Bear with me for a moment. Let's say I have a fruit tree that has pretty good fruit on it. It also never ceases to bear fruit. And I give away the fruit for free out of the goodness of my heart. (I'll even let you take my fruit and dip it in chocolate and sell it). And being a hardy tree, anyone can take a branch and put it in their yard, provided they also let people take the fruit. Sound familiar? Now let's say you transplant a branch of my tree in your garden. Secretly 6 months later, you allow others to take the fruit. Only now the fruit is a little different, maybe a little tart for my stomach. Plus it also has a hard shell on it. In fact even make use of the fruit I have to use a tool that you sell to me (it's a really nice tool and a few people are willing to pay for it, not only does it work nice it looks pretty too).
Sound familiar? Something similar to this happened with KHTML and Safari. The basic story being Apple hired a really smart guy (Dave Hyatt, who worked on mozilla) to create a web browser. The decided to use KHTML instead of gecko for a starting point, but instead of working with KDE, Apple has worked in a forked environment. Just recently Hyatt has posted in his blog how recent changes to Safari have made it the first browser to pass the acid2 test. No mention of konqueror which renders the test as shown below (version 3.4).
Who is at fault? KDE for not having dedicated KHTML developers to track the changes? Apple for moving (forking) too fast? I don't know but there are opinions from kde and apple flying around. This appears to be a case where open source is not really benefitting as intended. I guess it could be worse, Apple could not release any code at all, but it could be a lot better. I'd love to see both Safari and KHTML helping each other out, rather than just KHTML giving Apple a big jump in developing a web browser. Is Apple really that afraid that KDE will take over it's market share? It appears to me that Apple has forked the code of KHTML so fast that KDE developers cannot merge the changes back in, essentially changing the license into more of a bsd style. The scary thought is that some big company might pull a similar tactic on a bigger piece of more important code (kernel perhaps?). Or maybe that is why big companies (Google, IBM) are all hiring Mozilla developers....(or maybe they just believe the browser is an important platform. We all know Google is a company that does no evil). Ok enough conspiracy theory. Maybe KDE can re-fork the fork... Note: I don't have a personal vendetta against Apple. I have school friends, old co-workers, neighbors and ultimate pals who all work for apple (none in the browser division though). I even recommend Macs to friends and family and even almost bought a mini.... Thoughts?