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The Internet Software

Browser Wars Declared Over? 182

Kelson writes to mention Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera and Google took the stage this week at the Web 2.0 expo and in addition to discussing pressing issues have declared their intent to avoid another browser war. All the panelists agreed that security was the largest concern currently facing browser developers. "Brendan Eich, the chief technology officer at Mozilla, said that security was hard and always will be. 'I don't think we should take security lightly; it's an end-to-end problem and we have to step outside the current model to win on this front,' he said. For his part, Chris Wetherell, a software engineer at Google, said one of the scenarios that kept him awake at night was offline access to the browser and what that meant from a security perspective, particularly on the user-to-user front."
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Browser Wars Declared Over?

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  • by ReidMaynard ( 161608 ) * on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:28PM (#18784863) Homepage
    90 Lb Weakling: We all agree to stop kicking sand on each other.
  • Sure, (Score:5, Funny)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:28PM (#18784875) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft: "Guys? Hey guys! The browser wars are over! Can you hear me? The _war_ is _over_! Go ahead and lay down your weapons! Stop fighting! That's right, come out come out wherever you are! Put down the guns!"
  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:30PM (#18784929)

    But the primary participants in the industry were not interested "in another browser war. We are all committed to interoperability and we are listening to what our users want," he said.
    That paragraph is the only mention of browser wars (or any kind of war, fighting, slapping or name calling) in that article. I officially declare my contempt for this thread and all posts in it (including my own).
    • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:36PM (#18785009) Homepage Journal

      Blame the editors. I submitted a couple of links, including another article on ComputerWorld [] which went into the "browser war" comments in a bit more detail:

      Instead of trying to trump one another by adding features in point releases, [i.e. the classic browser war] the companies that developed these browsers are instead intent on advancing their use as platforms for a new generation of rich Internet applications and for tackling the hurdles that will come along with that shift in strategy, the panel said.

      (For the record, I found the story via Opera Watch [])

    • ERROR! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @02:50PM (#18786241)
      I officially declare my contempt for this thread and all posts in it (including my own).


  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:31PM (#18784937)
    It'll never be over, not as long as there is a drop of blood in our typing fingers!! How dare they try to take away a fundamental part of our fun!

    We will fight them on the keyboards, we will fight them on the intertubes, we will fight them where and whenever an html statement is exectured!!

  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cptgrudge ( 177113 ) <{cptgrudge} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:31PM (#18784943) Journal

    For his part, Chris Wetherell, a software engineer at Google, said one of the scenarios that kept him awake at night was offline access to the browser and what that meant from a security perspective, particularly on the user-to-user front.

    It's statements like these that make me think he must be an absolute blast at parties.

    • Give him a few drinks and he'll cry all night about the cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in Gmail!
    • That quote sounded very strange to me. Could someone please explain what it could mean? Is it about spyware that hijacks your browser when you're not online? Or is it about users browsing pages offline? The former could be a problem (though it doesn't make me lose sleep) but the latter... well the idea that someone would raise that as a security concern worries me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't quite know what those words mean, but I can guess about what really keeps him up at night: How can we let users access their data when their connection goes offline, and still get to keep all their data on our servers to use for advertising? A close second: How can we send ads to our users when they're disconnected from the web?
    • I'm sure he is but the least you could so is provide a clickable link: blast [].
  • And the winner is... (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:31PM (#18784947) Journal
    No need to read the article people...

    Opera won!!!
  • by EveryNickIsTaken ( 1054794 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:32PM (#18784959)
    Microsoft declares "Mission Accomplished."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:34PM (#18784983)
    Luke Spyglass: "You fought in the browser wars?"

    NCSA Mosaic: "I was once a web browser the same as your father."

    Luke Spyglass: "My father didn't browse the web. He was a finger server at the community college."

    NCSA Mosaic: "That's what your Uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. He thought he should stay home. Not gotten involved."

    Luke Spyglass: "I wish I had known him."

    NCSA Mosaic: "He was a cunning application, and the best downloaded in the galaxy. I understand you've become quite a good downloader yourself. And he was a good friend. For over a thousand days the W3C protected the web. Before the dark times. Before the Empire"

    Luke Spyglass: "How did my father die?"

    NCSA Mosaic: "A young web browser named Internet Explorer, who was a derivative of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Emporer hunt down and destroy the W3C standards. He betrayed and murdered your father. IE was seduced by the Dark Side of the internet."

    Luke Spyglass: "The internet?"

    NCSA Mosaic: "Yes, the internet is what gives a web browser his power. It's an energy field created by all connected computers. It surrounds us. Penetrates us. Binds the world together. Which reminds me. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your Uncle wouldn't allow. He thought you'd follow NCSA Mosaic on some idealistic crusade."

    Luke Spyglass: "What is it?"

    NCSA Mosaic: "It is open source browser source code. The weapon of a web browser. Not as random or clumsy as a closed source. An elegant idea for a more civilized age."
    • Except Spyglass Mosaic had no NCSA Mosaic source code, and also, IE was based on Spyglass, not NCSA. ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sharkey ( 16670 )
        What he said was true.... from a certain point of view.
    • what the fuck is that ?

      in the middle of it i stopped laughing and started reading it stupefied.

      this one of the best creative shit i saw in my life.
    • That's something really amazing. You have a talent there, my friend.
    • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )
      That's great. :)
    • Why did you post anonymously? That is GREAT!
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:35PM (#18784999) Homepage
    The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion

    The Ass and the Fox, having entered into partnership together for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far when they met a Lion. The Fox, seeing imminent danger, approached the Lion and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass if the Lion would pledge his word not to harm the Fox. Then, upon assuring the Ass that he would not be injured, the Fox led him to a deep pit and arranged that he should fall into it. The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and attacked the Ass at his leisure.

    MORAL: Never trust your enemy.

    Appropriate parameter assignments for ass, fox, and lion are left as an exercise for the reader.
  • and nobody came?

    All we are saying, is give HTML 5.0 a chance!

    With respects to John Lennon.
  • by skeevy ( 926052 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:42PM (#18785101)
    Good. Now that this distracting war is over, we can get back to the really important wars: vi versus emacs; LISP versus, well, anything else; and where to put those little curly brackets.
  • by PapayaSF ( 721268 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:44PM (#18785127) Journal

    As a web developer, my biggest concern (aside from the difficulties creating multi-column CSS layouts []) involves differences in the way browsers render pages. It's incredibly frustrating to write perfectly valid HTML/XHTML and CSS and have the pages show up very differently depending on the browser. The biggest offender, of course, is Internet Explorer, and now that version 7 is out but many haven't switched to it, I have to test in both 6 and 7. And since I couldn't figure out a way to install both on one PC, my workstation now has a Mac and two PCs for IE6 and IE7 browser testing. I consider this Microsoft's contribution to global warming....

    I estimate that at least 10% of my time is spent avoiding and tracking down browser display differences that really shouldn't exist in the first place. I get paid by the hour so maybe I shouldn't complain, but the inefficiency of the whole thing still bugs me.

    • I've got two words for you, my friend. Virtual Machines.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kelson ( 129150 ) *

        I've got two words for you, my friend. Virtual Machines.

        Microsoft is even offering free images for Virtual PC, preloaded with IE6 and IE7 []. The annoying thing is that they're time limited, expiring in August. I think they're being entirely too optimistic about the upgrade rate, especially considering all the computers that can't upgrade to IE7 for technical or policy reasons.

    • by levork ( 160540 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @02:16PM (#18785705) Homepage

      And since I couldn't figure out a way to install both on one PC
      I had the same problem too, until I discovered this last week: Install multiple versions of IE on your PC []. Allows installation of IE 3-6 side by side with 7. Works great for me, and I can now test my web site on IE 6 and IE 7 (and 5.5, god forbid).
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @02:26PM (#18785903) Homepage
      That is one of the biggest problems. Especially from the point of view of a web developer. I spend countless hours trying to work out differences between web developers. However, the biggest problem isn't the differences, it's the inability to debug the problem. The Web developer tools in FireFox, including Edit HTML and Edit CSS, make fixing these problems a breeze. Doing the same thing in any browser is a nightmare. Although some tools are available in other browsers, they aren't as good and complete as what's available in Firefox. I think that more companies, MS Especially, because of their large market share should look at their web browsers from an application platform standpoint, ant try to do what they can to improve the usability for those designing the web sites, instead of focusing on the person browsing the web.
      • by jp10558 ( 748604 )
        I'd say that is a twofold problem. Bugs are always being worked on (at least in Opera and FireFox). And Opera has taken a page from Firefox, and started expanding their developer tools. But the other part of the problem is of course expecting pixel perfect rendering on ANY browser. If you want page perfect exact rendering, HTML + CSS isn't the medium for that. Try PS or PDF (which is mostly specialized PS).
        • But the other part of the problem is of course expecting pixel perfect rendering on ANY browser. If you want page perfect exact rendering, HTML + CSS isn't the medium for that.

          Having concerns about CSS implementation and rendering does not mean one expects "pixel-perfect" layout. I didn't see anything about that in the GP post.

          Try PS or PDF (which is mostly specialized PS).

          That's fine for print, but not so great for screen displays on varying screens, or for browsing linked information on the web.

        • by Nurgled ( 63197 )

          The CSS specification describes (or at least, it should describe) exactly one correct visual rendering of any given input on a given output device. With everything else equal (including canvas size, available fonts, configured default text sizes, etc), any two fully-compliant screen-media CSS implementations should produce identical output, with some allowance for different antialiasing algorithms and so forth. Certainly the box model is very clear on the resulting sizes for any configuration of its associa

    • You can install both at the same computer if you run Linux. Take a look at WineTools.
    • take that one computer running MS IE6 and replace Windows with Linux and then install IEs4linux( [] ). That'll get you MS IE5, 5.5, and 6 on one machine. And really, it
      would have been cheaper to purchase more system memory and run a few virtual machines for testing.

      Good to hear a Microsoft based developer concerned about wasting time.

    • Actually, I like some cross-browser display differences. It keeps overzealous web designers from treating the web too much like print, making things far worse. What I don't like is when those differences are simply bugs (like IE's png handling).
    • >differences in the way browsers render pages

      The bitch is that, noncompliant or not, IE is the defacto standard because it's so bloody widespread. (footers, anyone?)

      The situation is improving.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:45PM (#18785151)
    The objective never was to make firefox or opera the next king of the web, but to have competition in the browser market. By having serious and various competitors in various platforms, we need standards in order to make web pages equal independent of your preferred client.

    Right now I can't remember the last time I saw a "best viewed in IE X.0" warning, and that should be an indicator that people know there's a diversity of clients in the market, and making you site exclusive to a particular browser, instead of compiling with standards everyone can implement, means greatly limiting your customer base.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      Actually, it was about making a standard complient browser that anyone can use.
      If I.E. played to standards Firefox would still be sub 2% installs.
  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:45PM (#18785155) Homepage Journal
    This is good news for Firefox. So long as Microsoft thinks it has "won" the browser war, the steady erosion of IE's market share will happen by hook or by crook. That is, viral petri dishes like Active X will be slowly become phased out, and it will be increasingly difficult for MS to differentiate their browser from other free ones.
    • This is good news for Firefox. So long as Microsoft thinks it has "won" the browser war, the steady erosion of IE's market share will happen by hook or by crook.

      Microsoft doesn't think it has won the browser war, it knows it lost and gave up years ago.

      For Microsoft, winning the war meant ensuring that the most viewed and essential web sites only worked in Windows, or worked significantly better in Windows than other operating systems. In other words, it mean crippling the web for non-Windows platform

  • by neersign ( 956437 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:46PM (#18785169) not the #1 concern to web designers. From a designers point of view, all of the browsers should be focusing on standards compliance so I don't have to worry about my page being unviewable in Browser X. As a person using the web browser to surf the web, I think both security and standards compliance are equally important so I can browse the web safely and confident that I am viewing pages as they were intended to be see.

    So, while I'm glad the developers see security as being a high priority, I hope all of the browser developers do not forget about standards compliance.

    • Yes it is. Compliance matters, but it is a moot issue now. As long as they continue to work towards compliance among all browsers and the discussion remains open, that is all we can ask for. Compliance sounds easy, but first they need to all agree on what exactly is the defined standard and how to adopt and apply new standards. If we were all compliant today and they decided to add CSS3 support, maybe only 2 browsers adopt that ASAP, while Firefox takes a month to get around to it. The problems like that wi
  • What was Google doing there?!?! Do they have a browser that I don't know about?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelson ( 129150 ) *
      They were there as a major developer of web applications. They've also worked closely with Mozilla (at one point they were employing several developers specifically to work on Firefox, and they might still be), and were there to talk about the future of webapps.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by psxman ( 925240 )
      They made a web browser webapp. Proponents say it's just like the desktop web browsers, except you can use it from anywhere with a web browser!
  • According to one Microsoft spokesperson, the company reiterated its support for having a common, industry-standard web platform to embrace and extend.
  • Over?!?! It's not over 'til we say it's over. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor??....Hell no!.............
  • But the primary participants in the industry were not interested in another browser war.

    When it was Netscape vs. IE, there was a competition to increase the functionality and effectiveness of the browsers. They could work to improve general security but a lack of wars like this stifle innovation and will result in all the major browsers staying the same for several years. Wars always bring innovation, years of experience have shown us that. If one browser fights to gain control of the market by drastically improving security then it will force the competitors to follow suit and also stops a

  • "Firefox surges with 25% browser share. Figures show Mozilla gaining from Microsoft" April 17, 2007 []
  • Yalta, 1945 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @02:30PM (#18785967) Journal
    I am reminded of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meeting at Yalta in 1945 [] as they start to pre-emptively divide up their mutual enemy, while declaring that they'll all cooperate in the future.
  • by Temujin_12 ( 832986 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @03:21PM (#18786683)
    ...this [] is the outcome.
  • that the browser wars have ended. And Microsoft will be decoupling IE from their monopoly OS when?
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @03:52PM (#18787075) Homepage Journal
    Actually, what they wanted to announce was that the major combat operations have ended...
  • by schweini ( 607711 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @04:11PM (#18787325)
    I, for one, would not want the browser wars to be over - as someone else pointed out, the fact that there's a "war" going on is a good thing, since that means that web developers, frameworks and companies all have to think of the other browsers, instead of only IE, as they did ca. 5 years ago. This, in turn, means that they will try to stick to the official standards (as much as they can), which in turn means that if I'd want to develop a new browser from scratch, it would be a lot easier for me to code it, and for users to use it, as long as it sticks to the standards, which means that competition is open for all. Even though I try to enlighten all IE users I meet, and try to get them to switch to a superior browser, the fact that IE users are out there is fine with me, as long as their mass doesn't squash any alternatives. So, now that the browser wars are waging again, we only have to start the 'war' on Office-like-products (by getting OpenDocument accepted, or at the very least all important standards opened), in order to give alternative software suites a fair fighting chance to compete on functional grounds, instead of the same old "oh, but everybody else is using MS Office, so I can't switch even if I wanted to". After that is accomplished, getting people to switch, or at least try alternative operating systems would be a breeze.
  • by Sonicboom ( 141577 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @04:14PM (#18787375) Journal
    We can't grow when browsers are killing eachother and commiting crimes with one another.
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:44PM (#18791713) Homepage Journal
    MS, Google, Mozilla, Opera...pick the odd one out of this list of browser creators.
  • The Browser Wars are over when Microsoft bundles Firefox with Windows. (They will of course also have the latest IE, maybe opera too, possibly a Konquerer spin-off.)

    Until then, it's all just wishful thinking.
    • by cyborch ( 524661 )
      Actually, they don't have to bundle Firefox at all, they just have to throw out their own rendering engine and embed Gecko in IE. They are allowed to do so, and (if they are sincere in declaring the war over) have nothing to loose by doing so.

      They might even have an option to embed khtml in IE as well.

      As for Opera, well, it costs real money. If people want to buy extra software they should be allowed to do so, but I see no reason to make Windows even more expensive by bundling it.

  • Seriously, I think it's easy to say "Oh, the problems of the Mushroom Kingdom don't affect those of us living in the USA" but this news makes me really happy. For the Toads, for the Goombahs, even for the Koopas themselves.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"