“The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better. It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need,” says CTO of Opera Software, Håkon Wium Lie. “It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further. Opera will contribute to the WebKit and Chromium projects, and we have already submitted our first set of patches: to improve multi-column layout.”
Each release of Chrome or Safari generates excitement about new bleeding-edge features; nobody seems to worry about the stuff that’s already (still!) broken. jQuery Core has more lines of fixes and patches for WebKit than any other browser. In general these are not recent regressions, but long-standing problems that have yet to be addressed. Opera probably doesn’t have any more incentive to fix the common bugs than any of the other diners at the WebKit table—especially when jQuery continues to cover up these mistakes.
I believe what we saw with IE6 and Microsoft – albeit under different circumstances – is a perfect example of why we need more competition, not less. Sure, WebKit is open. WebKit is a really good web rendering engine. But those are not reasons for sticking with just one.
Opera will be using the Chromium implementation of WebKit, as well as the V8 engine. This means that while Opera is using the ‘WebKit’ name, it’s not in fact using the same bits and pieces that make up some other WebKit browsers like Safari.