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.

Firefox Download Day 2008Just a reminder: Tuesday is Firefox Download Day, and Firefox is trying to set a world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours.

It starts at 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Saving Time (the Mozilla offices are in Mountain View, California), i.e. 17:00 UTC. You can use a time zone converter to figure out your what time that is in your own time zone.

Only full downloads count, so if you’ve been using one of the release candidates and want your download to be counted for the record, you’ll have to go to the website instead of just using auto-update. Edit: The Download Day page is swamped — just head to Mozilla.com for now.

And yes, Firefox 3 is good. I’ve been using the betas and release candidates for several months, and it’s a huge improvement over version 2!