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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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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

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 Parent Score: 4

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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2