Google has announced today that it is forking Webkit to launch a brand new rendering engine called Blink. Blink will be focussed on speed and simplicity and will be a part of Chromium. The rendering engine will also power future versions of the Chrome app for phones and tablets.
According to Linus Upson, Google’s VP of Engineering, the move was made from an engineering point of view as the teams were constrained by having to work within the limits imposed by the Webkit ecosystem. The move was made to facilitiate the addition of features that would otherwise slowdown Webkit partners or might not be accepted. A particular scenario that Komoroske mentions is that Google wants to run iframes in different processes which is currently very hard to achieve with webkit.
Google plans to focus on internal architectural improvements initially resulting in the removal of 7 build systems and 7000 files resulting in wiping off 4.5 million lines of code in one go. Webkit was initially started by Apple when it forked KDE”s KHTML engine. Google is the largest contributor to the open source project and their departure should have quite an interesting impact. Google notes that members of the Blink team can still contribute to Webkit if they so desire.
Commenting on the move, Opera stated that it will be contributing to Blink as well as Webkit. Opera had ditched its own rendering engine and had adopted Webkit to use Chromium as the base for its browser.