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The Future of Browser Choice 188

New submitter plawson writes "CNET offers an in-depth discussion of the browser's future, making the case that 'new mobile devices threaten to stifle the competitive vigor of the market for Web browsers on PCs.' Given the vertical integration of many mobile systems, the article predicts that 'the only opportunity you'll get to truly change browsers is when your two-year smartphone contract expires.' The trade-offs are security and performance. Web pages that rely on JavaScript and JIT will be big losers. How important is browser choice on a smartphone or tablet compared with a PC?"
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The Future of Browser Choice

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  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <>> on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:35PM (#40091539) Homepage

    You most certainly do have a choice... simply don't use the OS. Buy a PC with another OS.

    I don't think you understand what Chrome OS is supposed to be... a MINIMAL OS where the browser is the ONLY application, and system updates consist of downloading a full image that is mounted read-only and checksummed to ensure it is not tampered with by malware. Traditional OSs are made to run third party applications. Even "walled garden" smartphone OSs are designed to run at least a subset of third party apps. Chrome OS is not.

    It's not designed for people who aren't willing to use the web for everything.

    And for the record, there is a documented method to disable the safety checks on the partition checksums and install other OSs, as well as gain root terminal access under Chrome OS to mess around with whatever you want there, too. Google has made it clear they support user choice. I installed Ubuntu on my Cr-48 Chromebook and I have Chrome and Firefox on it, and I can dual boot between that and Chrome OS, if it makes you feel better.

  • by CritterNYC ( 190163 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:58PM (#40091887) Homepage
    Only Opera Mini, which is a kind of pseudo-browser that offloads rendering to a server-farm in the cloud. It's designed for dumb phones (not smartphones) but was the only way to get a 'kinda of' browser around Apple's 'only Safari can interpret Javascript on the phone' restrictions.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:00PM (#40091923)

    none of which are really compatible

    Sure they are compatible. Just don't take advantage of "dumb browser trick of the week" and don't use your markup language as a pixel perfect graphics art language.

    All browsers display "normal" HTML ... normally. At least since 1994 or so. Lets see... since I first saw a working browser on a Slowlaris box in the spring of '93 the only useful additions have been... what... SSL, CSS, more recently AJAX, and the removal of the blink tag... other than that?

    You get into epic fail when only chrome version 352.1 supports embedded inline COBOL and you're just dying to use it so you use it and complain about your site only working on chrome 352.1 because all modern browsers need embedded inline COBOL and the end users demand it for their internet experience and what is wrong with the other browser devs and ...

    You also get into epic fail when yoy try to control every little pixel on the screen, as if HTML is the web page analog of the old autocad command line. Most of those kind of people would be better off just hosting freaking huge gif files with imagemaps to click on. Or putting it in flash. Either is an extremely strong indication they are putting all their effort into appearance instead of content and can thus be ignored.

    About 30 years ago the same people were using early desktop publishing to put 50 different fonts in 10 different sizes and 3 colors on each printed page, and any complaints about real world usability were ignored because they were left-brained artiste's, creatives, and lowly technical people couldn't possibly understand their elite level works of art. The old wheel of IT turns around endlessly for junk, not just the good stuff. 30 years from now we're going to be hearing the same stuff about cruddy over/hyper optimized 3-d sites and neural interfaces that "need" useless non-standard stuff.

  • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:59PM (#40092711)

    The blanket prohibition went away, but was replaced with a restriction that the interpreter not interpret anything it gets over the network.

    Which means that a browser's JS engine is still not ok under the new policy, unless it limits itself to only running JS that came bundled with the browser.

  • Re:history repeating (Score:4, Informative)

    by Skuto ( 171945 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:13PM (#40094221) Homepage

    Mozilla and Google pay millions of dollars to be the default browser on many computer systems.

    I don't know what Google does, but Mozilla does no such thing. Their finances are fully open, you can check.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351