Ars Technica Mac OS X Browser Smackdown

Wednesday August 27th, 2003

Several readers got in touch with news that PC enthusiast site Ars Technica is running a Mac OS X browser comparison, in which four of the nine featured programs are Mozilla-based applications. The Mozilla Application Suite 1.4, Mozilla Firebird 0.6.1, Camino 0.7 and Netscape 7.1 are pitted against Internet Explorer 5.2.3, Safari 1.0, OmniWeb 4.5, iCab 2.9.5 and Opera 6.0.2. The Mozilla-based browsers fare well, though the author of piece laments the slow pace of Camino development, saying that it "would be the best OS X browser if it had feature parity with the other Gecko-based browsers."

#6 Am I the only one...

by adipose

Thursday August 28th, 2003 5:33 PM

You are replying to this message

...that noticed that Firebird wins in every single test (against Safari), and only has one "con," (that it doesn't have OS X look and feel), yet Safari still wins with "no contest" ahead of Firebird?

How can Safari render PNGs incorrectly, fail to support CSS1, always render slower (sometimes twice as slow), yet still win based solely on the "look and feel"?

I think the OS X look and feel is fairly important to have, and it should definitely be considered in ranking the browsers. But clearly, the auther of the article considers it the sole most important feature, if he's willing to give up proper PNG rendering and faster browsing times. Two of the "pros" for Safari are meaningless ("rapid adoption," "strong support") because they are begging the question: "Safari is the best because so many people think it is." When arguing the merits of the browser, we shouldn't focus on usage or "support" but on how far it has currently progressed.

I like Safari and hope it keeps growing and improving. But I find it annoying that after reading an article that clearly shows Firebird technically ahead of Safari, that Firebird is placed second simply because the author obviously likes Safari better. There isn't really any justifiable reason unless "look and feel" is more important than all the other considerations (speed, standard conformance, rendering accuracy).

If there are other reasons (such as load time of the application, etc.) these should have been mentioned to make the case. This is like showing a P4 beating an Athlon in 100% of the benchmarks and then concluding that the Athlon "wins" because it has a cooler sticker. Argh.