I wrote yesterday about switching away Safari and maybe eventually from Apple, and got a ton of interesting feedback; in particular about browser choices.
But first, a side-trip away from OS X.
Dissing X11 · I had written dismissively about the aesthetics and typographical standards on X Window System based computers. David Megginson sent me a note showing a Gnome screen capture with lovely anti-aliased fonts; although still considerably lacking in the eye-candy department compared to OS X. Ben Bennett also pointed at Gnome rendering excellence here and here.
David also noted that he’d made some Windows fonts available via X11 font magic. Along the same lines, Ludovico Magnocavallo wrote “Just recompile freetype with the Bytecode Interpreter turned on, install MS TT fonts, and remove all Bitstream Vera references from /etc/fonts/font.conf. Then set font preferences in Gnome as in this screenshot: http://asiatica.org/~ludo/Screenshot.png. Ubuntu does most of this for you.” But then why does ongoing look so lousy on his desktop?
Camino · A bunch of people wrote me to plug Camino (Stuart Lamble, Rafael Almeria, Chris Lawson).
You know what, they’re right. Camino (I’m using a nightly build) seems to be more or less Firefox only with a real OS X look-and-feel. Maybe even a little faster. Unfortunately, it has the Cmd-Q bug. So, heh-heh, I went and downloaded the sources late last night and built my own and I’m going to poke around and see if I can fix it. I suspect not, it looks like it takes a few weeks study to grok where things are; but I learned a few things about modern browser engineering just by wrangling through the build process.
Firefox · Karen Moss wrote to say that Firefox’s nightly builds are a little quicker than the most recent official release, and Spoiala Cristian pointed out some Firefox-beautification work.
Fixing Safari · There are several different ways you can make the Safari silent-tab-death bug go away. Eric Scheid, Brad Knowles, Scott Rose, and Stefan Tilkov pointed to Saft, a sort of general-purpose plug-in that addresses this problem and many others. Brad also likes PithHelmet, an ad/Flash blocker.
Or you can AppleScript; Mark Hasseman sent me the incantation, and Mark Pilgrim pointed out the recipe in Mac OS X Hints. Mark’s note began: There's no kind way to say this: "Unswitch?" is the worst piece of tripe and hysteria I have ever read on Ongoing. Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? I don’t mind Mark flaming me when it’s not on a public list where we’re trying to get work done. Because, well, you know, he’s the best.
Or, if you’re a serious OS X hack, you can do as Gibbons Burke suggested
and use the Interface Builder to open up the
.nib file to fiddle
with the command shortcuts.
Omni · I got several recommendations for OmniWeb; its backers tended to use extreme language like “the best browser on any platform”. Thanks to Stefan Tilkov, Ken Ferry, and Josh Osborne.
Colour · Ken Ferry wrote “Safari is using ColorSync, Firefox is not. ColorSync is for color what text encodings are for text: a way of mapping numbers to abstractions. (Why don’t we have the same thing for sound? I don't know.) Internet images without embedded colorspace information are assumed to be in the sRGB colorspace.” I don’t think I understand, but it sounds convincing.
Diganta Saha put it another way: “As for color. Safari.app is better, it understands images with Adobe RGB ICC color profiles in Jpeg and gamma values in PNGs, which makes sense since Macs are more geared towards color fidelity.”
Todd Morey piled on:
I’m a graphic designer who recently realized that Safari is actually applying embedded color profiles to images such as JPEGs and PNGs. That’s actually pretty amazing—it’s one of the first browsers to do that. Color profiles are crucial for situations where slight variations can make things look awful (digital photography, for instance). So if an image has an associated profile, it will be honored by Safari and other color savvy applications like Photoshop.
For a great illustration of this, check out the following web page in both Safari and Firefox: http://www.color.org/version4html.html.
I’m not saying Safari is perfect, but it starts to give me hope that one day us web designers will be able to produce stuff that looks the same on all monitors.
I really must learn to understand this colour voodoo better.