Anyone can use WebKit, right? Where does the comparison with IE6 come from?
The problem with ie6 was not the closed source. The problem was so big dominance that webpages was written to work with ie6 only. If webkit be to dominant you get same problem. Non webkit based engines got a hard work to be usable because the webdevs make webkit only sites.
The only popular non-webkit browser on android afaik is Firefox for android and (maybe) Opera.
Windows Phone uses IE.
Anything I didn't cover is probably using webkit. Webkit is everywhere on mobile.
From a user's perspective; when sites poorly coded/only tested for webkit display poorly on non-webkit browsers, they blame the browser.
Also, I hear you often need hacks to get your site to render properly on various webkit versions found across mobile OSes (ex. site works on Safari on iOS but not Chrome on Android).
So the need for diversification in rendering engines is caused by lazy developers?
I am not an HTML person, but shouldn't at least theoretically a website render the same on any engine?
EDIT: didn't see the post above me that made the same point
If everybody uses webkit, why should you even bother to test your site on non-webkit browsers. Who cares if it's fully standards compliant if it works on what 90% of people use? This happened with IE6 and non-standard features like ActiveX and lead to stagnation. It wasn't until Firefox became popular and provided competition that developers were forced to accomodate other browsers.
We need competition so these things won't stagnate. If there were no toher rendering engines around, what incentive would there be to continue adding features to webkit?
IE6 was a closed source browser, meant to run on only one platform (windows), that did not adhere to web standards well, and supported features that are not cross platform, like Active X controls.
WebKit is an open source, cross platform browser framework, that adheres pretty well to the standards as far as I know...
Although I can see the issue with Web developers only targeting WebKit specific features, and only testing on WebKit browsers, it's hard to compare it to Internet Explorer, which was popular because it was included with the then most popular OS and politics, vs many other OSes using the same open platform, because it works pretty well...
I actually have somewhat mixed feelings on this. Ultimately what's going on here is we've got an open standard de facto (Webkit) beginning to take over in some respects from an open standard de jure (Standardized HTML). Going to either side has it's positives and negatives, However... even if we do develop a monoculture, a competitor can come along and break it up (particularly given webkit is opensource) as firefox did with IE, and as LLVM is doing with GCC. That said I feel less bad about monoculture when whatever is being standardized on implementation-wise is properly modular, and thus components of it can easily be replaced.