I never thought I’d see Microsoft throw in the towel on their browser engine. Or that, by the time it happened, I’d see that as a bad thing.

But it’s true: like Opera did a few years ago, Microsoft is dropping not only the old Internet Explorer engine, but the newer Edge engine, and will be building Edge on Chromium going forward. That means Edge, Chrome, Opera and Safari are all built on the same codebase. (Chromium split from Apple’s WebKit a while back, but they still have a lot in common.)

Monoculture is still a problem, no matter who runs it. We’re already at the point where webdevs are treating Chrome like the defacto standard, the way they did IE6 back in the day.

Firefox is going to be even more important in the future, ensuring that the web continues to be built on interoperable standards instead of one stakeholder’s goals.

Mozilla is a non-profit organization, and like many, they’re running a year-end donation drive. Now is a good time to contribute to their mission to keep the internet and the web open. (I’ve already made my annual donation to them.)

I think I may want to finally shut down or retool that old Alternative Browser Alliance site I ran during the Second Browser War. The last time I made a significant update to it, Chrome was the new upstart.

At the end of a post on SSL/TLS and just how much security a “secure” site really gives you, Eric Lawrence of IEBlog posted an interesting thought:

The so-called “browser wars” have fundamentally changed. It’s no longer Microsoft vs. Mozilla vs. Opera et all. Now it’s the “good guys” vs. the “bad guys.” The “bad guys” are the phishers, malware distributors, and other miscellaneous crooks looking for a quick score at the expense of the browsing public.

We’re all in this together.

I’m not sure I agree entirely. It’s more like a second war has started, one in which former enemies are (or at least should be) allies. I do still think competition is necessary, as evidenced by Microsoft’s sudden reversal on updating IE once Firefox became popular—but more cooperation on security may be something MS/Moz/Opera/Apple should consider.

Firefox is clearly on the rise, with some sites seeing as much as a 30% drop in traffic from IE (via gemal.dk). Robin Good’s collection of sites shows Firefox at 20%, Netscape at 8%, IE 6 at under 60%, and older versions of IE chugging along at low levels.

W3Schools shows a slightly more sober 17.5% Firefox, 65.1% IE 6, with IE 5 weighing in at 4.6% to give IE a total market share of just under 70%.

Stats on Hyperborea.org show just 12.6% Firefox and 78.5% IE (73% IE6, 5.5% IE5), with Mozilla taking up most of the slack.

Why the differences? Continue reading