Mozilla on switching Opera to WebKit

I don’t think it matters a lot that Opera is moving. Consumer market has never really much cared about Opera overall despite their technical excellence. So it doesn’t matter much for the overall web.

Monocultures always make more & faster progress in the near term when they’re stewarded by strong, vibrant leaders. But over time you get stuck.

John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla

At the Mozilla mission level, monoculture remains a problem that we must fight. The web needs multiple implementations of its evolving standards to keep them interoperable.

Front end innovations are not generally sticky. Deep platform innovations can be sticky, and in our experience, they move the web forward for everyone.

Brendan Eich, CTO of Mozilla

The news about Opera switching to Webkit is disappointing. Their impact on Web standards will be dramatically reduced, especially where they want to do something differently to Apple and Google. This will strengthen the Webkit mobile monoculture and make it even harder for us to promote Web standards over “coding to Webkit”.

Some people are wondering whether engine diversity really matters. “Webkit is open source so if everyone worked together on it and shipped it, would that be so bad?” Yes. Web standards would lose all significance and standards processes would be superceded by Webkit project decisions and politics. Webkit bugs would become the standard.

Robert O’Callahan, developer at Mozilla

This is not a new beginning but the end of an era, and most certainly a bad omen.

This is a sad moment because fragmentation and competition are good for innovation. It’s not the market share of Opera that makes the difference. It’s the loss of an independant innovation center.

For the CSS Working Group, that’s an earthquake. One less testing environment, one less opportunity to discover bugs and issues.

Daniel Glazman, formerly developer at Mozilla, author of CSS3 Selectors implementation in Gecko

It’s sad they will move on from Presto to WebKit. What we saw with IE6 and Microsoft — albeit under different circumstances — is a perfect example of why we need more competition, not less. Sure, WebKit is open. WebKit is a really good web rendering engine. But those are not reasons for sticking with just one.

Robert Nyman, technical evangelist at Mozilla, the editor of Mozilla Hacks website

This is not something to celebrate.

Everyone thinks that since WebKit is currently rocking it, that everyone should just switch to it, and stop “wasting” time competing. The truth is, that’s what happened to IE6. It was the new hotness when it came out, but without competition, it sizzled.

Sean McArthur, web developer at Mozilla