back to article It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

Microsoft on Thursday said it intends to use the open-source Chromium browser engine in the desktop version of its Edge browser, promising the two per cent of global internet users who favor Edge an improved web experience. Joe Belfiore, corporate veep of Windows, announced the plan, which was reported earlier this week. " …

rmullen0

Re: "What's next? Windows 11 will be based on 7 UI?"

Sounds like your problem is that you are viewing, CNN, fake news's website.

BobChip
Coat

Re: And who got fired for taking all the wrong decisions?

Windows 11 will be based on 7 UI?. Nah. Linux, obviously.

dbtx
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Coat

never going to get fixed

wash it all away.

Glen 1
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Re: And who got fired for taking all the wrong decisions?

I like the idea of windows becoming either just another distro, or possibly just a desktop environment.

Remember Lindows?

PaxD76

Re: And who got fired for taking all the wrong decisions?

> 5) Too much emphasis on touch when Windows is still mostly used with a mouse

Microsoft has always been slow to pivot. Several years ago, a couple of forecasts indicated that tablets would replace laptops. The iPad was selling well at the time too. As a result, the joke that is Metro/Win8 (2012) was born. The mindset still exists in everything they do. "OMG, The Tablets are Coming!"

It's like their "Get the Facts" FUD campaign against Linux. It just went on and on and on until they came across like doddering old fools yelling at kids to get off their lawn.

Franco
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Edge works OK, it's just not compatible with enough things IME. The last 2 desktop image rollouts I've done have been set to use IE, with Chrome as the alternate due to lack of Edge compatibility with addons, intranet sites etc.

I use Firefox myself most of the time, only ever really have to use IE to access the DRACs and iLOs on old servers that still have the ActiveX versions and even they are getting rarer these days.

DougS
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Worst possible outcome

Like we need to see Chrome become more dominant, and be able to set advertiser friendly web standards that make it harder to protect your personal information while surfing!

Nick Ryan
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Re: Worst possible outcome

Chromium and Chrome are different things - Chromium is an open sourced rendering engine, Chrome is just another web browser that users Chromium to render pages. The browsers that use the Chromium engine have a lot of leeway into how the content is managed, presented and filtered.

DougS
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Re: Worst possible outcome

Yes, but using the same engine still makes Chrome more dominant, because Google will remain by far the leading contributor to Chromium. They will obviously prioritize implementing stuff that helps steal users data over stuff that helps users preserve their privacy. Will other browsers built in Chromium go out of their way to delete such stuff?

Would you be this blasé if Apple's WebKit engine was by far dominant among browsers, and they had an inordinate say about what features are added? Instead of being more anti-privacy than I'd like as Google is, Apple might be more pro-DRM than you'd like in the choices they make about what to add to the code base.

Orv
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Re: Worst possible outcome

What recent Chromium features are, in your estimation, aimed at stealing more user data? Keep in mind Google tends to push everything onto the standards track, and withdraw stuff that doesn't make it into the specs (e.g., Object.observe, which I actually found useful.)

P. Lee
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Re: Worst possible outcome

I don't think it helps chrome specifically. Chrome is cross platform and has good windows integration, so it is popular. However, safari is WebKit, konqueror is WebKit, chromium obviously is there on Linux. Brave is also chromium based. All these benefit from being able to render ms server output.

The question is really around the "extend" phase. Is this going to be a problem or have they just accepted their role as a downloader and are cutting costs?

Orv
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Re: Worst possible outcome

I'm not too worried about "extend" because this isn't a market niche where Microsoft has much market penetration anymore. If they started adding proprietary extensions, very few web devs would actually use them because there's already a rich set of features that's common between Chromium and Firefox.

Big John
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Coat

The passing of an age

Edge will be just a mask for Chrome, and Microsoft has stated they have discontinued bad old Internet Exploder, and will finally end all official support for it when Win 10 ends its support cycle.

So, at long last, my ancient enemy's days are numbered. It will be strange not to have IE to kick around anymore...

Dan 55
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Re: The passing of an age

I don't think they can get rid of IE 11, firstly it's the only browser left that can run Java and secondly there's far too many enterprise websites (i.e. slapped-together crap that has never seen an update) that depend on it.

They might rename it to Intranet Explorer though...

TheGreatCabbage

Re: The passing of an age

"...when Win 10 ends its support cycle"

What happened to Windows 10 being the "last version of Windows"? :-/

Fuzz

Re: The passing of an age

IE11 is the browser in Server 2019 no edge due to no support for UWP.

That means it'll be supported for at least another 10 years. As this new Edge will be Win32 I guess it might show up in the next release of Windows Server.

Hans 1
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Happy

Re: The passing of an age

I don't think they can get rid of IE 11, firstly it's the only browser left that can run Java and secondly there's far too many enterprise websites (i.e. slapped-together crap that has never seen an update) that depend on it.

Who in their right mind wants to run Java in a browser ? No, that was not a joke of yours, or you forgot the joke icon .... bollocks, your opinion does not count! As for the proprietary web interfaces, well, congrats, you have learned a lesson today:

Buying proprietary software is bad, bad, bad!

When you go shopping for replacements, avoid proprietary software.

Ken Hagan
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Re: The passing of an age

It wasn't an opinion. It is a fact that too many corporate apps are stick on IE and the reason they are still stuck is because there is no "next time you buy" in these organisations.

dajames
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Re: The passing of an age

Who in their right mind wants to run Java in a browser ?

Running applets in a browser was one of the primary uses for which Sun introduced Java, back in the day. The browser was supposed to contain a bytecode interpreter (NOT a JIT compiler) that could check the Java code for correctness as it ran (rather than making vague guesses about what the code would do at JIT time and then letting it run natively without a sandbox), and this was supposed to lead to a more secure (and platform independent) way of delivering active content than the alternative technology available at the time -- ActiveX.

The reason nobody in their right mind runs Java in the browser today has more to do with the terrible quality of all the implementations of Java in the browser than any inherent unsuitability of Java for that purpose.

I'd certainly far rather see Java running in a good, secure, bug-free implementation of a browser-based JVM than active content delivered using the train-wreck that is JavaScript!

Java's not the problem here -- it may not be the language that does the most to encourage safe programming, but it'll do -- the problem lies in its implementation.

Dan 55
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Re: The passing of an age

You're confusing me explaining the way things currently are with my support or otherwise for it.

If MS were to drop IE then there'd be less tethering enterprises to MS, therefore they won't drop it.

Wade Burchette

Lipstick on a pig

Going to the Chromium engine will not solve the fundamental flaws in Edge, specifically (1) an illogical and confusing UI; (2) a reboot required for updates; (3) add-ons require the app store. I reject Edge, not because of its engine, but because I find it difficult to use. In fact, I do not care about the rendering engine, at all. And I do not want to care.

What is more, the browser and the OS should be completely separate. This way I can uninstall it if I wish (and I only will so long as the UI continues to be stupid) and updates can happen without using Windows Update or requiring a restart.

bombastic bob
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Meh

Re: Lipstick on a pig

actually, Lipstick on a BOAR, and NOT the on the end that goes 'oink'. implications obvious.

"updates can happen without using Windows Update or requiring a restart."

Although I could never think of a reason as to why windows update requires reboots for things like browser updates, I'm SURE they'll figure SOME reason [and always require a reboot].

A big part of this is the way windows handles files. In the POSIX world, a file is simply an inode, and if you replace it with a new one, with the exception of 'certain semantics', the inode for the OLD file is STILL THERE (as long as the file remains open) and can be used by already-running applications [assuming it's executable or a shared lib]. In windows, apparently the directory entry IS the file, and not merely a pointer to it [for all practical purposes] and so a replaced EXE or DLL *must* require a reboot and copy-on-boot post-install crap.

There are a lot of OTHER things windows does poorly (compared to POSIX systems) but this is the one that requires rebooting on EVERY! STINKING! UPDATE! like that...

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

"work with anything other than Chromium"

Dear Mozilla,

Here's the problem, see. I was running Firefox ESR 52.9.0, and I was running that version for a very good reason, when all of a sudden it automagically crapped itself by "updating" to that Quantum garbage that breaks absolutely every extension I depend on, despite the fact that I explicitly disabled updates.

This "update by stealth" crap is exactly the sort of shenanigans we expect from Microsoft, not Mozilla.

But despite my better judgement, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and decided to at least try your Quantum garbage for a while, replacing my ten million now incompatible extensions with alternatives where available. Maybe I'm just being a Luddite, I thought. Maybe I don't really need all those extensions. Maybe there are real benefits to Quantum that I'm just too stupid to understand. Let's find out.

So I stripped every trace of Firefox ESR from my system, including all my profile data, and just let you install whatever experimental junk you demanded, i.e. the latest "stable" version of Quantum, then started with a virgin profile, ready for you to command.

That's when I found out.

What I found out is that the one site that represents probably 99% of my online activity, YouTube, caused Quantum to freeze so hard that penguins began sliding out of the back of my PC. It froze so solid I had to do a hard reset. Every time. Without fail. Including after several more "updates". This was before I even installed any extensions. Other sites fared just as poorly. Anything with more than a couple of graphic elements on the page lagged to the point of being unusable. Tabs were completely unresponsive. I was opening up to a "Firefox crashed" dialogue every launch. It was a total clusterfsck.

For a brief moment there I was tempted to go full tilt Google slut and install Chrome. But I had a better plan. I wiped Quantum and re-installed ESR 52.9.0, then used the sledgehammer approach to force Firefox to never update ever again, using SysInternals' psexec to launch cmd as user SYSTEM, took full ownership of %AppData%\Local\Mozilla\updates, then removed all permissions to read, write, or even glance in the general direction of that directory forever.

This is the real reason that nobody gives a damn if anything works with anything other than Chrome. Your "release early, release often, break always" policy sucks.

Fuck you very much,

Love, Homer.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Oh Homer - Re: "work with anything other than Chromium"

Sorry to get you down from your high horses but I've been using the Mozilla browser exclusively since it was called Phoenix (for version 0.5, see https://website-archive.mozilla.org/www.mozilla.org/firefox_releasenotes/en-US/firefox/releases/0.5.html ). During all these years it was configured for manual update and it never happened to update against my will, ever. Also, even if I was always using the beta version it never crashed my computer (not even when I was running good old Windows 98 in those days) although I must admit I was and I still am very conservative when it comes to installing plugins.

We're impressed with your technical prowess but manual update does what it says it will do.

bazza
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Re: Oh Homer - "work with anything other than Chromium"

Yep. Been using Firefox for ages now exclusively, current versions seem very good. Waaaaay better than Chrome(ium) on things like memory consumption, doing the things I want it to do, etc. Certainly not had any issues with it freezing up with YouTube....

DropBear
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Re: Oh Homer - "work with anything other than Chromium"

>> user@host:~$ apt-mark showhold

>> firefox-esr

>> thunderbird

>> user@host:~$

...just sayin'.

Dan 55
Silver badge

Re: "work with anything other than Chromium"

You've been played by Google.

There's an old CSS call which everybody agreed was depreciated. Browser makers therefore didn't waste time on optimising it, except for Google who optimised it on Chrome and made YouTube's design call it a lot.

In other words Google are using their web properties to push people towards their browser.

The solution for Firefox is an extension which makes YouTube use the old page design which doesn't have this CSS call.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: "work with anything other than Chromium"

Having experienced some problems with IE11 (or the websites coding for IE11, or whatever), I installed Firefox as a secondary option on a couple of colleagues machines.

And I looked on it and it was good. So I thought about adding it to other machines and looked at Firefox support for the "business" end of things.

Group Policy support? Ting. Well nearly - you can control some aspects but the rest require a custom configuration file

Install from network using group policy and msi package? Seems not. Custom MST if you roll your own. After installing this program and that program.

And I just went to check what I was saying was still true. Mozilla asks to survey my opinion but email is required. So that feedback went out the window.

jeffdyer

Re: "work with anything other than Chromium"

Anyone who writes "depreciated" immediately loses any credibility.

Glen 1
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Re: "work with anything other than Chromium"

>depreciated

It's not like they said "leverage"

redpawn
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This will save Edge

Mac users don't have a browser which is only useful to download a preferred browser. That is unless you count Safari.

Zippy´s Sausage Factory

Re: This will save Edge

That's because Safari, unlike Edge, can sometimes be useful.

Not often, I'll give you that. But every so often there's a site that makes everything else go "wibble"...

Orv
Silver badge

Re: This will save Edge

Safari is the Toyota Yaris rental car of browsers. It's a bit slow, there aren't many fancy options, and I wouldn't want to drive it every day, but it gets me where I'm going reliably in a pinch.

Glen 1
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Re: This will save Edge

"Not often, I'll give you that. But every so often there's a site that makes everything else go "wibble"..."

Those would be written by Devs who work exclusively on Mac's and don't think to test on other browsers/OSs.

Remember the "best viewed in" crap from yester year?

John Savard
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Wondering

Does this mean that Chromium is on a BSD license instead of a GNU license? Or is Microsoft paying money to Alphabet to get a commercial license?

Yet Another Anonymous coward
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Re: Wondering

LetMeWikiThatForYOu

"The Google-authored portion of Chromium is released under the BSD license,[20] with other parts being subject to a variety of different open-source licenses, including the MIT License, the LGPL, the Ms-PL and an MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license.[21]"

Jonathon Desmond

Re: Wondering

A quick glance at the github mirror appears to show that it uses the three clause BSD license.

FWIW, Wikipedia (I know!) waffles on about Chromium Browser being “tri-licenced”, including MIT and BSD.

Yet Another Anonymous coward
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Good news for Linux

Since the browser is a core part of the operating system and can't be separated from it - Microsoft will have to switch to the Linux kernel.

For the young reader (there must be one)

Microsoft argues DOJ's request for new court order shows that internet explorer is an integrated feature of windows

Orv
Silver badge

Re: Good news for Linux

At the time they were sort of right. Sort of. A fair number of things depended on IE's rendering engine. That didn't require the whole browser, but it did require some of its DLLs. This was something of a circular situation though; because IE couldn't be uninstalled, software would quietly rely on it because it had to be there, which meant you couldn't uninstall it without breaking things...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

So hows that going to work with DRM? e.g. Netflix 4K

Glen 1
Bronze badge

"So hows that going to work with DRM? e.g. Netflix 4K"

Same way it currently does for Chrome, except with a different implementation of the DRM bit.

chuBb.

Sneaky

Wonder what that will do to the various anti trust cases around bundled browsers, has ms just manouvered them selves out of the firing line with a talk to Google as the response...

That and opera bloke will now be winging about lack of diversity

Ah well guess that's the cost of a consistent box model and one less set of browser specific css hacks, poly fills and other normalisation chod. Actually that could have quite a dramatic impact if the ie/edge cruft gets stripped from bootstrap etc.

Potemkine!
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Paris Hilton

MS Edge? What's that?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

>MS Edge? What's that?

A failed attempt by MS to take on Google only to come away with yet another severe beating (q.v. Bing)

kat_bg

Edge will live on (albeit with a different underframe...) As for Bing, was it killed recently and never heard it? Not that I care too much.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

global internet users who favor Edge

i.e. those who don't know how to change default browser

NeilPost

IE12

Internet Explorer 12 anyone... is that next????

This post has been deleted by its author

Michael Habel
Silver badge

So

Did the MicroSoft Elevs repeal, and replace the bits of Spyware that would have gone to Google, to be henceforth routed to Redmond instead?

If this is what Innovation at MicroSoft looks like post 2018, then the fall should thankfully come soon. I mean how freaking hard is it to make your own Browser?

Let me put it another way... If I had happened to want to use Chrome on a non-mobile Device, than I would already be running Chrome. But, than I'm not particularly partial to Edge either, as no Windows 7 version of it exists, and Win X.x is never going to be an option till End level Win X becomes not the exception, but the norm.

Till then I'll run down the clock on Win VII, and then will most likely migrate to some Debian based Linux Distro. Where I can continue to use Palemoon.

Yet Another Anonymous coward
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Re: So

If you are using Windows on a PC Microsoft could not give a float underflow about you

They make their money from corporate Office365+Sharepoint and Cloud

Anything that makes it 0.1% more difficult to migrate work away from AWS or Google cloud to Azure because some admin tool works better in Chrome could cost them $$$$$

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