GOOGLE HAS announced that it is making the iOS version of its Chrome browser open source.
Although most versions of the world-dominant browser have always been open source, based as they are on the Chromium browser model, the iPhone and iPad edition is a slightly different thing.
All iOS browsers have to be built over the top of Apple's WebKit. In other words, browsers are pretty much created equal, it's just the UI that changes. So, for example, any blocking of plugins would be across browsers, regardless of the policy of that browser on other platforms.
Google historically cut across this divide with its own bridge called Blink.
The result was a bit of a hotch-potch, albeit a successful and ingenious one, and so it was best left as the ginger step-child of the browser world, at least from a development point of view.
But after a lot of tinkering, Google's developers have found a better way to make Chrome for iOS a more integral part of Chromium, meaning the next logical step is to open source it.
Google is all up in the decision of course, pointing out that not only will it allow for speedier development without lots of he-said-she-said stuff, it will also mean that developers will be able to spot bugs in a way that they haven't been able to previously, which will hopefully lead to a more reliable browser.
The other significant Chromium browser maker, Opera, has gone a different way in bringing its services to Apple users, with Opera Coast, but it could mean that it too moves to bring its offer into line with the Chromium project.
Rohit Rao of the Chromium Project, blogged: "We value the open source community and all of our contributors, and we're glad that Chrome for iOS can finally join in." µ
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