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20 Things I Learned About Browsers And The Web [Thing 19]

29 May

OPEN SOURCE AND BROWSERS

or, standing on the shoulders of giants

Today’s Internet stands on the shoulders of giants: the technologists, thinkers, developers, and organizations who continue to push the boundaries of innovation and share what they’ve learned.

This spirit of sharing is at the very heart of open-source software. “Open source”means that the inner workings (or “source code”) of a software are made available to all, and the software is written in an open, collaborative way. Anyone can look into the source code, see how it works, tweak it or add to it, and reuse it in other products or services.

Open-source software plays a big role in many parts of the web, including today’s web browsers. The release of the open-source browser Mozilla Firefox paved the way for many exciting new browser innovations. Google Chrome was built with some components from Mozilla Firefox and with the open-source rendering engine WebKit, among others. In the same spirit, the code for Chrome was made open source so that the global web community could use Chrome’s innovations in their own products, or even improve on the original Chrome source code.

Web developers and everyday users aren’t the only ones to benefit from the faster, simpler, and safer open-source browsers. Companies like Google also benefit from sharing their ideas openly. Better browsers mean a better web experience for everyone, and that makes happier users who browse the web even more. Better browsers also let companies create web apps with the latest cutting-edge features, and that makes users happy, too.

Browsers aren’t the only part of the web that can take the open-source approach. Talk to any group of web developers and you’re likely to hear that they use an open-source Apache HTTP Server to host and serve their websites, or that they developed their code on computers powered by the Linux open-source operating system — just to name a few examples. The good work of the open source community continues to help make the web even better: a web that can be the broad shoulders for the next generation.

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