Help me choose the best web browser
July 4, 2004 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Mozilla? Firefox? Camino? I'm ready to try a new browser, but I'm confused by the differences between these three. Currently using Safari 1.2.2 on an iMac and an iBook, both with 10.3.4. I have a license for Opera, but it's simply more than I need. I don't need IRC and I don't need HTML (yet?). I would like for it to sync bookmarks between the 2 Macs (I have iSync and a .mac account) and to work reasonably well with AppleMail, Address Book, etc. What's the best choice for a non-geeky girl?
posted by Alylex to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
 
well, one of the benefits you have to give up if you switch away from safari is bookmark syncing, i mean, you can make some alternate system for yourself but it's not going to be as smooth and built-in.

also, i don't know what you mean with "work reasonably well with AppleMail, Address Book, etc." Everything will work with mail if all you mean is mailto: links. The address book integration with people's homepages is a safari only thing.

I am trying out firefox right now, mostly for gmail, and i like it ok, it seems a little snappier than safari. Safari is a good browser though, if you have no real reason to switch I wouldn't bother, you will certainly get less integration with your other apps with anything else. One of the problems you probably haven't thought about, firefox doesn't use the pervasive osx spellcheck, which sucks.

I will probably eventually go back to safari, but there are some key benefits to firefox. mostly keywords, i really really want keyword searches in safari. (and this is an unnacceptable solution.
posted by rhyax at 11:49 PM on July 4, 2004


Mozilla is an integrated Browser/Mail/HTML Editor suite. It's stable, but a bit slow and very bulky.

Firefox is the cross-platform little cousin of Mozilla. It's faster, more lightweight and a lot nicer to work with. However, it's still pre-release, so there might (I say might, as I've never encountered a single critical bug using it, on windows.) still be a few bugs which can cause irritations.

Camino is a gecko-based (gecko is the rendering engine for mozilla et al) browser, written from the ground up for Mac OS.

My advice? If you're happy with Safari, stick with it.

If you want to change, try out both Camino and Firefox, see which one you like better. I find mozilla to be slow and a memory hog, compared to Firefox. I'm assuming you also want to use the apple Mail/Address Book programs -- Firefox doesn't come with it's own mail program, so you're set with that.

But, by switching, you'll lose the ability to easily sync your bookmarks between the two machines (I assume -- I've never used iSync, but i'm pretty sure that there's no in-built support for it).
posted by cheaily at 12:21 AM on July 5, 2004


The fundamental differences are listed here: the different flavours of mozilla.

For a basic internet user, maybe you should download all three and experience them for yourself - mozilla is a pig, camino is kinda ugly and sluggish, and firefox is excellent but not as good as Safari IMHO (but i see the appeal in firefox, not in camino or mozilla). Take a leap, there's an exciting realm of open source internet browsing software out there for you!
posted by elphTeq at 12:31 AM on July 5, 2004


if you have to choose one i would go with firefox also, if that wasn't clear.
posted by rhyax at 12:44 AM on July 5, 2004


and I don't need HTML

oh, but I think you do.
posted by angry modem at 2:11 AM on July 5, 2004


Keep in mind that during your testing phase you will have to rather unintuitively set the Default Browser using Safari's preference pane, since Camino/Mozilla/Firefox don't have that setting in their prefs and Apple inexplicably removed it from the System-wide preferences.

In other words, if you want links in emails or your feed reader to open in Camino for a few days, you have to launch Safari, go into the preferences, and choose Camino *there* as your default browser.
posted by bcwinters at 5:34 AM on July 5, 2004


I just switched to firefox from IE on my win2k machine and I'm finding it very slow in comparison. Is this normal? (hat type=tinfoil)Is Windows crippling it or something?(/hat)

As for OS X. I love my Safari. Is it that complicated/bulky? I hadn't really noticed.
posted by ODiV at 5:37 AM on July 5, 2004


I switched to Firefox for a couple of months, but eventually went back to Safari. I liked the keyword search feature of Firefox, but I found the browser a little slower than Safari. (Those seconds add up over the day.) Firefox also had a few interface issues and bugs that may be cleared up by now. I'd say give Firefox a try, but really there isn't much wrong with Safari.
posted by teg at 6:24 AM on July 5, 2004


Corrrect me if i'm wrong, but doesn't mozilla and its variants use their own, proprietary interface?

That's why i trashed Mozilla when i tried it a few years ago, and why i love safari so much.
posted by derbs at 6:33 AM on July 5, 2004


Mozilla and co. use their own interface layer, yes. This makes it infinitely easier to maintain and improve such a heavily cross-platform product; you only have to make the changes interact with your interface layer, instead of having to make changes for each of the OSes your application works with.

The way they've set it up also makes it ridiculously easy for third-party developers to create extensions and applications using the Mozilla UI, which leads to a great array of useful add-ons and tools.

Also, technically, Apple's UI is the proprietary one here. Mozilla's is thoroughly open-source.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:06 AM on July 5, 2004


Speeding up mozilla / firefox.

WRT the UI, Camino is the OS X Gecko browser that uses Cocoa for its widgets, etc., so it's no different than Safari in that respect (with Safari using KHTML). Firefox uses its own widgets.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:20 AM on July 5, 2004


Thanks, Space Coyote—not a Mac user myself, so I had no idea.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:16 AM on July 5, 2004


Slight derail: rhyax, regarding keyword searches in Safari, have you tried Sogudi? Does the trick pretty well for me.
posted by Remy at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2004


I prefer SafariKeywords, because the keywords remain in the search history.
posted by kindall at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2004


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