Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas Edge is dead

Microsoft recently made the announcement that they were abandoning their efforts with EdgeHTML and moving to the Chromium rendering engine for Microsoft Edge.  While some like Leo Laporte and the Mozilla team are decrying the move saying its going to put us in another mono culture like we had with Microsoft Internet Explorer; I disagree.  Leo and the Mozilla team have a right to their opinions and yes they are PARTLY right but its more complicated than that.

The Chromium engine is an open source effort.  This means that anyone can come along and submit code and changes and security researchers can find bugs much quicker and potentially patch and fix much faster.  So its not going to be like IE where we were relying on one company to release fixes.  Look, the web has changed.  We have gone from static web pages to progressive web apps, browser based apps and extensions.  Web developers dont want to write for 3 or 4 different browsers and rendering engines.  Its too complicated and can get messy.  I have always advocated that certain  things should be open source.  Device drivers, should be open sourced and if you go back to 2002 and find some of my earlier posts from when I was in college I said BROWSERS should be open source.  It just makes too much sense.  Because if Microsoft, Apple, Google, HP, Dell, Canon, Kodak if they didnt want to write drivers for operating systems the community should be able to write good device drivers and not reverse engineer and "rig" something to work.

When I said Leo and the Mozilla team are concerned and that they were partly right.  I am concerned as well.  I keep thinking about Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates and IE for Unix.  Part of me has the thinking, "Well what if Microsoft takes Chromium, forks it themselves and add a bunch of proprietary stuff to it and creates a big lump of something" and its a valid concern.  Anyone who is a real technologist would be lying to you if they say that the thought hasnt come across their own thinking.

The big question; would we bring it to Linspire?  That depends on IF they port it to Linux and if they deliver something that is high quality.  I think we were the first distribution to carry PowerShell included.  To me its not about ideology its about the technology.  Linspire does include Google Chrome by default and Freespire does include Chromium but would we move to Edge if it came to Linux.  Probably.  Our customers have long requested a non Googlefied version of Chrome and while yes we have Brave, Iron, Vivaldi and Opera its still a concern and something we will have to address sooner rather than later.