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2009-06-12 Breadcrumb trail: Home page Metalinks

Self-portrait of Erik Thau-Knudsen from 2007-04-27 at his mother's place

Annotated browser list for PCs

Below is a commented list of browsers for personal computers (PCs) on the most popular platforms. See also the short recommendations.

Erik Thau-Knudsen

List of browsers for desktop and laptop computers in order of compatibility with this site
Name Logo Comment Minimum versions
Mac Win 98+ Linux
pre-X X
Firefox Firefox logo

The Mozilla organisation's greatest success, first introduced as Firebird (in reference to the ancient Greek myth about the reborn bird Phoenix). This browser implements the newest of CSS development and is pretty good for the rest as well. Supercedes Internet Explorer when it comes to security. With its very few handles to regulate the output, the Mozilla Firefox machine is ideal for internet dummies and beginners. It takes up about 51% of disk space of the full Mozilla Suite and loads faster. Comes in versions for Linux i686, too.

Several other browsers build Firefox into their core, such as SeaMonkey, Flock, and Camino.

Score in Acidtest 3: 93/100 (v3.5)

Firefox can acquire additional features when installing different software packages directly into the browser, so-called extensions. The best experience with this site is achieved if you install the extensions

Languages: Most European languages, including even Asturian, Basque, Irish, and Macedonian. Also many languages of Asia, e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Arabic, Gujarari, Mongolian.

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software)

Bottom line for this site: Recommended (with the above restrictions). Version 3.5 and above has superior qualities.

1.5 1.5 1.5
Camino Camino

Camino™ (formerly known as Chimera) is a web browser for Mac OS X that has a Cocoa user interface, and embeds the Gecko layout engine. It is intended to be a simple, small and fast browser for Mac OS X. Clearly, the Camino development takes its own path within the Mozilla developer community.

Score in Acidtest 3: 52/100 FAIL (v1.6.5)

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software)

Bottom line for this site: recommended

n/a 1.0 n/a not available
Opera Opera

A cute little browser from Norway. Very good for CSS. Also good for sites with a high security level, targeted for Internet Explorer. Has problems with dates in JavaScript, because it synchronises the creation date of documents with the server clock. If the server has no clock (such as mine), time displaying in Opera gets messed, whereas Mozilla ignores this.

Opera is the most standards compliant browser. Although browsing this site is more pleasant with SeaMonkey, Netscape, Mozilla Suite (except when hitting my pages with Cyrillic letters if you're in Leopard), viewing it is better in Opera.

Score in Acidtest 3: 85/100 FAIL (v9.6.1)

Shareware: pay Opera 34 Euros for the desktop version (also available for PDAs), or they'll put advertising streamers on top of the page

Bottom line for this site: superb

6.0 6.0 7.0 6.0
iCab iCab

A fine German invention originally targeted for all Macintoshes, including vintage Mac's (CPU 680x0 [from System 7.0.1 and ahead] and PPC Macs.).

Very good for displaying text and has many nifty little HTML features. It has the best CSS 2.1 interpretation; for instance, it takes full use of the :before CSS semi-selector, which enables it to display the numbered lists I have on this site. In terms of speed, it comes next to Safari in OS X. It is the fastest in OS 9.2 and before.

Version 3.0 Beta is for OS 8.6 and ahead. PowerPC native — comes in a version for Classic OSs (8.6-9.2.2) and OS X.1+, and a Universal Binary version for Pentium Macintoshes. Versions prior to 3.0 Beta are not recommended, though.

Score in Acidtest 3: 100/100 (v4.6.0)

Languages: German, English, Japanese, Danish, French, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Chinese.

Shareware. Version does not expire if you do not pay 29 $ (as of beginning of 2006) for the iCab Pro license.

Bottom line for this site: recommended, especially version 4+.

3.0.3 Beta , best in 4+ 3.0.3 Beta, best in 4+ not available not available
Shiira Shiira

An open source browser with Japanese origins. Based on Apple's WebCore engine, this is yet another Safari clone. It can compete with its elder brother when it comes to some peripheral features such as browser switching etc.

As is the case with Safari, Shiira is pretty fast and passes the Acid2 Test. The Shiira Project also offers a Shiira Mini widget to be used within the Mac OS X dashboard.

Available as a multi-lingual installation package with localisations in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional Han), Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and German (this goes for version 2.2, published in 2008).

Score in Acidtest 3: 98/100 (v2.2)

Open source software, i.e., free of charge.

Bottom line for this site: Recommended

n/a 1+ n/a n/a
Demeter

Based on Apple's WebCore engine, this browser shares many features with Shiira and Safari. Demeter is a Shiira clone: the Demeter version 1.0.8 is based on Shiira version 1.2.2 (2008)

Open source software, i.e., free of charge.

Bottom line for this site: Recommended

n/a All versions
Safari Safari

Apple's own browser for OS X. It relies on Apple's WebCore engine. Very good for CSS. My tests prove that it is the fastest Mac OS X browser when compared to the other browsers on this page, especially when you open a page for the first time. Like other browsers built on the WebCore engine, it does pass the The Web Standards Project's Acid2 Test, but not my own test of CSS numbering.

In 2007, Apple released a Beta version of Safari 3 for Windows as well. It has Mac feel and the same functionality as its opposite on Macintosh OS.

Score in Acidtest 3: 94/100 (v4 Public Beta)

Freeware

Bottom line for this site: recommended

n/a
1+ 3+ not available
Charlotte Charlotte Web Browser

Making your own browser for the Macintosh Operative System X seems to be an etude in a snap. Charlotte is yet one more branch of the Apple Web Kit tree and gives the same experience as Safari.
It looks like a normal browser, but it isn't. Unlike other Apple Web Kit browsers — Safari, Shiira, Demeter — Charlotte shows up as a status item the menu bar next to items like Airport, Time Machine, Bluetooth, and Clock. It has no menu bar on top of the screen, no entering of URL addresses by default, no bookmarking, no settings with 1000 options, just you and the web. You just enter your search string in the search field, and a number of hits generated by Yahoo! and from Flickr, Google Blogs, Technorati, Amazon, IceRocket, YouTube, and others show up. The prize you win for being blindfolded this way is brevity. Charlotte version 1.2 takes up 5.3 MB on the disk; Safari version 3.1.2 takes up 65.7 MB, of which, though, most are localisations.

Charlotte was developed by Lifli Software. Version 1.2 is from 2007.

Localisations: English, French, Japanese, German (in part).

Freeware.

Bottom line for this site: recommended

  Alle Not available Not available
SeaMonkey Sea Monkey

A member of the of the Mozilla web browser family. SeaMonkey includes all features of the standard Mozilla suite, as well as a few more web development particularities. From 2006, it is replacing the standard full Mozilla suite. Localisations are available in a number of languages for version 1.0.1.

Version 1.0 Beta is from 29 September 2005 and is based on Firefox 1.5. It corresponds more or less to Mozilla 1.8. You may experience larger stability with SeaMonkey than with the Mozilla Suite.

Score in Acidtest 3: 93/100 (v2.0b1pre)

Languages: each build has its own set of localisations. SeaMonkey 1.1.5 has Belarusian, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brasil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Urdu.

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software).

Bottom line for this site: superb

n/a 1.0 1.0 1.0
Minefield Minefield

One of the newest members of the Mozilla family, only working as a test version of Firefox.

Since it is not a stable version (a stable version would be called Firefox), but still under development, your favorite Firefox extensions are likely to be disabled.

Language versions: en-US

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software)

Bottom line for this site: Recommended — but use stable Firefox unless you are an idealist!

not available 3.0 3.0 3.0
Flock Flock browser

Cloned from Firefox, this is one of the first browsers after 2003 (when mozilla.org was founded) that is based on the Mozilla Gecko engine but not developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

The focus is on the private user who blogs, views pictures that his friends have uploaded, and wants to view their technical details.

The appearance in the Macintosh version is like Camino, not Firefox, i.e., the CSS parsing is not as obedient as in Firefox, Mozilla Suite, SeaMonkey. It consumes much power from your Macintosh (RAM, CPU), although it appears to have been developed on the Mac OS X platform.

Score in Acidtest 3: 53/100 FAIL (v1.2.7)

Available in English (of course, the headquarters is in California), Chinese, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Spanish (Latin American), Spanish (of Spain).

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software)

Bottom line for this site: recommended

Not available 0.7.4 0.7.4 0.7.4
mozilla mozilla

As a heritage from Netscape, Mozilla is an internet software suite with a browser, mail client, chat program, HTML editor, and script testers. A special feature allows the user to view an index line with links for local navigation (technically: the <link> tags in the <head>). This site makes intense use of this feature from the HTML 4.01 recommendation.

The browser became the ancestor of like varieties Mozilla Firebird (earlier Phoenix), Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Camino, and Mozilla SeaMonkey. In 2007, at the turn of version 1.8, the Mozilla Foundation halted the official development of the Mozilla Suite, however a group of Mozilla enthusiasts continued programming for it, now under the more unambuiquously name SeaMonkey.

Languages: Numerous localisations available, but the actual choice differs from version to version.

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

Freeware (open source software).

Bottom line for this site: recommended

1.2.1 1.7 1.7 1.7
Netscape Netscape NOW!

Netscape is — or rather — was to many the true web browser.  As Mozilla, it is in the Gecko family (versions 6+). Netscape's owner, AOL, stopped all development of the browser in mid-September 2003 due to pressure from Microsoft, and the Netscape enthusiasts continued the browser under the name Mozilla.

As with other browsers based on the Gecko machine, you may face problems reading some passages with Cyrillic script, if you use Mac OS X.5 (Leopard), where they turn out as interrogative marks. This is a bug that the Mozilla Foundation is aware of. Added 2008-01-17

In March 2005, Netscape's owner AOL Time Warner re-launched its browser a Beta test version of its Netscape 8 (English only, Windows only). It was an implementation of the Mozilla Firefox (version 1.0.2) browser. Later in 2005, a full featured Netscape Browser 8.1 was launched. However, the revival was short-lived; last update to version 9.0.0.0.6 came in early 2008, and as of March 1st, 2008, AOL finally closed all support of Netscape Navigator. Versions 9 were stripped off non-browser features known from versions 1-8, like e-mail, HTML composer, and internet messaging.

Netscape 7.0 is the maximum for Mac OS pre-X and appears to correspond to  Mozilla Suite 1.3.a.

Score in Acidtest 3: 53/100 FAIL (v9.0.0.6)

Freeware

More about this browser: MacWorld : Feature : Battle of the browsers

Bottom line for this site: recommended

6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
K-Meleon [ K-Meleon ]

A member of the Gecko family, with version 1.0 based on the same web rendering machine as Mozilla 1.8. As its pendent on the Mac OS X platform, Camino, K-Meleon does not show the site navigation options from the head tag.

GNU (i.e., free of charge)

Bottom line for this site: recommended

not available not available 1.0+ not available
AOL Desktop [ AOL icon ]

AOL Desktop is everything AOL wanted Mozilla to be when AOL merged with Netscape back in the 1990's. Due to pressure from Microsoft, AOL halted the development of Netscape and Mozilla in 2003, but — fortunately — passed the licence to GNU status and left it to the non-profit Mozilla Foundation to continue the development and thus father browsers and other software as the Mozilla Suite, Firefox, Camino, Flock, SeaMonkey, Nvu, Kompozer etc.

The present AOL Desktop for Macintosh utilizes the in-built web rendering facility, the Apple WebCore engine as do Apple's own Safari and the third-party browser OmniWeb. In other words, AOL Desktop for Macintosh is just another Safari clone; unless you live the United States, you won't get much use of it because AOL is crabbed with US specific facilities like the way to the nearby pizzeria or finding your local real-estate salesperson.

The best thing I can say about AOL Desktop is its amazing speed.

Freeware.

Languages: English. AOL Desktop will, though, respond to JavaScripted redirects to language specific pages where the browser uses the localisation of the particular operating system.

Bottom line for this site: recommended

not available Beta version available in 2007 Probably all versions not availabe (to my knowledge)
OmniWeb [ OmniWeb icon ]

Omnigroup's browser, only for the Mac OS X platform (OS X.2.6 and higher), because it relies on Apple's WebCore engine. It is pretty good for CSS, where it is superior to the Mozilla browsers. JavaScripting works OK, too. As Mozilla, OmniWeb has web developer features, such as JavaScript console and a source editor. OmniWeb's (X)HTML parser has many flaws; text and table rendering is not OK. As slow as Internet Explorer for Macintosh X at page loading.

Score in Acidtest 3: 75/100 FAIL: Linktest failed(v5.9)

Payware: $29.95 (as of 2005) each. Demo version: 30 days of usage

Bottom line for this site: recommended

n/a 5.0 n/a not available
BumperCar BumperCar 2.0

A kids' browser released by Freeverse Software, a US game producer. Only for Mac OS X.3+, because it relies on Apple's WebCore engine. BumperCar offers a quite eatable rendering of my web pages, although some parts are still missing when it comes to CSS. Still, though, there are no disasters of the sort we know from Internet Explorer. Also very good for HTML and JavaScript.

If you are a child or have some yourself, this browser is the choice. It is simple, fast, and has loads of ways to whitelist or blacklist access to sites or chatrooms.

Score in Acidtest 3: Crashed in Mac OS 10.5, when it hit 42/100 (v2.1.1)

Payware: $29.95 (as of 2005-2009). Trial version: 60 days from the time of download.

More about this browser: MacWorld : Review : BumperCar 1.0

Bottom line for this site: recommended

n/a
1.x not available not available
RealPlayer RealPlayer

This programme, usually known for its media playing, can also work as a world wide web browser.

On a Macintosh, RealPlayer is based on KHTML (like Gecko) and Apple's Web Core Engine — as Bumper Car and OmniWeb — and, thus, requires Safari installed and Macintosh OS X.2+. I haven't tested it in Windows or Mac OS 9 surroundings yet. Unlike Safari, RealPlayer has a status bar.

When printing from RealPlayer, it shows its multimedia background — it only prints the actual window content.

Language versions: Windows: de, en-UK, en-US, es, fr, it, ja, pt, ch, ko. Other platforms: English only.

Freeware

Bottom line for this site: recommended (but only for viewing)

? 10 10 9
Internet Explorer for Windows Internet Explorer

Microsoft's browser. Very good for (X)HTML, not ideal for CSS (and lousy for JavaScript).
Very different from the Macintosh version. Since MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer) is built into the Windows Operating System (as Windows Explorer), security issues with this browser are crucial; a leak in MSIE is a leak to the whole computer. Microsoft spends much energy making security patches to MSIE and has lost focus on the interface part (CSS, JavaScript, even HTML). The latest versions from 2006 and ahead, have a bearable rendering of this site.

Recently, Microsoft Corporation formed WaSP / Microsoft Task Force in July 2005 to ensure more standards compliant software, so things are going the right direction over there. They steered the development of MSIE 7, which, however, does not meet the requirements of major features of the CSS 2.1 standard (media specific rendering of all elements, not full compliance with the display property). From a design technical point of view, Internet Explorer and its clones must be considered legacy browsers.

Freeware

Bottom line for this site: recommended, provided that you have an updated version

n/a n/a 6.0 (from 2006 and later) not available
Avant Browser [ Avant Browser ]

A Windows-only browser, based on the web rendering software built into Microsoft Windows. Utilises much of the user data of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Claims to be the fastest web browser on earth.

Freeware

Bottom line for this site: recommended as Internet Explorer

not available not available 1+ not available
Internet Explorer for Macintosh Internet Explorer

Microsoft's browser for the Macintosh. So different from the Windows version that it deserves a special treatment. Very good for (X)HTML, not so good for JavaScript. The CSS rendering is quite good, at times with certain flaws, though. Quite fast in pre-OS X Macintosh. Microsoft discontinued the development of Internet Explorer for the Macintosh in 2004. Latest version for Mac OS 8.1-9.x is 5.1.7. Latest version for Mac OS X is 5.2.3. In terms of (X)HTML, they correspond to IE 6 for Windows, except for some security features. These features are available in Opera for the Mac.
The Windows versions of MSIE lacked behind the Macintosh versions until the emergence of Internet Explorer for Windows version 7 in 2007.

Freeware

Bottom line for this site: not recommended

5.0 5.0 (not applicable) not available


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Erik Thau-Knudsen Skolegade 2A, 2. sal DK-8600 Silkeborg Denmark Tel.: (+45) 8680 1882 Mob. (+45) 4013 4133