From Linux, and Eventually to Linux via Microsoft

As many know, I’m a geek and I love the history of computing. One of the most interesting software path is from a little known HTML engine called KHTML.

KHTML was, and still is, used on a Linux Desktop Manager called KDE. KDE’s native file manager and browser (think Windows Explorer and Internet explorer, respectively) use KTHML to show files and surfing the web. The browser is called Konqueror. I used KDE for the first time in 2000 and I remember liking and using Konqueror. It was clean, fast, and responsive.

Apple had recently purchased Next and needed a browser that was better than what they had in the Operating System that became OSX. Apple saw the clean code in KHTML and began working on a fork. I think Apple has contributed back to the KHTML project, but they have surely benefited from KHTML.

In 2003, Apple released Safari. They had forked the KHTML source and labeled it WebKit. WebKit was open sourced in 2005, and the closed source version of it is called Safari. Safari limped around for 5 more years holding a small percentage of global usage.

As we all know, when Google enters the market, they win. Well, I would assume Google wanted to be able to track where everyone was going when they surfed the web so they needed their own browser. In 2008 Google released Chrome, which is a fork of WebKit. Google’s Chrome open source cousin is Chromium.

Google Chrome now dominates the browser market. But, Microsoft still dominates the desktop market. Microsoft lost the browser wars 10+ years ago, mainly, IMHO, the couldn’t innovate. There was so much legacy junk that Internet Explorer had to support, Microsoft could change and refocus quickly.

Microsoft tried to dump Internet Explorer and move their users to Microsoft Edge. When I heard about this I was assuming Edge was going to be based on Chromium. I was wrong, for a while.

Microsoft has since lost the hatred of the “cancer” called “Open Source” and has realized that they can make money off of open source. In the following months, Microsoft’s new browser will be still called Edge, but will be based on the open source browser Chromium.

Not only that, but a Chromium-based Edge will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

From a Linux desktop running KTHML, it jumps to Apple’s new FreeBSD Unix OS called OSX in the form of WebKit, to Google’s Chromium, to Microsoft’s Edge based on Chromium to an install-able Edge browser on Linux.

I’ll be installing Edge on my Linux computers soon.

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