[conspire] return to a state of grace

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Oct 18 00:50:38 PDT 2004

Quoting William R Ward (bill at wards.net):

> One minor question - the browser in current versions of Mac OS X is
> Safari, not Camino.  I am relatively new to modern Macs, so what
> happened there?  I believe Safari too is based on gecko - was Camino
> renamed or replaced?

What happened there was unexpected and interesting.  ;->

You are probably familiar with Konqueror, the Web and file browser of
KDE.  In the same sense that Mozilla (and Galeon, and Camino) uses Gecko
as its HTML rendering engine, Konqueror was built on yet _another_ really 
excellent open source HTML rendering engine, called kHTML.  It was
written by the KDE folks in C++ and issued under LGPL licensing.  (By
contrast, the NGLayout aka Gecko code is MPL-licensed.) kHTML's main
fault is that it's more inclined than Gecko to react badly to bad HTML.

Konqueror took about one year to become excellent, in a sense putting to
shame the Mozilla Project people's experience in taking three years to
produce a good browser.  But that might reflect the advantage, oddly
enough, of starting from nothing instead of starting from a big mess and
having to make a difficult decision to throw away that mess and start

Shortly after Microsoft started making noises about terminating
development of MS Internet Explorer for MacOS, Apple started working on
-- and then made a surprise public release of -- its own Web browser,
Safari, built around kHTML rather than Gecko -- and donating back all of
their improvements to the upstream project under MPL terms.  I'm not
100% sure why they picked kHTML, but my guess is that they liked its mix
of RAM footprint, performance, and potential.  

One wonders if some of the recent Mozilla moves (such as Firefox) were
motivated in part by having been passed over.

Safari itself -- aside from the kHTML engine component -- is
proprietary, by the way.

Cheers,               My grandparents went to a planet with no bilateral
Rick Moen             symmetry, and all I got was this lousy F-shirt.
rick at linuxmafia.com   

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