It has been confirmed in the last week that Microsoft will be changing their Edge web browser to use a free-software/open source render engine in the form of Chromium/Blink.
The rendering engine is the base system that handles a large part of the functionality of the web browser. It typically draws the website for display on the screen and runs the Java script to animate and process the website content.
On the surface this looks like a win for the free software community - however, this is just another move to deeper entrench proprietary technology into free software.
While Microsoft is moving to a more open standard please beware that this new browser is no better than the one provided now. It still uses non-free components that you cannot study, share, modify and share the modified; and it still has a lot of spy ware in the form of website behavior tracking for which Microsoft collects.
There is also the issue that Google has been implementing a lot of functionality into the Chromium system that effectively binds it to non-free programs and functions built by Google. This is Google trying to force dependence on their services and their user tracking. This should not be tolerated.
With Microsoft now adopting this technology base it has further closed the gap on how browser standards are treated. With only two players left in the browser standards field, FireFox and the Chromium based browsers there is the real possibility of Microsoft/Google strong arming a monopoly on technology standards that depend on these non-free components - effectively locking the world wide web into a restrictive system.
While Firefox has a lot of privacy issues, it still uses a free software base renderer that is being heavily developed. The variants of Firefox that strip out the anti-features are still viable and must be supported for a free and open Internet. The are projects like GNU IceCat, A-Browser on Trisquel and Pure Browser on Pure OS - browsers that treat the users right.
Do not support this push towards mono-standards as it will only hurt us long term even if it is the easy path now.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook