer's editor and IDE strikes me as one of the least-applicable places for something like XUL, and I suspect they regretted that choice).

And better support for linux wouldn't go astray either.


I confess, I can't see where the support for Linux was worse than Windows, but then I never targeted Windows to start with (any specifics?). In fact, I used FreeBSD, which the Mozilla team seemed to think was nonexistent, but still don't recall any specific problems with the platform. I suspect most of the *nix-specific problems had more to do with GTK than with Mozilla core.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by -oblio- on Tue 9th Sep 2008 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
-oblio- Member since:
2008-05-27

"I wonder how many weeks it will take Chrome to pass up Firefox over at W3Schools? "

Between 104 and 208, if not more. Do you think that Mozilla got there by accident? And do you think that browser market penetration is that easy?

Netscape, Opera, Firefox have all tried desperately to pry 1-2% from IE's market share. Guess which one was successful, and became the "standards' tractor"?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by Valhalla on Tue 9th Sep 2008 20:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

I liked chrome, rough around the edges as it is. best part was the noticably faster javascript engine, I guess that Danish company Google hired to write the new javascript wm knew what they were doing. I also like Firefox, it's currently my browser of choice and I will stick to it as long as it gives me the best browsing experience (of which the actual rendering engine being used is only a small part), not out of any brand loyalty (of which I have none).

But you do strike me as overzelous in your haste to predict the annihilation of Firefox due to Chrome. In fact it comes off as wishful thinking, which looking at your posts seems to be due to anger at Mozilla. Like others have said, healthy competition is the best possible situation for the end user (and advancement browsing technology/experience in overall). I've said before that I want IE to lose more market share, but preferably NOT to Firefox since we need more competition. No matter if you prefer IE, Firefox, Chrome or Opera etc, the appearance of a new strong competitor will force the rest to produce a better product which means every preference wins.

sbergman27 wrote:
-"...the Mozilla guys felt complacent enough to treat Linux distros as second class citizens"
Chrome doesn't even build on Linux as of yet (speaking of second class citizens). As long as Windows has ~90% market share the focus will be on that platform.

sbergman27 wrote:
-"...and enforcing nitpicky trademark restrictions which compelled distros to jump through ridiculous hoops like calling their browser "Ice Weasel"."
This makes perfect sense to me. There should be a clear distincion between official/unofficial builds, are you saying Google will allow third party builds naming their browser Chrome (or whatever the official name will be when released)?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by mksoft on Tue 9th Sep 2008 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
mksoft Member since:
2006-02-25

I wonder how many weeks it will take Chrome to pass up Firefox over at W3Schools?


Could take a long time. W3Schools is visited by web developers. For many of those the equation is simple:

no firebug = no deal

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 23:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

no firebug = no deal

Firebug's great claim to fame is that it exists. Other than that, it's a horribly under-featured and clunky debugger. If firebug is all that's holding the Firefox fort, then things may change even faster than I expected. (BTW, do you really think Google hasn't already thought of that?)

Edited 2008-09-09 23:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Epiphany?
by mksoft on Wed 10th Sep 2008 05:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Epiphany?"
mksoft Member since:
2006-02-25

"no firebug = no deal

Firebug's great claim to fame is that it exists. Other than that, it's a horribly under-featured and clunky debugger. If firebug is all that's holding the Firefox fort, then things may change even faster than I expected. (BTW, do you really think Google hasn't already thought of that?)
"

I'm using firebug everyday and for long time. Never used the debugger.

And if google did think of that, so what ? Google no better than Mozilla treating linux, *bsd and open solaris users - Why cheer for them ? no way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Wed 10th Sep 2008 13:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Epiphany?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Google no better than Mozilla treating linux, *bsd and open solaris users - Why cheer for them ?

I'm not cheering. I'm observing. Epiphany-gecko is what I am using now. And the final release of Epiphany-WebKit is what I'm looking forward to. The WebKit guys *have* always treated us nicely. And while Chrome *uses* WebKit, Chrome != WebKit.

On the other hand Gecko == Mozilla Corp. And they've been arrogant assholes ever since they incorporated and their revenues started flowing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Epiphany?
by Valhalla on Wed 10th Sep 2008 16:13 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Epiphany?"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

sbergman27 wrote:
-"On the other hand Gecko == Mozilla Corp. And they've been arrogant assholes ever since they incorporated and their revenues started flowing."

whoa, 'arrogant assholes'? If this is about them trademarking 'Firefox' which you complained about earlier then I'd say you are seriously overreacting. If there's more to it (and I'm guessing there is) I'm curious as to what.

is it just me or is there a substantial increase on the hate/bitching/whining posts here on OSNews of late? It's like someone has cloned kaiwai or something.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Epiphany?
by mksoft on Wed 10th Sep 2008 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Epiphany?"
mksoft Member since:
2006-02-25

"Google no better than Mozilla treating linux, *bsd and open solaris users - Why cheer for them ?

I'm not cheering. I'm observing. Epiphany-gecko is what I am using now. And the final release of Epiphany-WebKit is what I'm looking forward to. The WebKit guys *have* always treated us nicely. And while Chrome *uses* WebKit, Chrome != WebKit.

On the other hand Gecko == Mozilla Corp. And they've been arrogant assholes ever since they incorporated and their revenues started flowing.
"

I've used Epiphany for a long period (normal usgage, FF2 only for testing and devel), even wrote some plugins for it to add missing functionality.

Since FF3 I'm not using it anymore. FF3 is way better (rendering engine has nothing to do with it BTW, and webkit won't help there). I'm still holding myself from removing Epiphany from my system, it's just sits there for now.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by stestagg on Wed 10th Sep 2008 12:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

While it may not be as fully featured, Chrome actually has a similar javascript debugging kit built in, and it seems to be quite well featured.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Epiphany?
by jack_perry on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:36 UTC in reply to "Epiphany?"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

iCab and Omniweb are Mac-only browsers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Epiphany?
by milles21 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:43 UTC in reply to "Epiphany?"
milles21 Member since:
2006-11-08

Webkit is a very good engine and a lot of people use icab, omniweb, and Shira on the mac side of the house. Also this is not a new debate even before Google there was talk of firefox needing to use webkit, Camino has toyed with the idea as well.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Epiphany?
by Daniel Borgmann on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:45 UTC in reply to "Epiphany?"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

"gecko has always been more complete and more powerful than webkit and is likely to be for the decade to come."

Not long ago I thought so too, but apparently I was wrong. I just can't tell any more where Gecko might be leading in an area that actually matters to the user, so maybe it is indeed Gecko which has/had some catching up to do now.

Of course this will be one hell of a fight which certainly will benefit everyone involved, but right now I'm very impressed by WebKit (and the decisions by Google and Epiphany to adopt it make me quite happy indeed). Chrome is the first WebKit based browser I've been using extensively, and so far I absolutely love it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by sorpigal on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Epiphany?"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I would say that WebKit, due to the nature of its corporate backers, is much more concerned with implementing things which Mozilla devs don't feel much urgency about. The simpler codebase also (probably) makes it easier for random people who want an enhancement to drop in some patches, though I cannot say how easy getting them committed is.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Epiphany?
by 0brad0 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 17:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

I would say that WebKit, due to the nature of its corporate backers, is much more concerned with implementing things which Mozilla devs don't feel much urgency about. The simpler codebase also (probably) makes it easier for random people who want an enhancement to drop in some patches, though I cannot say how easy getting them committed is.


Exactly, why have good standards compliance when WebKit can do it better..

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by sorpigal on Tue 9th Sep 2008 19:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Because WebKit wont always do it better. We can't be sure that it's the be-all and end-all of correct coding, correct design, etc.. Sooner or later you'll want to replicate its functionality elsewhere and the surest way to do that is to base it all on well-formed standards.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 17:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Epiphany?"
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

in my opinion, webkit is fast improving and has many advantages, like its light weigh. However, it still lacks a lot of features to replace gecko. One of the most important: accessibility. Webkit does not provide any at-spi support, as far as I know. I hope this will improve, because many people rely on at-spi to use their computer (blind people as well as motor disabled people). I can think of some other areas where webkit is not there yet, mut maybe I'm mistaken. Things move so fast that I have some troubles to keep up.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Epiphany?
by kaiwai on Wed 10th Sep 2008 02:43 UTC in reply to "Epiphany?"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Epiphany uses the gecko engine, not webkit and so does Galeon. I've never heard about iCab, Omniweb or Shiira. Google chooses Webkit and suddently it's like gecko is outdated. there are more browsers based on gecko than on webkit, for many specialised needs. There is even the uBrowser to browse the web on a GL surface. I don't really know where he got this idea about webkit being the superior browser. gecko has always been more complete and more powerful than webkit and is likely to be for the decade to come. It comes at the price of size, and it is not suitable for memory constrained devices, but for normal computer, it's the web engine of choice. When I read this article, I thought it was really weird. It sounds as if gecko is catching up to webkit.


When people compare, they tend to compare the whole browser to a whole browser rather than just the engine itself. The engine itself is a misgiving when you consider that the browser is the sum of more than just that.

The problem with Mozilla is that they have no focus, they want to provide everything to everyone. They're like a child with ADD, and as soon as they see something they like - off goes their brain in that direction. Take XUL, to what possible use is that outside a few extremely niche situations? that is what Mozilla has basically saddled the end user with. Same goes with XPCOM, again, of what use is that outside a small niche scenario?

Webkit is extremely focused; create a engine which powers a web browser - and nothing beyond that. Stick to your original aim and you'll find that your project won't wildly go off on tangent into weird and wonderful areas which merely add bloat and help no one in the process. It also doesn't help when Mozilla contributors and employee's abuse people who submit bugs, or request features for their platform which every other platform has. Take Firefox on MacOS X - how long did it take them to finally pull their head out of their ass and make Firefox a first class citizen on Mac OS X? and even then it doesn't integrate into the operating system properly! Then there is the lacklustre performance on *NIX for example, the slow responsiveness when compared to their win32 build. Heck, I remember using Firefox on OpenSolaris and I saw it first hand.

I'm sure as the the sun rises that this post is going to be marked down by half-witt from the Mozilla fanboy troupe unwilling and/or unable to accept the problems with their product. But then again, like I said previously, I wouldn't be surprised - given the way they treat bug submitters, who needs enemies when you have Mozilla contributors and employees!

Edited 2008-09-10 02:43 UTC

Reply Score: 0

It's Firefox not Gecko
by renox on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:13 UTC
renox
Member since:
2005-07-06

which needs to be changed..

Currently Firefox has everything in the same process: this made me switch from Firefox2 to Opera because I was annoyed by the crashes and the 'slowness game' (guess which website is using 100% of CPU?)..

I think that FF using Gecko in a process per-tab design similar to Chrome would be interesting otherwise Firefox will become irrelevant fast (as soon as Chrome mature in fact).

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's Firefox not Gecko
by Bully on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:30 UTC in reply to "It's Firefox not Gecko"
Bully Member since:
2006-04-07

Currently Firefox has everything in the same process: this made me switch from Firefox2 to Opera because I was annoyed by the crashes


Funny. The Opera guy (forgot his name and can't be bothered to look it up) recently said in a response to Chrome, that having every tab in a different process is not a good idea for a browser.
So, if you think it is, then switching to opera wasn't such a good i dea i guess ;)

And apart from that. Opera crashed more on me then Firefox has.

Edited 2008-09-09 13:33 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: It's Firefox not Gecko
by renox on Tue 9th Sep 2008 18:35 UTC in reply to "RE: It's Firefox not Gecko"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Funny. The Opera guy recently said in a response to Chrome, that having every tab in a different process is not a good idea for a browser.
The Opera guy is defending his turf, but I disagree with him which is why as soon as Chrome has matured, I'll switch again from Opera to Chrome.

So, if you think it is, then switching to opera wasn't such a good idea i guess ;)
Nope because at the time, Opera was superior to FF2 and Chrome didn't exist..

Opera crashed more on me then Firefox has.
You're using it on Linux I guess.
On Windows, I found Opera more stable than Firefox (though not perfectly stable) and it also provide the 'one website is using 100% CPU, guess which?' "game" even though this happen less often..

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It's Firefox not Gecko
by Bully on Tue 9th Sep 2008 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's Firefox not Gecko"
Bully Member since:
2006-04-07

"Opera crashed more on me then Firefox has.
You're using it on Linux I guess. "

You guessed wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: It's Firefox not Gecko
by renox on Wed 10th Sep 2008 08:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's Firefox not Gecko"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

It's strange then, as for me Opera is more stable than Firefox2 was (otherwise I wouldn't have switched!) and I didn't use extensions (except FlashBlocker if memory serves)..

Anyway, currently Opera is very stable for me, that's why I'm taking my time before switching to Chrome (opensource is a plus).

Reply Score: 2

Hmmm
by OSGuy on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:17 UTC
OSGuy
Member since:
2006-01-01

"Gecko is now very solid and no longer lags behind WebKit"

Hmmm I am confused. I thought it was the other way around - WebKit behind Gecko. Ok, I know Webkit was started by the KDE people and then extended by Apple and Apple gave the new code back. Gecko, isn't Gecko written by the Mozilla developers? Some readers say Firefox should use WebKit - Why would you throw away their very own product rather then improve what they have? + Should they go with WebKit, they will break so many extensions - but nothing new their as pretty much with every new FF version, you need an updated extension. So we have Gecko, WebKit, Trident and the Opera one...

Edited 2008-09-09 13:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hmmm
by sorpigal on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:10 UTC in reply to "Hmmm"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Extensions rarely break between when Firefox is updated, it's just that FF by default refuses to install extensions that don't specifically claim conformance with its current version. Most extensions don't so much update as bump the works with number.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hmmm
by theTSF on Thu 11th Sep 2008 19:26 UTC in reply to "Hmmm"
theTSF Member since:
2005-09-27

Ok I am not an expert of the difference between the two rendering engines. But why would they dump their original bread and butter, for the other guys? This argument is about products in general not a bust on Gecko or Web Kit.

Well I could think of some reasons.

1. Obviously Superior. Not just better but Superior competing with it will be more work and produce so little then joining.

2. Lost public support. Much like the old Netscape. IE thwamped them so much and Netscape delayed Netscape 5 then rebranded as 6 for so long that the public impress of Netscape as the out of date browser that nothing worked.

3. To hard to maintain. Code tends of have a life cycle where there is apoint were maintenance take more effort then a new design. Even good code there comes a point where upgrading takes to many full reworks then needed. A newer system designed to do the new stuff can have a longer maintenance cycle.

4. Grumpy old developers. Often the leading edge developers end up as grumpy old developers who poo-poo any of this new stuff. You see them when ever there is a paradime shift. From Mainframe to PC, CLI to GUI, Locally run application to Web Based.... They just drag you back. Dumping the old code (and the developers as well who don't want to learn the new way) can keep you going.

5. Unity. If your primary goal is to go against Internet Explorer Unity across projects makes your point stronger.

Reply Score: 1

Webkit vs Gecko
by abraxas on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:23 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

Webkit is an excellent rendering engine but the recent upgrade to Firefox 3.0/Xulrunner 1.9 has been the best Mozilla release by far. I was a staunch supporter of Epiphany on Webkit before Firefox 3.0 was released but now that it is here and the next release is going to bring incredible JS improvements I'm starting to doubt the decision to go Webkit only.

Personally I think Mozilla is on the right track and now that the JS engine is going to be performing near native speed we might actually see a lot more xulrunner applications. At least this will be a browser war between two worthy browsing engines.

Reply Score: 3

...
by Chatbox on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:54 UTC
Chatbox
Member since:
2007-03-06

Sounds like Gecko is just trying to play catch up to webkit rather than getting ahead.

Reply Score: 0

RE: ...
by gilboa on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:04 UTC in reply to "..."
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

(Beyond process-per-tab) - what exactly makes you say that?

- Gilboa

Reply Score: 2

More is better
by sorpigal on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:08 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

Multiple open source standard-compliant rendering engines is good for users and better for standards. You know, the whole "two conforming implementations" thing? This means that good, standard ideas from the community don't need to be adopted by a Microsoft or a Opera to achieve some kind of legitimacy.

I see very healthy competition in the future, but instead of old-world browser wars where the competition is on adding proprietary tags it will be a competition of who-can-be-more-standard. You're seeing it already with the Acid3 and CSS3 races. This is good, fundamentally.

Reply Score: 7

Not correct
by Hakime on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:00 UTC
Hakime
Member since:
2005-11-16

"Hmmm I am confused. I thought it was the other way around - WebKit behind Gecko. Ok, I know Webkit was started by the KDE people and then extended by Apple and Apple gave the new code back."

This is wrong sorry. KDE did not start Webkit, KDE started KHTML which was used by Apple as a starting point to develop Webkit. In other words Apple forked KHTML and developed Webkit from that.

Reply Score: 2

all kneel before the mighty webkit....
by karl on Tue 9th Sep 2008 16:36 UTC
karl
Member since:
2005-07-06

This Webkit fanboyism is getting to the point of sheer absurdity. My question here is "where is the beef ?"- where are the Webkit browsers that are annihilating Mozilla Firefox ?. Safari ? Well how amazing a Apple marketed product for the Apple Computers is amazingly successful on Apple products. Konqueror- give me a break, perhaps with the newest QT4.4/4.5 developments it might become interesting. Chrome oh well I can totally see how Firefox devs must be jumping out the window because the blogosphere has a new hard on about a new Google beta product. Oh maybe you mean the iPhone, and the 0.05% of the cell phone using world who can afford, or want to afford the sexy status symbol.

Firefox commands close to 50% in the country where I live. It is not installed on every new computer you purchase- it is not bundled with the operating system and it has been growing, growing and growing in terms of actual usage. For 90% of computer users there is no competition between Webkit based browser and Firefox.

Guys lay off the cool-aid. It is getting really, really boring.

Reply Score: 7

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Chrome oh well I can totally see how Firefox devs must be jumping out the window

I would be if I were them:

1. I have not heard anyone who tried Chrome say that they liked Firefox better. Most say they like Chrome better. Ditto for developers.

2. Google has far better name recognition than Firefox.

3. The vast majority of Mozilla Corps millions in funding comes from... Google. (That's gotta be terrifying for them.)

For those reasons and more, I do think that Chrome is going to annihilate Firefox in the coming months.

Reply Score: 2

renox Member since:
2005-07-06

1. I have not heard anyone who tried Chrome say that they liked Firefox better. Most say they like Chrome better.
Uh? There were many who said that they won't give up their precious FF extensions.

[ And no, I'm not a Firefox fanboy, I've already switched to Opera and will probably switch to Chrome ]

3. The vast majority of Mozilla Corps millions in funding comes from... Google. (That's gotta be terrifying for them.)
For those reasons and more, I do think that Chrome is going to annihilate Firefox in the coming months.
Google just renewed their support agreement with Mozilla corporation for several *years* a few days before releasing Chrome (I think that the timing was intentional), nearly every article about Chrome repeated this point..
So Firefox has nothing to fear in the next few month.

As for Chrome it still needs some polish (bookmark manager, multilanguage spellchecker, page zoom, etc), and I hope it'll get it: the more competition, the better for us!
And betting on a winner now is absurd: Google could drop Chrome tomorrw, Firefox could be modified to have a decent architecture, etc.

Reply Score: 2

-pekr- Member since:
2006-03-28

Well, then I am one who likes FF better. I REALLY can't understand, how anyone can defend tabs at the top of the page - this is clear usability nightmare! When you are reading a page, and you want to look-up another tab of your interest, you have to reach too far with your eyes. This is imo plain stupid.

Another thing is no static bottom bar. On slower connection, when your browser is downloading stuff, it is really distracting to see status bar popping-up.

The fact is, taht Chrome is prety much incomplete browser, yet is causes fanatism - there can't be any other word for it. I can bet, that if it would be released by MS, ppl would trash it for its incompletness ...

Reply Score: 2

stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

I REALLY can't understand, how anyone can defend tabs at the top of the page - this is clear usability nightmare!


And you are a Usability expert? The address bar is, on my screen 40Px high, so you're complaining about moving your mouse 40px? Nightmare?? Furthermore, by putting the tabs at the top of the screen, the Chrome people benefit from Fitts' Law, The active area of the tabs extends all the way to the top of the screen, when Chrome is fullscreen (in Windows), so you can just move up till you hit the top of the screen and click.

Reply Score: 3

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

This Webkit/Chrome zealotism is getting out of hand. Before Chrome, almost everybody would claim that threads are "superior technology" compared to processes (whether they're really "superior" depends on the context) and that processes waste resources. With the coming Chrome, everybody turned 180 degrees and started hyping the process model.

Even after being shown that using processes makes the browser use as much memory as IE8, people would still accept it. If it was Firefox that's using so much memory, people would have screamed death and murder. This just shows that the primary reason people say good things about Chrome, is because it's from Google. If Chrome were developed by anybody else, people would scream "bloat!".

Also consider this:

many have stated to question the usefulness of Mozilla's Gecko browsing engine, claiming that WebKit is far superior. Some even go as far as saying that Firefox should ditch Gecko in favour of WebKit.


This is yet more proof that most fanboys have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. Back in the days, people said the same thing about GNOME and KDE: that KDE is far superior, that GNOME or $RANDOM_GNOME_APP should ditch GTK and use Qt instead. It never happened. The acclaimed "far superiority" was apparently not superior enough.

Fanboys totally ignore the economics of rewriting a web browser just to use a different rendering engine/toolkit/etc. It isn't economic to do so. Lots and lots of man hours will be utterly wasted if Mozilla is to embark on such a journey. The fanboys also seem to treat Firefox as mortal enemy #1, while it is still Internet Explorer that's preventing me from writing fully standards compliant websites (I often have to resort to hacks to make things render correctly in IE; not so in every single other browser). Yet the fanboys still continue to say irresponsible things like "Firefox sucks, Chrome rocks, kill Firefox and replace it with Webkit lolololol!!!!111"

Edited 2008-09-09 17:03 UTC

Reply Score: 10

rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

Heh... totally in agreement. Google/Chrome/Webkit is an interesting project, but I see no reason to treat this whole thing like a political horse race.

Mozilla/Firefox/Gecko is not going anywhere. Yes, there was a time when its future was very shaky (1999 - 2001), but they stuck with it. No project is perfect, and the Mozilla project has it's difficulties for sure, but still, there is an amazing amount of wisdom among the various members of the Mozilla team. In spite of many differences, complications, and a huge technological base to get under control, they pulled it off.

The V8 Javascript engine may have one advantage in process isolation (which as a Unix guy I tend to favor), but from what I see, it is still nowhere close to being cross-platform, and I wonder if it supports any of the new very nice features added to Javascript 1.7 and 1.8, much less how prepared it will be to leap to Javascript 2.0 (ECMA 3.1). There are very good things in store here for the Mozilla world, not only in features but in performance, so it's definitely not "game over" or anything close.

Reply Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

This Webkit/Chrome zealotism is getting out of hand.

Well isn't that the pot calling the white ceramic teapot black. Webkit zealotism? Might want to reflect back on the long running "Firefox" zealotism the online world has been suffering for years.

Before Chrome, almost everybody would claim that threads are "superior technology" compared to processes

Nice straw man. Certainly I have never said that. And being POSIX-like OS oriented, I'd have to look around for someone who *was* willing to say such a thing. Threads can yield lighter code, and maybe even faster code sometimes. But they don't yield the kind of stability, reliability, accountability, and debugability that a modern application platform needs. Chrome's process model is a godsend and there is nothing "turnabout" in saying that.

Edited 2008-09-09 18:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

Well isn't that the pot calling the white ceramic teapot black. Webkit zealotism? Might want to reflect back on the long running "Firefox" zealotism the online world has been suffering for years.


Zealotism against what? I've never seen Firefox "zealots" claiming that Firefox is oh-so-superior to Opera, KHTML, or whatever. They've only gone as far as promoting Firefox as superior to MSIE. But now we have Chrome, which has only been out for a few days, and we already have zealots declaring Firefox as dead.

So no, there is no pot.

Nice straw man. Certainly I have never said that.


Maybe you haven't. Lots of people certainly have. Just because you as an individual haven't doesn't make it a straw man.

For example, take a look at Ruby on Rails deployment. Most Rails production environments are multi-process, not multi-threaded. Yet people claim that Rails doesn't scale because it's not multi-threaded. Which isn't true, because processes are adequate alternatives, but the point is people *view* threads as superior.

Another example: the whole multi-core hysteria. Threads enjoy a lot of hype. Lots and lots of people say that software needs to be multithreaded if they want to leverage multiple cores. The fact is, the system *already* leverages multiple cores - via multiple processes. Despite this, the multi-core threading hysteria continues to exist, as if most people don't know that multiple processes can leverage multiple cores as well.

I'm not saying that threads really are better - it all depends on the situation. However, the fact that so many people turned from "threads are superior" to "processes are superior" after the release of Chrome, is suspicious at best. This is reason enough to believe that it has got more to do with emotions and hype than actually knowing what they're talking about.

Edited 2008-09-09 19:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Zealotism against what? I've never seen Firefox "zealots" claiming that Firefox is oh-so-superior to Opera

Well, it's all relative, of course. No one is more annoying than the Opera crowd. (Except maybe some of the Stallmanites, but that's a different category.)

Many people who find browser crashes, even occasional ones, or the inability to kill one misbehaving window or tab to be an annoyance recognize that Chrome's process model makes a great deal of sense. It really doesn't matter what people say about RoR scaling. I've used it, TurboGears, and Django, (the latter 2 being Python based) and if you ask me it has nothing to do with processes vs threads and everything to do with the fact that Ruby is dog slow compared to pretty much any other available language. And I've never heard anyone claim that the problem was a processes vs threads one.

At any rate, the bottom line is that Google made a good solid technical decision, and if it did happen to change some people's minds about threads vs processes... what relevance does that actually have?

Now that both Chrome and IE (Ouch! It hurts to say that!) have implemented that beneficial architectural feature, the Mozilla guys will have to try to bolt it onto Firefox/Gecko. And it will be interesting to see how well that goes and how long it takes.

Reply Score: 2

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

Many people who find browser crashes, even occasional ones, or the inability to kill one misbehaving window or tab to be an annoyance recognize that Chrome's process model makes a great deal of sense. It really doesn't matter what people say about RoR scaling. I've used it, TurboGears, and Django, (the latter 2 being Python based) and if you ask me it has nothing to do with processes vs threads


Yes processes are useful for misbehaving sites. But that's not the point. The point isn't about questioning the real benefits and cons of processes vs threads, but the *perceived* ones. I'm saying that people suddenly *perceive* processes as being better than threads because Google's using it, and that if Chrome was developed by anybody else, the perception would be totally different and there would be no hype. If Chrome was developed by anybody else, people would scream death and murder because of the higher total memory usage, regardless of the ability to kill misbehaving tabs. And this Google hype is exactly what fuels the Chrome/WebKit zealotism.

And I've never heard anyone claim that the problem was a processes vs threads one.


A comment from http://weblog.rubyonrails.org/2008/8/16/josh-peek-officially-joins-...
"Finally! No more worriing because some requests sleep and thus block a whole mongrel."

This person's comment is not true: running multiple Mongrel (Rails) processes doesn't block the other processes. But my point still stands: people don't understand what processes and threads really are, and *perceive* threads as superior regardless of whether they actually are.

Edited 2008-09-09 21:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm saying that people suddenly *perceive* processes as being better than threads because Google's using it, and that if Chrome was developed by anybody else, the perception would be totally different and there would be no hype.

And I am saying that you are wrong. You might have an argument if processes did not make so much sense in this context. You might have an argument if Google had made poor design decisions and yet were getting accolades over Chrome. But they did not. They made exceptionally good ones. You are arguing that since people are recognizing that Google made exceptionally good design decisions with Chrome that it must all be just a bunch of hype and Google fanboyism. And that makes no sense whatsoever. (Norman, coordinate!)

In fact, trying to make such a specious argument calls into question your own objectivity.

Edited 2008-09-09 21:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

Oh really? Okay, so here's the premise:
1. Process-per-tab is good technical design.
2. Chrome uses process-per-tab.
3. Chrome enjoys mindshare because it uses process-per-tab.
But also:
4. IE8 uses multiple processes as well.
5. IE8 does not enjoy mindshare.
(3) and (5) are clearly in contradiction.

Where is the IE8 hype? Tell me, how can this possibly not be proof that Chrome's popularity is more thanks to Google and less thanks to technical merits?

I've explicitly mentioned that process-per-tab is useful, but you are who's feeling the need to attack me. Yet you question my objectivity? Who's the fanboy now? And sorry dude, I've got news for you: no human on this planet is truly objective. You might as well go looking for someone like that on Mars.

You might have an argument if Google had made poor design decisions and yet were getting accolades over Chrome.


No. I'm saying Google made a good decision, but most of the hype is still thanks to the fact that the Google name is on it and less thanks to the fact that it's a good technical decision.

That said, Chrome is an excellent addition to the set of alternative (read: non-IE) browsers. However, you - and many other people - seem to be after the utter destruction of Firefox rather than the promotion of a healthy balance between alternative browsers.

Edited 2008-09-09 22:18 UTC

Reply Score: 3

-pekr- Member since:
2006-03-28

Is it really about Google taking good decision? I am not skilled in this area, but one developer told me, that the real reason for using tasks instead of threads is, that Webkit is not actually much thread friendly. And if it is true, Google just plays nice marketing name here - defending tasks, hiding Webkit defficiency here :-)

Also - I went thru their comics - pretty neat, except that it smelled like - because we are incompetent programmers, who can't fix their memory leaks, we use tasks :-)

Reply Score: 1

stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Before Chrome, almost everybody would claim that threads are "superior technology" compared to processes (whether they're really "superior" depends on the context) and that processes waste resources.


Please don't talk about things you don't understand. Using threads [or not] in certain situations can massively impact performance, either for better or worse. In high-concurrency server applications (like ROR, for example) being able to serve requests on a thread rather than a new process can be hugely beneficial because of the unavoidable time that it takes to initialize the Ruby engine, parse the application, and initialize data every time the process starts. The same is true for memory.
If you're serving 100 requests a second, then you need to get RoR starting up in far less than 1/100th of a second or you'll get a bottleneck.

With Chrome, the emphasis is not on raw performance, but on security. The speed costs of using separate processes are not noticeable to the end-user yet the security benefits are. Especially when a plug-in crashes on you.

Reply Score: 4

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

Where did you get the impression that I didn't understand it? I said *other* people claim that threads are superior. I said that the perceived superiority of threads is a common view point. I didn't say that that's my stance. In fact, I explicitly mentioned that whether threads or processes are superior depends on the circumstance.

As for RoR, what you claim is simply not true. Take a look at Phusion Passenger and Ruby Enterprise Edition, which use advanced preloading and copy-on-write techniques to ensure that startup time of Rails processes are low. Phusion Passenger can spawn 20 Rails processes in about the same time it takes to spawn 1 process. No joke - you can even verify it for yourself. So please, don't accuse me of not knowing what I'm talking about.

Edited 2008-09-10 15:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

That is just silly. Combine all those you mentioned together and you will see a trend. The more developers behind a project the better the chances that users will follow, and unfortunately for Mozilla they will be loosing Google's backing soon enough and left to fend for themselves. Can Mozilla survive without Google? Can they survive with google as a competitor? I personally don't think so but lets see.

The fact of the matter is that Webkit has far more resources and backing thrown at it than Mozilla. The fact that Google itself has decided to throw their weight behind the engine doesn't deem well for Firefox. The same thing that happened with Firefox is happening now, except that this engine has the chance of being used everywhere and doesn't need a "stripped down" version of itself. So sure, for now Firefox is doing well, however in the future when, Nokia, Google Android and other smart phones on top of the iPhone use the same browser engine things will shift. You have countless other browsers using Webkit as its backend all using the same code and all contributing, tell me how will Mozilla compete against that type of backing and resources? You have three major corporations actively applying resources to the project. And to show you how fickle these things are developers of Mozilla themselves are now major contributors to these webkit browsers and they chose Webkit specifically. So like I said yeah in your country 50% of users use FF, but that may not always be true, especially when they realize that their phone browser and their PC browser can be one in the same.

Reply Score: 4

karl Member since:
2005-07-06

I am not sure I understand your argument here. You think that the more devs who back a technology equates to more users who use it?

(Please remember- when toolkit devs talk about users, they usually mean those devs who use the API's which they have written, not users who simply install applications on their desktops which are built with these libraries.)

Well hate to burst your bubble but users(of which only 1% are devs) rarely choose tech based on the kind of criteria which actually count for devs. If this was not the case why are there so many millions of users using software which devs decry each and every day for myriads of technical reasons. Indirectly of course there is a connection-if devs are not paid to work on code, or are not driven to scratch an itch by working with code, users never see applications based on that code. But do I need to point out the myriad of truly horrible applications written by paid developers ?

Moreover don't forget the money involved here: most of the Mozilla hackers are not being paid by corporations who are directly investing in Mozilla-but there are significant financial interests behind Webkit-Nokia developed the GTK-Webkit port and purchased the company, Trolltech, which integrated Webkit into QT, not to mention what Apple has invested it, and now Google is investing in it.

These are major corporations with tremendous capital-they are paying dozens if not hundreds of developers to work on and around Webkit code. In a lot of circles the number of "professional" devs equates directly to product quality. I adamantly refute this position- I see NO positive correlation whatsoever between the number of paid developers and the quality of the software produced. I am not going to cite examples because there are so many that I cannot even begin to count them. I am not saying that there is no good software being written by devs being paid to write it- yet quality is not a function of financial investement.

I cannot help but feel that a lot of the fanboyism I see here is inspired by capitalist fetishism brought on by very expensive product marketing. This same old mantra crops up over and over again leading to people worshiping Apple or Sun or Microsoft because of their financial success in the market- as if that was *the* measure of quality which really counts. These people go into orgasm when Apple farts, Sun hickups or Microsoft takes a dump.

Sun has after many, many years seen the light and embraced the culture of Free Software. Apple has made liberal use of Open Source software but remains at odds with the Free Software community. Google is built almost in it's entirety on Free Software and is a contributer to the Free Software community-But both Apple and Google still hedge their market success on propietary software, although Google positions itself as active members of the community and Apple positions itself as reluctant particpators.

The initial code dump by Netscape which gave birth to the Mozilla project was the single largest and most important gift to the Free Software world until Sun released Open Office and later Java. The birth of the Mozilla project was absolutely pivotal to the success we see today of Free Software-at a time when virtually no one was taking Free Software seriously, a choice few had the wisdom and insight to take such a bold step-without which we likely not have much of the Free Software we have today.

Apple did not simply give Webkit to the Free Software community- Apple based Webkit on work produced by the Free Software community and was obligated by it's Free Software license to share it with rest of the community. Netscape made the choice to freely offer their own work as did Sun-this distinction, the distinction between being obligated to share by the license and wanting to share, in order to create communites, is extremely significant to some of us.

So much of the hype around Webkit is coming from people who are being paid to promote it(most of the blogs I read which are so unconditionally, and uncritically support Webkit and demonize Mozilla are employees of Nokia(either via maemo in the GTK camp or Trolltech in the Qt camp). Whereas most of those who strongly support Mozilla have little to no financial interest in the Mozilla project.

I am glad to see that Webkit has spawned a large Free Software community-one that has proven a fertile ground for a large number of commerical startups springing up around Nokia and the larger mobile computing industry. I want to see Free Software developers also being financially successful, I do not begrudge them their commercial self-interest. But I do not swallow hook line and sinker much of what they boast in technical blogs which, when the double-speak is removed, is little more that corporate advertising.

I also believe that there is far more to Webkit than merely the financial interests behind it- I think there are sound technological design factors which contributed greatly to it's success. So a lot of the praise is genuine praise based on it's technical merits. But the genuine praise is often washed out by the tides of knee-jerk market identification and thinly veiled corporate advertising.

Google who has perhaps the largest financial interest in Mozilla has chosen Webkit for their browser work in Chrome and Android-but only after having renewed a multi-year contract with Mozilla. Google will support Mozilla as long as Mozilla has millions of user. It is simply not in their interest to weaken Mozilla. The opposite is the case. The more successful the Mozilla project is, the more the market opens up for Google web apps to compete with Microsofts dominance with IE and their Office software.

It is obvious to anyone who has payed attention to Googles offerings over the years: Google has no interest in creating desktop applications which absolutely dominate any particular market. They do however have an interest in dominating certain domains in the web service/application realm(search, maps, gmail, google docs, and of course their ongoing digitalization of documents).

And it may come to pass that there are more users using mobile web browsers than people running browsers on their desktop pc's. But that day has not come and we are talking about very, very different markets. Webkit based browsers on PC's have only a fraction of the user base which Mozilla enjoys.

Reply Score: 6

tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

This Webkit fanboyism is getting to the point of sheer absurdity. My question here is "where is the beef ?"- where are the Webkit browsers that are annihilating Mozilla Firefox ?. Safari ? Well how amazing a Apple marketed product for the Apple Computers is amazingly successful on Apple products. Konqueror- give me a break, perhaps with the newest QT4.4/4.5 developments it might become interesting. Chrome oh well I can totally see how Firefox devs must be jumping out the window because the blogosphere has a new hard on about a new Google beta product. Oh maybe you mean the iPhone, and the 0.05% of the cell phone using world who can afford, or want to afford the sexy status symbol.

Firefox commands close to 50% in the country where I live. It is not installed on every new computer you purchase- it is not bundled with the operating system and it has been growing, growing and growing in terms of actual usage. For 90% of computer users there is no competition between Webkit based browser and Firefox.

Guys lay off the cool-aid. It is getting really, really boring.


Let me guess: Finland?

Reply Score: 2

Is this just for starting a flame war ?
by Ikshaar on Tue 9th Sep 2008 17:04 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

Come on, Chrome is few days old. OSNews articles from 6 days ago listed it as "harmful" (http://www.osnews.com/story/20244/Google_Chrome_Considered_Harmful)

I am sure webkit is great and I applaud Google's work on a new browser who might become a major player but Chrome might also disappear as fast as it came. So as for the "Webkit popularity grows"...

I personally love FF3... and I see no reason whatsoever to switch the engine of a proven browser, always updated and developed.

Edited 2008-09-09 17:06 UTC

Reply Score: 3

source code reasons
by buff on Wed 10th Sep 2008 00:59 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

I looked at the source code for Mozilla after trying to compile it on my PC and it is huge and the API is unclear. I have heard that a lot of developers are using WebKit since they can understand the code and the API is clear. This is a distinct advantage for development. Clear and well defined code can make using it a joy.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by hussam
by hussam on Wed 10th Sep 2008 12:20 UTC
hussam
Member since:
2006-08-17

"Why Mozilla Is Committed to Gecko as WebKit Popularity Grows"

For heaven's sake, because Mozilla makes Gecko. why would Mozilla work one someone else's product?

And don't expect Mozilla to shutdown because someone else is making a more popular product. Mozilla is a big company with a lot of financial resources.

Edited 2008-09-10 12:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Breaking it down...
by chaosvoyager on Thu 11th Sep 2008 14:38 UTC
chaosvoyager
Member since:
2005-07-06

Gecko is a DOM/CSS renderer with a little (?!? perhaps a lot) extra under the hood (XPCOM, XUL, and the far too underappreciated XBL).

WebKit is a combination of two things: WebCore (the DOM/CSS renderer) and JavaScriptCore (the scripting engine).

Now Gecko is more than just an HTML renderer, and as such is more complex. WebCore is much more focused and streamlined, which in my experience makes it easier to port.

As far as the three Gecko extras go, I could easily do without XPCOM (a Microsoft COM 'clone') and XUL (just another UI markup). The only thing I wish I didn't have to live without is XBL. XBL allows XML elements to be defined like objects, and an XML document to be treated like a graph of objects. I just cannot express how obvious and useful this concept is, or how clearly XBL enables you to apply it, because I'm just too lazy.

But that's what Google is for.

So I'm glad to hear Mozilla is sticking with Gecko. I just wish they'd make more of an effort to stick XBL in places OTHER than Gecko.

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