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The Web Is Now Too Complex To Allow The Creation of New Browsers

Accepted submission by canopic jug at 2020-03-23 06:27:19
Digital Liberty

Software developer Drew DeVault has written a post at his blog about the reckless, infinite scope of today's web browsers []. His conclusion is that, given decades of feature creep, it is now impossible to build a new web browser due to the obscene complexity of the web.

I conclude that it is impossible to build a new web browser. The complexity of the web is obscene. The creation of a new web browser would be comparable in effort to the Apollo program or the Manhattan project.

It is impossible to:

  • Implement the web correctly
  • Implement the web securely
  • Implement the web at all

Starting a bespoke browser engine with the intention of competing with Google or Mozilla is a fool’s errand. The last serious attempt to make a new browser, Servo, has become one part incubator for Firefox refactoring, one part playground for bored Mozilla engineers to mess with technology no one wants, and zero parts viable modern web browser. But WebVR is cool, right? Right?

The consequences of this are obvious. Browsers are the most expensive piece of software a typical consumer computer runs. They’re infamous for using all of your RAM, pinning CPU and I/O, draining your battery, etc. Web browsers are responsible for more than 8,000 CVEs.3 []

The browser duopoly of Firefox and Chrome/Chromium has clearly harmed the World-Wide Web. However, a closer look at the membership of the W3C committes also reveals representation by classic villains which, perhaps coincidentally, showed up around the time the problems noted by Drew began to grow.

An Open Letter to Web Developers [] (2020)
Google Now Bans Some Linux Web Browsers from their Services [] (2019)
HTML is the Web [] (2019)
The Future of Browsers [] (2019)
One Year Since the W3C Sold Out the Web with EME [] (2018)

Original Submission