back to article Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

Microsoft could be preparing to ditch the EdgeHTML layout engine of its unloved Edge browser in Windows 10 in favour of Chromium, according to reports surfacing on the eve of the company's developer event Connect();. The reports point to a mystery project, codenamed Anaheim, which will replace Edge as the default web browser …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Begone foul beast :o)

    I, personally LIKE Edge, it does what I need and is cool - posting as AC because YEAH RIGHT :oP

    How one of the mainstays of the IT business cannot get the web side right is actually beyond me, here's to the little guys, taking up the slack

    [/] irony

  2. AMBxx Silver badge

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    It's strange to think back to IE4 and how well the UI worked (security is another matter). It also just looked a lot nicer than Netscape.

    Then they stopped. Strange channels in IE5, then just tidying up.

  3. David Webb

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    I was using Opera with Ublock Origin installed, it's a nice enough browser but every update would see them adding their own items to the start page, and if your own start page link was, for instance, Amazon, Opera would somehow find it appropriate to change your link to an affiliate link. Same for any site they have affiliate links for.

    Because of that I switched to Edge, sure it has some pretty annoying quirks but you can install Ublock Origin and it doesn't try to hijack your links, or put links you delete back onto your start page.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    Edges problems are mainly the horrendous UI and festureset from 5 years ago, not the engine.

    However if this means I can use SharePoint in Chrome, that's a good thing. Tired of Microsoft trying to make me use their crap browser because my company decided to use their crap wiki... (It's hard to call SharePoint a DMS)

  5. Bod

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    Don't really get the complaints about the UI. It's a browser. Mostly it's showing a web page, and looks like any other browser. UI for changing settings I'm not fussed about. Favourites are largely dead with the ability to type a letter or two and jump to a favourite page.

    That said in tablet mode the UI or rather UX becomes important and Edge is better than Chrome there. Chrome remains a windowed application but Edge behaves as a UWP app, adapting to tablet mode properly.

    The engine, isn't really a problem these days. Changing it to Chromium won't change opinions which are based on image with most people still thinking Edge is IE and sheep like hype that says "install Chrome". Why? "because".

    Not that fussed,though if this means we get a UWP Chromium based app, then good.

  6. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    "Don't really get the complaints about the UI. It's a browser. Mostly it's showing a web page"

    Yes, but the UI bits that aren't showing the web page are absolutely terrible.

    "Favourites are largely dead with the ability to type a letter or two and jump to a favourite page."

    For you. There are many people, however, that don't use (or want to use) autocompletion.

    "Edge behaves as a UWP app, adapting to tablet mode properly."

    Maybe that's OK on mobile (I dunno, never used it there), but the UWP apps I've seen on the desktop (including Edge) are horrid.

    "won't change opinions which are based on image with most people still thinking Edge is IE and sheep"

    I think that you're being overly dismissive here. You may get along well with Edge, but plenty of people don't. Not because they have a false image of the browser, but because they've used it and found it wanting. I am one of those people -- Edge is perhaps my least favorite mainstream browser.

  7. P. Lee Silver badge

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    So Brave will be good for catch-up tv, yt, bitchute and share point?

    Cheers MS!

  8. ozof

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    Now if we could just get Sony to follow suit...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Begone foul beast :o)

    SharePoint Online is fully compatible with Chrome as is SharePoint 2013 and 2016. In fact, if you call MS for support on any of the O365 web apps and tell them you're using IE or Edge, they'll ask you to give Chrome a go.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/install/browser-support-planning

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/install/browser-support-planning-0

    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/which-browsers-work-with-office-online-ad1303e0-a318-47aa-b409-d3a5eb44e452

    If your company has told you not to use Chrome it's because they don't want to support it.

    If your company's intranet doesn't display cirrectly in Chrome then it hasn't been designed properly.

    You're welcome.

  10. N2 Silver badge
    Devil

    I did use Edge...

    Once.

    It seemed jammed full of largely inapropriate adverts.

    I downloaded Firefox and that was the end of Edge.

  11. Wade Burchette

    Re: I did use Edge...

    I tried it too. But the UI was so confusing and illogical that I quickly gave up. I don't care if it can solve world peace, if the UI is illogical than nothing else matters. That is why Edge is unloved. Adopting Chromium will not fix that fatal flaw.

  12. macjules Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Re: I did use Edge...

    Hey, it could be a lot worse. They could have adopted Safari.

  13. katrinab Silver badge
    Flame

    Re: I did use Edge...

    They are both derivatives of Konqueror. How is that going to make much of a difference?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I did use Edge...

    I'm assuming the downvotes were for the word "inappropriate". I struggle to see how any ads pushed at the user by a browser can be considered appropriate.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I did use Edge...

    "any ads pushed at the user by a browser can be considered appropriate"

    Isn't that like saying that your car is pushing adverts at you because you drive past a roadside billboard?

  16. Timo

    Re: I did use Edge...

    I also used Edge as it came with a new work laptop. It did seem faster and fairly integrated. But after the silent "upgrades" blew away my bookmark files for the third or fourth time, I decided it wasn't polished enough to be ready for actual use. Too many other options out there that don't shit the bed on the easy stuff.

  17. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: I did use Edge...

    Edge doesn't push ads. It doesn't come with Adblock by default, just like many other browsers, but Adblock is available in the Microsoft App Store, and you can actually install Adblock before running Edge for the first time, thus ensuring that your eyes (and ears, and computer) don't get polluted by these ads.

    There are lots of reasons to hate Edge, this isn't one of them.

  18. JLV Silver badge

    Re: I did use Edge...

    It also lacked quick access to a menu or a bookmark bar.

    They might be there, somewhere, but I dislike Windows menu-lessness as much as its Ribbons. Firefox, Vivaldi, Chrome all recognize bookmark bars are key (and if you don’t agree, allow you to decide to hide them).

    Changing the rendering engine ought to help MS render html standards. Won’t help with their lobotomized UI. The rancid ghost of Sinovsky lives on.

  19. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: I did use Edge...

    "I dislike Windows menu-lessness"

    Oh, I agree with this SO MUCH. That and the awful trend these days of hiding all the controls.

  20. georgezilla

    Re: I did use Edge...

    " ... Isn't that like saying that your car is pushing adverts ... "

    Only if your windshield is only 27 inches, and they auto-play at a very loud volume and pop out in the middle of the road.

  21. georgezilla

    Re: I did use Edge...

    " ... There are lots of reasons to hate Edge, this isn't one of them. ... "

    Yes it is. And it is just one of many.

  22. AMBxx Silver badge

    Re: I did use Edge...

    By adverts, I think the OP is referring to all the crap displayed when you start the browser, not the adverts shown as part of web pages.

    In terms of UI, there is one good bit - the scroll bars don't keep disappearing. If only that were true of the rest of Windows 10.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I did use Edge...

    Isn't that like saying that your car is pushing adverts at you because you drive past a roadside billboard?

    Eeeerrrrrr, no. I don't own the billboard, do I.

  24. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: I did use Edge...

    Where is the joke icon ? Blink comes from WebKit, which Safari uses ...

  25. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Re: I did use Edge...

    More that it chose a route that took you by it's selection of billboards.

  26. keith_w

    Re: I did use Edge...

    In the settings main pull down there is a switch to turn on the favorites bar.

  27. largefile

    Re: I did use Edge...

    Menu / bookbar?

    Click the three dots in upper right corner and everything you could want is there. It's safe to assume that most of the commenters here haven't looked at EDGE in a few years. As for the article's headline...it's NOT unloved, it's just unused. Oh well...they will move to another engine and it will give Reg haters one less thing to complain about with Microsoft. Meantime.....I'm productive on Windows 10 and my MSFT stock investments have never looked rosier.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I did use Edge...

    my MSFT stock investments have never looked rosier.

    You mean they're in the red???

  29. rg287

    It is hard to see much of a downside to Microsoft ditching EdgeHTML in favour of Chromium. Aside from a little wounded pride within the bowels of Redmond and some fanboys desperate to see Microsoft "beat" the likes of Google, many developers would be relieved to see a reduction in target platforms.

    Diversity. I don't want to see Microsoft "beat" Google, but I do want to see at least a few different implementations of browser engines. Let's not forget that MS disbanded much of the IE dev team after IE6, feeling that they had "won" the browser wars. Consequently the development of web technologies stalled for at least a couple of years until Mozilla started pushing niceties like tabbed browsing in their "niche" Firefox product, and then Google stomped on everybody with the blistering V8 JS engine.

    MS wanted to own the web. They imposed their own ActiveX controls and various other proprietary standards. A legacy that many organisations are still dealing with.

    Google also wants to own the web, and perhaps in the past they have been less closed-shop than MS were - a benevolent dictator. But fundamentally, allowing one corporation to effectively dictate the planet's technology choices is not a good thing. The web has always worked on the principle of an organisation pushing out a new feature or protocol, and if people like it (e.g. SPDY), then it gets adopted more widely until someone eventually writes a standard (like HTTP/2). On the other hand, if it's not so popular, it gets to die a death.

    But in order for that process to work, you need a community. Multiple browsers, hopefully running multiple engines (I'm looking at the slew of Chrome-a-likes here, Vivaldi, Opera), and multiple servers at the other end.

    The server side is reasonably buoyant at the moment - IIS, Apache, nginx, Litespeed, GWS, et al. The browser side not so much. There's no shortage of browsers touting new user-side features or interfaces, but they're all just a glossy skin on top of Chromium...

  30. sabroni Silver badge

    Came here to post exactly that (though less eloquently).

    If true this change is bad news for everyone but Google.

  31. clocKwize

    Re: Diversity

    I don't want diversity. I want every website to work in every browser I use on whatever device I use it. Chromium the rendering engine is open source and isn't developed by few in one organisation. Yes its the engine behind Chrome, but then it is also the engine behind other browsers. I'm happy for there to be diversity in browsers, pick which ever one you think has the most usable UI (everyone has a different opinion). People shouldn't really care what rendering engine it uses, as long as pages look the same for everyone everywhere, which really is the goal.

  32. Badger Murphy

    Re: Diversity

    "I don't want diversity."

    Maybe not, but, and you may not realize this bit, you don't want a monoculture. You may only use one browser, and therefore feel that the other browser technologies are irrelevant to you. You are mistaken there, though. There are trade-offs in every situation, and this one is no different. With fewer rendering engines, it may be easier for developers to write pages that render well everywhere due to less testing surface, but it is at the cost of this necessary diversity. If we all use the same rendering engine, then there is more incentive to create exploits for that engine. Once an exploit is formed, it works on every single device running that browser (you know, the ONLY browser).

    Reducing the web browsing options to an ever decreasing number of rendering engines is putting all of our eggs in an ever decreasing number of baskets.

  33. Dave K Silver badge

    So, MS maybe about to take a hint that their strategy with Edge isn't working.

    Now, how about a similar change of heart regarding Windows 10's biggest bugbears?

  34. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    That would involve them turning Windows into a Linux distro.

  35. a pressbutton

    No, turning windows 10 into Windows 7 would be good enough for me

    .. or even better XP

  36. N2 Silver badge

    Why not go the whole hog

    And turn it into 2000 ?

  37. katrinab Silver badge
    Flame

    "That would involve them turning Windows into a Linux distro."

    Complete with SystemD? No thanks. How about a BSD distro?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BSD? Naaah, windows users wouldn't be able to handle THAT much speed and reliability increase... Best to wean them onto linux!

  39. MyffyW Silver badge

    just an idea

    Turn Windows into a Linux distro?

    Why, they don't even need to do that much. Just release it as a Window Manager and Desktop Environment on top of Debian.

    Windows started life on top of a command line OS, seems appropriate to return there...

  40. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: just an idea

    If you look at the server versions of Windows, it kind of does again. You can theoretically do everything from Powershell and not install a desktop.

  41. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    "speed and reliability increase" .. wash your mouth out for those dirty words, this is Microsoft after all.

  42. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Yes, XP, which was better at running viruses than actual software

  43. Fungus Bob Silver badge
    Coat

    "How about a BSD distro?"

    Microsoft BSD? They already did that. You've heard of the BSOD.....

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Periodically I try Linux and after a few hours of trying to get everything working, I give up and go back to windows.

  45. Maventi

    > Periodically I try Linux and after a few hours of trying to get everything working, I give up and go back to windows.

    Same in reverse here. I guess everyone has different needs.

  46. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Re: Why not go the whole hog

    Surely you jest? Windows 3.11 would make a better choice surely?

  47. Hans 1 Silver badge

    I gave up trying to get everything to work on Windows ... works fine on Linux ...

  48. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Worked for Apple (for Linux, read BSD)

  49. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "How about a BSD distro?"

    Somebody could go and rummage in the attic for the Xenix source code.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BSOD? That anything like an OD on other illicit drugs? What sort of highs does this MS BS give you?

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