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?
#6 Hate to say it, but this is a bad idea ...
Tuesday September 14th, 1999 7:59 PM
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Let's just stop and think about this, shall we?
The supporters of Mozilla (of which the MozillaZine audience is a considerable sample) have several reasons for supporting the project.
(1) They are surfers, who want a cool browser.
(2) They are Web designers, who want everyone's browser to be standards-compliant, to save their sanity.
(3) They are hackers, and love the idea that their browser is going to be open source -- so they can fiddle with the code, and rely on quick bug-fixes (by themselves or by the community).
Often, people will support Mozilla for *more* than one of these reasons.
Now, this proposal is good for those Mozillans with reason (2), but is bad for those with both reasons (1) and (3). Why? Because if IE lays out pages as well and as quickly as Mozilla does, there will be even less reason for people to switch from IE to Mozilla.
Remember, IE is bundled with just about everything Microsoft puts out these days (and with MacOS, too), so if you want to use Navigator you have to expend some effort. And if IE lays out pages just as well as Mozilla does, there will be less incentive for people to expend that effort.
IE will gain further market share, so there will be less enthusiasm in the Mozilla project, so there will be less support, and fewer bug-fixes, and Mozilla will fall further and further behind.
The end result? The /de facto/ standard browser will (a) not be the cool one (where's my XUL?), and (b) not be the open-source one.
Which would be a great pity.