CNET Opines on Apple's Choice of KHTML

Tuesday January 14th, 2003

CNET has an article about Apple's choice of KHTML over Gecko for its Safari browser. Featuring a variety of quotes from many high profile figures, the article goes as far as to call the decision a "snub" — a claim that Apple's spokesperson refuses to corroborate.

Update! Mike Shaver isn't too happy about being quoted out of context and Chris Blizzard also has some choice words about the article. MozillaZine founder Chris Nelson isn't quite so subtle. There's also a discussion at Slashdot.

#71 If anyone thinks this is simply an attempt to ...

by PaulB <>

Wednesday January 15th, 2003 2:18 PM

You are replying to this message

Make users of Macs use only Apple software, I believe they are wrong. Apple is simply doing the smart thing here when it writes a bunch of software programs for the Mac. Where would some of the iAPPS come from if Apple did not write them. Sure there are apps for Windows that can replace most of the iAPPS but before the iAPPS were written where were the corresponding apps for the MacIntosh? Name one program written for the Mac that can replace iTunes, iPhoto. All the possibilities were either poorly crafted ports of Windows apps (which left out features or worked poorly) or did not exist. Now Apple produces Safari and its claimed that they are doing this because they want every Mac user to only use Apple software?? A year ago Apple took a look at IE for the Mac. It was crap, and even failed to function well on sites written specifically for IE. IE Mac!=IEWindows. A year ago there was an alternative browser for the Mac, namely Netscape (or if you will Mozilla). But this was not a good choice a year ago. Chimera was only in infancy, and Mozilla for OS X was in transition from the CFM build to the MachO build. It was uncertian if the MachO build would succeed. The MachO build has been a success, and has increased the speed of Mozilla on the Mac by about 20%. Since Apple only desired a browser they could have offered to assist with the Chimera project. I wish they had. But thier choice IMHO was much better.

Here is why I believe Apple's choice to write Safari was better than going with Gecko. A year ago amny web pages did not work well with most browsers other than IE. Standards compliance was needed to stem the tide of the webs dependency on IE and Windows. To a certian degree Mozilla has done a lot to improve standards on the web. (Today I rarely encounter a site Mozilla chokes on.) Apple, I believe, knew that Mozilla would always strive towards standards compliance. But Mozilla is only a small force in the grand scheme. To further incourage the use of standards on the web, thus insuring the Mac remained a viable internet tool, Apple could have joined the Mozilla project. or better yet promote another project KTHML. Without Apple, Mozilla would produce a fine Mac browser. Without Apples help KHTML's standard's compliance was uncertian.

I believe Apple felt it was important to do its best to promote standards compliance on the Web. If Apple joined the Mozilla project, the effort to promote standards would not be as great as if it went with KHTML. Why? With KHTML users from the Linux community, not already using Mozilla, would have a standards complient browser. In the long run this move would do more to keep the Web standards complient than if apple had gone with Mozilla.

BTW I would not be surprized if in the future Apple included two browsers with its operating system. Back in the days of System 7/8 both Netscape and IE were included on the instalation disks. The other day I tried out Composer to put up a simple Web page with my Mac. Composer worked well for that purpose. If Apple felt it wanted toinclude a suite of Internet apps alongside Safari and iMail, Mozilla would be a good choice.

Apple has not snubed Gecko. Apple does not want Mac users to only use Apple software. Apple want people to use the Mac and OS X. The Web needs to be fully accessible to Mac users or this goal will not be achievable. ThWeb needs to be encouraged to follow standards. I believe Apple saw that by supporting an alternative to Gecko was the most likely means to accomplish this goal.