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I like it: Camino
It's better than: Firefox on OS X
Why the change?
It's been two years since I switched to Macs and I absolutely love them. But there's a dirty little secret about Macs: Firefox, my favorite web browser, tends to run very slowly on OS X. A Firefox developer recently asked for gripes from Mac Firefox users on his blog. There was a long list. The biggest problem for me has been performance. After Firefox has run for a few hours, it will often be using up 20-80% of my CPU and over 400 MB of RAM (not to mention over a GB of virtual memory). Reports of memory leaks are common, but they're often blamed on extensions. I've tried running with fewer extensions, but it didn't seem to help much.

So, at the suggestion of a co-worker I switched to Camino. It's based on the Firefox project, but it's built to run on OS X. It fits in better with the Mac style and most importantly, it performs much better. I can run Camino for days and days and it will rarely use more than 100 MB or RAM. It seems to know how to give up RAM when it's finished with it, a trick that Firefox rudely fails to do on OS X. The one huge downside is that Firefox extensions don't work on Camino. It does have built in ad-blocking, so there's no need for the otherwise must-have extension, AdBlock Plus. There is a website with some add-ons for Camino: Pimp My Camino. But it's a pretty weak offering compared to Firefox's add-ons. There's nothing equivalent to FireBug, so I still use Firefox when I need that tool.

If you use the normal download, you'll be getting version 1.0.4. I recommend that you get a development snapshop using a tool like CaminoKnight. That will give you some of the newer features, such as built-in spell checking.

I've been very happy with this switch. If Firefox 3 works better on OS X, as has been promised, then I may switch back, but for now, Camino is the snappiest option for me.


hmmm… i have been trying it out for a day now. i kinda’ like it, but i definitely miss some of the firefox extensions.

we shall see, but i definitely like the more efficient performance of camino.

dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com06/09/07 @ 22:34

I don’t think I can surf without tabs, automatic tabs.

matt [Member]  06/10/07 @ 19:08
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/06/10/07 @ 20:39
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/06/10/07 @ 20:46

How about default tabs. When I open up a new link in firefox (from google reader, for example) I get generally get a new tab without having to push an extra button. With camino I get another window, and another, and another, until I have a bunch of them everywhere, instead of my nice neat line of tabs.

matt [Visitor]  06/11/07 @ 15:45
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/06/11/07 @ 20:38

Dave, what extensions are you missing? I’ve found replacements for some of them.

Well… favorite is weatherfox. But I also use FireFTP and the web developer tool bar often.

Those are probably the big three.

I also like FF’s search function a lot better.

dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com06/12/07 @ 17:09

I’m moving to the MAC and was told Camino was the browser of choice, but I really miss FireFTP any suggestions for an easy to use free FTP program, preferably one that integrates with Camino. Thanks!

Gini [Visitor]  12/08/07 @ 19:51

“After Firefox has run for a few hours, it will often be using up 20-80% of my CPU and over 400 MB of RAM (not to mention over a GB of virtual memory). Reports of memory leaks are common, but they’re often blamed on extensions. I’ve tried running with fewer extensions, but it didn’t seem to help much.”

This is probably caused by Google Maps. Many sites don’t properly unload the map in onunload. So the bug is the site not using the Google map API properly.

Annie [Visitor]  12/18/07 @ 09:33