SEP
2
2008

Chrome: good and bad news

Maybe you already know, maybe you don't: Google created its own browser, called Chrome. The good is that it is based on WebKit, thus contains KDE technology. That's is another recognition for the work of KDE developers. The bad is that they mention Apple's WebKit and nothing about KDE/khtml. Sad. :(
See http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/fresh-take-on-browser.html .

Comments

yes, this is quite unfortunate. however, at this point the current khtml developers have no one to blame but themselves. a couple years ago i sat with some of them in person and this lack of public recognition was highlighted as one of their main complaints with how things had gone. we started a communications campaign to begin rectifying that, but the first article that came out, while cheered and well received by everyone else, was viciously attacked by khtml developers. two years later and some of them are still upset about it.

by now we really could have had "KDE" associated strongly with "Webkit" (khtml is not a very movable brand, however) and the khtml developers could be getting their fair share of recognition instead of it always going to Apple.

but that would've required being savvy enough to not cut off one's nose to spite the face.


By Aaron J. Seigo at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 12:56

Mostly good news I'd say. Not sure I'm thrilled with "Yet Another JavaScript engine", but there's so many, another one couldn't hurt. :D

Their idea of process isolation for each tab makes sense, though I wonder what a Konqueror/Opera/Firefox dev thinks of it.

Really I'm curious what UI toolkit they used. They are planning on being crossplatform; I hope they don't roll their own!


By eean at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 13:56

"They are planning on being crossplatform; I hope they don't roll their own!"

I may be wrong, but given we've seen what they've done with Picasa and GoogleEarth, being both crossplatform, that may give us hints


By uga at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 18:44

It is not Qt. I did not look in the code, but the Windows executable and dlls does not link against any Qt library.


By amantia at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 20:35

"It is not Qt. I did not look in the code, but the Windows executable and dlls does not link against any Qt library."

AFAIK Google Earth was not written in Qt for Windows, it used the Windows API, but the Linux version uses Qt. SO they may do this again. Linux version with Qt and WIndows with native Windows API.

Although I think that it would be a waste of developer time, and Google Earth might have just happened because they decided to release it for Linux AFTER it was released or developed for Windows, since they seem to have started this project with cross-platform support in mind they may have put more thought into it than Google Earth?

EDIT: Just picked a random source file in their SVN repo, and yes, they use the Windows API, so a Linux port will involve a different toolkit. I'm just hoping it's Qt since I would hate if it depended on GTK


By happysmileman at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 23:30

That may actually be better than we might think. It may mean that Google will finally support khtml based browsers better?
It's been many times that Google has locked out or reduced the support of konqueror.

Lets hope it only gets better this way.


By uga at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 18:42

I don't think so. They already support khtml based browsers (think safari), but they don't support *Konqueror*. Why would they change it now? Of course they will support their own browser for sure. ;)


By amantia at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 19:56

Chances for KDE to profit much from such releases do no exist - by definition. Similar to Apple trying to build their own brand right from the start (avoid any official association with KDE right from the start) Google is trying to shine brighter than those who they have build their work on. We got a nice and very much appreciated "thank you" message from Apple on day 1, so was WebKit now mentioned only briefly as one of the components on the day of the release. I don't know whether Google wants to or can fork development but I bet they would if it were possible. That's the nature of marketing your own work. Apple devs are now in the same situation as we are: being confronted with a big tarball of forked off source code. Hope it goes along without a further fork this time.

I'm very much fascinated by the fact that speed of development of browsers and particularly JavaScript engines has picked up so much lately. The performance of KJS today is absolutely phenomenal compared to e.g. last year and other implementations from that time. Given the recent race for speed the situation remains to be very challenging :)

Aaron, I'm not fully certain which "communications campaign" you are referring to. You surely do not believe that pushing a (false) summary of our Glasgow meeting that said "the consensus is to develop a Webkit KPart for embedding into Konqueror at the earliest opportunity"[1] has been providing any fruitful communication or helped those willing to do do real work on keeping KDE's foot in the door for browser development under whatever browser project's umbrella.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/journals/linux.ars/2007/07/23/the-unforking-of-kdes-khtml-and-webkit


By harri at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 20:51

I'm very curious. I read the comic, and am curious about a few technical details:
1) What toolkit do they use? I do hope they don't roll their own. I don't think they will, since that would require them to port WebKit to their new toolkit. Did they port the Android toolkit to a few new platforms?
2) How do they communicate the data between the tab processes and the main browser window? If the browser window process crashes, what happens to the individual pages.
3) They claim to compile straight machine code from the JavaScript. Does this mean the average Chrome user needs to have a compiler, the header files, etc?
4) Are they going to continue to support Mozilla the way they have been?
5) Don't they know Opera already put the tabs at the top of the browser window? They seem to take credit for an idea that's already been used.
6) Did they know their improved address bar takes a lot of ideas from the Firefox Awesome Bar? Firefox, being the browser they used to support.
7) Are they going to port the Chrome JavaScript engine to Android?


By theriddle at Tue, 09/02/2008 - 23:41

"1) What toolkit do they use? I do hope they don't roll their own. I don't think they will, since that would require them to port WebKit to their new toolkit. Did they port the Android toolkit to a few new platforms?"

AFAIK they use their own, but it was one they already had for Android, also a lot of Windows specific code in it so that will have to be re-written for a Linux version.

"2) How do they communicate the data between the tab processes and the main browser window? If the browser window process crashes, what happens to the individual pages."

Not too sure, never thought about that, tabs can be dragged out of the browser easily, dragged between browsers, it's possible that if the main browser window crashes either everything will go down or each tab will become it's own new window?

"3) They claim to compile straight machine code from the JavaScript. Does this mean the average Chrome user needs to have a compiler, the header files, etc?"

They include the Virtual Machine for this with the browser, so if you have Chrome, you have the Javascript engine, with nothing else required.

"4) Are they going to continue to support Mozilla the way they have been?"

They've just renewed a contract to fund Firefox until 2011, so at least until then Firefox will still be supported by them and funded by them as much as it is now. One of the main developers of Chrome was also a leading Firefox Developer AFAIK.

"5) Don't they know Opera already put the tabs at the top of the browser window? They seem to take credit for an idea that's already been used."

I think they mentioned it in the presentation, not entirely sure.

"6) Did they know their improved address bar takes a lot of ideas from the Firefox Awesome Bar? Firefox, being the browser they used to support."

Yes they've mentioned that they borrowed a lot of ideas from Firefox for this. (They also say they share some code with Firefox)

"7) Are they going to port the Chrome JavaScript engine to Android?"

AFAIK yes, I think they mentioned that any improvements to WebKit or the V8 Javascript VM will be made available to Android.


By happysmileman at Wed, 09/03/2008 - 17:02