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Google forks Webkit to create Blink rendering engine

Wants to focus on its own codebase
Thu Apr 04 2013, 13:00
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SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google will fork the Webkit rendering engine for its Chromium web browser.

Google's Chromium web browser project serves as the lead vehicle for its widely used Chrome web browser. The firm has announced that it will create a fork from the generic Webkit rendering engine to create Blink, an engine geared towards its specific needs.

According to Google, the initial work on Blink will be to clean up the code. Adam Barth, a Google software engineer claimed the firm will remove seven build systems and delete more than 7,000 files containing 4.5 million lines of code. Barth said that "a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs".

Barth said that Chromium's use of a different multi-process architecture than that of vanilla Webkit had increased the complexity of the project's work. He also mentioned the advantages of multiple rendering engines for avoiding web browser monoculture and said, "We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines - similar to having multiple browsers - will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem."

Yesterday Mozilla said it will work with Samsung to co-develop a new web browser rendering engine that it dubbed Servo. According to Mozilla, the new engine will make better use of multi-core processors, something that Google's Webkit implementation also intends to do.

With both Google and Mozilla both announcing new web browser rendering engines, it seems that fears Opera's decision to ditch its rendering engine in favour of Webkit might lead to software monoculture have been reduced. µ


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