Re: John Koetsier’s claim that Apple “backed the wrong horse” in choosing KHTML over Gecko when developing Safari, even after taking the words right out of everyone’s mouths with:
Mozilla/Firefox was fat, slow, and buggy, and therefore had a seriously bad name in the web community. KHTML was slim, fast, and clean… and it was virtually unknown, meaning that there was no baggage for Apple to deal with.
I have to call bullshit.
Regardless of which rendering engine Apple picked, all the things that make Firefox appealing to Mac users over its rivals (extensibility, extensibility, extensibility) would not be in a Gecko Safari. Every part of the browser that you interact with would be Apple's design, and likely identical to the KHTML-based browser you know today. Even then, comparing the 1.0 release dates of Safari and Firefox, it’s clear that choosing Gecko would really have only guaranteed one thing: the Safari team would’ve spent even longer optimizing the code for speed and adding Quartz support. Not a good business decision.
The rendering engine doesn’t give a browser great features and an appealing user interface, it just renders pages.