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> Google says that the pain in maintaining their separate, non standard, process architecture is too much of a burden to continue to contribute into WebKit proper, so they must fork.

Actually, they didn't say that the pain of maintaining their own work was too much of a burden, they said the pain of maintaining their model within the constraints and obligations WebKit had was too much of a burden (and, imposed too much of a burden on WebKit with regard to what WebKit wanted to do), so they decided fork so that WebKit can do what it wants to do without worrying about Chrome while Blink does what is needed for Chrome without worrying about WebKit.

> Why can't Chrome implement WebKit 2?

Implementing WebKit 2 wouldn't solve the problem going forward. Changes to WebKit to serve Chrome's needs would still have to meet all of the commitments WebKit has, and Chrome would still be placing demands on WebKit.

> This seems like a failure of open source.

Forking isn't failure. The purpose of open source isn't to create a monoculture, it is to enable groups to share effort when they have common goals, and to allow groups with divergent goals (including where those goals diverged after a period of shared work) to continue to benefit from the shared work without having to start back at square one. This is a success of open source.

Just look up the history of browsers and you'll see that forking is rampant. Forking isn't failure. It's evolution. Once a project reaches a certain size, there exist enough developers in the community to be able to split into two or more self-sustaining communities that can take the project in two or more directions that are valid and serve different needs. It's called specialization.

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