Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives
Thu 28 Sep 2006
Camino, what's that?
Category : mac and the internet
While working with mac enthusiasts on separate occasions recently, Safari choked whilst loading a webpage. So I did what I usually do - copied the URL (cmd-L; cmd-C), hopped over to Camino (DragThing shortcut) and called up the page there (cmd-L; cmd-V; enter). The page appeared in Camino and Safari was still choked. I had kept us a breezy commentary and on each occasion, my macaddict friends surprised me by asking me, "What is Camino?"
You see, in November 2002, a MacWorld article ["Battle of the Browsers. " By Jeff Carlson. MacWorld, 01 Dec 2002.] suggested that IE 5.2.1 was still the browser to beat. I actually agreed with this at the time. Ironically, a month later, Steve Jobs would announce Safari 1.0 beta), which was about three times faster for starters. Elated Mac users set the record for single day downloads, beating even iTunes!
Anyway, in the calm before the storm that was November 2002, I asked the me@n list about their Browser of choice. Several geeks there (Kristian, Se-han, Hanx) cited the 9 month-old Chimera with its speed and tabbed browsing trumping all other pretenders. I was a convert. Carlson in the MacWorld article had tipped his hat to Camino when he said its "... speed and rendering fidelity make it the OS X browser to watch."
In 2003 however, as Safari improved, Camino stagnated. Firebird (now Firefox) had toppled Camino for speed. I hoped for a new version one day as Firefox was primarily built for the pc. When version 0.8 emerged in Sep 2004, I asked the me@n list, "So who uses Camino anymore?".
Two days earlier, Eric Bangeman's "Interview with Camino Project head Mike Pinkerton" was published on ArsTechnica, 22 Sep 2004.
"I realized, almost like a lightning bolt, during one of my lectures on open source culture that I was the reason the project was failing: a weak project owner is worse than no owner at all. I was that weak owner, and the only way to save the project was to own up to that and do something about it. I instituted a new review process that brought more people into the loop and removed myself as the sole bottleneck to the process. Suddenly Camino was alive again. Patches came flooding in, and these were getting landed in the tree. We were on our way."
Version 1.0 was released on 14th February 2006 as a universal binary.
These days, Camino is my browser of choice - especially at home where my Starhub 6500 network crawls or on the road when Safari is slow. Also, Camino handles Java functions (I think) that Safari might be choking on, e.g. some aspects of the Gmail interface. And things like Tools for Camino add much needed search functionality amongst other things.
Each browser has its strengths and weaknesses - I still prefer Safari's short-cut keys which make it easy to do my blogging at Habitatnews and Raffles Museum News. I also have Opera and Firefox in my applications folder and dabble a little with OmniWeb. When doing research on the net, all of these may come in handy at some time. I just re-select my favourite browser in the preferences panel of any browser, when needed and its done. Strength in diversity.
The key question then is, how to organise bookmarks if they are scattered across several browsers? I've used BookIt since OS 8.6 - a few clicks and its all settled.
Tabbed browsing was the single greatest contribution to speed, and I find it critical. If only Apple would release Safari with tabbed browsing turned on - many Mac newbies don't know to turn this on in their preferences and essentially remain in 2002!
But the sadddest thing is, the fact that IE6.0 still enjoys an 80% market share. That's a whole lot off crippled users!