Back to the Firefox: a half-assed not-review of Camino

After a few days of playing with Firefox’s cousin Camino, I have had to revert. 

Camino is a native OS X implementation of Mozilla’s Gecko HTML rendering engine.  Unlike Firefox, it’s written in Cocoa, which lets it integrate with various OS X services, the biggest of which is storing passwords and stuff in your login keychain.  The system-wide dictionary and other things are available as well.  Firefox has a decent password manager that can encrypt stored passwords, but I always liked the idea of jamming everything into my login keychain.  Only one file to backup and re-encrypt elsewhere.

Part of what makes Camino so speedy is its’ almost complete lack of extensions (add-ons), which make Firefox great.  There are a couple “prefpanes” that you can get for Camino, but I’m pretty sure most of these are simply frontends to about:config.

Camino has a built-in adblocker, but nothing beats Adblock Plus with the Filterset.G updater.  It’s download manager needs some tweaking, there’s no mouse gestures, and none of my usual keyboard shortcuts (aside from Cmd-L) worked.  In order to mimic some Firefox functionality I had to redefine shortcuts in the system-wide keyboard prefpane.  For example, Cmd-K puts me in the search dialog in Firefox, whereas I had to redefine this to get it to function with Camino.  Cmd- in FF lets me flip through multiple tabs, but in Camino it starts loading up bookmarks from the bookmarks toolbar.  Other little niceties like ChromaTabs, ScribeFire, Link Alert, and the BugMeNot didn’t exist due to the lack of extensions in Camino.

Overall, Camino’s a great browser with awesome OS X integration, but many aspects leave things to be desired.  I’ve been using Firefox for years becuase it’s pretty secure, fairly stable, and extending its functionality from a browser into a platform is easy.  Camino just needs a little bit of work.

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