Skip to comments.It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine
Posted on 12/06/2018 9:19:13 PM PST by dayglored
RIP: The Edge is dead... as in the EdgeHTML layout code
Microsoft on Thursday said it intends to use the open-source Chromium browser engine in the desktop version of its Edge browser, promising the two per cent of global internet users who favor Edge an improved web experience.
Joe Belfiore, corporate veep of Windows, announced the plan, which was reported earlier this week. "Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences," he said.
One of those audiences may be macOS users, who despite not clamoring for Edge should have access to Microsoft's browser at some point: Belfiore said the company expects to bring Edge to other platforms like macOS.
Web developers have the most to gain. They can expect fewer incompatibility issues, which continue to bedevil the web ecosystem. As can be seen from caniuse.com, a website that shows which features are available in which browsers, there's still a lot of fragmentation and quirky browser behavior.
As the same time, the emerging Chromium monoculture could have a downside. Vulnerabilities in the open source project may affect a broader set of browsers and innovations developed for Safari and Firefox may not be adopted elsewhere. Chromium is the foundation of Google Chrome, though the open source project is distinct from the company-owned browser.
In a slightly cheeky tweet Sean Lyndersay, principal lead program manager for Microsoft Edge, pointed out that his team needs new developers for the browser.
I feel like this may be an appropriate time to mention: We're hiring. :) https://t.co/nq0y10jRgF Sean Lyndersay (@SeanOnTwt) December 6, 2018
The new Edge won't be a Universal Windows Platform app in order to make it usable outside of Windows 10, which accounts for about half of all Windows installations. Instead, it will be build in accordance with the Win32 API, for compatibility with Windows 7 and 8 as well as 10. A preview release is planned for early 2019.
Microsoft's decision to change browser engines in mid-flight demonstrates the difficulty of matching the pace of active open source projects. Once Edge shifts to a Chromium foundation, the company intends to deliver browser updates for all Windows versions "on a more frequent cadence."
Students of web history may recall Mozilla in 2011 did something similar, shifting to a shorter release cycle for Firefox in response to Google's rapid-fire Chrome updates.
Microsoft's decision to shift Edge to Chromium is less surprising in light of Edge for Android and iOS, which run on the Blink rendering engine from Chromium and WebKit (the basis of Apple's Safari browser) respectively.
Microsoft has outlined its intended plan of action in a GitHub post. In the near term, the company said it intends to finish porting the Chromium codebase to support ARM-64, to improve accessibility in Chromium via Microsoft assistive technology, to add support for modern input mechanisms like touch controls, and to contribute to ongoing security hardening.
"This is a big step for Microsoft, for the Microsoft Edge team, and we recognize it will be a big step for the Chromium project as well," the company says. "We are enthusiastic about the benefit we believe this will bring to the larger web community."
Meanwhile... Firefox maker Mozilla isn't happy, blogging today that: "Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google."
The software foundation has a point. "Making Google more powerful is risky on many fronts," said Moz's Chris Beard.
"And a big part of the answer depends on what the web developers and businesses who create services and websites do. If one product like Chromium has enough market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to decide not to worry if their services and sites work with anything other than Chromium."
Unless it doesn't run it very well. That would be... the engine Microsoft created for Edge. It does not compare well with the Chromium engine that powers Google's Chrome browser. Even the engine in Firefox is better than Edge's.
So Microsoft ate some crow, admitted that the Edge engine... well... sucks. And adopted the competition's engine.
The good news for Edge is that the browser, whose poor performance and behavior failed to catch the approval of more than a tiny fraction of Win10 users, may fare a little better now that it will use an engine that works better.
Never could get Edge to work. It would just sit there and spin, endlessly.
Yeah, I hear ya. I mentioned this news about Edge for the probably small number of FReepers who either use Edge by choice, or are forced to use it at work. Better days are coming...
Personally I never imagined I would fondly remember Internet Explorer, but Edge managed to accomplish that feat.
Actually, for me the most exciting part of this news is that the revamped Edge will be compatible with Windows 7 and 8.1. That’s a big deal, given that Win7 is still the version of choice for half of the world’s Windows users.
Edge is the browser cousin of the Zune music player.
I'll never understand why Microsoft still retains its old assumption that it can produce shite software and users will just lap it up. That horse died 10 years ago with Vista.
I used Edge only for those few sites that were utterly hostile to my ad blockers.
Brave is also built on Chromium. Safari no longer has a Windows version. Firefox has done everything wrong over the last two years.
I HATE the Chrome/Chromium interface. I don’t trust anything with origins in Google. I want a separate search bar and a regular menu.
I am pessimistic about where the browsers are going.
hey, day, hope you know, no disrespect intended.
I appreciate your effort to keep us informed about the decrepit ms product line (which, sadly, I use...)
IE11 and Edge give us problems at work with pages not loading or error messages popping up. Chrome is quicker. Firefox is what I use and it is very good but if websites are made with chrome in mind then it is back to the Internet Explorer vs Netscape days.
Oh, no problem, I didn't take it as disrespect at all :-)
I thought your oil change comment was pretty witty; I hope you don't mind if I adapt it for similar use in future exchanges.
At work we have some customized applications that the developers did using the Google Chrome browser, and they don’t work worth a d@mn with Edge, and even Firefox doesn’t render correctly. Annoying as hell — they claim they did a lot of compatibility testing, but found that only Chrome would support the things they were required to do.
And given that the browser is the access interface of the future for d@mn near everything, it's especially concerning.
I’m shocked that it’s that high.
Once I started using Edge after the organization gave me a Surface Pro w/Win10, I decided I liked it. I was previously all about IE11 (??) but Edge seemed to perform better. The issue became that some legacy apps and new apps didn’t want to work in Edge. The VPN was happier with IE, the Oracle-based CRM was happier with Chrome. These behind-the-scenes dramas in tech-world are not enhancing the user experience except in the minds of the nerds.
[ Firefox has done everything wrong over the last two years ]
Does that include updating it every two weeks? (or more?)
It has just gotten worse and worse. Hangs all the time. Especially seems to hold you for ransom until you submit to the update. I’m really getting tired of Firefox’s shenanigans.
They’re stretching it...or dropped a leading decimal point.
Circa 1973 the movie “Roller Ball” was in the theaters. In this dystopian world, corporations ruled the world and they were simply extensions of the nation states and in control. They were the nation state.
It was a great movie but a warning just as 1984 was a warning. The leftist corporate states of today, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, the vast majority of the media etc. are an existential threat to our republic. Oddly the corporate states in the movie were portrayed as neither right or left but just corporate tyranny. Corporate tyranny can be either left or right.
They are the face of tyranny. George Orwell was right.
Orwell completed his greatest novel living alone on the Isle of Jura off the Scotish coast. Summers there are wonderful. The winter is brutal. His warmth in his cottage was by oil fired stoves and his light at night was by lantern. It was a most fitting place for him to complete his greatest novel. He was dying from Tuberculosis.
After completion of his great work he returned to London and it was published. In his few years left his family cared for him. He was a brilliant man.
He went to Spain during the revolution and fought for the communists as a Republican. In Spain he found the evilness of Marxism. Oddly he was wounded not by Franco’s troops but by fights between Marxist forces.
He returned to England as a libertarian and light socialist. He abhorred Marxism on his return. If he had of lived longer he would have been a hard core conservative if he had seen what the socialism brought to his nation.
Franco saved Spain from the communists. Juan Carlos his appointed heir saved Spain from Franco after Franco’s death.
Juan Carlos was to be the king of Spain with absolute dictatorial powers of a king. Upon Franco’s death Juan Carlos did assume these powers and then lead Spain to immediate democracy (he should have made it a republic but that is a different conversation).
The military revolted against Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos had no army as the army was his foe. Juan Carlos walked into parliament and demanded the military step down. They did. Those at the top of the military were old men and did remember the horror of the Spanish Civil War in their youth. They had no stomach to repeat this.
Juan Carlos saved Spain.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.