Don Marti

Wed 03 Sep 2008 01:03:21 PM PDT

Google Chrome

Man, did the entire Mainstream Media dig up every "Java Will Change Everything" story from the mid-1990s and search/replace "Java" to "Google Chrome?" That's just not right. (Yes, Google is compiling Java to Javascript, then compiles JavasScript.)

Google Chrome does look like a cool project though. But it might make more sense, when stealing the ideas, to divide the loot between the desktop environment and the browser.

The idea of tabs being first class citizens makes a lot of sense, but why have a sub-window-manager that just manages browser windows in tabs, when you could have a tabbed window manager that can manage everything? I might want a browser and a spreadsheet to share a tab.

So the right "browser" for a Linux environment might just be a really fast HTML/JavaScript viewer that talks to a separate HTTP client/cache, a Google Gears server, and a preferences/history server -- all of which are also available to the rest of the desktop. The browser isn't necessarily the only thing that wants to speak HTTP, use Gears, or store preferences. And the "browser" application could fit into a tabbed window or a standalone window, just as the window manager would let you do for anything else on the desktop.

Here's an IRC chat on building Google Chrome for the first time. The good news is that there's a lot of cross-platform stuff in there. And Russell Coker suggests, "The use of multiple processes in Chrome is just begging to have SE Linux support added. Having tabs opened with different security contexts based on the contents of the site in question and also having multiple stores of cookie data and password caches labeled with different contexts is an obvious development."