Ars Technica has an excellent side-by-side comparison of the nine (yup, nine) browsers currently available for OS X. Interesting to see that Safari is no longer fastest browser available (though it’s a heck of a lot faster than IE). Mozilla edges Safari on speed, by a hair. But Safari still came out on the top of the stack for a host of other reasons.
There was a thread here on birdhouse a while ago in which a few people said they were finding sites that didn’t render properly in Safari. I countered that I was having trouble finding any and hadn’t launched IE in a long time. The next day I did have some trouble using a complex multi-part form in Safari and had to switch to IE to get the job done, but haven’t had trouble since then. The Ars reviewer says virtually the same thing:
The current version [of IE] feels like a quick and dirty port to OS X and has some problems with more complex web pages. It’s a shame that this is still the default browser in OS X installations. … Thankfully, those days are over. I cannot remember the last time I had to launch it to access a web site. There is really no good reason to use this anymore.
My thoughts exactly (I also agree with the reviewer that the Mozilla-based browsers are crash-y and inelegant compared to Safari). After some disagreement at work (my colleagues are unconcerned with speed issues, more concerned that students would be confused by the transition to another browser … whatever) we decided to install both IE and Safari in the Dock and let students choose. So far they seem to be using about 70% Safari, informally measured.
5 Replies to “Mac Browser Smackdown”
Have you tried Firebird? It’s quickly become my default browser. I don’t know why – maybe something about my setup – but Safari is very flaky for me. Camino had its problems too, but Firebird seems very stable. My only drag right now is that command-clicking doesn’t bring up a tab as in Camino but I keep doing it anyway.
I was hoping my problems with Safari would go away when 1.0 came out but that was not the case. Lately I rarely fire it up and when I do I frequently have to bail out. Fortunately, I use IE even more rarely these days.
Too bad that the version of Camino tested is 0.7. Nightly builds have been greatly improved since 0.7.
Command-clicking is fixed in the latest Firebird nightlies.
“But Sean,” you ask, “where the hell are the latest Firebird nightlies?”. It is true that Mozilla.org’s nightly packaging has been borked for a month and change now, but some intrepid users have taken the task to hand.
I’d be using Firebird full-time if middle-clicking opened a new tab (one of my old-school gripes with Safari which has since been fixed). I love firebird, and look forward to that sole stumbling block being removed for me.
In the interim, however, I am using Safari… I encounter sites that don’t render right pretty reliably. For instance, one I ran into just today:
But nothing that keeps me from doing what I need to do. Safari is nice, but I still prefer the UI of Firebird, as well as the flexibility of the Mozilla platform.
Safari uses portions of Mozilla code. I can’t use the same instance of Safari for more than a day before odd things happen, like it can’t actually empty my Hotmail junk box, that sort of thing. We’ll see what 10.3 brings as far as a Safari build; if it’s the same as the on in 10.2.6 I’ll be going to something straight from the Mozilla group. Something not in Brushed Metal.