One less browser engine

It’s a sad day for the Web. Opera Software has announced the following:

this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers.

This means that there will be less diversity with rendering engines. Why is this an issue? My colleague Robert O’Callahan explains why it’s bad for the Web.

We’re also losing an ally in the battle for Web standards: Opera’s voice in Web standards discussions has always been important. But they soon won’t have their own browser engine, and they have recently laid off quite a few people in their “developer relations” program.

From a business standpoint, it may make some sense for Opera to stop being the sole investor in their proprietary browser engine. The upside of this announcement is that Opera has finally understood the value of Open Source.

But while this may make sense for Opera’s shareholders, it’s not a good thing for the Open Web. More than ever today, the not-for-profit nature of Mozilla and its commitment to protect the Open nature of the Web matter.

Some more reading:

7 responses

  1. Christophe Brocas wrote on :

    You are right on the benefits of the diversity. One another question is also why they choose v8 and webkit. And, there, Mozilla should have an (re)action I think.

    1. tom jones wrote on :

      “One another question is also why they choose v8 and webkit. ”

      they have chosen webkit because of the important number missing from that press release: 500 million iDevices, that could never ever have (Presto) Opera, where only webkit (and not even V8) is allowed..

      1. Christophe Brocas wrote on :

        But also may be because technically embedding Gecko seems to be much more difficult.

        1. tom jones wrote on :

          it may be, but it is not the reason in this case. they say it in their own press release, the two main reasons are:
          1) they wish to ship Opera on iOS (which must be based on webkit), and
          1) most mobile websites are written for webkit (so switching to gecko doesn’t help there)

          so, no, you are wrong.

  2. Nico wrote on :

    Furthermore, Gecko is the last render engine which is not driven by business. Hope it will never die.

  3. hmm wrote on :

    They should at least release the source for their now-deprecated renderer then!

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