Give a little credit

Yesterday I saw Matt Drance’s post about webkit turning ten. He omitted one important fact, and mis-stated another.

First, WebKit does not power “nearly every relevant browser and engine used today”. WebKit does have the mobile space locked up: Android, iOS and WebOS all use WebKit for their mobile browsers. Windows Phone 7 does not. However, on the desktop, WebKit is a distant third. Trident (the IE rendering engine), and Gecko (the Firefox rendering engine) both have a larger share of users than WebKit. Matt’s statement is misleading at best.

Secondly, there was no mention at all of where WebKit came from. It was not born in Cupertino. WebKit was forked from KHTML and KJS, part of the KDE project (yes kids that’s linux). Matt linked to the first changeset in the WebKit repo, here’s the 4th changeset, with a pile of KHTML code.

There is no doubt that WebKit is the best open source rendering engine out there, and Apple did most of the work to make it that way. Here’s my nod to the KDE project for getting that all started, since neither Drance or Gruber gave any props.