Camino Es Real

CaminoThe scrappy, unwavering spirit of the Camino team pays off in a big way today with the version 1.0 release of that Web browser. In the wish list of browser features I wrote last December, I had unfairly disregarded Camino, even though I had it installed on my own system at the time. This is probably owing to past experiences with earlier versions that were a bit bumpy, but this latest release is smooth, polished and very solid. It’s a true Macintosh product, having painstakingly brought the Mozilla group’s refined Gecko rendering engine into Apple’s Cocoa framework.

The result is a browser that’s rivaled perhaps only by Safari in how native it feels to the Mac OS X computing experience. I’ve been using it for several days, and it feels fast and reliable — but what I like most of all is its integration with Mac OS X’s Keychain password utility, which is invaluable for convenience and peace of mind. Unfortunately, Camino is missing a few features that I’m becoming increasingly used to having at my disposal: session saving and the ability to force all new windows into tabs.

That doesn’t stop it from being an amazing piece of work though. It may be true that Camino’s open source cousin, Firefox is a wonder of coordinated, selfless efforts joining together to produce a surprisingly usable and elegant end product. But Camino is an example of similarly dedicated and truly passionate engineers and designers putting that same brand of selflessness to work creating something truly beautiful. It’s the closest an open source project has come to producing art that I’ve seen yet.

  1. What do you mean by not forcing windows into tabs? I was playing with it earlier and found settings in the preferences for both opening in tabs with Cmd+Click as well as opening external links in tabs.

    I quite liked it, amazing enough I actually use Safaris RSS reader so I felt a bit lost without that.

    I guess my problem is, i so rarely have problems with sites not loading properly in Safari as to switch to FireFox, which I use mainly for the web developer plugin (and testing sites in gecko). I’ll definately have an eye on it though.

  2. Camino seems to be really nice.
    It imports firefox bookmarks nicely. Seems very “smooth” and fast.

    If the core is based on Firefox, I’m sure that the extensions currently available will find their way to Camino. That would require a new feature, since i’m not seeing any support for extensions in this version.

    I’m not liking dropdown menus though. Seem to resemble filemaker dropdowns, which aren’t cosmetically appealing.

  3. CamiTools and CamiScripts ( can add the features you want, including session saving and forcing all new windows into tabs (I think it’s called single-window mode).

    There’s also a great Flash blocker, ad blocking, site-specific stylesheets, bookmark syncing over FTP, and much more.

  4. Tools like Camino and hearing about how they work from people like Mr. Hicks and Koi really make me so terribly jealous (and irritated) that I’ve been forced to work on Windows machines for so long. It’ll be at least another year before my work allows me to purchase a Macintosh…until that day, I’ll just have to sit on a hilltop gazing at all you happy Mac-ians just soaking up the Apple love.

  5. I’ve been using the Camino nightly for many moons now as my primary browser, and it’s been rock solid and incredibly fast, as well as working with WYSIWYG textarea fields (Safari 2.0 still can’t quite get this right). I also use CaminoKnight and CaminIcon to apply Jon Hicks beautiful theme/icon to automagically pulled nightly builds.

    Camino won’t ever work with Firefox extensions, which is sad, but I rarely find the need for them. Xylescope has replaced the functionality of the main extension I used: Web Developer.

  6. Camino is my primary browser at home since 0.8.

    I actually switched to it from Firefox because the Mac version of Firefox didn’t handle middle-click (open in tab) correctly for a very long time. Actually, if you look at how long that bug lingered (over 3 years) before the Firefox team deigned to fix it, it is clear the Mac port of Firefox is almost an afterthought. That’s also why they do not have an official G5-optimized build like “DeerPark”.

  7. Indeed. I decided to give Camino a try earlier today after reading Mike Davidson’s rant about it.

    So far, I’m impressed. It certainly does seem faster than Safari. I must admit though, I do enjoy Safari’s brushed metal. The less chrome, the more browser window, the better. I wonder if we’ll be able to skin Camino like we can Firefox…

  8. Reed: you can already skin Camino. Check out this page at MozillaZine for tons of Camino resources, including a bunch of great themes, optimized nightly builds, plugins and icons.

    I haven’t tried any of the themes with Camino 1.0, but they worked fine with the nightly builds as of a couple weeks ago. The CaminIcon application lets you preview and apply the themes automatically.

    There are also a couple of resources for getting bookmarks into and out of, including Caminolicious (an AppleScript to send a bookmark to the excellent Cocoalicious client), and Caminicious (basically delicious2safari for Camino).

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  10. This is surely a small detail and that is why I bring it up. The Camino icon seems a little smaller then the rest. I look over at my dock and I see that little icon and think it’s odd. I guess it has those white pointers on it and in truth it is as large as all of the others. Does the truth matter, it seems smaller to me.

  11. Feaverish: Thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out.

    Steven: I think the icon is the same size, it just has those tiny little pointers on it. Out of the corner of your eye, or when a window is minimized, it does look smaller.

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