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Browser engine monopolization

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Z_Ked
Occasional Contributor

I understand one of the reasons behind switching Microsoft Edge to a Chromium codebase/Blink rendering engine was to make it easier to update and increase cross-platform portability, as well as increasing its appeal to the end user. However, it is totally inappropriate to allow one company to single-handedly control the backbone of the entire World Wide Web.

 

Browser%2Bengine%2Bmarket%2Bshare_full

 

 

Google created the Blink rendering engine in 2013 as a fork of Apple's WebKit in order to facilitate development of its Chromium project. As can be seen in the graphic above, Blink and WebKit based browsers currently dominate nearly 90% of the market share. While it may have helped develop Chromium's unique multi-process architecture, it has also cemented Google's role in determining how web browsers perform their basic functions.

 

Blink's mission, as written on its homepage, is "To improve the open web through
technical innovation and good citizenship." How is dictating to the software industry just how their browsers should work at the base level "good citizenship"? How does it "improve the open web" and promote "innovation"?

 

Remember that a browser's rendering engine governs how and where HTML elements appear on-screen, as well as the interpretation of CSS style sheets; any change in that affects the whole user experience. The effect is even more pronounced when almost all browsers share the same engine. A common engine could encourage maintainers of Blink-based browsers to incorporate "non-standard" features that aren't part of the official W3C specifications. This can render websites inaccessible to users of other browsers, such as Firefox.

 

If Microsoft wants to adopt Chromium's UI, extension framework, etc., go for it. As for the rendering engine, Microsoft should continue to maintain and develop EdgeHTML, and at the very least offer it as an option to users of the new Edge; in no case should Blink be considered "the model" for standards compliance, but rather as one of many different models.

6 Replies
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Very well said, it's all True.
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@HotCakeX I'm not sure why anyone else isn't concerned. People won't want to use the new Edge because it'll be practically the same as Chrome. Whether they want to abandon EdgeHTML because they feel they'll have to release its source code or some other "secret" reason is beyond me.

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Another side effect of so many browsers using the same codebase or at least the same rendering engine is that any bugs or vulnerabilities in the original will trickle down to its derivatives. This is bad for online reliability and security.

Solution
So true again,
we've seen it multiple times, where a defect in Chromium source caused problem in Microsoft Edge insider channels.
In my opinion, Microsoft helped Chromium a lot so that shows they are capable of working on it and developing it further alone, without the help of Google, so I think why not create a fork or parallel project of Chromium (starting from version 80) and continue developing it side by side with Google.
like Google Chrome is proprietary freeware but Chromium is completely open-source.
so Microsoft can fork Chromium, call it a different name, keep it open-source so people can still contribute to the project, and it will be the source for the Edge insider. it will give Microsoft full control over the source code of their own browsers.
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Yep, nothing like giving the worlds largest data miner the control keys to the whole world. Either let us siphon your life or we'll just shut the world web down.....

Dennis5mile
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Yeah, it's scary when a single entity has too much control