This might sound silly and really common.

I'm trying to convince my boss that if I use Google Chrome on Windows, it won't look the same as it does running on OSX or a Linux distribution.

Does the operating system really influence the rendering of the HTML and CSS? How I can convince him of that?

I need some reference to prove my point.

  • The easiest way is to just show him the differences.
    – DavidPostill
    Feb 21 '16 at 16:57

The operating system doesn't have much to do with the rendering of web content. It definitely won't influence the page layout (i.e. the placement of blocks and the flow of text); that's the job of the browser's rendering engine. I know of no OS that explicitly pokes into browsers to change where stuff appears.

The OS can, however, affect smaller things like font rendering. Windows, for instance, has a feature called ClearType that has been known to impact Chrome's text appearance for the better. Operating systems without that feature will therefore see slightly different text, and different OSes will have slightly different font rendering anyway. Also, some OSes have convenient ways to change which font is used. Video drivers and the physical video card could affect the rendering of anything that the browser uses hardware acceleration for.

Additionally, "native" UI elements like check boxes, drop-downs, and text boxes will definitely have different appearances from OS to OS unless the browser explicitly does its own special rendering.

Besides those, you're not likely to see large differences between, say, Firefox on Windows and Firefox on Linux. If you do, there are almost certainly differences in the browser code that is used in its builds for the different OSes.

  • Even without considering things like cleartype the font stack may cause a completely different font to be rendered.
    – DavidPostill
    Feb 21 '16 at 17:01
  • @DavidPostill Good note. I've updated my answer.
    – Ben N
    Feb 21 '16 at 17:03
  • What about replaced elements? However I tend to agree with your answer. Feb 21 '16 at 17:25
  • @MargaretBloom Ah yes, those are worth mentioning too. I've added a little thing about them.
    – Ben N
    Feb 21 '16 at 17:30

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