MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

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MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby van p » Wed, 05 Dec 2018, 06:42

https://www.ghacks.net/2018/12/04/rumor-microsoft-dropping-edge-browser-in-favor-of-chromium/

What's wrong with peoples' thought process that the world isn't allowed to have more than a lousy 2 browsers that are considered credible?
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby roytam1 » Wed, 05 Dec 2018, 07:09

So chrome is a monopoly now, the 21st century IE6.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby Moonchild » Wed, 05 Dec 2018, 10:02

It's nothing but a rumor and conjecture at the moment.
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby athenian200 » Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 12:43

I hope this isn't true. Pale Moon and Microsoft Edge are the main two browsers I rely on because I want nothing to do with Google or Chromium. :/

As weird as this might sound, I've been relying on Microsoft pretty heavily the past few years to avoid Google. I barely count Firefox as a real Chrome alternative because they use so many Google services in the browser itself, and seem really dependent on them. Edge is at least a genuine non-Chromium browser with its own engine and its own SmartScreen technology that owes nothing to Google. They've been the only ones big or powerful enough to provide a real alternative platform to most of what they offer. But the fact of the matter is, they're losing the battle.

First, it was just little things, like Groove Music being pulled and me having to download all my purchased albums manually by a certain date so I wouldn't lose them forever. Then I was told support for Windows 10 Mobile ends in December 2019. They disabled SMS Sync between my Windows Phone and Skype, and Skype support just bluntly told me to switch to Android if I want it back. And now, rumor has it Edge is going to be just another Blink/Chromium browser like Vivaldi and Opera? It seems like on every front, Microsoft is ceding ground to Google and realizing they can't compete.

Another unnerving thing is that Mozilla Firefox is now below 10% market share on Desktop alone (not even counting mobile). I hope that Pale Moon can somehow continue on after Mozilla either fades away entirely, or throws in the towel and becomes Blink-based.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby mr tribute » Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 17:32

It's official.

For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world’s largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we’re announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge — but other browsers as well — better on both PCs and other devices.


https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperi ... aboration/

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby CharmCityCrab » Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 20:22

Mozilla responds:

Mozilla meanwhile sees Microsoft’s move as further validation that users should switch to Firefox.

“This just increases the importance of Mozilla’s role as the only independent choice,” a Mozilla spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We are not going to concede that Google’s implementation of the web is the only option consumers should have. That’s why we built Firefox in the first place and why we will always fight for a truly open web.”

Mozilla regularly points out it develops the only independent browser — meaning it’s not tied to a tech company that has priorities which often don’t align with the web. Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), and Microsoft (Edge) all have their own corporate interests.


Source: https://venturebeat.com/2018/12/06/goog ... -chromium/

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 21:20

The only independent browser eh? I know of Three and a half UXP-based browser projects that might disagree with that.. Also, isn't safari's Webkit NOT Chromium/Blink following its own course?

Also, THEY ARE A TECH COMPANY out for profit.. A increasingly irrelevant one at that.

Just more Fake News.
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby van p » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 06:52

The article I referenced to start this thread talked about replacing Edge. Microsoft's info said nothing would change (except under the hood) and did not mention a project or product code name. Can anybody explain this; is something going to change that would be meaningful to the average user, whatever the name of the browser?
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby athenian200 » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 07:27

van p wrote:The article I referenced to start this thread talked about replacing Edge. Microsoft's info said nothing would change (except under the hood) and did not mention a project or product code name. Can anybody explain this; is something going to change that would be meaningful to the average user, whatever the name of the browser?


Edge currently uses a rendering engine called EdgeHTML, which is a cleaned-up version of Internet Explorer's Trident engine. The rumor I've heard is that Microsoft Edge was trying to be "bug-for-bug" compatible with WebKit and pushing to improve their engine as much as possible, while leaving IE11 as the legacy browser for corporate intranets and websites that require ActiveX controls, etc.

What this means is that Edge will switch to the Blink engine that is part of Chromium, but will likely retain the same user interface. A lot of people may not notice anything changing at all, except that Edge now renders pages EXACTLY like Chrome. I think part of the reason for this is that frameworks like Electron rely heavily on Chromium, and Chrome basically has over 70% of the market now anyway. Microsoft's Progressive Web App initiative is running into a wall because of EdgeHTML not being a drop-in replacement for Chromium and requiring too much tweaking. On top of that, many web developers don't bother to test against anything except Blink and WebKit anymore, so engines like EdgeHTML, Gecko, or Goanna that have a significantly different heritage from the dominant WebKit/Blink family are at a disadvantage.

Finally, because Edge on Android already uses Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store, Microsoft would probably just as soon devote their development efforts to improve and have input into the engine that Google is forcing them to use anyway. It's actually pretty smart from that perspective. They could back WebKit, sure, but Apple at least passively discourages the development of WebKit browsers for Windows, and far more smartphone users are on Android than iOS. Since Windows Phone is dead, EdgeHTML is doomed to be nothing more than a desktop-only browser engine, which is a death sentence in a mobile-first world.

I get why they did it, but it's a cautionary tale about how hard it is for even a big, powerful company like Microsoft to avoid bending the knee to Google one way or another in order to survive.
Last edited by athenian200 on Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 07:46, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby van p » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 08:35

Thanks, athenian200, that clarifies things pretty well for a non-technical person. I welcome any other perspectives on the issue also. Thanks again.
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby Moonchild » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 09:44

My perspective on this is that it makes for a dangerous future for the web.

Adoption of Edge has been low because it is Win 10 exclusive. So they put a lot of effort into something with very little adoption. Instead of making it available on all mainstream windows versions they would now discard several years of development. EdgeHTML is a definite step up from Trident in terms of JS compatibility and standards compliance. But I guess being able to fire all those developers and get a "free" engine in Blink is appealing too.

In the Chromium-only future UXP's future would be in danger, because Google will get more freedom to make arbitrary changes than it already does in Chromium and we'll just fall by the wayside as the ugly duckling. Mozilla with its dwindling market share will of course try to appeal to Edge users and offer an alternative, but ultimately they are, due to their own actions, becoming insignificant in the browser market.
If literally everything mainstream is using Chromium and all "apps" use Chromium, it will become 100% our fault for not having exact Chromium parity in features and rendering -- standards will mean absolutely nothing in that world because the standard will literally be the one implementation of the standards and nothing else. Browser parity and spec compliance will become hollow terms.
I know how Chromium devs tend to work. They will just implement what they wish and are only kept in check by resistance from other browser's devs pointing out specs and issues with implementations.
IE and Edge have been efficient "control rods" thus far to keep that in check.

It would become a monoculture for the entire world with Google holding master control over it (because who decides what bugs will be addressed?...)
It's also risky -- one vulnerability or backdoor would immediately affect everything.

It's also quite possible that antitrust will happen in this monoculture with Google holding all keys, but that will likely take time, and damage done to the web in the interim can be severe.

Even if so, UXP as a platform might still have use outside of "web browser" in that monoculture, but the reality is that UXP gets its sustainability from Pale Moon.
Time will tell, I guess, but it looks rather bleak if things play out like I fear they will. In the meantime, we will just continue with business as usual and provide the best applications we can based on Goanna.
Last edited by Moonchild on Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 09:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby Aube Bleue » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 19:14

Moonchild wrote:Time will tell, I guess, but it looks rather bleak if things play out like I fear they will.

Rather bleak, indeed: The State of Web Browsers (Late 2018 edition). :(

Moonchild wrote:In the meantime, we will just continue with business as usual and provide the best applications we can based on Goanna.

I wish this project the best of luck to do so! <3
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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby CharmCityCrab » Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 23:45

athenian200 wrote:Finally, because Edge on Android already uses Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store


This part is inaccurate. The Google Play Store does not mandate that web browsers use Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store. The Android version of Firefox listed in the Google Play Store, for example, uses Gecko. There are other examples.

If Pale Moon wanted to revive it's Android port, it could, if it chose to, use Goanna as it's rendering engine and still be listed by the Google Play Store.

Microsoft made a choice to use Blink on it's Android version of Edge from it's debut on that platform. I imagine that they likely knew what was coming for the Windows version of Edge, and felt like it didn't make sense to go to the trouble of porting EdgeHTML to a mobile browser only to have to redesign it as a Blink based browser a few months later (Edge's Android debt was fairly recent, much later than the original Edge for Windows).

You may be thinking of iOS, iPhone's operating system, where all browsers in their store (Which is all of their browsers, because iPhones don't allow third-party stores or sideloaded apps) have to use the built-in Webkit-based rendering framework, essentially limiting third party browsers for iPhones to be being fancy skins or unique user interfaces for what is basically Safari under the hood. Mozilla refused to do an iOS port for many years because of this Apple policy, before eventually giving in and using the Webkit-based rendering framework required by that operating system (But only for that operating system).

Google has never limited Android browsers, or even Android browsers listed in the Google Play Store, in a similar fashion. A lot of browsers just choose Blink or Webkit for their Android ports because they know a lot of mobile websites are designed with those rendering engines in mind and it's an easy way to get automatic compatibility and leave less work for the developer, but none of them have to.

Actually, the ability to choose a web browser that is truly different and has an add-on infrastructure is one of the reasons I prefer Android to iOS. For the most part, iOS only offers the illusion of choice, or surface level choice, while ultimately keeping you tied to Apple's vision whether you like it or not. I guess I can see why some people prefer iOS percisely for that reason- Apple tends to be trendy and user friendly, and a lot of people would prefer that a company like that decide for them, to making their own choices. I prefer to make my own choices, though.

Besides, I've always thought that even if I wanted my choices made for me, I could do that simply by picking a good Android phone and going with the defaults.
Last edited by CharmCityCrab on Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 23:47, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby CharmCityCrab » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 00:17

Moonchild wrote:My perspective on this is that it makes for a dangerous future for the web.


I have significant concerns about this as well. I typed something semi-lengthy on the Windows 10 thread, so I won't repeat all that on this thread, but, just briefly:

It's not that I necessarily have a problem with Blink/Webkit as a rendering engine, it's that I have a problem with any one rendering engine becoming a monopoly. There are all kinds of completely foreseeable problems that stem from that.

I see this as a prelude to something similar to the dark days where Internet Explorer 5 and 6 were essentially required for browsing many sites, were rarely developed, did not adhere to standards, and had significant security vulnerabilities that viruses and malwares could exploit on essentially everyone's computer. Diversity is good for consumers in a whole host of ways of ways, and it's on the ropes in this sphere. I am not sure how long Firefox will stick to Gecko if they are stuck in a perpetual game of catch-up trying to render things the Blink/Webkit way to keep compatibility with most of the web- we were already potentially entering that territory even before Microsoft fell, and now it's likely to get worse. With Firefox under 10% in desktop market share (I've seen at least one estimate that puts it under 5%) and around a half of a percent at best on mobile, a lot of desktop sites aren't even testing their sites with it- they just design for Chrome, test in Chrome, and tell anyone using a browser other than Chrome who has a problem to use Chrome. If they have a mobile site, they are testing for Safari and Chrome, and both have similar rendering engines (Blink is a fork of Webkit).

Now, Microsoft is joining Google and Apple in using essentially the same rendering engine, and the same java engine as Google. Firefox is the last *major* holdout, and even how major they are is debatable given the percentages. If more than 9 out of 10 browsers are using something Blink or Webkit based, even many of the sites that now support other browsers or at least have fallbacks for them, or that code somewhat to standards, are likely to stop doing so in the long run. I wonder how long it'll be before some sites just block user-agents from browsers with unique rendering engines- it already happens a lot to smaller browsers, but we might even get to the point where it happens to browsers like Firefox. I wonder if Firefox would try a fake user agent before switching to Blink, or just switch, if it comes to that. Being the only major one left out there is going to make them easier to ignore, as opposed to a situation where Chrome has the largest marketshare, but there were several other browsers with different web engines that combined had to be considered at least a little bit.

I'm glad Pale Moon is sticking with Goanna, because I do think Firefox is going to wind up based on Blink eventually (I hope not, I just can't see them hanging in there once users stop being able to visit banking sites and the like). I think Pale Moon will hold out longer. However, I am not sure how usable any browser will be that uses it's own rendering engine in the long-run in a world dominated by one rendering engine to rule them all. Using a browser without Blink will essentially be a form of protest- there are going to be things that just don't work and a lot of completely uncooperative website developers. A lot of Google's stuff doesn't work well with anything other than Webkit-based browsers *now*, I think we can count on that to get more pronounced.

The one plus to the situation now as opposed to the situation in the Internet Explorer era is that even if the web goes to being designed for a single rendering engine, because that rendering engine is open-source, we're likely still going to have several browsers with their own user interfaces and branding around to choose from. However, that's still not as good as we had it when there were 3 or 4 rendering engines that had significant marketshare and people had real choice that extended beyond the relatively superficial stuff.
Last edited by CharmCityCrab on Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 00:20, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby mr tribute » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 00:35

CharmCityCrab wrote:
athenian200 wrote:Finally, because Edge on Android already uses Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store


This part is inaccurate. The Google Play Store does not mandate that web browsers use Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store. The Android version of Firefox listed in the Google Play Store, for example, uses Gecko. There are other examples.


Thanks for the clarification. It's a common misconception that I have also suffered from myself. I wonder why Firefox on mobile only has 1 % market share. Mobile users don't give a shit about open source and privacy, I guess.

Btw, I'm going to stick to Pale Moon even if/when it's only good for visiting forums.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby mr tribute » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 00:53

The one thing that could have prevented the demise of Firefox was if Firefox had kept its add-on ecosystem. I wrote on the Firefox blog when they announced Webextension-only a comment that this will result in Firefox adopting Blink and eventually dying.

Firefox had loyal add-on developers and users. Anyway, we are here to make mistakes. It sucks, but there are lessons to be learned. If Richard Stallman can "browse" the Web in his mail client, Pale Moon should be good enough for the foreseeable future. ;)

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby CharmCityCrab » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 01:15

mr tribute wrote:Thanks for the clarification. It's a common misconception that I have also suffered from myself. I wonder why Firefox on mobile only has 1 % market share. Mobile users don't give a shit about open source and privacy, I guess.


My guess would be that most users are not even aware that they have a choice when it comes to mobile browsing. They see that their phone comes with either Safari or Chrome, and just figure that's all there is.

Then, even among those users who do realize that there are several Android browsers available in the Google Play Store and elsewhere, there is probably a lack of understanding that some of those browsers offer an add-on ecosystem that includes ad-blockers, and browsers that have native ad-blocking, among several other potentially desirable features.

Ad-block add-ons and other extensions were a big deal for upping Firefox adoption on PCs when Internet Explorer was still King. Similarly, Chrome didn't take off on PC until it added it's own add-on infrastructure. I think if people knew that they could block ads with Firefox, it would have a much higher market share on Android than it does currently. Some people are always going to stick with a default, and I am sure Chrome is optimized for Android in ways that browsers from other sources probably can't be, but I've got to think that Firefox could do 5-10% pretty easily on Android if people understand that it was available and understood what it can do that Chrome can't.

I think Mozilla would be smart to spend a lot of their remaining money on advertising their mobile browser, with ad-blocking add-ons prominently featured in the advertisements (I guess that's kind of an ironic focus for an ad). In the end, they've got to build a base of users on mobile to have a chance at rebounding in general. Granted, Google might start offering add-ons of it's own on Chrome for Android if Firefox advertised it's ability to do so and added significant marketshare, and we might see Firefox start to lose ground again, but even if that all came to pass, Firefox would be doing better than it is now on mobile, and forcing a dominant player to add user-friendly features through competition would be a gain for Mozilla's core mission.
Last edited by CharmCityCrab on Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 01:17, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby mr tribute » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 02:34

I think part of the problem is that Firefox has been largely funded by Google. Mozilla never dared to position Firefox against Chrome after big salaries started flowing down to Mozilla top brass.

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby Thehandyman1957 » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 04:05

mr tribute wrote:I think part of the problem is that Firefox has been largely funded by Google. Mozilla never dared to position Firefox against Chrome after big salaries started flowing down to Mozilla top brass.


And that my friend is the crux right there. Money, whether it's Firefox getting kickback money
from Google, or Microsoft trying to save money by switching to Blink/webkit. The above read
is pretty dead on and sad to read really. In the end, I'm here to stay. When it gets to the point
of not being able to go onto certain web sites anymore I simply won't.

The other day I was contemplating what I did with my time before computers and cell phones.
I had several hobbies, I had three large fresh water fish tanks, I rebuilt a old pool table,
I rode my bike or hiked. I went to friends homes to chat instead
of texting. I would have no trouble going back to that kind of life.

Perhaps a getting back to simpler times would be a good thing. Perhaps I'm dreaming. :think: :angel:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something,
when his salary depends on him not understanding it. Upton Sinclair” ;) "

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Re: MS Edge Morphs To Chrome/Chromium?

Unread postby athenian200 » Sat, 08 Dec 2018, 04:20

CharmCityCrab wrote:
athenian200 wrote:Finally, because Edge on Android already uses Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store


This part is inaccurate. The Google Play Store does not mandate that web browsers use Blink in order to be listed in the Google Play Store. The Android version of Firefox listed in the Google Play Store, for example, uses Gecko. There are other examples.


Ah, I apologize for that. I didn't mean to mislead anyone. I graduated from Nokia feature phones to my first smartphone in 2012, and it was a Lumia 920 Windows Phone. I never liked smartphones one bit, thought they were just toys since I can type 80 wpm and find a touchscreen slows me down and makes my fingers sore. Never thought iPhone-style phones would outsell Blackberries or replace laptops for most people. I haven't used iOS or Android myself and really only participated in Windows Phone communities, so everything I know about those platforms is second-hand knowledge.
If Pale Moon wanted to revive it's Android port, it could, if it chose to, use Goanna as it's rendering engine and still be listed by the Google Play Store.

Microsoft made a choice to use Blink on it's Android version of Edge from it's debut on that platform. I imagine that they likely knew what was coming for the Windows version of Edge, and felt like it didn't make sense to go to the trouble of porting EdgeHTML to a mobile browser only to have to redesign it as a Blink based browser a few months later (Edge's Android debt was fairly recent, much later than the original Edge for Windows).


Interesting to know that Pale Moon does have that option. Most people in the Windows Phone community believed the reason why Edge on Android used Blink was that Google's Play Store policy was the same as Apple's, and/or that Google had some kind of "deal" with Mozilla because they don't see them as a serious threat and don't want to face an antitrust case. But yeah, if I had known that bit of information, I might have been more alert to this possibility. I wish I had known sooner. In fact, now that I think about it, it's possible Microsoft was using Android as a test bed for Edge with Blink without alarming too many users before they were ready to change things on desktop.

Actually, the ability to choose a web browser that is truly different and has an add-on infrastructure is one of the reasons I prefer Android to iOS. For the most part, iOS only offers the illusion of choice, or surface level choice, while ultimately keeping you tied to Apple's vision whether you like it or not. I guess I can see why some people prefer iOS percisely for that reason- Apple tends to be trendy and user friendly, and a lot of people would prefer that a company like that decide for them, to making their own choices. I prefer to make my own choices, though.


That's definitely a strong advantage. I can understand why Microsoft reps are informally encouraging Windows Phone users to migrate to Android rather than iOS now, despite Google being their biggest rival and Android having major security issues. It's closer to the kind of "bazaar" model that Windows has, where the OS has all its default stuff and the core is locked down, and there is a curated store, but you can load in anything on top of that core you want if you get administrator access. They're probably more comfortable in that kind of environment where there's an expectation that they'll have a lot of design freedom unlike with iOS. They've made it pretty clear that Android is their development priority and will get all the cool features first.


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