Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
Jonathon Delacour writes about the recent fooflah with Mark Pilgrim, but also brings another topic to the table — Apple’s Safari browser. He has this to say about it, after finding out that it currently renders part of his web site incorrectly:
Rather that—just at the point where the Gecko-based browsers are starting to give Internet Explorer some real competition—Apple goes with another rendering engine. How stupid is that? Could someone explain the Byzantine politics that went into the decision? Do you really find it inexplicable that I can’t quite bring myself to buy a Macintosh? Despite all the effort that’s gone into establishing a realistic alternative browser, Apple goes off on yet another ego trip. As someone I know would say:
How about some fucking payoff now? How about some fucking compatibility?
One of the concerns about Mozilla has been and continues to be its infrastructure, and the overhead associated with it. This is one of the reasons I like it — it provides a terrific cross-platform UI development system. However, this cross-platform capability has always come with a small cost: Many of Mozilla’s components are not optimized for specific tasks as much as they are optimized for compatibility, interoperability, and extensibility, first.
According to an email from the Safari engineering manager, posted at the kfm-devel forum, this optimization is one of the main reasons why Apple went with KHTML rather than Mozilla’s Gecko:
The number one goal for developing Safari was to create the fastest web
browser on Mac OS X. When we were evaluating technologies over a year
ago, KHTML and KJS stood out. Not only were they the basis of an
excellent modern and standards compliant web browser, they were also
less than 140,000 lines of code. The size of your code and ease of
development within that code made it a better choice for us than other
open source projects. Your clean design was also a plus.
(Thanks to rc3.org daily for link)
Personally, my preference would have been that the Apple folks work with Mozilla and use the Gecko layout engine, adding their expertise to improve the product, but I am still pleased that they are using open source technology in their curious ‘open-commercial-semi-source’ mix.
Additionally, I think it’s essential to have competing open source browser products even though this ‘looks’ like the open source community is giving browser share to Microsoft and it’s IE. Any product that has monopoly on a specific market, regardless of the altruism of its founders and developers, is not healthy for said market.
Case in point: I may think there can never be another web server as good as Apache, but I hope there always is web servers other than Apache.