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The KHTML library (as wrapped by KFM) was surprisingly usable back in the day on Linux. But who'da thunk it'd turn into one of the most important pieces of code in the world? Congrats to all involved.



Speaking of which, how is the KHTML (not webkit) code now?


Wikpedia has one paragraph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebKit#Origins "However, the exchange of code patches between the two branches of KHTML has previously been difficult and the code base diverged because both projects had different approaches in coding."

It has a link to this post http://blogs.kde.org/node/1001 from 2005 saying there isn't much hope.

It would be nice to have a 2013 update.


I can't comment on the state of things today, but I was active an active KDE core developer at the time from that original message to the time of the Zack's blog post (and I'm friends with both Dirk and Zack):

There was a huge amount of excitement at the announcement that Safari would be using KHTML. At that time, it was almost a given that the OSS rendering engine was Gecko. KHTML was KDE's little engine that could. But nobody ever expected it to be picked up by other folks. One of the original parts of the KHTML-to-OS X port was KWQ (pronounced, "quack") that abstracted out the KDE API portions that were used in KHTML.

Folks were pretty ecstatic at first. It seemed very validating.

But that changed quickly. As Zack's post indicates, WebKit became a thing of unmergable code-drops. Even inside of the KDE community there became a split between the KHTML purists and the WebKit faction. They'd previously more or less all been KHTML developers, but post-WebKit there was something of a pragmatists vs. idealists split. Zack fell on the latter side of that (for understandable reasons: there was an existing community project, with its own set of values, and that was hijacked to a large extent by WebKit).

A few years later WebKit transformed itself into a more or less valid open source project (see webkit.org), but that didn't close the rift in the KDE community between the two, at that point rather divergent, rendering engines. There's still some remaining melancholy that stems from that initial hope and what could have potentially been, but wasn't.

It's hard to argue that WebKit being open source has been a bad thing -- in fact, I don't believe that in the slightest. But I can also understand that it's pretty head-turning to have have a project transform in that way, especially for the original contributors (though, it should be noted, the original author of KHTML, who wasn't really active at the time of the transition, did eventually fall into the WebKit camp).

Final note: this is just my somewhat fractured recollection of things from being in KDE community. My contributions to KHTML / WebKit were very minor (the original spellchecking support) so this may not jive completely with the folks that were closer.


This matches my recollection of things as someone that followed WebKit from shortly after Safari was announced, and became actively involved when the open source project proper started up in 2005.


This is great summary. Thanks.


>one of the most important pieces of code in the world

Well, that's certainly over the top. Safari is a commodity.


Safari, Chrome, all the non-Windows phones (iOS, android, bada, blackberry, and webOS) and some lesser uses. I think some of the embedded Netflix implementations use it.

It's pretty important.


Apple paid someone to hack on KHTML (In a most unfriendly manner) and Safari somehow becomes some of the most important code on the planet? Apple fans are a bit delusional.

If Safari magically disappeared today Mozilla would notice a bump in downloads and everyone would go with their day.


A few hundred million iOS and Android devices would no longer be able to access the web.


For about 8 seconds before Android users downloaded Firefox.

iOS on the other hand is a prison so I suppose those users would just be screwed.


What exactly is your argument, that it's not important because people could use something else if they had to? Does anything qualify as "important" with that definition?


Useful, sure. the original poster dubbed it "one of the most important pieces of software in the world."


There seems to be some confusion about what "it" refers to. You keep referring to Safari. The original poster referred to KHTML, which for most intents and purposes "turned into" WebKit. That's how I and apparently most others understood him to mean.


That doesn't actually address either of my questions.


@bennytjia read this thread slowly.

WebKit, the rendering engine originally used in Safari (not Safari the application), nowadays powers Chrome, iOS, Android, BB and a hundred other browsers/platforms. In simple words: the absolute majority of mobile browsers use webkit, plus >50% of desktops/laptops.


so please tell me how safari is important?


Not Safari. WebKit.


Not Safari, WebKit.




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