Updated Mac OS X Browser Comparison

Friday January 10th, 2003

Henri Sivonen writes: "With all this Safari hype going on, MozillaZine readers might be interested in how Chimera (and Mozilla) compare with it feature-wise. I've updated my Mac OS X browser comparison to cover the current OS X GUI browsers (excluding the experimental Phoenix and Beonex builds and wKiosk)."

#1 nice reference

by Kevin

Friday January 10th, 2003 4:49 PM

Excellent work Henri! Speaking of the experimental Phoenix build, I've just updated it. It's still pretty half baked, but may be interesting to Mac OS X users. Check it out at

#39 Wow! Scrolling is fast in that! (nt)

by googolplex

Monday January 13th, 2003 2:07 PM

Scrolling is fast!

#2 Safari is ... hype? ;-)

by DeepFreeze3

Friday January 10th, 2003 5:59 PM

I couldn't have said it any better myself ...

#3 Part II

by DeepFreeze3

Friday January 10th, 2003 6:06 PM

Now this is what I've been talking about over in the MozillaZine forums!! When you stack Gecko-based browsers up against Safari & compare them feature by feature, the former kicks Stevie's browser's ass six ways from Sunday. Has anybody sent this to him? If you haven't, then do so. What better way to tweak him then with the truth???!!! HEH HEH!! The proof is in!! :-)

#7 Re: Part II Safari v51 is out

by wolruf

Saturday January 11th, 2003 6:14 AM

Let's see how it goes with Safari v51 released on Jan. 10th.

#23 Who can "see?" it anyway? ;-)

by DeepFreeze3

Sunday January 12th, 2003 1:02 AM

Unfortunately, my cousin, Donald Trump, can't be reached, so I can't get the money to buy that EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE Apple computer which I would need to qualify to download that Safari browser. Funny, how somthing that's supposedly "open source" can only be viewed by a proprietary Apple OS, isn't it? ;-) The software equivalent of a deflated balloon ...


#26 Re: Who can see? it anyway? ;-)

by robc

Sunday January 12th, 2003 7:43 AM

It's not supposedly open source, WebCore _is_ open source ( Safari the application is closed source, and no one has claimed it's not.

#4 I think some ppl are missing the point

by michaelH

Friday January 10th, 2003 9:52 PM

Okay, I myself am an avid Phoenix and Mozilla user, but I believe the main point of using khtml was for speed. I noticed that in the browser comparison there was no real mention of which one was 'faster', except that the benefits of both Chimera and Safari are speed. Considering that Apple previously copped a lot of flack from users about how slow OSX is with browsing, I think they are trying to address that problem head on. Plus, this software is prerelease. Yes the comparison is good, but this is still early days for Safari. Early days for Chimera too I'm sure. Apple obviously did an extensive analysis of their alternatives and made a decision based on that. I very much doubt they just picked one engine out of a hat and went with it.

Take care everyone, Mike

#8 Re: I think some ppl are missing the point

by SmileyBen

Saturday January 11th, 2003 6:57 AM

Erm, but if we're talking pure speed, Netscape 3 and IE 3 will each wipe the floor with both Chimera and Safari and most any other browser around. What you have to remember is that it's all about a toss up between speed and power. Rendering CSS 2 properly, as well as all the other standards, does take lots of effort, and will therefore be slower than just rendering boring old versions of HTML...

#37 Re: Re: I think some ppl are missing the point

by tny

Monday January 13th, 2003 9:24 AM

[quote]Erm, but if we're talking pure speed, Netscape 3 and IE 3 will each wipe the floor with both Chimera and Safari and most any other browser around. [/quote]

On OS X? I highly doubt it. No Netscape 3 or IE 3 on OS X.

Those who are complaining about the oh-so-expensive Mac hardware: $999 for a laptop, and $799 for the original iMac with the CRT screen, doesn't strike me as prohibitive. Maybe a $100 premium over Intel hardware. Only issue as I see it is you can't build your own (and building your own is in practice usually more expensive than buying).

#40 Re: Re: Yep

by kiwisurfer

Tuesday January 14th, 2003 9:45 PM

KHTML does have excellent support for most parts of the CSS1/2 specs. Better than MSIE in many cases! It's not quite there yet, but even Mozilla dosn't support all of CSS1/2 and Mozilla has some quirks too, some of which I disklike. Of course, all of what I said can be debated, but KHTML does have reasonable support for the most common CSS/HTML features and what they do impletate is very accurate.

#5 don't forget...

by macpeep

Saturday January 11th, 2003 2:44 AM

..that one of the primus motors of Chimera, Phoenix, ex-Netscape developer, inventor of XBL Dave Hyatt is now working for Apple and is on the Safari team. Underestimating Safari (or any other browser for that matter) is pretty surely a mistake. Instead of trying to deflate the Safari hype, it might be more useful to try to understand why Apple chose to do what they did, instead of deciding to build this on top of Gecko.

#9 Re: don't forget...

by mozineAdmin

Saturday January 11th, 2003 7:17 AM

"it might be more useful to try to understand why Apple chose to do what they did, instead of deciding to build this on top of Gecko."

But why? Because Apple makes reasonable decisions? Even 50% of the time? What can actually be learned by trying to understand why Apple is building a browser based on a package other that Mozilla? If we know exactly why Apple chose Konqueror, would that be the best option for company A, B, or C who are looking into creating a browser variant?

Do you think that Apple's decision might have something to do with Netscape and AOL? Apple does like to control things, you know. Could it be that that had something to do with it? Oh no, of course not.

In the end, it could be a lot of things. But what it boils down to is this: Mozilla and Chimera now have new competition on one platform. We can find some semi-official story (look for Paul Festa to do his routine Mozilla bashing any day now in CNet, I'm sure), but to inflate this into a story of a "bad omen" for Mozilla is sensationalistic at best. Here's an extreme counter argument from the other end of the absurdity spectrum: it's a good opportunity for Netscape to drop Mac as a platform. They could hire or shift some programmers to work on gecko, and get rid of the Mac-specific work entirely, or leave it to volunteers. After all, Mac users in the end will only use what Apple gives them. And we know how those Mac programmers love open source - so I expect Mozilla would continue to thrive, don't you?

Mozilla is clawing its way towards a larger acceptance, fighting against a range of naysayers, adversaries, and infants disguised as adults. It can continue to try to compete and produce good products, or the programmers could sit around and twiddle their thumbs and give up. I sorta doubt they're gonna do that. I imagine they're going to do their best to improve Mozilla so that people will continue to want to use it.

#10 Re: Re: don't forget...

by macpeep

Saturday January 11th, 2003 7:51 AM

" Do you think that Apple's decision might have something to do with Netscape and AOL? Apple does like to control things, you know. Could it be that that had something to do with it? Oh no, of course not. "

Dude, no need to go on the offensive. I didn't give any reasons or speculate. I merely pointed out that it might be more useful to try to figure out why they went with another choice than Gecko, even if Gecko would seem more rational. It's quite possible, likely even, that the fact that Apple wants to have absolutely full control of the browser is a big reason. Why do they have more control of Konqueror than Mozilla though? Is Konqueror's source tree more open for their improvements? Is the license better?

All I was doing was pointing out that it might be a good idea to try to figure it out rather than just laugh at them and ridicule their choice and the capabilities of Safari. Judging from your response, however, you disagree.

#11 uh...

by mozineAdmin

Saturday January 11th, 2003 8:12 AM

I did no laughing, nor did I ridicule their choice or the capabilities of Safari. I simply pointed out that 1) Apple is not know for making wise business decisions, and 2) Apple likes to control practically every aspect of their systems (something that should be astoundingly clear to everyone), and 3) making this into a "bad omen" issue for Mozilla is as wrong-headed as the absurd counter-argument that I gave.

I could supply other possible reasons for their use of Konqueror. For example, is the buglist of mozilla too accessible to casual perusal? Apple is, after all, competing with Microsoft - it wouldn't do to have all of your bugs out in public view for Microsoft to point to. I don't think Apple is using Bugzilla (or another publicly-open alternative), is it?

Also, I assume that they made their decision before Chimera appeared on the scene. Would that have altered their decision in any way?

All of this is speculation, and it ends up detracting from the good work that the Mozilla engineers continue to do. And I'm sure they've known about the existence of Safari for a lot longer than you or I.

#12 Re: uh...

by macpeep

Saturday January 11th, 2003 8:22 AM

"I did no laughing, nor did I ridicule their choice or the capabilities of Safari."

I didn't mean you. I meant people here in general, earlier posts / comments to this article.

"Also, I assume that they made their decision before Chimera appeared on the scene. Would that have altered their decision in any way?"

Probably, because that would have been the most obvious choice, at least IMHO.

#14 hm...

by pizzach

Saturday January 11th, 2003 2:08 PM

It seems Apple Is hyping for Speed, and Chimera's/Mozilla's strong point is Standards complance. The two browsers seem to have their own strong points. Apple was just filling an empty void(among maybe some other hidden agendas) as for as I can see.

#19 Re: uh...

by djm

Saturday January 11th, 2003 7:16 PM

You seem determined to ignore any rational analysis of why Apple have chosen against Gecko, in favor of unprovable conspiracy theories (bad business decisions, control, NIH, public buglists).

I sincerely hope that this head-in-the-sand mentality is not typical of the other developers. If Mozilla it to make "design wins" outside Linux and AOL, the team had better be prepared to ask difficult questions of itself and not parry them with excuses.

#21 Re: Re: uh...

by mozineAdmin

Saturday January 11th, 2003 8:30 PM

Well, up until I actually read comments from programmers today, I actually had not one clue as to why, and neither did anyone who had not seen those same comments. So to say that I was ignoring "rational analysis" is wrong. I was simply stating that idle speculation is useless. The reasons I gave were as good as any that had been proferred. According to you, however, coming to conclusions without facts passes for rationality.

Some people prefer to live by their wits and by facts, not by the meanderings of others.

And you're right, if the team wants to succeed, they need to face the shortcomings that people like Dave Hyatt and David Baron have mentioned today (if it's even possible). I trust their opinions more than those of the peanut gallery. But we allow Mozilla to fail at our peril.

#34 Re: Re: uh...

by mbokil

Sunday January 12th, 2003 9:44 PM

Apple did a smart move by using KHTML over Gecko. There are numerous reasons why it was the right design move for them.

I personally would never buy another macintosh after having switched to Linux. Once you get past the Apple branding hype you realize that it is just a nice looking overpriced machine and if you have a tight wallet going real open source, i.e. not proproprietary Aqua, is the way to go for price and performance with admittedly slightly higher complexity.

#25 Exactly!! Control is everything to Apple.

by DeepFreeze3

Sunday January 12th, 2003 1:28 AM

That comment about how Apple likes to control everything related to their stuff is a damn good one.

#18 Apple are idiots

by Kovu

Saturday January 11th, 2003 7:14 PM

Yeah, what the world needs is ANOTHER browser. woo hoo. If the morons PERHAPS concentrated on technological quality FOR ONCE, they might have a prayer. Yeah, I'll bet Safari will attract new converts. YAAAAWN.

#20 Thanks

by googolplex

Saturday January 11th, 2003 8:10 PM

For the one-sided, uninformed troll like opinion. Everyone loves people who don't know what they are talking about and yells and takes cheap shots.

#22 Re: Apple are idiots

by marmoset

Saturday January 11th, 2003 9:00 PM

A year ago (when this project was started), Wired and other outlets were running stories with headlines like "Why is browsing the web on that shiny new iMac so slow?" IE on the Mac was slow, and wasn't being updated. Chimera didn't exist. Omniweb was pretty, but slow and mangled modern websites. Seamonkey proper simply isn't a Mac application. They *had* to do something. For this they are "idiots?" Back under your bridge.

#24 And to think it almost changed ...

by DeepFreeze3

Sunday January 12th, 2003 1:25 AM

Between the time Apple Computer kicked out Steve Jobs & re-hired him (which was about 10 yrs), the company had actually started to abandon it's commie pinko socialist business model. They started to license their technology to other companies to allow people to actually get an Apple computer for a very reasonable price. Everybody was like "YES!! FINALLY!! Now, I don't have to refinance my house to be able to afford one of those!!" But then some idiot put Stevie back in the CEO position there, and those efforts promptly ceased. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I love it when Steive says "Sure, our stock price is down. But don't worry, dudes!! We'll "innovate" our ways out of this hole that we've done for ourselves." HAH!! Is that guy ON something, or what???!!!

Windows-based PC's get cheaper & more powerful every freakin' day. Apple computers? They're taking the total opposite route. Un-freakin-believable (You can't make this kind of stuff up).

PS: Does Stevie wear anything else besides that butt ugly black turtleneck sweater? Somebody needs to tell him that the 1960s are over. ;-)

#28 Re: And to think it almost changed ...

by FrodoB

Sunday January 12th, 2003 10:59 AM

Apple would have been quite bankrupt without Jobs' return. Despite what you call the "commie pinko socialist business model", Apple's finances are a *lot* better off now than they were for the ten years Jobs wasn't there. Licensing their technology to other companies almost ran Apple under, because they were getting almost no revenue from the new machines. Apple, and thus the Macintosh, was almost killed by the fact that people could buy Macintoshes from places other than Apple.

#31 It'll never change

by DeepFreeze3

Sunday January 12th, 2003 4:34 PM

So I guess that's why their market share is barely hovering around 3%? I don't buy it.

Licensing out their technology, in the short term, would've been bad. But in the long term? It was a good idea. Of course, we'll never know will we? Stevie put a halt on everything related to that movement. What a dufus.

#32 only 3%

by niner

Sunday January 12th, 2003 5:47 PM

When you say this it sounds like almost nothing. But we're talking here about 3% of the whole desktop personal computer market and this is huge. 3% doesn't sound that much but in absolute numbers of willing to pay a bit more than the average users it's a nice base to run a company from and financing further development

#35 3% and dropping

by DeepFreeze3

Monday January 13th, 2003 1:34 AM

When it used to be 10% to 12%, and now it's barely hovers around 3%, that is nothing. The facts don't lie. The only people that can afford his stuff now are the arts & crescent crowd. That's what Stevie gets for being SO greedy.

#36 Re: 3% and dropping

by marmoset

Monday January 13th, 2003 7:03 AM

Um, is this some sort of jihad for you or something? You've got like a third of the posts on this topic. Give it a rest.

#6 Speed isn't everything...

by MacDaddy

Saturday January 11th, 2003 4:08 AM

Who cares about saving half a second when your pages are poorly rendered. I'm not saying that Safari is rubbish, but it is inferior to the likes of Mozilla and Chimera when it comes to Web standards like CSS.

#16 Re: Speed isn't everything...

by schapel

Saturday January 11th, 2003 4:43 PM

Surely Apple will be making Safari more standards-compliant.

From Hyatt's blog:

"So to summarize: with KHTML what you have is a tiny engine with reasonable standards compliance and native widgets that would need to become a tiny engine with native widgets and outstanding standards compliance. WIth Gecko, you have an enormous engine with outstanding standards compliance and non-native widgets, that would need to become a tiny engine with native widgets while still retaining outstanding standards compliance. Which task is going to be easier? There's no question that both involve heavy modification of the layout engine, and both involve a lot of work, so then the question becomes, Which one is easier to modify?"

Mozilla developers are going to have to work hard to keep up with Opera 7 and Safari.

#17 Re: Speed isn't everything...

by mbokil

Saturday January 11th, 2003 5:01 PM

So true, So true... I have both Konqueror and Mozilla 1.3b running on my Linux box and I stopped using Konqueror to browse the web because CSS didn't render as acurately as Mozilla and basically page layouts looked like crap.

I know that Apple has tweaked the KHTML engine some and fixed some of these issues but don't be fooled that KHTML is a better engine than Gecko. It might be smaller, have a better described API, and lauch quicker but all that is moot to me since Mozilla is so stable on Linux that I just keep it running all week long.

#29 No, speed is everything!

by pbreit

Sunday January 12th, 2003 1:53 PM

The popularity of Chimera and Safari demonstrate clearly that given some basic level rendering accuracy, speed truly is the most important browser attribute. Mozilla, sadly, never figured this out.

Look for standalone *nix and Windows versions of Safari/Konqueror and for KHTML-based browsers to move swiftly into the #2 position.

#30 Rendering ability

by thelem

Sunday January 12th, 2003 3:30 PM

How do you rate rendering ability? I've not used Konq/KHTML much, but from what I've read it was primarily designed to be compatable with existing websites. Gecko was designed to be compatable with the standards, and so ignored things such as document.all (and kept a Mozilla doctype, which I think was a mistake).

Both philosophies have their merits, but I think the former is what Apple, as a commercial organization, needs most. The Mozilla project has already improved web standards, particularly amoung web developers, and this will only increase as mozilla gains in popularity. Hopefully mozilla will keep this attitude, and Apple/KDE will make sure they always have the standards on their minds while making it work with as many sites as possible.

#13 If people would only do a little research...

by marmoset

Saturday January 11th, 2003 10:28 AM

...they'd find it's quite easy to find out why Apple went with KHTML instead of Gecko (from the mouths of some of the engineers involved.)

The code is _one tenth_ the size (in number of lines of code) (which nets immediate benefits in launch time, footprint, etc.)


the API is much more accessible to outside embeddors:

Going off on this because "the Apple zombies are just blinded by hype" doesn't do the Mozilla project any favors. Supporting efforts like API cleanup and architectural work (and maybe a slowdown on new feature requests) is much more productive than venting over perceived slights.

I use both Chimera _and_ Safari now, depending on mood, whim, and circumstance.

#15 irony...

by robdogg

Saturday January 11th, 2003 3:27 PM

Does anybody feel it?

David Hyatt, in his weblog compares the method calls in KHTML and Gecko, stating that "The upshot, and this cannot be stated clearly enough, is that there are only a handful of people who are even capable of modifying Gecko, because the code is so unreadable and so complex."

So Netscape dumped its code in 1998 because it was too complex to modify it. So now ended with another mess of code that is impossible to modify.

btw, his weblog is here:

#27 Re: irony... archived URL

by wolruf

Sunday January 12th, 2003 10:09 AM

#33 Safari's Spellchecker.

by jelwell

Sunday January 12th, 2003 8:25 PM

One compelling feature that Safari has that Chimera doesn't is spellchecking for html forms. Either on the fly or via a command (ctrl click on an html form element to enable it). This feature is nearly useful enough to convince me to switch to Safari. But I simply can't live without tabbed browsing and a password manager.

One other thing to note is that Henri's User Interface list is really an arbitrary list of features he seems to like. Might as well point out that Safari has a google bar and full page bookmark editor, whereas none of the others do. *shrug* Joseph Elwell.

#38 Yes you can

by pbreit

Monday January 13th, 2003 10:45 AM

"But I simply can't live without tabbed browsing and a password manager."

Yes you can. 95% of web surfers do.