Webkit vs. Mozilla: Should Firefox jump on the Webkit bandwagon?

As the Mozilla folks start making plans to plan for the Mozilla 2 codebase, Matt Gertner over at the AllPeers blog has a radical suggestion: Dump the Gecko rendering engine and embrace WebKit.

As the Mozilla folks start making plans to plan for the Mozilla 2 codebase, Matt Gertner over at the AllPeers blog has a radical suggestion: Dump the Gecko rendering engine and embrace WebKit.

According to Gertner, innovation in the area of “desktop-enabled web applications” would be accelerated “considerably if the open source world were to adopt a standard architectural stack for the web client, analogous to LAMP on the server side.” Further, Gertner says that the logical choices of “core components” include “WebKit, Tamarin and SQLite.” (Tamarin is a work-in-progress implementation of the ECMAScript 4th Edition language spec.)

Gertner’s post has a good rundown of the pro and con arguments for/against adopting WebKit in Mozilla. I don’t know if the WebKit idea will be taken seriously by the Moz folks, but — from the user’s perspective — I think it might be best for users in the long run if Mozilla, Apple, the KDE folks, and other projects could all agree on a single technology.

This would be particularly good for Linux users, since we benefit greatly from Web-based applications that are compatible with Firefox and other Linux-compatible browsers. Why write for one OS when you can write for Firefox and enable users on all three major platforms? It would make life much easier for Web developers if Safari and Firefox shared the same code for rendering HTML, CSS, and running JavaScript.

But, the desire to cooperate would have to overcome the dreaded Not Invented Here (NIH) syndrome, and I’m not sure that’s likely.

Comments on "Webkit vs. Mozilla: Should Firefox jump on the Webkit bandwagon?"


Encouraging a mono-culture has prices to pay as well. A better alternative may lie in strenuously encouraging all browser developers to support published standards, as well as established conventions.


At the risk of sounding as though I’m on another planet…

I am one of those persons who does not see the complexity and ‘stack depth’ of the ‘web 2′ and ‘web 3′ era. I’m very much a fan of the ‘KISS’ or ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ approach.

Why have a client-side UI embedded in a browser? Why code in a way that, by nature of the legacy infrastructure, must be splattered almost randomly across the (very different) dynamic push-pull, stateful (web 2) and pull-only, stateless (web 1) paradigms?

Why don’t we draw a line in the sand between stateless one-way information internet data repositories and dynamic, 2 way stateful internet software systems.

The internet infrastructure is getting sloppy under it’s own momentum. As people who know something about data, software and networking, let’s not contributing to the growing mess of hodge-podge systems and (non)interoperability.


I would be happy to have one less platform to test on, however neither platform I think is good enough to chuck out for the other. Both systems have some great things going for them, both have some issues. I think we should be pushing all browser developers to have better standards compliance. IE has made some great strides towards compliance in the last couple of major releases. It just isn’t as hard to get things to look the same and thats nice. There is still much work to be done here.

I’d really like to see “Web 3.0″, web 2.0 is really more like web web 1.2 used wrong but in a really nice way. I think the browser paradigm is wearing a little thin. We need something that is made to handle stateful applications, not something that is hacked to.

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