Microsoft is building Edge on top of Chromium (open source version of Google Chrome)

last updated in Categories Open Source

It is official now. Microsoft is throwing away old code base of Edge browser and making next version of Edge browser on top of Chromium. The open source project behind Google Chrome is known as Chromium. Microsoft is building a Chromium browser to replace Edge on Windows 10 on both x86 and ARM-based systems.

Microsoft is building Edge on top of Chromium

Microsoft is building Edge on top of Chromium
Blink is the rendering engine used by Chromium. Microsoft is throwing out Edge and is building a new web browser for Windows 10, this time powered by Chromium. From the official blog post:

For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world’s largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we’re announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge — but other browsers as well — better on both PCs and other devices.

We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers. This will deliver improved compatibility for everyone and create a simpler test-matrix for web developers.

Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS.

I think the death of IE and Edge is good for the web. Unfortunately, Chromium (and it’s owner Google) may take over the market. There is an extraordinary risk for open source browser like Firefox. Google Chrome currently dominate the browser market. We want open standards and the open web.

Why not open source Microsoft Edge?

There is no secret here. Microsoft Edge has some issues, but it isn’t that bad either. Why wouldn’t Microsoft open source Edge instead of switching to Chromium? If multi-billion dollar corporation can’t manage browser, then there is no hope for smaller players.

I think Microsoft understands that there is no money in building and maintaining a rendering engine for free. They are not making any money out of it. There is no doubt Blink engine is high performance, secure and open source too. So mighty Microsoft is leaving non-money making part of the browser and going to build on top of Chromium. Pretty smart move if you ask me. You can join the Microsoft Edge insider program here to gain access to newer browser when preview builds are available.

My biggest worry is Google. They already dominate a search engine, streaming service, and other stuff on the web. Google knows and controls too much information. Even though Chromium browser and Blink engine is open source, Google has final say in standards. Any Monopoly is a bad idea. Our best hope is Firefox, and it is fighting for open standards. What do you think? Add your thoughts in the comments section.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

Notable Replies

  1. Well, it will be interesting (and bad?), if and when Safari goes the Chromium route. And also if FF moves to Chromium instead of being itself.

    For now MS is doing what Opera has done.

    Is WebKit not as on par than Chromium or not as open source for it to be ideal to use over Chromium I wonder.

  2. The browser is web infrastructure. It is best that it be common code. There will always be engineers seeking to improve the browser. That’s what engineers do. We don’t need business and the market to drive innovation.

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