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Camino Browser - Mozilla Power, Mac Style

written by: Balachandar Radhakrishnan•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 7/31/2009
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Lets face it, Firefox is a nice browser - but it doesn't perform very well on the Mac. The frequent slowdowns & the painfully long loading times! Safari is snappy and good looking, though not useful at rendering all webpages correctly.If you want Mozilla power and Safari style - that's Camino.

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    Yet another Browser? - No, its Camino!

    camino So you are thinking, ok yet another browser! Seriously, how many browsers do we need? On the Mac, I would say, we definitely could use one more - apart from Safari and Firefox. If you are a die hard Apple user you are never walking away from Safari, even when it screws up displaying webpages and does not allow you to do things with the web content as Firefox does. As for Firefox, being a darn good browser - it never seems to get the Mac way of doing things. It is slow (at least during startup), often becomes a system hog when you install too many extensions, and frankly just doesn't feel mac"ish". If you agree with the aforementioned points or are just curious to look at what this "Camino" thing that people talk about is, then this article should help you put things in perspective.

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    Why Camino?

    Before we look at the browser and all its features, lets see why the developers of Camino think its existence is justified.

    "The Camino Project has worked to create a browser that is as functional and elegant as the computers it runs on. The Camino web browser is powerful, secure, and ready to meet the needs of all users while remaining simple and elegant in its design."

    The above excerpt from the Camino homepage should give you an idea as to what the app is all about. Now moving on, the Camino browser is based on the Gecko Rendering Engine that Firefox uses. It is a completely open source and free application that runs on any Mac (PowerPC & Intel). I have been using the browser for almost a month now and it has never hung on me or slowed down one bit. The browser renders pages almost as fast as Firefox - no wonders there, since it uses the same Gecko rendering engine.

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    Features

    Camino started out with a limited feature set compared to Firefox and Safari, but has quickly caught up. Most standard features of today's browsers come standard on Camino. Though it cannot be compared to the extensions available for Firefox, Camino does provide most of Safari's features a general user would require. The complete feature set of Camino is pretty long but, I will however point out a some of the prominent features in the app.

    Search engines can be added and removed from the built-in search feature of the Browser. So if your preference is Google, Yahoo or even Bing, you can put it right up there on the right hand side top corner.

    Tabbed browsing is almost the defacto norm today, so it's right in there. Also handy is the built in update finder that will let you perform browser updates when they are available.

    Being a browser specially developed for the Mac platform the browser offers complete support for Applescript. If you are power user who makes use of Applescript, then this opens up a lot of opportunities for you. Apart from these the browser comes loaded with the regular features set, like feed detection, annoyance blocking, session saving, spellchecking etc.

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    Featureset

    spell checkerAnnoyance blockingFeed DetectionApplescript Supportfull keychain supportOptions tab
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    The definitive Firefox Alternative

    Given the featureset of Camino and the solid integration with the Mac OS, if you're really not into Firefox - Camino is the way to go. Camino will give you the closest experience of Firefox without actually using Firefox. The Gecko rendering engine has no problems rendering the most complicated of pages and yet keeping the browser experience snappy. My usage experience shows that Camino out performs Safari on certain pages given the power of the Gecko rendering engine and still doesn't slow down as Firefox does on the Mac. Though if extensions are your thing, then think twice before moving over to Camino, which doesn't offer the rich extension set of Firefox. You still can notice on sites like Pimp my Camino some reasonable addons that make the Camino experience worth it.