Microsoft may have waved the proverbial flag of surrender when it announced its new direction for its web browsing development, but one of the last remaining Chromium-adoption holdouts, Mozilla, just got some help from staunch advocates of competition, when faced by offbeat pressure from Microsoft engineers to convert.
Kenneth Auchenberg, a program manager on the Code team at Microsoft responded via Twitter to a post that recently went up on the blog.mozilla.org site about the company’s decision to forego EdgeHTML development in favor of future Chromium development for its upcoming browser efforts.
Thought: It's time for @mozilla to get down from their philosophical ivory tower. The web is dominated by Chromium, if they really *cared* about the web they would be contributing instead of building a parallel universe that's used by less than 5%?https://t.co/0zi2NCtzb4
— Kenneth Auchenberg (@auchenberg) January 25, 2019
Auchenberg’s seemingly flippant response was counter by both the open web crowd as well as a Mozilla engineer himself, all advocating for the persistence demand in companies offering competition in the form of web standards.
Hey, Mozilla engineer and Chromium committer too here… Not having multiple implementations of the web means that the web stops being an open platform… People start relying on Chromium bugs, and standards / specs become useless, making innovating impossible.
— Emilio (@ecbos_) January 26, 2019
Auchenberg addresses Emilio’s concerns with a solid argument that at this point, the market has spoken and development focus for companies should be on the contribution of open source code rather than pandering to the notion of a separate rendering engine. Theoretically, focus on a single open source code should expedite innovation rather than stifle it, as every participating party is bringing new implementations constantly.
2) This complexity it's incredibly expensive to implement a web runtime. Even for Google/Microsoft it's hard to justify such investment that would take thousands of engineers in multiple years.
The web has become too capable for multi engines, just like many frameworks.
— Kenneth Auchenberg (@auchenberg) January 26, 2019
The entire exchange between web advocates, Mozilla, and Microsoft engineers are punctuated with a single ominous tweet from former Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal who chimes in with “I’m afraid this will not end well,” as another Mozilla engineer levies the quitter card at Microsoft for its decision to adopt Chromium.
I’m afraid this tweet will not age well :-/
— andreasgal (@andreasgal) January 27, 2019
Gal now works Apple on undisclosed projects, but with Mozilla struggling to keep market share and as user behavior settles into a natural dichotomy of selection, the argument held by open web advocates and Mozilla engineers may become moot sooner rather than later by order of the ‘free market.’