Back in December, Microsoft announced it was caving in and embracing Chromium to underpin its Edge web browser. Using Google's technology was quite a climb down from Microsoft after previously using its own EdgeHTML. In an ironic twist, one Microsoft employee has waged war on Twitter because Mozilla has decided to do the same thing.
Mozilla has held out on Chromium and in December lamented the disappearance of EdgeHTML. Microsoft employee Kenneth Auchenberg, a program manager for Redmond's Code team, criticized Mozilla's opinion.
“Thought: It's time for @mozilla to get down from their philosophical ivory tower. The web is dominated by Chromium, if they really *cared* about the web they would be contributing instead of building a parallel universe that's used by less than 5%?”
One Mozilla engineer responded to Auchenberg's testing comment by saying adopting a single technology was against the ethos of the company's open source heritage.
“Hey, Mozilla engineer and Chromium committer too here… Not having multiple implementations of the web means that the web stops being an open platform… People start relying on Chromium bugs, and standards / specs become useless, making innovating impossible. — Emilio (@ecbos_)”
Not to be outdone in this rather childish war of words, Auchenberg responded and actually made a couple of decent points. Firstly, he says the market has pushed towards development focus and not necessarily numerous rendering engines. He says focusing on a single engine would allow swifter innovation and simple allow developers to concentrate on competing in terms of UI/features.
“2) This complexity it's incredibly expensive to implement a web runtime. Even for Google/Microsoft it's hard to justify such investment that would take thousands of engineers in multiple years.
The web has become too capable for multi engines, just like many frameworks.”
While we can say this discussion is rather pointless and was needlessly started by Auchenberg. However, it is an interesting debate that tackled the nature of what open source solutions should be, and more importantly, what users want them to be.