The #1 Essential Application – The Web Browser

Before the switch, I was pretty firmly committed to Firefox as a web browser and so of course it was the first app that I installed on my new MacBook.

All was not quite right though, although I didn’t realise it until this morning. You see I had thought that this mac was a bit slow, most of what I have done so far has included a web browser (what doesn’t, these days) and Firefox took forever to load. Anyway, long story short I realised that Mozilla haven’t released a universal binary for Firefox 1.5 yet and so I was running it in PowerPC emulation mode (Rosetta).

So in trying to find a build for Intel, I actually took a look at some alternatives and I have installed Camino which as far as I can tell is a Mac native UI around the Gecko rendering engine used in Firefox 1.5.

First impressions

I like it, visually it fits so much better with OS/X and all of the window controls are now looking like the rest of the system. It’s faster too, SO much faster (although much of this will be because of the universal binary) and I also love that it is integrated with the Keychain (I gotta blog about that too :). BUT, and it’s a big but :( It doesn’t seem to support extensions and I don’t know whether I can live with that.

Roll on an official Intel build of Firefox! Or, should I be trying something else in the mean time?

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27 responses to “The #1 Essential Application – The Web Browser

  1. Hi,

    welcome to the Macintosh, cool to have you here.

    Before trying open source browsers, check out Safari, that’s the default OS X browser. Works pretty well, is Intel-ready (so no Rosetta needed) and delivers a nice web experience.
    However, it’s good to keep firefox as 2nd browser – there might be some sites out there that are specifically built for IE/Firefox, and Safari is left out there.

    Oh, and there is an Adobe Reader for the Mac – but Preview is by far better.

  2. Try Safari. I used to use Firefox on a windows XP laptop, but now only use Safari on a Powerbook. It has most of the features from firefox (tabbed browsing, privacy options, etc) and it’s FAST! Plus it’s Apple native so fit’s in perfectly witht he rest of the OS X apps.

  3. Well, why not use Safari? It is the browser that integrates the best with Mac OS X, and it is very good looking (IMO).

    You can always use add-ons like Saft ( and PithHelmet ( to add some extra features to Safari. I don’t use them, though, seem to be doing just fine without, but many others can’t live without.

    My favourite browser back in the Windows days was Opera. It sucks (like Firefox) on Mac, so I had to find another. I went with Safari.

    There are some (poorly designed but important to me) sites that don’t work with Safari, for those I use Camino because it is good looking.

    Oh, by the way: You could check this site out:

  4. Oh. There seems to be a lot of consensus about the Safari-thing.

  5. Unfortunately Camino does not support extensions because it does not use/support XUL as Firefox/Mozilla do. This is why the interface is Mac-ish….and not ugly on the Mac like Firefox is :) – Camino is still a great Gecko based browser though!

  6. Nothing bad to say about Camino, I used it a lot while working at Apple – but Safari is clear #1.

  7. In case you haven’t discovered it, I use “CamiTools”: to extend Camino (most importantly to customise the search engines in the search bar).

  8. The universal binary Firefox is fast fast fast. I’m using it on my intel mac until the comes out.

    Recent switcher myself.

  9. You can get great Mac-themed Firefox skins at:

  10. I run the Intel Firefox too and it rocks! No spell checking though.

  11. Yo

    Good morning

    You have a great blog and welcome to the world of Mac – your going to have a lot enjoyment in the coming months… nice to have you aboard

    For Safari related information check out “” it’s most useful for plugin information.

    I find Safari has become my default browser for which I run both my life and a small businesses from. My backup choose is Camino, albeit I’m still new to it.

    Have fun and thanks for your blog and it’s input… it will only make the community stronger!


  12. Even native versions of Mozilla are pretty slow on Mac OS X from my experiences. The processor specific “DeerPark” builds are a little better but launch time is still pretty slow on every system I have used it on compared to Safari.

  13. Opera. Give it a chance. You will never go back.

  14. Universal Version of Firefox here on my new MacBookPro. I like it, except the stupid deer park logo :)

  15. Safari is ok but if you want a KHTML browser with more features and one that is Wicked fast try Shiira they have both PPC and Universal downloads. I still you firefox most of the time though.

  16. Recent switcher also.

    I immediately gravitated towards firefox from my pc experience. The intel build of is lightning fast (much faster than safari actually) and have the extension support I crave. So i have stuck with it.

    Camino was ok, same speed as firefox. gave me a more mac experience, no extensions.

    safari is nice, but its slow as hell and no extensions

    my 2 pence

  17. Mark Kalderon

    This page has extensive comaprison of web browsers on the mac:

    Here is another vote for Shiira, but iCab and OmniWeb deserve consideration as Safari alternatives.

  18. Opera. Every time. Safari is ok, but nothing special. Opera, though, is special.

  19. I downloaded Camino after reading this post. I must say that I do like it. And I do notice that it’s a bit faster than Firefox (my iMac has a PowerPC G5 processor), which I was using until yesterday. I have a question about Camino though and maybe someone could help me out. In Firefox, when you click on a link and hold the command key, the link automatically opens in a new tab. This doesn’t work in Camino. Does anybody know what I should be pressing instead? I tried a combination of different keys but I couldn’t make it work. Incidentally, I did discover that clicking on a link while holding shift and command will open the new browser window BEHIND the current active window. Although I can’t imagine how that would be useful in any way. Hehe.

  20. Darren Meadows

    Anybody notice performance issue with Safari lately? I am also new to Mac – got a 20″ IMac G5 for Christmas – I have noticed a slow down – to almost an unbearable crawl. I have found some temporary measures to help but it was not like it was when I first got my Mac. Still enjoing my Mac experience, but I run a network with both PC’s and the Mac. I agree however the Mac community is extremely helpful and passionate about their machines.

  21. I’ve used pretty much every web browser on my aging TiBook and I’ve found Camino + CamiTools was faster (and less of a memory drain) than Firefox and more aethetically pleasing than Safari.

    From the CamiTools website:

    The CamiTools are a Preference Pane for Camino 1.0. They provide you a wide range of options to adjust Camino to your demands:

    – a toolbar search engine editor for Camino
    – an image and script blocker for Camino
    – Flashblock for Camino
    – configure many aspects of Camino
    – it lets you switch the appearance style (Aqua, Unified or Metal) and hide the status bar
    – open your existing Camino profile or create a new one
    – define your own styles for the pages you’re visiting
    – sync your bookmarks with a ftp server

    CamiTools adblocking is quite excellent!

  22. saul harvey

    look at
    its where the expermental or test versions of firefox are located.
    it does show some universal binarys for ppc and intel machines so they are working on it.

  23. blagermeister

    Haven’t used Firefox on a mac in at least a year, Safari the same. Firefox was too slow to startup, so much I had to check to see if the process was running or if I didn’t click the dock icon correctly. Safari had rendering issues on Microsoft tech sites like TechNet or on improperly coded ecommerce websites. I switched to Camino around .90 I think and haven’t looked back. Clean, quick, and doesn’t seem to have the rendering issues. But to be fair, I haven’t used Firefox or Safari in awhile. Camino has worked nicely since it’s late beta days and I can’t see any reason to go back. Especially with that tired brushed metal facade.

  24. I was in a store with a really busy internet.
    With safari i opened the apple website complete in 30 seconds
    I downloaded webkit and i opened the website at 25
    I downloaded Opera and i opened the webiste at 10 seconds

  25. Hi there i’m new at macintosh, i bought a powerbook g4, i’v tryied Firefox, Opera, camino and safari and so far they are all very slow and sometimes i fell like i’m going to make something bad LOLOL, anyone know what could be? maybe some properties? hum?
    thanx for help =)

  26. asis go to this link and see the comments of mac users — closer to your date