[whatwg] Why won't you let us make our own HTML5 browsers?

Adam Barth w3c at adambarth.com
Fri Dec 16 23:18:34 PST 2011

It sounds like you might be interested in Chromeless:


If you'd like to see this kind of future, consider contributing to that effort.


On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Brett Zamir <brettz9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> What is the reason you won't let us make our own browsers-in-a-browser?
> I'm not talking about some module you have to build yourself in order to
> distribute a browser as an executable. I'm talking about visiting a
> (secure/signed?) page on the web and being asked permission to give it any
> or all powers including the ability to visit and display other
> non-cross-domain-enabled sites, with the long-term possibility of browsers
> becoming a mostly bare shell for installing full-featured browsers
> (utilizing the possibility for APIs for these "browsers" to themselves
> accept, integrate, and offline-cache add-on code from other websites,
> emulating their own add-on system).
> Of course there are security risks, but a standardized, cross-platform,
> re-envisioned and expanded equivalent of ActiveX, which can work well with
> Firewalls, does not add to the risks already inherent in the web.
> I am not interested in the argument that "It is just too dangerous".
>  Browsers already allow people to download executables with a couple clicks,
> not to mention install privileged browser add-ons. Enough said. There is
> absolutely no real difference between these and what I am proposing, except
> that executables offer the added inconvenience of being non-cross-platform
> and awkward for requiring a separate, non-readily-unifiable means of
> managing installations. Otherwise, please someone tell me what is the
> /insurmountable/ difference?
> I am not really interested in a prolonged technical discussion or debate
> about the limitations of existing technologies. I am asking at a higher
> level why bright people can't help us move to a web like this. As per Ian's
> signature, "Things that are impossible just take longer", I see no logical
> reason why such a web can't be envisioned and built.
> From the resistance I have seen to the idea among otherwise bright people, I
> can only reach the conclusion that there must be some ulterior motives
> behind the resistance. The main browsers would not be able to corner the
> market as easily anymore if such a thing happened. Because as long as there
> are these oligopolic fiefdoms requiring a separate set of JavaScript API
> standards for run-of-the-mill web developers to be able to develop
> privileged applications easily---or for them to be unable to interact in a
> privileged fashion with other such applications, there is less competition
> and sadly, the world won't see competitive and collective innovations
> leading to better privileged browsers.  Rather we are stuck with a
> centralized model whereby, the main browsers remain the gate-keepers of
> innovation.
> The dream of "Write once, run anywhere" is thankfully becoming more realized
> with HTML5, though there is still a need for an expanded dream, something
> along the lines of "Write once, run anywhere, access any functionality
> desired", and the current albeit highly skilled custodians of the web seem
> to sadly lack the vision at the moment to at least point us in that
> direction, let alone have plans to achieve it. I would really like to know
> why others seem not to have seen this problem or reacted to it...
> Admittedly, such a concept could, if the existing browser add-on systems
> adequately expose such high privileges to their add-ons, be initially
> implemented itself as an add-on, allowing a cross-browser API initiated from
> websites to trigger the add-on to ask for the granting of website
> privileges, but in order to be well-designed, I would think that this effort
> should fall under the umbrella of a wider, representative, consultative, and
> capable effort, which is supported in principle by the browsers so that at
> the very least they will not end up curtailing privileges to their add-ons
> down the line on which the effort depends.
> Best wishes,
> Brett

More information about the whatwg mailing list