Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the starting-over dept.

For the first time in years, someone is building a web browser from scratch:

For more than two decades, building a new web browser from scratch has been practically unheard of. But a small company called Ekioh has its reasons.

The Cambridge, U.K.-based company is developing a browser called Flow, and unlike the vast majority of browsers that have arrived in recent years, it's not based on Google's Chromium or Apple's WebKit open-source code. Instead, Flow is starting with a blank slate and building its own rendering engine. Its goal is to make web-based apps run smoothly even on cheap microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi.

There's a reason companies don't do this anymore: Experts say building new browsers isn't worth the trouble when anyone can just modify the work that Apple and Google are doing. But if Flow succeeds, it could rethink the way we browse the web and open the door to cheaper gadgets. That at least seems like a goal worth pursuing.

"It's a huge task, but if you want something which is very small and very fast, you typically can't start with one of the other engines," says Stephen Reeder, Ekioh's commercial director.


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Subsentient on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:49AM (16 children)

    by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:49AM (#1125303) Homepage Journal

    Sadly I think I know how this story ends: They give up in a year or so.
    I really, really hope they succeed. But, time will tell.

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:10PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:10PM (#1125308)

      and if their name has any traction at the time it dies, its corpse will be injected with chromium by some asshat to monetise the few fans it has.

      • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:44PM

        by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:44PM (#1125318) Homepage Journal

        Yep. Exactly. A-la-Opera.

        --
        "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
    • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:35PM (5 children)

      by legont (4179) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:35PM (#1125313)

      Even if they are to succeed, Google or others will buy them off and kill.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:29PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:29PM (#1125393)

        If that doesn't work, they can encourage them to adopt a code-of-conduct, and watch them descend into death convulsions.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:10PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:10PM (#1125429) Journal

          I don't need a code of conduct. I am a good person.

          I can prove that I'm a good person. If you need to know, just ask me and I will tell you how good I am!

          For no extra charge, you can also ask and I will tell you about how amazingly humble I am! More humble than anyone else. Ever!

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:42PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:42PM (#1125512)

            Always cracks me up when people complain about CoCs. Muh dudes, everywhere you go, every country you visit has codes of conduct. Apparently the patent trolls were right, reality truly is different when *on a computer*. I don't recall the same outrage when religious nutters have done similar things, I don't see anyone lining up to make selling alcohol legal in dry counties. etc. etc. etc.

            buncha whiny snowflakes, weird knowing now that 9/10 insults conservatives/libertarians use is actually something they are guilty of

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:31AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:31AM (#1125614)

              The objection isn't about having CoCs, but to their abuse. There have been multiple organized hostile takeovers of open source projects over the years using deliberately vague and unevenly enforced CoCs to drive out the original team resulting in stagnation of the project while the coffers are pilfered by the newcomers. It is the non-profit equivalent of vampire capitalism. Mozilla hasn't been sucked dry yet but Gnome only exists because Redhat took over the project after it went bankrupt.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday March 18 2021, @07:02PM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday March 18 2021, @07:02PM (#1125892)

        Even if they are to succeed, Google or others will buy them off and kill.

        Especially if they succeed.

    • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:57PM (7 children)

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:57PM (#1125487) Homepage Journal

      This. Sadly, the abomination that is CSS/3 makes this nearly impossible. Crazy quantities of Javascript libraries also cripple attempts at speed and efficiency.

      Somehow, there needs to be a real, serious incentive for every site to work without CSS and without JS. Ugly? Fine, but all functionality should be present.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:25PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:25PM (#1125499)

        Personally, I'd be happy with a browser that doesn't support JS, CSS, WASM, or any similar garbage. It'd save me from having to disable, block and install add-ons to manage all of that.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @10:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @10:15PM (#1125562)

          Personally, I'd be happy with a browser that doesn't support JS, CSS, WASM, or any similar garbage. It'd save me from having to disable, block and install add-ons to manage all of that.

          howsabout lynx? [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:51PM (#1125517)

        Precisely, while plugins suck, there's far too many things included in the specifications and much of it just gets used by advertisers to spy on users.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:37AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:37AM (#1125618)
        Javascript was always a problem, but CSS was actually a good idea. CSS designed by Microsoft and their cronies is a problem. Html5 is an exercise in doing it wrong which was the entire point of Microsoft taking over the W3C and driving out the engineers:Make it impossible to implement so that browser compatibility becomes a thing of the past and smaller players are shut out. It was their last attempt to take over the web but Google beat them to the punch and reaped the rewards. What is needed is a back-to-formula redesign of the entire web environment, but that isn't in Google's favour so Chrome will never implement it and without them it will never see widespread adoption.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Pino P on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:39PM (1 child)

        by Pino P (4721) on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:39PM (#1125737) Journal

        Somehow, there needs to be a real, serious incentive for every site to work without CSS and without JS. Ugly? Fine, but all functionality should be present.

        How would the functionality of, say, a chat site like Slack or Discord or Teams be present without script? Would the user need to click a button every 30 seconds to refresh the list of messages? Or would these become native applications, having read-write access to your entire home directory provided they are even compatible with your device's operating system?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @12:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @12:58AM (#1126095)

          The way we used to do it, framesets/iframes, chunked transfer encoding, and other tricks.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:42PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:42PM (#1125754) Journal

        Why the hate for CSS?

        I would think CSS is a good thing. It enables an amazing amount of styling but is NOT an executable format.

        You say ugly fine but functional. Part, and only part of function is that it has a good presentation.

        --
        Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:00PM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:00PM (#1125305)

    Article said:
    "It's a huge task, but if you want something which is very small and very fast, you typically can't start with one of the other engines," says Stephen Reeder, Ekioh's commercial director.

    I think it's impossible for a browser to support ALL the Web and not end up slow and bloated. The standards are many and all interactivity is controlled by Javascript, an interpreted language. You are never going to get high performance from the Web -- not unless you go back to HTML 1.0

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:22PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:22PM (#1125360)

      w3 lists more than 1200 standards documents totaling over 140 million pages. and they keep adding standards. a standards compliant browser is *impossible* to build.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @03:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @03:21PM (#1125387)

        Nor desirable. Why implement the "battery API" for example.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:34PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:34PM (#1125394)

        I've seen a coherent argument that the constant rapid growth of the standards is intentional by Google, because it makes it impossible to challenge the WebKit/Blink monopoly.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:12PM (#1125432)

          I've seen a coherent argument that the constant rapid growth of the standards is intentional by Google, because it makes it impossible to challenge the WebKit/Blink monopoly.

          I think it's largely unintentional. The constant focus on the latest new shiny while leaving last week's products to rot appears to be an endemic cultural problem at Google. The proliferation of web "living standards" and whatnot is just the natural result when you have this attitude.

          "What do you mean someone is not be running the latest software just released 10 minutes ago? Acceptance testing? What's that? Why don't you just constantly rewrite all your critical infrastructure to use the latest and greatest features? That old stuff is no fun, new stuff is fun, you should be using new stuff, oh and BTW we're gonna disable the old API in 3 days because we came up with a new interface yesterday which changes one function name because we like how "fluffydog" sounds better than "fuzzycat" and it's too much effort to maintain both."

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:32PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:32PM (#1125588)

          plus many of those new "standards" are just extracted out of chrome and rubber-stamped with sometimes some community feedback taken

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43AM (#1125621)

          This is exactly correct. Microsoft started it when they took over the html5 standard committee but Google beat them to the punch with Chrome. Making the 'standard' impossible to follow is a highly effective way to enforce vendor lock-in and is why most of the smaller browsers are gone now. Heck, even Microsoft has been forced onto the Chromium bandwagon with Edge. If even they can't afford to support an independent browser then nobody can.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:18PM (3 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:18PM (#1125434) Journal

      and all interactivity is controlled by Javascript, an interpreted language.

      These days Javascript is compiled to byte code or native code. [1] [wikipedia.org] [2] [stackexchange.com]

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:48AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:48AM (#1125622)

        Once of the major complaints Debian has against Chromium (the supposedly open-source base version) is the inclusion of *pre-compiled* Javascript in the official repository. No source code. No explanation of where it came from or who wrote it. Not even a licence statement so it isn't actually legal to distribute it. But Chromium depends on it to work properly. Google's response? 'Javascript is interpreted so you don't need to see the source code.'

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43PM (1 child)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43PM (#1125756) Journal

          That seems like a complaint about Chromium not a complaint about Javascript.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:43PM (#1125758) Journal

            It's like arguing against C++ because Microsoft delivers binaries without source code.

            --
            Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by SomeGuy on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:10PM (1 child)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:10PM (#1125309)

    Good luck getting anything other than a blank page on the "modern" web if you are not bug-for-bug compatible with Google Chrome, which changes on a day to day basis.

    Also, how far are you going to get running on small computers when every web site already requires the ability to run an over 9000 Petabyte set of script files?

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by loonycyborg on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:27PM

      by loonycyborg (6905) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:27PM (#1125312)

      Even the smallest embedded system nowadays packs more cpu power than desktop workstations that were running web browsers originally. And basic html paradigm didn't change much over the years, with the exception of all this scripting stuff. Yet JS engine is still faster than Flash player.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:11PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:11PM (#1125310)

    If Google even thinks Flow could succeed as a viable competitor platform, they will propose a massive nigh-unimplementable amendment to the W3C standards (purposefully crafted to break Flow's models), implement it themselves in Chrome thus presenting it as a fiat-acompli and nipping the competition in the bud.

    The more likely long term option is that the "web", that the web browser collapses under its own weight and users move on to a newer, faster, more fun platform on the internet.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Kilo110 on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:08PM (3 children)

      by Kilo110 (2853) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:08PM (#1125326)

      They'd probably just buy them out.

      Having a super fast browser that's optimized for low-end devices would be a big deal for building market share in developing countries. Most devices in those areas are exactly that, low-end devices with limited storage and performance.

      It'd be a big leg up over the competition.

      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:25PM (1 child)

        by looorg (578) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:25PM (#1125330)

        I would think this is the case, if Apple/Google/Facebook etc notice that this product is taking off they'll just buy it. They are each already buying probably hundreds of companies a year -- some get merged into their product line and some just goes away. So the question is if they are just going to buy it to scrap it or if they'll buy it to use it. While in theory we would all like small and fast software it probably won't contain all their telemetry and spying features they need to satisfy their advertisers (ie their real customers).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:03PM (#1125352)

          I would guess FB might want to get this one, just as a shield against the other two.

          As much as I hate FB, I would prefer this end to either of the others getting it.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:15PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:15PM (#1125355) Journal

        They'd [google] probably just buy them [flow] out.

        A much more gooder strategy tragedy would be: Google could support them with a generous funding. For a while. Let them hire people and grow the organization. Pay to be the default search engine. Then pull the rug out. People leave because they must have income. Project collapses.

        --
        Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:48PM (#1125740)
      Best to just ignore anything that comes out of W3 since the turn of the century, and get back to basics.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by requerdanos on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:40PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:40PM (#1125315) Journal

    Seems to be proprietary/non-free [ekioh.com].

  • (Score: 4, Touché) by crafoo on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:46PM (18 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @12:46PM (#1125319)

    The average user is a retarded idiot. They want to click on one icon to run one program that does EVERYTHING. Anything more complicated is just too hard. So the web browser turned into an OS that does quite literally everything a retarded idiot wants to do with their computer: whore their ass out on instagram, masturbate to porn, buy shit like shoes and garden hoses, gamble on "stonks", shitpost alongside Chinese and CIA bots, and stalk their teenage daughter's friends.

    So now the web has to run full-blown desktop applications. from inside the browser. render video. livestream. all that shit. How much of this will the re-implement? It's a lot of different applications to re-write from scratch.

    When they are done, they major "web sites" will just blackball their browser if it doesn't engage in the same anti-user activities as the big 3.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:01PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:01PM (#1125322)

      Parent said:
      "The average user is a retarded idiot. They want to click on one icon to run one program that does EVERYTHING. Anything more complicated is just too hard."

      And what would you have them do? They want their computers to do things simply. Face it, the web expanded to accomplish what people want a computer to do, but the standards grew to that point from a totally different starting design. The Blind Watchmaker at work. Too bad something like Flash or Java in the browser didn't take off, albeit not necessarily those technologies. Reading/downloading/uploading documents was always too limited a paradigm to survive.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Common Joe on Thursday March 18 2021, @10:37AM (5 children)

        by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 18 2021, @10:37AM (#1125717) Journal

        And what would you have them do?

        Go back to apps that run in an O.S. instead of on a browser? If we didn't have crappy operating systems, the idea of organizing and running separate programs with their files is very simple to do.

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:47PM (4 children)

          by Pino P (4721) on Thursday March 18 2021, @12:47PM (#1125739) Journal

          Go back to apps that run in an O.S. instead of on a browser?

          Say a friend recommends a particular "app[] that run[s] in an O.S." to you, and you discover that it is made for macOS. Yet your computer does not run macOS because it was made by a company other than Apple. How would you go about legally running this app on your computer? And how would you prevent it from disclosing or overwriting arbitrary files in your home directory?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:24PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:24PM (#1125746)

            You use crossplatform software. Duh.

            • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Friday March 19 2021, @02:56AM

              by Pino P (4721) on Friday March 19 2021, @02:56AM (#1126123) Journal

              Good luck getting all your contacts to migrate to exclusively cross-platform software.

          • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:35PM (1 child)

            by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:35PM (#1125827) Journal

            and you discover that it is made for macOS. Yet your computer does not run macOS

            Well, ignoring web applications and focusing on normal apps and applications, we get that that now. Some apps only run on Android and some only on iPhone. Yes, it's a downside, but we've been dealing with that for quite a few decades. Java is the first major multi-OS language that was widely used and despite it's multiple shortcomings in this area, it was a good first attempt. We've had two decades to try to improve upon it and there are other products now (.NET, QT). I'm not saying they are great solutions yet, but it is possible.

            How would you go about legally running this app on your computer?

            Don't drag legal stuff into a technical conversation. The legal side of IT has been serious fucked up by big corporations and government in the past decade or two. (Although the battle has definitely been brewing longer than that.)

            And how would you prevent it from disclosing or overwriting arbitrary files in your home directory?

            I am unimpressed with Windows, Linux, and Mac as a desktop operating system. Android has a rudamentary system to prevent apps from over stepping their bounds and gives the user control over what apps can and cannot do. It currently sucks and can be implemented much better, but that is the start of a solution. There is no reason the all operating systems can't do something better.

            • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Friday March 19 2021, @03:11AM

              by Pino P (4721) on Friday March 19 2021, @03:11AM (#1126128) Journal

              We've had two decades to try to improve upon it and there are other products now (.NET, QT).

              Last I checked, .NET had no official Mac GUI layer. The existing Windows Forms implementation was 32-bit and thus died with Catalina. Should people use Xamarin Forms until MAUI [microsoft.com] comes out?

              The developer of a Qt app must still recompile it, which means the developer must own a specimen of all platforms on which to test a program before distributing its executable form to the public. Maintaining a Windows PC, an Intel Mac, an M1 Mac, an X11/Linux PC, an iPhone, and an Android phone is a big task for smaller ISVs.

              How would you go about legally running [a Mac-exclusive] app on [a non-Apple] computer?

              Don't drag legal stuff into a technical conversation.

              By "legally" I meant "other than hackintosh".

              There is no reason the all operating systems can't do something better.

              Other than perhaps money and time (which is money). One person trying to do better all by himself results in TempleOS.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:55PM (#1125346)

      and stalk their teenage daughter's friends.

      Hey, let's not get crazy. That's very important functionality.

      *runs away laughing manically*

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:19PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:19PM (#1125356) Journal

      The average user is a retarded idiot. They want to click on one icon to run one program that does EVERYTHING. Anything more complicated is just too hard. So the web browser turned into an OS that does quite literally everything a retarded idiot wants to do with their computer

      That idea is so good, someone ought to build a line of inexpensive computers which do exactly that!

      Maybe those could become the top selling laptops on Amazon for years in a row.

      Maybe schools could buy boatloads of these for the kids because they are inexpensive to replace if lost, stolen or eaten.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:26PM (1 child)

        by Dr Spin (5239) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:26PM (#1125502)

        to replace if lost, stolen or eaten

        You have just given me a brilliant idea to solve the problem of computers going to landfill:

        Edible computers

        And I am not going to start from scratch - I am going to start from pork scratchings

        Crowd funding coming soon! Watch this space!

        --
        Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @09:44PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @09:44PM (#1125552) Journal

          I only said "eaten" to account for the fact that these are school children who can't necessarily afford school lunches and/or the bully steals their lunch money.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @03:32PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @03:32PM (#1125388)

      I run my own browser which has modifications to offensively deny access to information I deem none of the server's business.

      Most major sites do work. Sometimes their server throws an exception at me. Very few times they claim I'm a bot. A growing problem is not yet supporting newer JS constructs.

      But I'm not a retard, and my code is not expected to "work without question" on every site. I'm ok with that.

      Isn't Konqueror still around as a lightweight browser that does most things?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:52PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:52PM (#1125424)

        Isn't Konqueror still around as a lightweight browser that does most things?

        Fun fact: webkit was originally a fork of the KHTML and KJS engines that were the core of Konqueror.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:23PM (3 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:23PM (#1125436) Journal

          The history of browsers is like the history of the world:

          First comes the Navigator.

          Then comes the Explorer.

          Then comes the Konqueror.

          Eventually all browsers are based on some descendant of the original Konqueror code base (once FireFox dies and only WebKit remains).

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:49PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:49PM (#1125447)

            There's already talk of dumping the modern web for a simpler document format. WebKit will end up as a rendering engine for WASM runtimes.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:16PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:16PM (#1125458)

            What happened to Mosaic? Lynx? Multitude of other browsers that fell at the side due to the Explorer / Navigator war.

            • (Score: 4, Informative) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:44PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:44PM (#1125478) Journal

              There is more to the Explorer vs everything else war.

              It was 1995. Macs had great TCP/IP network and dial up support at this time. Great GUI software for Telnet, FTP, Usenet and Email. Especially making Usenet binary multipart downloads almost magically easy. And Mosaic and Netscape.

              Microsoft suddenly realized the internet was happening. I also remember helping some friends because it was tricky at that time to set up a PC with Winsock and Netscape so that they too could browse this new web thingy.

              Suddenly, the very idea of web based cross platform applications was a major threat to Microsoft's desktop monopoly. So . . . they needed a browser for Windows that they could control, and they needed it now.

              So they found a company that already made a Windows browser, called Spyglass. Microsoft bought Spyglass for $100,000 up front plus a generous royalty percent of all sales. Microsoft renamed it to Internet Explorer and guess how many copies they ever sold? Zero. But it wasn't because Microsoft was cheap, no, it was simply because they were evil. You see, Microsoft then proceeded to invest years and $150 million into IE development to create a great browser with amazing features for creating rich web applications -- on Windows ONLY.

              Later as web standards emerged, and they did, IE became the bane of web developers everywhere with its non standards compliance.

              --
              Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:40PM (#1125419)

      The average user is a retarded idiot.

      I can tell from your post that you are far above average.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:49PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:49PM (#1125342)

    methinks the time and effort would be equal to just "re-invent" the web. that is making a client (browser) and a server (errr... server). the combo would destille all the good stuff from our web we use now, like some css and html and some interactif stuff from javascript and start over...
    effort wise i assume it would be about the same but with something really new and shine ... with the drawback of having to start with ZER0 market share ... which, today with very mature open source operating systems, virtual machines and containers should be point-and-click bushfire-like install base increase possible ... (aaand there goes my english) ^_^

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:21PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:21PM (#1125358) Journal

      Proposed idea for a much simpler Web 3.0.

      The browser accepts only one type of reply from a server: Send me some native executable code to run unprotected that displays its output within my window gui frame.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:53AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:53AM (#1125626)

        It was called ActiveX. It was a disaster.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:52PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:52PM (#1125759) Journal

          Yes, ActiveX accepted executables and ran them. But only if they were signed. Of course, anyone could buy a signing certificate and sign their executables to prove where the executable came from. It wouldn't be that difficult to set up some kind of fake company and buy a code signing certificate that could not be easily traced to an individual.

          There were three other plugins for browsers that commited similar sins:
          * Java Applets (in the browser, not to be confused with javascript)
          * Adobe Flash
          * Silverlight

          All three of those allowed Javascript to interact with these plug ins in complex and difficult to predict ways. The plugins had access to things like the local file system, speakers, microphone, network, ability to launch other executables, etc. Talk about a security hole accessible through the browser.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:55PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @01:55PM (#1125347)

    (That’s all it runs on so far)
    How did it work?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:24PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:24PM (#1125362) Journal

      https://support.ekioh.com/download/ [ekioh.com]

      There's no menu bar, URL bar, or scroll bar.

      I navigated to CNN from a Wikipedia article, seems sluggish, probably because no uBlock.

      It has promise, but it seems that ad, script, and autoplay video blockers do just as much if not more than quadrupling the speed of the rendering.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:37PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:37PM (#1125398)

        CNN is jammed with bloatware, it's impressive if it can run at all on a Pi in any browser.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:52PM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:52PM (#1125406) Journal

          https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/17/politics/ron-desantis-covid-florida/index.html [cnn.com]

          You're not wrong, but with scripts and autoplay video blocked, it loads pretty much instantly. No paywall or adblock whining like many other news sites these days.

          They will probably add these features or Firefox/Chrome addon compatibility at some point, so no big deal. Flow's main advantage seems to be in WebGL performance [cnx-software.com].

          The company told CNX Software that the main differences between Flow and other browsers are multithreaded layout and GPU rendering:

          The former is what makes Flow so much faster in the CraftyMind and UI Layers benchmarks which are layout dominated. On the Pi’s quad-core processor, Flow is able to layout 4 times as much text as a Chromium which has single-threaded layout.

          The latter (GPU rendering) accounts for Flow’s increased performance on the Particle Acceleration, Sinz Maze and MotionMark benchmarks.

          I have a feeling that Chromium will just copy this approach, and then the advantage will be gone.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Tokolosh on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:43PM

      by Tokolosh (585) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:43PM (#1125371)

      Very snappy on my RasPi 4B 8GB with RasPi 32-bit OS. However, Flow is very, very much a work-in-progress. You are presented with a home page containing links to a number of sites, which allows you to browse around. There is no address bar, so a URL can not be entered, except on the unchangeable home page. No tabs no bookmarks. Of course, no way to mount addons like Ublock, Privacy Badger. You have to navigate around using the keyboard. Really no way to customize it at all.

      But it is fast.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:54PM (11 children)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @02:54PM (#1125376)

    unlike the vast majority of browsers that have arrived in recent years, it's not based on Google's Chromium or Apple's WebKit open-source code

    Doesn't Chrome/ium use WebKit as well? Was curious so I looked it up.

    The Blink browser engine (a fork of the WebKit engine[107][108]) was introduced on 4 April 2013 in Chromium 28.0.1463.0.[109]

    So it's kinda like saying, "this isn't based on WebKit or WebKit."

    Regardless, best of luck too them--now that Microsoft is killing off IE and switched Edge to a WebKit backend, and Mozilla has lost basically its entire userbase, we really need another real browser to diversify the monoculture.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:25PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:25PM (#1125392)

      I don't have high hopes.

      When applications ran directly on an OS, there needed to be a standard OS. That became Microsoft DOS at first, then Windows. Apple Macintosh was a tiny niche OS for certain apps only. Now that so many apps run on the browser, there needs to be a standard browser. Same result will occur. There is room for one very dominant standard, another also-ran, and NOTHING ELSE.

      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:29PM (2 children)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:29PM (#1125439)

        Pragmatically, yeah. There are benefits to avoiding monoculture, but being able to be lazy/interoperate everywhere with minimal effort wins out in the end.

        See also MS Office vs Free/LibreOffice / ODF vs OOXML. MS using their dominance to smother the technically better competition (compare the length of the "standards" spec on ODF vs OOXML?).

        Or how it would be great if we had a *real* viable third party in politics, but the electoral college in the U.S. basically prevents that from ever happening. If either party dies a new one replaces it, or if a third party starts gaining too much traction one of the big two incorporate the 3p platform into their own (or at least pay lip service to it) before that can happen.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:04AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:04AM (#1125630)

          Blaming that mess on the Electoral College misses a much bigger problem. The USA has the same two parties at both federal and state level and the federal heads control everything. If state-level politics could be split off so that the federal parties weren't allowed to interfere with state elections and each state had to have its own parties, with separate leadership and finances for all, that would break things up enough to give local issues a real voice in the public square and give the states legitimate incentive to push back against federal overreach. The founders were big on separation of powers, but that was the biggest one they missed. Of course fixing it would take power away from some of the most powerful people in the world so there would be murder done to prevent such an idea from ever gaining traction.

    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:40PM (6 children)

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:40PM (#1125401) Homepage Journal

      What part of a browser's work does Webkit do? I looked up Webkit's documentation a few years back and didn't manage to figure it out.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:43PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:43PM (#1125403)

        It manages the DOM tree, all elements on the page are a node, and the nodes have handles to interact with Javascript and the renderer.

        • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:58PM (4 children)

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:58PM (#1125426) Homepage Journal

          Thank you. It sounds useful.

          I wish the documentation I found had included this brief statement of function.
          Instead it contained excruciatingly technical details -- which would have been OK if they had provided this context.

          From your answer I suspect it does not:
          * actually parse or interpret the javascript.
          * actually access the web itself; it lets the caller do all the page fetching
          * render the text or other gadgets onto a screen.

          I could use this in a project I've imagined -- a fake browser for my email reader to use instead of a real browser. The fake browser would look for any actual displayable text on the page and display that, as well as reports on anything it finds suspicious. Then it would ask me whether to proceed. If I tell it not to, it will just return to the email reader, mission accomplished. If I tell it to proceed, it would pass the page to a real browser.

          I get a lot of html-only email from legitimate and illegitimate sources. Sometimes it's not obvious which is which. Used to be html-only was used only by spammers. Times have changed. Using something like this to screen html-only email would be useful. Often the only useful stuff in even legitimate html-only messages is the text itself, hidden within a thousand lines of unreadable html.

          -- hendrik

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:48PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:48PM (#1125446)

            Use Thunderbird and tell it to display in simple HTML but not to fetch remote resources. You can read the text easily, but most of the images will be blank squares.

          • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday March 18 2021, @10:40AM (2 children)

            by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 18 2021, @10:40AM (#1125719) Journal

            I wish the documentation I found had included this brief statement of function.

            A lot of modern documentation suffers from this malady.

            • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday March 19 2021, @01:48AM (1 child)

              by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 19 2021, @01:48AM (#1126109) Homepage Journal

              I know. I keep getting notices of a major new release of some package, but I have no idea what the package is supposed to do. I go to the package's website, and all I find about it it the changelog, in which they give five-word summaries of bugs they've fixed. still no idea what the package is actually for.

              For all I know, it might be just what I've been wanting to use for years, but I can't tell.

              And I'm *not* going to install it on my computer and perform experiments on it to try and figure out what it might do.

              -- hendrik

              • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Friday March 19 2021, @08:19AM

                by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 19 2021, @08:19AM (#1126155) Journal

                Hmph. I've seen a lot of crappy documentation, but I just discovered a new low in release notes this morning. Check out Slack's release notes [slack.com] for their Linux version for the past 9 months.

                Additionally, the release notes go back all the way to June 2017... so WTF is the Linux version still in beta?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pTamok on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:57PM (5 children)

    by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:57PM (#1125407)

    Some people are trying to reinvent a simple web, using Gemini protocol.

    I won't say it is 'the answer', but it does illustrate that a lot of people see the shortcomings of the current web and want to do something about it. I hope that it, or a project like it succeeds.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pTamok on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:58PM

      by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @04:58PM (#1125409)

      Tarnation! Forgot to preview. Link is: Wikipedia:Gemini protocol [wikipedia.org].

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:35PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:35PM (#1125441) Journal

      Some people are trying to reinvent a simple web, using Gemini protocol.

      I remember when the web did not have ads or cookies.

      I wouldn't mind session cookies because they are useful just for an interactive login session and disappear once logged out. I could even stand "remember me" cookies so that if the user so chooses, they don't have to log in every time. The only condition would be that both types of cookies can only ever be presented to the original web site.

      I seriously have to ask: is there any legitimate reason that say, a 1x1 pixel image should have an associated cookie?

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:07AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:07AM (#1125631)

        The point of the 1x1 pixel isn't that it has a tracker baked into the URL but that requesting it provides a 'referer' header that reveals what page you are currently viewing.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:54PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @01:54PM (#1125760) Journal

          The referer combined with the unique URL is a valuable piece of information. And especially if it can also have a permanent cookie across different sites that get this 1x1 pixel tracker as part of their page load.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
    • (Score: 2) by KritonK on Thursday March 18 2021, @07:27AM

      by KritonK (465) on Thursday March 18 2021, @07:27AM (#1125680)

      Some people are trying to reinvent a simple web, using Gemini protocol.

      Great! I can't wait for web browsers to add support for it!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by istartedi on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:10PM (1 child)

    by istartedi (123) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @05:10PM (#1125411) Journal

    About 15 years ago I wrote a web *server* from scratch in a few days. This is easier than writing the browser, but as you might imagine there's a huge difference in actually getting a few test pages to serve vs. a "real" server like Apache. Mine had no https, threads, and probably a lot of other junk that I haven't even thought about. It'd be an absolute joke to serve anything more than my low-traffic home page with it... assuming it didn't get hacked because of something I overlooked.

    IMHO, the browser is at least an order of magnitude harder just to get something that can surf simple pages. Then to get to something you'd actually want to use? More like two orders. HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript. Layout. Oh man... layout. The web was never supposed to be this way, but the designers turned it in to a layout engine, and then it became an application delivery system and... oh, just... the pain. These guys are world-class masochists.

    I think it'd be easier to write a new OS from scratch than a new browser.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:45PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 17 2021, @06:45PM (#1125444) Journal

      About 20 years ago I dabbled with how to build an application server. (I wouldn't have called it that at the time.) I used Java because (1) prototyping, and (2) easy. This was not a "web server" in the Apache sense. It served an application, really an experiment. Now that included serving some static resources. I implemented the HTTP protocol. I didn't use cookies, the session ID was in the URL. But I got to a point where I realized that the true complexity and difficulty was the browser. Some browsers could do amazing things, but there was no standardization. Trying to do something as simple as "tabs" to switch panels of content was difficult or impossible. Soon after is when I gave that up as a bad idea. Later looked at existing widely used standards. From that prior experience it suddenly made sense why Java web applications were how they were. This is all long before Ajax. I remember seeing some amazing examples of interactivity using something like Ajax before there was Ajax. (eg, an invisible frame that had a form that could be submitted and get content back, behind the scenes, without changing pages. At the time that was amazing.)

      It is amazing how much infrastructure is necessary to build web applications that have decently rich user interfaces with little effort and standard components.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:13PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @07:13PM (#1125457)

    Very clever choice of language for their new web browser,
            https://scratch.mit.edu/ [mit.edu]

    This way they have millions of kids available to help with development, and no worries about child labor laws--
            https://scratch.mit.edu/about [mit.edu]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:48PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @08:48PM (#1125515)

      Meh, can't even view their page probably b/c JS. I can't stand JS required websites.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @10:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17 2021, @10:56PM (#1125583)

        On the Scratch (programming language for kids) home page, Privacy Badger reports, "No trackers blocked".

        FireFox F12 (Inspector) does show some Javascript...

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by anotherblackhat on Wednesday March 17 2021, @09:50PM (2 children)

    by anotherblackhat (4722) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @09:50PM (#1125557)

    While I applaud the idea, it seems doomed to failure.
    Projects expand to consume all resources. The major exception is when the goal is not expandable.
    If you want browsers that are small and fast, then you must limit what they are required to do.
    That means you'd at a minimum need to get rid of “support” for Unicode (are there any browsers that render all the Unicode characters natively?), and either toss CSS, or set it to a well-defined subset of the existing “standard”.
    Ditto HTML, and Javascript (if you support Javascript at all).

    HTML was never meant to be a layout language, a scripting language, or a general purpose computing platform, but it seems like it's all three now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @02:16AM (#1125637)

      Unicode support is trivial if you leave out the emojii garbage. HTML and CSS if done sanely are both reasonably fast and efficient. A big part of the problem is that HTML5 has hundreds of partially defined tags and CSS attributes that almost-but-not-quite do something useful that have to be tied together and rigged with Javascript to actually get anything out of them. Then Javascript itself has some major design defects that have been compounded with massive poorly thought out libraries that consist largely of compatibility code to run on various non-standard browsers, most of which aren't used anymore. Then pile on loads of deliberately broken Javascript whose sole purpose is to thwart No-Script and ad-blockers and you get the mess we have today. A powerful system doesn't need to be over-complicated or inefficient, but we have entrenched interests who depend on brokenness to maintain their positions.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by stretch611 on Thursday March 18 2021, @05:42AM

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @05:42AM (#1125676)

      I remember when firefox was small and fast... It removed all the bloat of netscape/mozilla.

      Damn, that seems like ages ago, because it sure as hell isn't small or fast anymore.

      --
      Vaccinated, boosted (twice), and still expecting to be asked to roll up my sleeve again in the fall
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by acid andy on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:34PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday March 17 2021, @11:34PM (#1125590) Homepage Journal

    unlike the vast majority of browsers that have arrived in recent years, it's not based on Google's Chromium or Apple's WebKit open-source code

    No-one's mentioned Gecko / Goanna. Well, I have now.

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
  • (Score: 1) by jddimarco on Thursday March 18 2021, @09:37PM

    by jddimarco (7335) on Thursday March 18 2021, @09:37PM (#1125960)
    Hmm, this sounds like dillo [dillo.org], which works but development seems to have ran out of steam a few years ago, before it could implement CSS properly. Quite usable for some sites, very small and fast.
(1)