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Microsoft’s Chromium Shell

Whether it is the start of a powerhouse relationship or the beginning of a feud, it is clear that something isn’t working. While some will say that something was Microsoft’s failed replacement for Internet Explorer, Edge is being updated with a new Google flavor. It is easy to wonder if Microsoft’s move to open-source powershell in recent years is any indication of the direction that operating systems are headed. The Edge Chromium download is available here https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4501095/download-the-new-microsoft-edge-based-on-chromium.

Edge is not the first browser to use Chromium, but outside of Chrome they will probably be the biggest. Windows operating systems are still the most common in corporate environments, and corporate environments account for the largest share in the market. Corporations are so large, that AntiVirus companies don’t even support home users. The products they make for the home market were the butt of a joke for a rep at a luncheon earlier this month. When asked about the bifurcation of services for the products they delivered, they literally thought a joke was being made.

To make sure that Microsoft knew they were in for a battle, Chrome has been fighting back by tightening its own security standards and demonstrating the insecurities of the Edge Chromium implementation. Google has employed the power of the pop up to warn that they are the browser to go to for security. Recent demonstrations at bolstering privacy through the development of DNS-over-TLS (RFC7858) and DNS-over-HTTPS (RFC8484) are indicative of a problem they have been causing with the tracking of US Citizen data since their inception. They have started to tighten down the Google Partners program with the 50% rule as well.

If you are looking to stay on the Google side of things, there is a solution for running traditionally Microsoft based applications that were tied to Internet Explorer. The IE Tab extension will allow you to run IE securely within Chrome. It is able to run legacy web applications and also has full support for GPO deployments. When you want to launch ActiveX virtual consoles to manage those blade servers and you don’t want use a browser that has had as many problems as IE.

Overall the move to replace IE with Edge via Chromium will be interesting. Watching the forking of software applications is not novel, but it sometimes leads to mismatched security updates. Citrix’s recent vulnerabilities might be attributable to maintaining a forked Linux distribution, and updating a maze of code can be a challenge. Palo Alto’s silent fix for Global Protect went unspoken for about 6 months last year as they did not have a responsible disclosure. Edge updates will probably come frequently if they are not automated, so it will be important to keep an eye on this software if it is to be used.

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