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Discussion on: Chromium and the browser monoculture problem

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biros profile image
Boris Jamot ✊ /

Thanks for this great post! It's very detailed and argumented, and even if I don't deeply understand the difference between Chromium and Chrome, I feel very concerned by the risks of a "monoculture browser". And so am I for the monoculture in general (search engine, OS, email provider, ...).
I came back to Firefox a few years ago, after several years with Chrome, to take the control of my privacy. And I did it also for all the other services: Gmail, Google search, Youtube, Google Drive, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ...
Regarding the browser, as a backend-only developer, I couldn't say if your suggestion of using the same browser engine in all browsers is a good or a bad idea. Maybe it could be a good idea if this browser engine wasn't under control of a huge private company as evil as Google, but directed by a non-profit and free consortium (Mozilla Foundation?).

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georgecoldham profile image
George

There really isnt much of a difference between chromium and chrome tbh. Fundamentally chromium is the engine which drives the browser, the "chrome" variant is the skin on top of that.

If you download chromium as a standalone browser it will look and feel like Google Chrome. Really all Google Chrome adds is is more google analytics under the hood and possibly some internal performance tweaks for running Googles own services.

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kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows Author

You aren't wrong. But I want to emphasize that while there's not a significant technological difference between Chrome and Chromium, there's a massive organizational difference, and that's kinda the basis of my whole argument

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georgecoldham profile image
George

Oh I agree totally, I was just trying to clear up the difference between chrome/chromium in a simplified manner (think ELI5), just in case it helped understanding.

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kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows Author

Yeah, for sure! Explanation is always valuable, and I probably did assume more background knowledge than I needed to in my post, so thanks for helping to explain 😊

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georgecoldham profile image
George

Nothing wrong with posts that require prior knowledge, if everyone made everything understandable to everyone, there wouldn’t be progression.

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kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows Author

So Chromium is the open source base that Google develops. It's used as the base of Google's own Chrome browser, but while it's still Chromium, it isn't tied into the Google ecosystem, and like I mentioned in the post, it's used as the base for a bunch of other browsers as well.

Really all that matters for the purposes of this article is that "Chrome" means Google, integration into Google's ecosystem, etc., but "Chromium" means Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Samsung Mobile, Vivaldi, Brave, Epic, and a ton of other smaller browsers that aren't tied to Google in any way.

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kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows Author

Maybe it could be a good idea if this browser engine wasn't under control of a huge private company as evil as Google, but directed by a non-profit and free consortium (Mozilla Foundation?).

Yes, exactly! I mentioned this in passing, but probably could have highlighted it more:

Ideally, this codebase would not be controlled by any single company. I'd love to see a common browser engine controlled by an independent nonprofit foundation, like the Python Software Foundation, including (though not primarily made of) a few representatives from each participating browser vendor.