Side Note: A good OS X browser

I’ve been running 10.4.9 for a good long while now, refusing to install either the 10.4.10 or 10.4.11 updates that have rolled along in the past few months. Something just didn’t seem… necessary about them. iWork, however, begs to differ with my delusions and in fact requires the .10 update in order to install, thus rendering the whole sordid affair altogether too unavoidably necessary. As it turns out, my hesitation to take the plunge wasn’t without merits, though I had no rational explanations at the time.

Some of you may recall that I stubbornly stick to Shiira, an alternative web browser on OS X based on the same WebCore technology as Safari. Though it crashed every so often, and the bookmark experience left a bit to be desired (not to mention the overall grammar), I stuck to it because the core experience was nearly exactly how I wanted it to be, because without the rough edges, the promise of what the browser was supposed to be was worth it. However, Shiira 2 didn’t really fix what was wrong with Shiira 1.2 and move on, instead introducing a slew of very questionable issues, including the lack of any sort of documented method of renaming bookmarks. The least that can be said for it is that it is stable. Thus, I’ve been sticking to Shiira 1.2 far past its support period.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the .10 update in face comes pre-packaged with Safari 3, and thus a new version of WebKit. A radically new version. One Shiira has issues coping with. It’s fine for the basic needs, but throw nearly any AJAX-laden Google app at it and it balks. Well, I thought, it’s a bit late to go back now, so it’s time to pack up my things and move onto some other browser, I suppose. A little sleuthing drops me onto Demeter, a branch of Shiira 1.2 that’s still supported. Hey! Things are looking up. A download and a few package contents modifications to replace the icon with that of Shiira later, I find myself staring at essentially Shiira resurrected, with working support for the latest WebCore! Well, not quite.

Clicking on links in emails seems to raise Demeter’s wrath, leaving it to deposit you on a blank page. Searches in Google Maps work smoothly with AutoComplete and all, right up to the point where you actually hit Search, at which point all hell breaks loose. Not to mention the small issue that it seems even more unstable than Shiira 1.2.

And so now I’m stuck without a solid browser for my OS X setup. Safari isn’t flexible for my needs, Shiira 1.2 is no longer functional, Demeter only works most of the time, Shiira 2 is just a joke, and Firefox is too ludicrously slow on OS X to even consider (though Firefox 3.0 beta 2 makes small strides) and fails to respect OS X conventions (hitting the up arrow in a single-line edit should result in going to the beginning of the line, etc). I’ve become slowly accustomed in the past week to opening increasingly “safer” browsers each time I run into a compatibility issue on the web, and I found this morning to my utmost horror that I had every single browser mentioned in this paragraph opened with various pages without even realizing it.

I’m tempted to write my own browser just to solve this once and for all, but all the issues mentioned above make the whole ordeal seem strangely understandable.

1 Response to “Side Note: A good OS X browser”


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