If there was something learned from Part 1, it’s that Mac users have different tastes. And we all know there’s no accounting for taste. Some Mac users have love affairs with their browsers. For many of us, the browser represents a healthy percentage of our computer life, so a browser that “fits” is important.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (and ugliest) of Browsers for Mac OS X.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
This is the browser that Mac users loved to hate for many years. Microsoft has stopped all but essential development of IE. At this juncture, and based on comments from readers of Part 1, there’s not much good to say about IE.
The Bad: Slooooow. Probably the slowest Mac browser at rendering pages.
The Ugly: Buggy; IE still crashes regularly and chokes on certain pages. Kindly, Microsoft won’t upgrade IE.
Other than being loaded with features, few comments from those who read Part 1 were negative. Mozilla runs virtually the same on Windows as on Mac. If you like features, if you like free, you’ll like Mozilla.
The Good: It’s free, many features (email, HTML editor, newsgroups, bookmarks).
The Bad: All those features make Mozilla slower than other new browsers.
The Ugly: A little buggy at times; regular releases yet only up to version 1.7.
This venerable browser used to be the cat’s meow and the future standard of the desktop. Sadly, Netscape was derailed by Microsoft’s business practices and owner AOL hasn’t done much with it. Netscape is a cousin of Mozilla, and at one version or another, shares code with the Open Source version.
The Good: Many features; email, newsgroup, HTML editor, AOL IM, ICQ, many more.
The Bad: Sloooooooow. Buggy, crashes.
The Ugly: Absolutely no future. Even AOL doesn’t use it.
Besides Safari, the browser to get the most positive comments and feedback from Part 1 is Firefox. Firefox is also from Mozilla and uses a lean code base, limited features, and aims for cross platform compatiblity and speeeeeed. It delivers.
The Good: Great tabbing capability, very fast (some say fastest major browser), great on Windows, too; Free.
The Bad: Few bugs, odd way of handling bookmarks, doesn’t always feel Mac-like
The Ugly: Not much; no one had enough negative to say to reach Ugly Stage.
This browser has yet to reach a version 1.0 but has a loyal following among Mac users. It’s Mac only, no Windows version available, none planned. It’s a Cocoa front end, and now uses the same rendering engine as Firefox.
The Good: Free, fast, fun, good use of tabbed browsing.
The Bad: Competition from Firefox, no Windows version, development has been slow.
The Ugly: Buggy at times; a few crashes, probably not much of a future.
This is a non-US browser that’s both Mac and Windows. Feedback from Part 1 indicates a few years, but not many. More features than Firefox, although finding useful features is a challenge.
The Good: Free version exists (advertising displayed), many features, “different”. Good page rendering.
The Bad: Useful features? Please let me know if you find any.
The Ugly: Very buggy. Repeatedly crashes on certain sites (maybe not always Opera’s fault).
Do you sense an Ugly Award here?
The Good: Free. For now. Fast; at times
The Bad: Poor page rendering compared to Firefox, Opera, Safari and others.
The Ugly: Really, have you tried this browser?
If I’m not mistaken, this is the first browser available for Mac OS X, right? It’s come a long way, baby. New version 5.0 is loaded with useful features and “feels” more Mac-like than any other browser except Safari. Is it worth $29?
The Good: Many neat Mac features; great tabbed browsing, good bookmarks, very fast.
The Bad: You have to pay for it.
The Ugly: A few crashes now and then.
Arguably the fastest and easiest to use Mac browser, Safari has won the hearts and minds of Mac users. The clean brushed aluminum interface (loved by some, ignored by most, hated by others) stays out of the way, and blends in well with other iLife applications.
The Good: Bundled with Mac OS X, very fast, tabbed browsing done right, great bookmarks and toolbar.
The Ugly: Only a few; occasional crash, brushed aluminum look, other “taste” items.
What did our readers have to say about Part 1?
A SpyMac.com reader notes:
“I also want to point out that the Mozilla browser has one of the best email
application available built into it. Looking at how most of my clients use
email I find that Mozilla, with a built in email application, works best for
the majority of Mac and Windows users. Windows users are particularly
impressed with the Mozilla Org’s browsers and email applications; They
aren’t use to seeing quality applications on the WinTel platform.”
Apparently my list of Mac browsers wasn’t as comprehensive as it could have been. One reader found another one:
“I am a browser addict.
Opera, iCab, Safari, Firefox, Camini, Omniweb, Netscape… etc… I alternate between Camino and Omniweb mainly, but recently have discovered Shiira.
Nope, I had never heard of it before last week, but it actually seems faster than Safari. So far so good, but Camino has been my de-facto, so we will see if Shiira hangs on once the newness fades.”
A reader from techie.com pointed out that Netscape is the cousin of Mozilla, not the other way around. This reader leans toward Firefox:
“Personally, I’m a big Firefox fan. I use it on all my computers now – Mac,
Windows and Linux alike. Using the “Noia” skin, I get an Aqua-ish look
and feel on all three platforms. It isn’t yet bug free, but I still think
it’s better than everything else.”
Little iCab, the browser more people ignore than any other, has a fan in reader freezingmariner:
“many people discredit iCab, calling it unfinished or buggy. it is very
unfair. iCab can do some things extremely well that NO other browsers come
even close. for example, it can download an entire website, neatly
organized in its own directory. you can also specify which type of file you
like to download. it has many other unique features. it has also gradually
improved over the years with each revision. finally, it is a small program
that runs good on slow machines. I really appreciate iCab for what it is
and you will to once you learn its strength.
Safari, Firefox, Omniweb, Mozilla, Camino
Everyone needs a loser. It’s an election year so we’ll have two: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and iCab.
Do you agree? Click on Comments below to leave your thoughts for all our readers, or Click Here to leave Feedback.
Still not satisfied? Sound off. What do you think is the best browser on Mac OS X? Vote for the Good, The Bad, The Ugliest in our Browser Poll. All you have to do is Click Here.
To see the results on how the voting is going, just Click Here.
Oh, one more thing. If you’re into Polls and Surveys, how about one on everyone’s favorite non-Mac topic? Sex. Joey Chen over at BabeTaxi has a Sex Poll. This one is Under Cover Gross Outs. To see the details and results, Click Here.