Wed 06 Jul
As a delayed response to some boosterism over at Jon Hicks’ weblog, I was inspired to download and install the Camino Web browser today. It’s slow and somewhat awkward and it lacks the polish of Apple’s own Safari, to say nothing of the outstanding feature set of the Omni Group’s superb but flawed OmniWeb. Still, the browser remains in development with regular builds of its code, working up to its official 1.0 release, and it would be unfair to characterize it as anything less than a terrific piece of work.
Which is to say that the extent to which Camino, at version 0.9a1, bears imperfections is far less dramatic than can be reasonably expected for a project of its nature: having decided that the uphill battle of the Mozilla Gecko browser project wasn’t a dire enough challenge, these enterprising souls have chosen to climb up an even bigger hill — creating an open source Web browser competing for market share among Macintosh users only. And this when Safari ships with every new Macintosh and WebKit, its engine so to speak, has itself been released under an open source license.
I salute their sense of optimism, but I also have to commend their execution; Camino is slick and exquisitely Macintosh-like. In comparison to Firefox, its open source sibling and not too bad a Macintosh citizen itself, Camino is an exemplary bit of Aqua-friendly user interface design from top to bottom. But it’s truly noteworthy for the gorgeous iconography of Jasper Hauser which is lucid and tasteful in a way that very, very few software projects manage to pull off, whether open source or commercial. What’s driving this project, apparently, is pure passion, and it shows.