Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

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mbrazil
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Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by mbrazil » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:30 am

The only way I could prevent Avant from occasionally using what it calls "the Chrome engine" to open a site was to rename the webkit folder so that Avant can't find it (the Firefox/Gecko engine is my default). Also, every time a new build of Avant USB is set up, Avant starts up with Chrome selected for the default rendering engine, and if I don't rename or delete the webkit folder for each build, it still uses the Chrome engine occasionally even though I've got the default engine set to Firefox.

In addition, the drop-down menu at the right end of the Address Bar contains some information that is not accurate and that makes Chrome sound better than it is:

1. Chrome is listed as the "Full-featured rendering engine," whatever that's supposed to mean. What features does the Chrome engine have that Gecko and Trident don't have? Do the Trident and Gecko engines have any features that "the Chrome engine" doesn't have? What is the total number of "features" in each of the engines?

2. There is no such thing as the "Chrome rendering engine." The Chrome browser used to use the webkit engine, but now it uses the Blink engine. In looking at the file properties of chrome.exe in the webkit folder of Avant 2013 build 110, I found that the file's Internal Name is chrome_exe and that the Product Name for chrome.exe is "Avant Chromium Engine." There's no information there to indicate which engine chrome.exe actually is built from. So, what rendering engine is actually in use when someone chooses the Chrome engine in Avant?

3. The "IE8 Standards" engine (apparently some version of the Trident engine) is described as "Low memory usage" even though Firefox (which uses the Gecko engine and is described in the menu as "Low cpu/power usage" [cpu should be capitalized -- it's an acronym]) has used the least memory of the three engines for quite a few versions now. There are well-documented test results on the web that prove this.

Overall, there is a strong bias for the "Chrome engine" built into Avant, and I'd like to know why. Avant used to be a great, Trident-based browser, and its companion, Orca, was a great Gecko-based browser. Now, Orca is a dead whale, and Avant has turned into a crippled, buggy Chrome clone. There's nothing wrong with offering the three most popular rendering engines in one browser, but none of them should be favored in Avant, either overtly or covertly. (There's also a covert bias for Google Custom Search, but that's another [related] story.)

In my opinion, Google initiated the destruction of the web browser when they designed the Chrome user interface, and Microsoft made things even worse with Windows 8 and recent version of IE. Instead of evolving and getting better, web browsers are regressing and are becoming much less useful. It's disgusting.

mathman
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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by mathman » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:36 am

My default rendering engine is IE9. I have never encountered the problem you described, although using Windows XP could be part of the problem. I have noticed on my old machine (Windows XP - rendering engine IE8) that when I open Avant there is a message about things being out of date, but I presumed it was because my home page is my Gmail account.

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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by Climhazard » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:40 pm

I agree with mbrazil. First theres big disinformation on the labels about rendering engines. IE 6(core) and IE 8 are truly lowest possible on memory you can get on browsers, it is obviously so when you switch to them from chrome or ff. However Firefox low cpu/power usage or chrome full featured rendering engine is totally wrong.

It is well known that Firefox always had CPU leak issues and was always among the worst in that aspect. I've also been doing a lot of tests and have some screenshots probably stored somewhere of the older browsers testing. In addition a few days ago, i have just tried about every version from 10 to 22 on old single core processors and FF was capping 100% usage nearly all the time. Installed versions 3.6 and lower didn't had those issues. Any version of chrome worked flawlessly on any old PC i have tried. Even though newer versions of FF like current 22 does pretty good on multi-core machines, Firefox would probably be the worst choice for low cpu usage.

Secondly, there still isn't any "full-featured" rendering engine i know of. Every engine has some advantages and drawbacks, otherwise everyone would use only that perfect engine. Particularly for chrome, the memory it uses is enormous compared to FF and IE, probably because of the process-per-site-instance process model webkit/blink uses. It is possible to add startup arguments to change process model to single process (unstable, but mem usage would be like FF) or process-per-tab but thats still not really the answer (btw unfortunately this is not possible in avant).

I think Anderson didn't even thought or done much research about what to write for those labels, and mbrazil you are right, we should be prompted on startup or install which engine we want as default. He probably put chrome because its the fastest and didn't think about anything else.

All of that aside, ive been testing 2013 build 23 again, indeed 2013 builds are, at least, much better optimized than 2012, so i might switch to it :)

mbrazil
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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by mbrazil » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:13 pm

Climhazard wrote:I think Anderson didn't even thought or done much research about what to write for those labels, and mbrazil you are right, we should be prompted on startup or install which engine we want as default. He probably put chrome because its the fastest and didn't think about anything else.
Obviously, none of us knows what Anderson's motivation was for favoring the Chrome engine, since he no longer communicates with anyone on these forums and doesn't seem to be willing to discuss anything with users anymore. However, it is my suspicion that the Chrome and Google Custom Search biases evident in all of the Avant 2013 builds are the result of some sort of business arrangement Anderson made with Google that benefits him but is a disservice to Avant users.

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brawnymike
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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by brawnymike » Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:07 pm

mbrazil wrote:Obviously, none of us knows what Anderson's motivation was for favoring the Chrome engine, since he no longer communicates with anyone on these forums and doesn't seem to be willing to discuss anything with users anymore. However, it is my suspicion that the Chrome and Google Custom Search biases evident in all of the Avant 2013 builds are the result of some sort of business arrangement Anderson made with Google that benefits him but is a disservice to Avant users.
I have been thinking EXACTLY the same thing. What is that quote about a man being incapable of perceiving a problem when it's not in his financial interest to perceive it?

mathman
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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by mathman » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:47 pm

Mild dissent. My computer (windows 7) uses Avant with IE9 as the primary rendering engine. For some Web sites I use Firefox or IE compatible. I never use Chrome, although my email uses Gmail. In any case I have never encountered any indication that Chrome is a preferred rendering.

My old computer (windows XP) gives me messages when I use Avant (IE8 rendering). The messages are from Gmail (not Avant) which tell me that IE8 is obsolete, so I should use something else, preferably Chrome. If I use IE compatible I get the same message, but not when using Firefox or Chrome rendering. I want to emphasize that the message is from Gmail, not Avant.

mbrazil
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Re: Why does Avant "prefer" the Chrome rendering engine?

Post by mbrazil » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:27 pm

Since I've decided to use build 23 until there is either an acceptable new build of Avant or I am forced to abandon Avant altogether, I have been downloading and experimenting with the USB versions of each of the 100+ builds as they are released. The USB versions don't get "installed." You simply unzip them into a folder of your choice and either run them from that folder or create your own shortcuts to them. (If you want to try this, and you want to run one of the USB versions at the same time you're running an installed version of Avant, just add -runextra to the end of the command line in the shortcut.) Each and every time I have run one of the USB versions for the first time, Chrome is pre-set as the the default engine. I've also done some fresh installs of build 23 Ultimate, and these too always start up with Chrome as the default engine. I'm pretty sure this has been the case for all of the 2013 builds.

Once I've changed the default engine to Firefox, everything (except a few sites I've configured to open with IE8) opens with the Firefox engine most of the time, but occasionally a new tab opens with Chrome. The only way I've been able to completely prevent this from happening is to rename the webkit folder to webshіt so Avant can't find it. On those very rare occasions when I want to open a page with the Chrome engine, I just rename the folder back to webkit temporarily. I don't even have to restart Avant before or after renaming the folder, and to make this quicker and more convenient to do, I've got shortcuts to a couple of batch files on my desktop, one named webkit and one named webshіt.

As far as occasional pages opening with the Chrome engine when I have Firefox set as my default, I see this most often when I've edited the address of a page in the Address Bar and then clicked the Go button to load the edited address in a new tab. I also see tabs open with the Chrome engine sometimes when I click the Go button without having edited the address (I do this somewhat frequently with the Avant forums, since I've usually got the Avant forums tab set to auto-refresh every five minutes, and when I want to answer a post, I don't want to lose my work when the auto-refresh occurs). I don't know if this is the only scenario in which the Chrome engine is used when it's not supposed to be used, but since I've renamed the webkit folder, it can't happen at all now.

I also don't know if this happens with the 100+ builds, because I run them only to test and experiment with them. I don't do any actual work in them, because they frustrate me so much I can't stand to use them for very long.

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