Skeptically, carefully and with reservation I stepped into the fray that is Camino. Actually, this is my second time giving it a try. But this time, I've been pounding on it, and wow, is it fast! A reader of one of my previous posts also suggested I try Camino. And try I have.
Camino is an open source, gecko-based browser, which, according to the material on their web site, more closely resembles Mozilla. But don't let that stop you from taking this browser for a test drive. Appearance-wise, it in no way resembles Mozilla. Rather, you'll find it a smooth, OS X-like application that feels like it was made for OS X as opposed to being cross-platform (unlke Firefox).
Let's get the comparison to Firefox out of the way. Firefox is in desperate need of a cocoa makeover. Camino is already there. Firefox is fast, but IMHO, Camino is faster. Your mileage may vary. Firefox has a plethora of useful (and non) extensions which are lacking in Camino, but in Camino's favor, there's less clutter.
Firefox, to me, has just not felt right, not to mention the horrid time it has when you try to select text. There's so much potential there, and I've no doubt that they'll at least get darn close to the bullseye of browsing perfection. I know the plans are to rewrite Firefox in cocoa. That's good news.
But in the mean time, Camino simply trounces Firefox and Safari in terms of speed and flexibility. I've complained about Safari already here and elsewhere. Safari is in bad shape and we can only hope that Safari in 10.4 fixes all the nonsense.
This is the "stable" version according to the website. I found it stable until I opened a folder of bookmarks in tabs - it consistently crashed Camino. It was obvious to me that one of the 5 sites was causing Camino a headache.
The look and feel of 0.8.2 is pretty cool. The tabs are aqua widgets as opposed to folder-style tabs a la Safari and Firefox. Preferences, while not as vast as Firefox, are adequate. Shareware (Camino ExtraPrefs 2.3) can be downloaded to enhance the preferences if you so desire.
Unfortunately, for my job, 0.8.2's crashing on that particular set of tabs was just not gonna cut it, so I decided to jump into the deep end and try the nightly builds using CaminoKnight 2.3.2. I've grabbed two builds in as many days. Both builds do not allow me to access preferences, but that's okay since I set my prefs before updating. It's a problem the developers are aware of and working to squash.
But the good news is that I've yet to crash the nightly builds - and I used it all day today hitting probably 250+ sites, some multiple times. I'm still nervous using these "unstable" stable builds, but I'm confident that the bugs will be dealt with and Camino will continue to push the envelope.
Another change in the nightly builds are the change from aqua-widget tabs, to regular folder-like tabs. This isn't a problem, but I was surprised to see the change. The regular style suits me just fine.
One thing I'd like to see as a preference is the ability to leave tabs on when there is only one site open.
Secure sites - banks - work fine. I've only come across a few, that via the nightly builds, do not render pages properly although the same pages are still viewable/readable.
The bottom line for me is speed, ability to select text and get what I selected every time, compatibility and good response/feel.
Camino has become my default browser as of yesterday.