Netscape, the Chameleon

A random thought just crossed my mind: What if the new Netscape Browser offered not just the use of the Gecko web-rendering engine, but also Webkit?

After all, Webkit is being ported to Windows XP (albeit still in a very alpha stage). And Netscape has done it before with the previous version and included support for the native Internet Explorer engine (Trident). Hell, they can even include support for the new IE7 engine! And why stop there? Why not ask Opera for a .dll that they can link to? I mean, Opera is distributed freely, right? Add a little ‘powered by Opera’ button or something…

Now how ’bout that, a browser with which we can test the subjective rendering speed of all major web rendering engines, all from a single UI… Combine it with their Netscape.com Portal and they might even be tempted to claim “the most open[1] Web-browsing experience”…

I do realise that Netscape is trying for a multi-platform approach. So don’t include Trident in NB for Linux and NB for Max OS X (and you can’t anyway). Even using “alternative” operating systems, IMHO it would be good to see tighter competition between Webkit, KHTML and Gecko.

But I digress; subjective web-browsing speed depends on more than the layout engine chosen. The UI, the caching subroutines, server, bandwidth, etc… But still, wouldn’t it be cool to check out a multi-engine Web Browser?

[1]Notice I said open, not Open-source.

Mini-glossary:

  • Webkit is the layout engine behind Apple’s Safari web browser, the default web browser of current Apple Macintoshes.
  • The Web rendering engine / layout engine is the part inside Web browser that renders Web pages.
  • Gecko is the layout engine behind Firefox.
  • Netscape was the company which made the Netscape Communicator web-browsing application suite, which was the predecessor of the Mozilla Suite. It now lives as a division of
  • The Mozilla Suite was produced by the Mozilla Foundation, which later created Gecko and Firefox. It still lives as the Seamonkey application suite.
  • KHTML is the layout engine of the KDE Browser.
  • The blue letter-‘e’ is not the Internet.

To normal human beings: don’t hesitate to ask more additions to this mini glossary, if you feel that you need it. Just say so in the comments.

To alpha geeks: I’m trying to serve a certain audience here. One not primarily composed of you über-Guru computer wizards. One more composed of the humble, just-about-knows-how-to-use-Word type of audience. Oh and you’re more than welcome to add glossary entries in the comments. Or insults 😉

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