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Opera Confirms It Will Follow Google and Ditch WebKit For Blink 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the jumping-ship dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Wednesday made a huge announcement to fork WebKit and build a new rendering engine called Blink. Opera, which only recently decided to replace its own Presto rendering engine for WebKit, has confirmed with TNW that it will be following suit. 'When we announced the move away from Presto, we announced that we are going with the Chromium package, and the forking and name change have little practical influence on the Opera browsers. So yes, your understanding is correct,' an Opera spokesperson told TNW. This will affect both desktop and mobile versions of Opera the spokesperson further confirmed."
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Opera Confirms It Will Follow Google and Ditch WebKit For Blink

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  • The real question is will the corps and users want to keep old versions of Chrome around for their web apps and sites?

    Many with -webkit CSS extensions wont work if Chrome gets rid of them. If Google calls it -webkit then we will have 2 different versions and web developers will be confused and not know which is which when users report a site looks funny.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, obviously the first thing they'd do is remove all of the useful functionality. You know they can keep the existing -webkit-* properties, and even add more assuming they're 100% compatible, right?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Until they decide to discontinue supporting them. Google is fickle.

        • So? It's fully open source.

          • by TyFoN (12980) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:14AM (#43355421)

            Blink is based on webkit which itself is based on KHTML which is as you might know is fully open source (GPL).
            They can't really change that license :)

            • by FunPika (1551249) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @08:27AM (#43356323) Journal
              KHTML is LGPL, not GPL. While any modifications to the KHTML parts have to be open sourced, anything else linked to that can be under any license Apple, Google, Opera, or anyone else wants. If KHTML was actually under GPL, then while IANAL I am pretty sure that any proprietary code used in Safari, Chrome (not Chromium), or Opera (once it finishes switching from Presto) would be considered GPL violations. In addition releasing parts of Webkit/Blink under BSD (which is the case) would probably violate the GPL.
              • Blink is based on webkit which itself is based on KHTML which

                is LGPL, not GPL

                In other words, you claim that WebKit is based on LGPL code. I thought that like GPL code, LGPL code had to be made available for the end user to modify, and devices shipping with LGPL code had to ship with "scripts to control installation" (v2) or "Installation Information" (v3) to let the user install modified versions. So how do manufacturers of locked-down devices that use WebKit, such as Apple with its iDevices, get away with not shipping Installation Information? Or has all LGPL code been stripped out

          • by Anonymous Coward

            That is meaningless for large projects. No single person can hope to do anything. You would have to hire a team of developers to maintain such a fork or do the impossible task for getting them to work on your fork for free.

            As a user of open source software, your options are limited in that its no different from proprietary software for practical purposes.

            • Sigh, this ancient FUD again.

              Here's a cluestick sunshine. The whole point of fee and open software isn't about everybody rolling their own. That's just a thoroughly overused ant-foss astroturfer talking point.

              When the source is open, and a product is desired by enough people and products, the community will pick it up. Open Office was forked when Oracle looked like being a threat, and that's a very substantial project.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's this sort of dull, repetitive FUD that's killing Slashdot.

          There is NOTHING interesting about this comment. It is a straight regurgitation of Microsoft's "Scroogled" smear campaign which is being upvoted by their sockpuppets.

          It is dull. It is boring. It is commercially motivated. It adds nothing to the conversation. So fucking LAME!

      • by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@@@lepertheory...net> on Thursday April 04, 2013 @12:25AM (#43354931) Homepage

        assuming they're 100% compatible

        The fact that this is a massive assumption once the codebases start diverging was the point of the GP post.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Yeah because we've never seen that go wrong in the past...quirks mode anyone?

        Ya know the more crap like this they pull the more I distrust Google. Call me weird but even though I don't agree with the FOSS guys on a LOT of issues frankly I trust them more to put the user #1 over what is best for supermegacorp Google Maybe I'm wrong, and I honestly hope that I am but frankly I wouldn't be surprised if this "great new engine" just so happens, purely by accident of course, make it a royal pain in the ass to us

    • by yincrash (854885) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @09:30PM (#43354119)
      They are keeping legacy -webkit prefixes and are not adding any new prefixes. Please see here [chromium.org]
    • Excellent, having gone back to firefox, webkit-only should be nipped in the bud.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Says it all.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just Don't Blink, Blink and you're dead

      Don't turn your back ......

  • Why not just make the choice of rendering engine user configurable?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it is LOL to fool with the rendering engine.

      LOL this looks great in IE7, looks like crap in IE8, doesn't work at all in IE9, and looks great in IE10. Why not extend that type functionality to all browsers?

      LOL LOL LOL

    • Why not just make the choice of rendering engine user configurable?

      Yeah, that will work real well with clueless (l)users complaining why a site wont work to developers.

      What engine are you using IE, what version, IE, what setting, IE hey you are going to fix this or what!

      At least now you tell them about IE for the version. Or the logs will report it. Imagine if Firefox emulating trident IE 8 displayed different than IE 8, but was recorded as IE 8 in the logs?

      • by NonSequor (230139) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @09:38PM (#43354183) Journal

        Even for the nonclueless users it would be kind of obnoxious. I'm not a settings minimalist, but I happen to think that if its hard to tell what flipping a setting has actually done, maybe it shouldn't be there.

      • by lilfields (961485)
        New versions of IE 10+ are fairly compliant, in some ways more so than others. IE11 will be blocking scripts that are IE specific if I'm not mistaken to keep developers from making their sites look different on IE than say Chrome because older versions of IE weren't compliant when now IE11 is...but the user still suffers from the past IE sins.
        • My fear now is Chrome is the new IE 6 of this decade.

          With things changing and mobile users monopolized on it this will get confusing as much as different versions of IE last decade which is why the corps all standardized on IE 6.

          Mobile sites will go through hell next and it might hurt Android and help IOS if the -webkit extension is removed or if W3C changes a standard that is different from the -webkit one. Look up IE boxmodel? This caused hell as IE 6 was ahead in this arena and W3C changed it and Firefox

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @09:46PM (#43354239) Journal

      Google says they're forking for technical reasons -- Google uses a different thread model and security model than Apple and making a hard break makes for easier maintenance. If they're going to keep both rendering engines around and updated then there would be no reason to fork in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by am 2k (217885)

        Google says they're forking for technical reasons -- Google uses a different thread model and security model than Apple and making a hard break makes for easier maintenance.

        That's only half of the story - they're using a different thread model because they wrote it themselves and didn't allow Apple to merge it into the original code base. So the fork is not really based on a technical reason.

    • You can. You open Firefox if you want Gecko, Chrome if you want Blink, Safari if you want Webkit and IE if you get a brain disease and think opening it is a good idea.

      If you want them in one program its simply not possible. Too many interlinked rendering components.
      E.g. Firefox's entire interface is made with XUL which is rendered the same way as pages. Put webkit in it and webkit can't do XUL so you need Gecko anyway for the interface. Get the idea?

    • by rgmoore (133276)

      The whole point of forking is that there's something you don't like about the project you're forking from. As long as that's a technical decision rather than a political one, supporting both old and new versions undermines that technical justification, since it sticks you with all the problems of both versions. Not to mention that it adds the complications of making swapping possible. It's a terrible, terrible idea.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Why not just make the choice of rendering engine user configurable?

      Does Google have a compelling business case for such an option? If so, please explain.

    • Re:User configurable (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday April 04, 2013 @07:58AM (#43356213) Journal

      Why not just make the choice of rendering engine user configurable?

      I have just been digging around and think I can answer this question. It seems that the reason for this is to do with the upcoming webkit2 Apple project taking a very different approach to how multiprocess stuff should work. They have some pretty diagrams here showing the differences: http://trac.webkit.org/wiki/WebKit2 [webkit.org]

      Google have long taken the approach it seems to just have entirely separate processes for each page talk to a webkit subprocess via api calls.The webkit2 project are taking a different approach by trying to put multiprocess stuff actually into the webkit2 api itself.

      Since Apple will probably throw webkit out the window anyway when webkit2 is ready it seems that everyone moaning about Google here may be a bit backward. It seems that when Webkit2 is ready then everyone except Chromium will use it. Chromium won't need to use webkit2 because it is already designed to do what webkit2 does anyway.

      I have to admit, I have a gut feeling here that wrapping the multiprocess stuff around webkit ala chromium is actually a better idea than trying to do what WebKit2 is trying so I think the chromium devs might be making a better choice from a technical perspective even though it probably is a bit more resource hungry.

      Of course much of this about Apple adopting webkit2 for Safari all pure speculation, but then it has to be when you are talking about a closed source product like Safari and don't work for Apple.

      • by jvj24601 (178471)

        Of course much of this about Apple adopting webkit2 for Safari all pure speculation, but then it has to be when you are talking about a closed source product like Safari and don't work for Apple.

        WebKit2 is already used for Safari (desktop). At some point in the future, it is presumed they'll use it for iOS Safari as well.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_%28web_browser%29#WebKit2 [wikipedia.org]

  • by Snowhare (263311) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @09:44PM (#43354229) Homepage

    Remember: Don't Blink

  • They seem to cancel/change/fork things at whim so it is difficult to build on top of their code or services.

    One of these days slashdotters will fall out of love with google and see them for who they really are. Don't be evil? Right... The evil say that much like how dictatorships are called "Democratic Republic of".

    • re: One of these days slashdotters will fall out of love with google and see them for who they really are.
      :>)
      This slashdotter already has fallen out of love with google. I've got no google accounts and google-crap is noscripted out and DNS-blocked. I only have to allow /. and fsdn to post on /. and I can't vote articles up or down unless I enable google-fu / google-analytics / google-api and I don't allow that.
  • Open source Presto? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linebackn (131821) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @10:40PM (#43354507)

    Is there any chance Opera would consider open sourcing Presto since they plan to drop it?

    • That's what I was hoping. You know what would be hilarious? If Google changed their minds and decided to adopt the then-open Presto as their engine instead!

      Really, though, I think Opera should have tried that first. They obviously decided to switch so they could lay off their 90+ engine developers (which they probably have to do for financial reasons)... but they could have open sourced the engine first and therefore get dev help from the community, instead of tossing Presto in the bin and walking away.

      • by arf_barf (639612)

        A few years ago, I was in the market for a simple html rendering engine for an embedded project. There were only a couple of options: webkit, presto and one more engine that I dont remember the name of. The licensing fees that opera wanted were astronomical and only the likes on Nintendo could afford it. Needless to say, I used webkit even though Presto was more desirable.

        Anyhow, they should have open-sourced a few years back and snatched up a large portion of embedded market (which is actually quite big if

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          A few years ago, I was in the market for a simple html rendering engine for an embedded project. There were only a couple of options: webkit, presto and one more engine that I dont remember the name of. The licensing fees that opera wanted were astronomical and only the likes on Nintendo could afford it. Needless to say, I used webkit even though Presto was more desirable.

          Anyhow, they should have open-sourced a few years back and snatched up a large portion of embedded market (which is actually quite big if

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @10:50PM (#43354553)

    I'm an Opera user, I use it mostly because I like its UI and sidebar panel. Killer feature I liked was the password manager, just hit the key icon and login onto a site, even if you have many popups of the same domain, logging into a single page logged you into all of them automagically. Firefox still bugged me at that time with a username/password per page and that was what drove me over to Opera.

    Opera used to have SpeedDial well before Chrome and Firefox but both of them have similar versions now along with tabbed browsing etc...

    Opera didn't always work on all sites, but it's UI and general features made it worth it. Hopefully they keep it, its sad to see Presto go but with Webkit/Blink I guess we get more performance and compatibility.

    • Been an avid Opera user for many years now, though I've gone away from it from-time-to-time, I always end up coming back. The two huge features I'd like to see added are email encryption, and groups for speed dial. Once it gets Blink, I'd consider it the perfect browser! Currently, it's just "better than the rest" :p
  • Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @11:00PM (#43354611) Homepage Journal
    I continue to see Opera fall. It started with the insistance on the MS WIndows ecosystem instead of bringing the incredible functionality of other OS. If it had focused on Mac and *nix it could have had those markets, because at the time there was that could compete with it, and even now it is a top browser. I had thought that the move to Webkit was a gutsy move because Opera could not put all it's resources on making a good browser instead of just reinventing and playing catch up on the rendering engine.. The technology has matured, and Webkit and Gecko are the engine. IE is an application front end rather than a general purpose browser, so Trident is always going to be a lesser engine.

    Instead they are hitching their wagon to a convenient big horse instead of just being an innovative company. And i think that it will end badly. There is no reason to believe that Google will not increasing put closed source components into Blink. There is no reason for Google to eventual be civil with Apple, in the way that Apple was eventually civil with KHTML. At some point, unless Opera has some sort of secret agreement with Google, it can only be assumed that they will not have a guaranteed future.

    • by eWarz (610883)
      Opera was falling increasingly behind in the browser 'wars'. They have to back the strongest player. Apple may make the most short term profits but Google has the strongest staying power. Google will NOT attempt to close source it's effort, since doing so will rally support under Webkit2. This is not meant as a flame, but chrome is available on far more platforms (linux, mac, android, etc.) than safari is.
      • by hkmwbz (531650)

        Opera just reached 300 million active users, up from 200 million a little more than a year ago. Falling behind?

        They don't have to back the strongest player. They have to choose the technology platform that best fits their needs to keep growing.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Google will NOT attempt to close source it's effort

        Google can't close the source for a simple reason - WebKit's LGPL!

        See, WebKit was derived from KHTML, which was a LGPL'd rendering library. Apple took it to create WebKit. Apple released the source under their LGPL obligations. Apple got roasted for 1) not releasing the logs, and 2) not providing history, so KHTML guys were furious because they couldn't take the changes back. Apple relented and released it completely.

        All throughout, the core KHTML stuff has

    • Considering that most developers simply ignore Presto because of its low market share, Opera had no choice. They by no means will cease being an innovative company. Like others have said, the main thing about Opera its users love is its UI and functionality. Now that they have a solid backend, they can concentrate on what they do best, rather than trying to convince the rest of the world to be standards compliant.
    • by dabadab (126782)

      I continue to see Opera fall. It started with the insistance on the MS WIndows ecosystem instead of bringing the incredible functionality of other OS.

      Sorry?... I have been using Opera on Linux since the late 90's. FreeBSD and OSX are also supported as was Solaris for a long time. They are also present on cell phones since forever and the browser in the Nintendo Wii is also Opera.
      I just do not see that great insistence on the MS Windows ecosystem.

    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @09:05AM (#43356525) Journal

      Your comment doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

      I continue to see Opera fall.

      The other day, Opera announced that it has grown to 300 million active users, up from 200 million 1.5 years ago. And several quarters in a row now, they have reported record revenues and profits.

      How is Opera falling exactly, when all the numbers are pointing up?

      It started with the insistance on the MS WIndows ecosystem instead of bringing the incredible functionality of other OS.

      What are you talking about? Opera was the first browser company to focus on mobile (back when everyone laughed at them for thinking that anyone would want to browse on their phones), and they started working on Mac and *nix versions in the late 90s.

      I had thought that the move to Webkit was a gutsy move ... Instead they are hitching their wagon to a convenient big horse instead of just being an innovative company.

      Does not compute. The whole point of moving away from Presto was to be able to spend more time on innovation.

      How is Opera hitching their wagon to anything? They can fork at any time, or move to some different engine.

    • by UpnAtom (551727)

      I continue to see Opera fall.

      Opera 12.15 64-bit is the best browser ever produced, on Windows at least. Though the other browsers are catching up.

      There is no reason to believe that Google will not increasing put closed source components into Blink.

      If they do, Opera will just fork.

  • I was already sad about Presto. Now this.
  • In fact, apart from the venerable iCab on macs (and, much more recent, on ipads), is there just any rendering engine that's still developed by a single individual out there?

    (before you start shrugging, let's remind iCab invented ad filtering some ten years before Mozilla was *born*)

  • before pensioning off Presto...

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      Does it matter? Blink doesn't really change anything for Opera in practice. Opera did know about the fork before it was announced, though.

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