I ‘m a long-time fan of the Firefox web browser.  I ‘ve used it for years across Windows and Mac PCs, and it ‘s always been my favorite and default browser.  Over the last three days or so I ‘ve been trying out an alternative on my MacBook “ the Camino (2.0) browser. And […]
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OT: Loving the Camino Browser for Mac

 Camino.

I ‘m a long-time fan of the Firefox web browser.  I ‘ve used it for years across Windows and Mac PCs, and it ‘s always been my favorite and default browser.  Over the last three days or so I ‘ve been trying out an alternative on my MacBook “ the Camino (2.0) browser.

And much to my surprise I not only like Camino, but have found it very easy and pleasant to use it constantly (and never open Firefox) over the course of several days. In fact, unless its performance changes drastically it may well replace Firefox permanently as my preferred browser on the Mac.

My main reasons for liking it so much “ it is just a lot ‘lighter ‘ and faster than Firefox and Safari.

What I mean by lighter is that it is far less of a resource hog than the other two.  I am running it in exactly the same way I do Firefox and Safari “ as in, using it all day (and often much of the night) long, running with 8-15 tabs open at all times.  I ‘ve been keeping the MacBook ‘s Activity Monitor app open at all times and watching Camino ‘s CPU and RAM usage.

Camino has constantly been using somewhere between half to one third the amount of CPU and RAM that the other two browsers generally do. 

It also launches and shuts down much, much more quickly than Safari or Firefox.  It may not have all the bells, whistles, and extensions that the other two offer (especially Firefox) “ but I honestly use fewer and fewer of those anyway.  My most essential add-on “ for the 1Password app “ works just fine in Camino “ and I was able to easily import all of my bookmarks from Firefox.

Here ‘s a little more detail about Camino 2.0, taken from the Camino.com site:

Intro

Camino is an open source web browser developed with a focus on providing the best possible experience for Mac OS X users.

Integrated with all of your favorite Mac OS X technologies including Keychain, AppleScript, and Spotlight.

Features & New Features of V 2.0

With innovative features like Tab Overview alongside security features like phishing and malware protection, Camino 2 is the safest, cleanest Camino yet.

Camino 2 also improves upon many familiar staples: blocking Flash animations is more flexible with the new exceptions list; tabs can now be rearranged by dragging within the tab bar; there are optional Growl notifications for downloads; and much, much more.
 

System Requirements

    * Mac OS X 10.4 or later
    * 50 MB free hard drive space

It ‘s tough to think about switching away from Firefox, but recently it has been causing a lot of pain on the Mac.  It ‘s been quite slow to launch and to quit, and worst of all if I run it for long periods, it chews up more and more CPU and RAM until overall system performance suffers badly.  So I had to get in the habit of shutting down Firefox once a day to let it refresh itself and hopefully give back most of its hogged resources to the system.  I also often found that if I forgot to shutdown Firefox prior to putting the laptop to sleep, the system was virtually unusable upon waking up, with Firefox utilizing nearly 100% of CPU time. 

I ‘m not the only one seeing some serious issues with Firefox and CPU usage “ CNET recently reported on serious CPU and overheating issues for netbook users (admittedly a MacBook Pro is hardly a netbook but even so).

So far, Camino is causing no such issues and is basically kicking ass and taking names in terms of performance.  It ‘s making me more productive these last few days, because I don ‘t have to ‘babysit ‘ my browser app.

I hope Firefox will get past its ‘resource hog ‘ issues in some future update, but I have found this to be a long-standing issue for it, and for now Camino is just much simpler to deal with.  It ‘s definitely worth a try if you ‘re a Mac user looking for browser options.

You can find all the details on Camino, and download links for the latest version at the Camino site:

http://caminobrowser.org/

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