Apple needs to open source Safari...

Posted:
in Mac Software
..or risk being forced to fork Chromium like Microsoft did:

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/the-web-now-belongs-to-google-and-that-should-worry-us-all/

Now that Microsoft will abandon Edge and fork Chromium, the only cross-platform browser aside from Chrome and Chromium derivatives will be Firefox.  The Mozilla foundation doesn't have deep pockets and Firefox is losing browser market share.

If Apple doesn't open source Safari and make it cross platform (Mac, Windows, *and Linux*), it risks once again losing the browser wars and ceding control of the web to Google.   There's a good reason why Jobs refused to support Flash on iOS:  He didn't want to risk iOS having to support the lowest common-denominator APIs.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,683member
    WebKit, the rendering engine of Safari, has been open-source for a decade and a half. 
    edited December 2018 gatorguymikef
  • Reply 2 of 6
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    ..or risk being forced to fork Chromium like Microsoft did:

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/the-web-now-belongs-to-google-and-that-should-worry-us-all/

    Now that Microsoft will abandon Edge and fork Chromium, the only cross-platform browser aside from Chrome and Chromium derivatives will be Firefox.  The Mozilla foundation doesn't have deep pockets and Firefox is losing browser market share.

    If Apple doesn't open source Safari and make it cross platform (Mac, Windows, *and Linux*), it risks once again losing the browser wars and ceding control of the web to Google.   There's a good reason why Jobs refused to support Flash on iOS:  He didn't want to risk iOS having to support the lowest common-denominator APIs.
    Chrome already has the majority of web share. In a way it's bad but preferable to IE having a majority share. Apple has full control over their own platforms so Mac/iOS will always use Safari.

    There are two parts to consider: the browser app itself and the rendering engine. Chromium is the browser, which previously used the Webkit engine same as Safari. Then it switched to Blink engine, which is a fork of Webkit. Firefox is the browser part, which uses Gecko engine. IE and Edge use Trident/EdgeHTML engine.

    Now IE/Edge and Trident/EdgeHTML will finally, thankfully die off, leaving Safari/Webkit, Firefox/Gecko, Chrome/Blink, Microsoft-Chrome/Blink and Opera/Blink.

    I would be happy if Firefox switched to Blink or Webkit too. I think it is better for browsers to have as few rendering engines as possible to ensure broad compatibility of web content. The browser front-end can be anything but obviously takes a lot of resources to manage. Chromium has 24m lines of code, Firefox has 36m, which is as much as an entire operating system. This is why it's good to have the groups working together because they are effectively doing the same work twice when working on separate projects.

    There is reason to be concerned about giving Google this level of control, especially if the report is true from the Microsoft developer that Google kept deliberately breaking other browsers' performance by modifying Youtube to break their hardware acceleration and page loading speed:

    https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/google-tricks-led-microsoft-to-pick-chromium-claims-alleged-former-edge-developer-1964584
    https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3068413/google-sabotage-microsoft-edge

    However, it's an open source project so whoever takes a branch from it can do what they want and if Google later decided to take the project in a direction that wasn't right for anyone else, they'd just go their own route from that point just as Google did with Blink.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    spheric said:
    WebKit, the rendering engine of Safari, has been open-source for a decade and a half. 
    There's no Linux binary available for download (on my Linux VM, it still prompts me to download the Mac version).  AFAIK, there's no Windows version either.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 4 of 6
    Marvin said:
    ..or risk being forced to fork Chromium like Microsoft did:

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/the-web-now-belongs-to-google-and-that-should-worry-us-all/

    Now that Microsoft will abandon Edge and fork Chromium, the only cross-platform browser aside from Chrome and Chromium derivatives will be Firefox.  The Mozilla foundation doesn't have deep pockets and Firefox is losing browser market share.

    If Apple doesn't open source Safari and make it cross platform (Mac, Windows, *and Linux*), it risks once again losing the browser wars and ceding control of the web to Google.   There's a good reason why Jobs refused to support Flash on iOS:  He didn't want to risk iOS having to support the lowest common-denominator APIs.
    Chrome already has the majority of web share. In a way it's bad but preferable to IE having a majority share. Apple has full control over their own platforms so Mac/iOS will always use Safari.

    There are two parts to consider: the browser app itself and the rendering engine. Chromium is the browser, which previously used the Webkit engine same as Safari. Then it switched to Blink engine, which is a fork of Webkit. Firefox is the browser part, which uses Gecko engine. IE and Edge use Trident/EdgeHTML engine.

    Now IE/Edge and Trident/EdgeHTML will finally, thankfully die off, leaving Safari/Webkit, Firefox/Gecko, Chrome/Blink, Microsoft-Chrome/Blink and Opera/Blink.

    I would be happy if Firefox switched to Blink or Webkit too. I think it is better for browsers to have as few rendering engines as possible to ensure broad compatibility of web content. The browser front-end can be anything but obviously takes a lot of resources to manage. Chromium has 24m lines of code, Firefox has 36m, which is as much as an entire operating system. This is why it's good to have the groups working together because they are effectively doing the same work twice when working on separate projects.

    There is reason to be concerned about giving Google this level of control, especially if the report is true from the Microsoft developer that Google kept deliberately breaking other browsers' performance by modifying Youtube to break their hardware acceleration and page loading speed:

    https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/google-tricks-led-microsoft-to-pick-chromium-claims-alleged-former-edge-developer-1964584
    https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3068413/google-sabotage-microsoft-edge

    However, it's an open source project so whoever takes a branch from it can do what they want and if Google later decided to take the project in a direction that wasn't right for anyone else, they'd just go their own route from that point just as Google did with Blink.
    So, here's how I see it:

    1) There's definitely no binary available for Linux, and, AFAIK, for Windows either, from webkit.org.  This will hurt adoption.
    2) I agree with you that Firefox should absolutely adopt WebKit instead of Gecko.  At this point, it's a fool's errand for a tiny org like Mozilla to maintain their own browser engine.
    3) My employer uses Google Docs, and I've found the performance of all Docs web apps deficient, but especially Slides, on Firefox as opposed to Chrome.  Slides performs atrociously on Firefox (well, on Linux, anyway).  In fact, I had the same problem with Chromium with Google Docs, which I found odd.
    4) As you accurately pointed out, since Apple has in fact open source WebKit, I find it concerning that no forks have appeared.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,683member
    Chrome‘s Blink is a fork of WebKit. 
  • Reply 6 of 6
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,675member
    spheric said:
    Chrome‘s Blink is a fork of WebKit. 
    ...which itself was originally a fork of the KHTML and KJS libraries from KDE. Just as Apple did with their fork Google did the same with Blink: Open-sourced. 
    edited December 2018
Sign In or Register to comment.