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13 February 2013, 10:58

Opera commits to Chromium and WebKit

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Opera Software, the company behind the proprietary Opera browser, announced that it will stop developing its own Presto rendering engine in favour of a switch to a WebKit-based solution over the course of this year. The announcement comes as the company celebrates 300 million monthly users of its browser products on the desktop, mobile devices and TVs.

Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie summarised the reason for the decision by saying: "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." He went on to explain that the company is looking to contribute to the Chromium and WebKit projects and has already submitted its first set of patches. The new family of browsers will use Chromium's V8 engine to render JavaScript.

The company has also said that it will be showing what it calls a "first look at what Opera is bringing to the smartphone game as a result of this switch" at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month. The new Android browser, which it unveiled under the code name "ICE" last month, is based on experimental work the company has been doing with WebKit.

In a post on Opera's developer relations blog, Bruce Lawson was seeking to ease developer's concerns, explaining that web developers will not have to change their web development processes as a result of the switch. Extensions designed for the current version of Opera are also expected to continue working.

In the meantime, it has been rumoured that Opera Software could be preparing to be acquired by another company. The Norwegian technology news site is reportingNorwegian language link that the company's founder and biggest shareholder Jon S. von Tetzchner has reduced his ownership in the company from 10% to 5.18%. This amount is below the limit where von Tetzchner could block a theoretical acquisition.


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