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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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 Google chooses Webkit and suddently it's like gecko is outdated.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 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:21 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:40 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 Parent Score: 4

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

iCab and Omniweb are Mac-only browsers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Epiphany?
by milles21 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 12:43 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Epiphany?
by Daniel Borgmann on Tue 9th Sep 2008 13:45 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by sorpigal on Tue 9th Sep 2008 14:13 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Epiphany?
by agrouf on Tue 9th Sep 2008 17:08 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 Parent Score: 3

RE: Epiphany?
by kaiwai on Wed 10th Sep 2008 02:43 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 Parent Score: 0