"If one product like #Chromium has enough market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to decide not to worry if their services and sites work with anything other than Chromium. That’s what happened when #Microsoft had a monopoly on browsers in the early 2000s before #Firefox was released. And it could happen again.
If you care about what’s happening with online life today, take another look at Firefox." https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/12/06/goodbye-edge/ #edge
@bjoern I'm more and more unsure about that, to be honest. At one side, yes, Firefox has a different engine, whic is good, but at the end, there's "Google money" in Mozilla too, which makes me wonder. Plus: At some point, why not make sure we have *one* robust, solid, maintained #FLOSS browser engine to build upon? My take on that is here, especially looking at Chromium and Microsoft: https://dm.zimmer428.net/2018/12/edge-chromium-and-web-monoculture/
Because corporate forces will always strive to make the web more closed (more DRM, more obfuscation, more tracking, more monetization); if de facto standardization (through the implementation) has to happen in a space that is dominated by corporate players like Google and Microsoft, their interests will always prevail, even if the implementation is nominally open source.
Mozilla/Firefox is a deeply imperfect alternative - but the best one we have.
@eloquence I see these issues, but I wonder whether we really solve them by building different browser *engines*. Just looking at, in example, #brave and what they do on top of the #chromium engine. They actually come up with a new (and IMHO rather interesting) approach to balancing interests in online ads without ditching users privacy. I wonder whether talking about different browser *engines* leaves us forever working on a level way too low to solve the actual problems..
The best things I can say about Brave is that it's well-marketed and has good usability.
The anti-tracking/anti-ads functionality appears well-replicable within Firefox using built-in anti-tracking tools & uBlock origin -- albeit with worse usability.
BAT is uninteresting to me as it seems like a conventional token play (conflating currency with speculative asset in unhelpful ways), though the problem it attempts to solve is worth solving.
@eloquence I mostly agree with you, but that last piece you wrote is what is of utter importance to me: It's a problem worth solving. And it's that they actually *tried* solving that problem, no matter how imperfect that solution, so far might be. I'd really very much rather use a web that doesn't have tracking that much because it's not required anymore than using a web where we increase effort and amount of tools required to keep this mess somewhat contained.
I, too, would prefer a web that doesn't have tracking, but I don't think that it's in Brave's selfish business interest to fully deliver this reality, nor do I think that even if they delivered it, the negative tradeoffs of conferring massive market power upon yet another $40M -funded San Francisco startup in exchange for such perceived liberation are negligible.
Facebook, too, partially works on problems "worth solving"; this is never by itself sufficient.
@eloquence Maybe you're right, I am a bit undecided about #brave as a company, but the question is: Why doesn't anyone else work on that? Why do people come up with new tracking blockers, but no one really puts effort behind solving the actual problem cause by a load of publishers relying upon ads and trackings as primary (maybe only) source of funding for their doings? Browser *engines* are irrelevant for that, they just "help" us focus on technology rather than solving these other problems. 😐
@z428 @eloquence if you create a monopoly of exactly one browser engine you basically replace all standards with "it works as implemented in Chromium". You might not care as long as every Browser uses Chromium but think about the power we would put in one hand. Keep in mind, Chromium is (and most likely always will be) tightly controlled by Google and Chrome is always the reference browser - 1/2
@bjoern Well, like I said, I'm pretty torn here: Yes, more implementations would be desirable. Yet, maybe the sheer complexity of everything required to build a browser these days is a major problem, here? After all, most of the #FLOSS desktop operating systems these days rely upon the #Linux kernel as well, for the same reason: You don't easily replace this. Yes, having alternatives would be great, but this is complex. Plus, again, how do we ...
@bjoern ... solve the issue of Mozilla also (in terms of money, at least) depending upon Google in some way? That seems a pretty difficult mess, and, here, another browser engine IMHO would only be a real alternative if feature-wise on par with Chromium or Quantum yet completely developed in a #FLOSS community without large corporate backings. Maybe I'm completely off here, but I really have strong doubts about that right now. 😐
@eloquence Just take #xmpp: They always strived to be a protocol with many different servers and free client choice. What happened: There are literally thousands of #xmpp clients, most of them pretty imperfect, and a large crowd of people (even in #FLOSS projects) uses things such as Slack because they "just work". #xmpp could be ages ahead if the community just had focussed on *few* clients and made them as great as somehow possible, talking user expectations and all...
@Shamar Well, that's at least to some point my problem. What to use? Chrome is Google, which I don't want. Firefox is where I came from, but I am increasingly confused about Mozilla, Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Corporation and its fundings. Brave, at its core, is Chromium and also a for-profit organization, even though they at least seem to try do some things different (https://changelog.com/news/the-road-to-brave-10-and-bat-LknA is interesting on that). What else is left, then?
@Shamar Though attacks are a problem, actually this is not my core issue right now. As far as I see things, a lot of the "mess" with the current web is being caused by the fact that we do have a very vivid ad economy, also to some point due to the fact that people expect virtually *everything* to be free(-as-in-free-beer). Ad and tracking blocking, here, just seems to fight the smoke. And Firefox depending upon Google money seems to feed rather than fight the fire. 😐
@Shamar By the way, just read about #Memex; the idea of building a "no-JS" web browser in the age of HTML5 seems a pretty ... questionable approach. That's exactly what I meant with: How many different (and partially or completely "broken", from a standards point of view) engines do we need? Why on earth can't we come up with a HTML5/JS/CSS reference implementation that is #FLOSS and solid enough to build a fully #FLOSS browser on top of that?
@Shamar Of course. I agree with you, and I know / see this problem as well (and its severity). But this is something totally else than the problem I was trying to point out (which is rather a problem of content control, funding of content published to and funding of technology used to access the Web). It's a different problem. Not more or less relevant than the architectural and possible threat vectors caused by this. Just different. Plus: For basic content use cases, ...
@Shamar ... #Memex might eventually work. But a very load of "things" done in todays browsers actually isn't about content but about using the browser as something like a rich client platform / runtime for desktop applications. That's a different use case, with many ... interesting aspects to it. Including the points you outlined. 😐
@eloquence "if de facto standardization (through the implementation) has to happen in a space that is dominated by corporate players like Google and Microsoft, their interests will always prevail, even if the implementation is nominally open source."
I was trying to figure out how to explain this to Mom and Dad at the dinner table last night.
@bjoern I hate companies/organisations that boast to have a "web app that works on all platforms", when all they really have is a Chrome App that is not quite an Electron App yet. 😂
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