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Discussion on: Chromium and the browser monoculture problem

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Scott Trotter

Hi Ken. Good article. In fact, it inspired me to quit lurking and sign up so that I could make the following comment...

I think you overlooked what I consider to be the most serious albeit least immediate downside to any monoculture: vulnerability to attack. If a substantial portion of our infrastructure becomes oriented around a single platform, then it is possible for the inevitable vulnerabilities in that platform to be exploited in such a way as to disrupt or disable everything that depends on it.

I tried to state that as generically as possible because it applies in many situations. In this case, Chromium is on it's way to becoming the de facto application run-time and information rendering engine on all end-user devices. If that situation actually came to pass, then successfully attacking a single piece of code could be enough to effectively render most of our technology useless. As we become more and more dependent on technology, that becomes synonymous with potentially taking down our entire civilization.

Admittedly, that is an alarmist and over-the-top outcome that is unlikely to occur. The point is that it could occur, and moving from a diverse client-side environment to one of monoculture makes it more likely rather than less.

(Apologies if anyone already mentioned this in the other comments. At the time I read through them, no one had.)