Yup, sounds about right.

A Short Translation from Bullshit to English of Selected Portions of the Google Chrome Blink Developer FAQ

1 Why is Chrome spawning a new browser engine?

The WebKit maintainers wouldn't let us attack Apple directly, by changing WebKit in ways that would make it perform badly on OS X and iOS.

Because they share a rendering engine, developer effort to ensure Chrome compatibility currently benefits Apple platforms for free. To prevent this, we must make Chrome and WebKit behave differently.

1.2 Is this new browser engine going to fragment the web platform's compatibility more?

Yes. We intend to distract people from this obvious problem by continually implying that our as-yet unwritten replacement is somehow much better and more sophisticated than the rendering engine that until yesterday was more than good enough to permit us to achieve total dominance of the Windows desktop browsing market in less than two years.

This strategy has worked extremely well for Netscape, Microsoft, Apple and us in previous iterations of the browser wars, and we firmly believe that everyone in this industry was born yesterday and they will not recognise this for the total bullshit it so clearly is.

1.9 What should we expect to see from Chrome and Blink in the next 12 months? What about the long term?

We have a direct strategic interest in destroying Apple's mobile platforms because their lack of participation in our advertising and social ecosystems does not benefit our long term goals. You should expect Chrome and Blink changes in the short term to be focused in this direction.

In the longer term, we aim to have sufficient control over the installed base of web browsers to dictate whatever conditions we consider most appropriate to our business goals at the time.

1.10 Is this going to be open source?

Not really.

While you can certainly read the source code, we're fully aware that actually tracking and understanding a modern HTML renderer is extremely difficult. In addition, the first changes we will make are intended specifically to break compatibility with WebKit, so the only organisation with sufficient resources to track our changes will no longer be able to do so.

In practice, this allows us to call the project "open" while simultaneously ensuring Google will be the only effective contributor to the Chrome and Blink source now and in the future. We've had enormous success co-opting the language of open source in the past to imply our products are better, and we aim to continue with that strategy.

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16 Responses:

  1. Tenox says:


  2. Peter says:

    I'll just leave this and this article here. Both written by WebKit developers, mind you.

  3. Y.A. says:

    I think it's a good thing.

    Consider this:

    More competition -> browser vendors less keen to introduce vendor-specific features* -> browser vendors actually follow standards -> everybody wins!

    Right now, most mobile development is more or less 'coding to WebKit'. And that's bullshit. Sure, WebKit has a 95% market share, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing, especially when DRM-loving (they tried to introduce it to HTML) assholes like Apple and Google are involved. What we really need is competition. And WebKit's fragmentation is part of the way to that goal.

    As for the open source thing, I'm inclined to disagree. Opera has said they will be using Blink as they will be building on top of Chromium. Besides, Google has reaped the benefits from the fine work of the KDE project (WebKit is a fork by itself) and Apple - though they were of course the major contributor, until yesterday.

    In any case, you are confusing open source with the cathedral and bazaar development models. Open source is just a licensing method.

    *Google has already said it won't create a custom CSS prefix. Definitely a step in the right direction.

  4. nooj says:


  5. moof says:

    So, a fork of a fork of KHTML?

  6. James says:

    I tend to believe Google that this is to save headaches caused by non-Chromium changes screwing up their multiprocess sandbox architecture, but it means Safari will lose all WebRTC stuff, which slows cross-platform microphone upload the same way everything has since 1995, so it's very comforting for my Stockholm syndrome.

  7. phuzz says:

    I was about to dispute that Chrome has managed to "achieve total dominance of the Windows desktop browsing market" until I looked and realised what a massive difference there is in different sets of statistics. Some have IE at 50% of all browsers (Chrome and FF at about 20% each), other have Chrome at 50%, IE at about 25% and Firefox at about 20%.

    From what I've seen friends, family and collegues using, I'd probably lean more towards the second set of results.

  8. Nick Lamb says:

    "... the only organisation with sufficient resources to track our changes will no longer be able to do so ..."

    Boom, the Microsoft Fallacy. Nice shortcut to detecting that the person writing this knows nothing whatsoever about the topic. I actually spent years at a start-up that was terrified of that bogeyman. The established competition had vast wealth while we had a few million dollars of debt, it had a far larger and better paid staff, it was surely able to figure out what we were doing and do it better and faster, wasn't it? And then they bought us and it became apparent that the answer was "No, not a chance".

    Google isn't the fantastically agile do-anything startup of people's imagination any more than it's the do-no-wrong ethical giant of the IT industry that also seems to be stuck in people's imagination. It's now a big dinosaur corporation, with parts that have conflicting priorities. A dinosaur can hurt you by accident, so you should beware of it, but it is also clumsy, its ability to bring all its resources to bear on a problem is essentially negligible, in-fighting arises if even a handful of teams are directed at the same goal. If you have two or three smart, motivated people working on a browser you are going to be able to keep up just fine, just as you did when the equally enormous dinosaur Apple were running things or when Mozilla's gibbering masses had the hot browser engine. Because the man month is still a myth.

    • gryazi says:

      Summary: The Market doesn't really give a shit where the product came from as long as the ticker is making money from it. (Unless the origin is a liability, e.g. ReiserFS.)

  9. Jon Dowland says:

    Fun read, but one quibble: AFAIK Chrome on iOS is forced to use the iOS SDK-provided webkit, so it won't make any difference on that platform.

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