A Reader Calls On MS To Adopt Mozilla's Rendering Engine

Tuesday September 14th, 1999

Dave Usher of Tiny Communications, a new free-access Internet service in the UK, writes, "Inspired by the recent discussions on MozillaZine I've written an open letter advocating that Microsoft adopt the NGlayout (Gecko) code for their IE rendering engine."

An interesting idea, IMO, which would preserve standards compliance on all platforms while allowing browser makers to compete in the user-interface arena. Instead of putting out competing (and incompatible) rendering engines, why not rally around a single rendering engine which could help guarantee standards compliance by virtue of its Open Source nature and cross-platform architecture?

#30 Sad but true

by Anon

Sunday September 19th, 1999 11:49 PM

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I want so much to believe that Mozilla will ride again, but I just can’t believe Microsoft will let that happen. I was with Netscape from the beginning, bought stock literally day two, after visiting their booth at COMDEX and seeing the flabbergasting concept of client-side scripting in the soon to be released Netscape 2.0. I went on to build many sites which simply would not run on IE. I proclaimed Mozilla as the one true browser.

Fast forward to now. I’m a corporate Intranet developer with a fortune 100 company, working in Java, ActiveX, XML, and Shockwave just to name a few. Our company has been on IE since 4.0, and with the arrival of 5.0, begun pushing rich XML, XSL, CSS pages extensively. I wish, oh how I wish that these technologies were available in NS4.x, but I get paid for only one thing: deliverables. Microsoft makes it very, very easy to work with all the technologies, regardless of reliability. The reason for this is the same reason that Mozilla, and for that matter the remaining Netscape arm may be doomed: Microsoft is playing for keeps.

You and I, (the developer community), select our products and technologies based on what excites us, what we like to play with. The enthusiastic hacks who marched in droves into Netscape’s gleaming new office did so because it was a cool product, and a cool place to work. They built a stunning product, which for one brief moment promised to free us all from the stranglehold Microsoft has steadily placed us in. NS4 exists for one reason only, because Microsoft missed the point of the Internet for almost two years, until Netscape began making statements about how the browser would become the interface to your machine, and that OS’s would become interchangeable. Microsoft did here that. It was a direct threat.

So began the famous Internet turnaround at Microsoft. What happened to all those programmers who built NS4? Why is Netscape building the next version though open source? Because they work for Microsoft now. (Those of you who know what I’m taking about, know some of the names..) This did two things for Microsoft. 1) It built the DOM based rendering engine in IE5, and 2) prevents Netscape from rolling Mozilla before IE6 is ready. They have the money, they have the talent, and they have the Justice Department at bay. They are relaxing right now because they are on top, but if Mozilla is a threat, they’ll just throw another huge pile of money at it.

Think about it. IE5 is the single best product from Microsoft, because they are playing for keeps. Worst of all, every line of the Mozilla code is open-source, to you, me and Microsoft. They are free to take all our best efforts, merge it into IE, (and any other products which could use it), and sell it as their own. The only way to escape is to break the bonds of Win32.