In case you haven’t heard of it, Camino is an open-source browser, and uses Mozilla’s engine. This is the same one as Firefox, Netscape, and Mozilla, meaning that pages will look like they do on these browsers. What makes it different is that it is a Cocoa-based Mac browser, unlike Firefox, meaning that it is as “beautiful” as any other native OS X program.
Some people feel it is missing some things, such as RSS support and spell-check-as-you-type. While this might be true, the Camino lead, Mike Pinkerton spells it out best:
“There will always be haters who scream, ‘How could you have a 1.0 without XYZ!?’ Sure, we could have tinkered endlessly, but there comes a time when you just have to wrap it with a bow and ship it. Was Safari 1.0 perfect? What about Firefox 1.0? Compare those to where they are now and it’s not pretty. Regardless, we feel that the quality is incredibly high for a project with no full-time staff and no paid employees. We are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 5 years.”
Some features, such as RSS detection are planned for future releases, but Camino has all the basics you’d expect: popup blocking, tabs, built-in search, privacy features, a download manager, and more. What makes Camino unique is its speed—it’s fast, even on old G3s. Furthermore, it runs on older versions of Mac OS X, so that old G4 running Jaguar will have a browser better than Safari 1.whatever. Camino also has plenty more preferences, including an ad-blocker.
I’ve switched between Camino and Safari for the last few years and both are great browsers, but I’ve been using Camino a lot lately, especially since it offers more settings without add-ons, extensions, or hacks. With the increased development and improvements, by the time it hits 1.1 or 1.2 it will definitely be giving Safari and Firefox even more of a run for their money, but you should get in early and give it a try on your Mac—the only thing you have to lose is a few megabytes on your hard drive.
Be sure to check out our interview with Mike Pinkerton.