Intel-Optimized Camino 2.1

caminoThough WebKit trounces the competition on the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, it is a different story in everyday use. There seems to be some kind of memory issues that can result in the spinning pizza/beachball of death. As you open more tabs, this becomes more common. Also, when leaving WebKit open for extended periods (and not downloading a new nightly), CPU usage can go through the roof.

Because of these issues and the fact that I’ve been working on a project that requires a massive number of open tabs, I’ve moved to Camino. If you don’t know about Camino, go check it out. It’s a lightweight, cocoa browser with the Gecko 1.9.x rendering engine. And it kicks Firefox’s ass! There are a lot of things missing, but what you gain is speed. (Also, there are a ton of little things like being able to tab through links on a page).

I’ve been using the 2.0 Beta 3 release for a while and decided to push things a bit. Although Camino is already pretty well optimized for the Mac, I applied my Firefox build knowledge to try to take it further. While the JavaScript benchmarks are almost identical between my build and the official build, the overall browser experience seems to be faster. I know this is very subjective and means nothing, but the perceived difference is real for me.

So, I’m releasing an Intel-Optimized build on my downloads page. In the next week, I’ll upload my .mozconfig for Camino to see if there are further tweaks the community can point me to. For now, I just want to get the binary out there and some feedback.

So, comments please…

23 thoughts on “Intel-Optimized Camino 2.1”

  1. Actually, this really does feel snappier. I'm surprised there were no differences in the benchmarks, because this is noticeable. And you're right, with all the beachballs I've been getting in WebKit, this is feeling a LOT better. Kudos, sir.

  2. Wow, that's awesome! I've been a Camino devotee for several years and recently I've been using an Intel-optimized version of the Camino 2.0 beta builds available here:

    It's nice to see you applying the same efforts which made Firefox 3.5 scream on my Intel Macs towards my favorite browser.

    I'm sure it'll likely break my add-ons for Camino (UnifyCamino, Growl Camino, etc.) but I'm still eager to give it a whirl. However, I would like to advise anyone trying this out who's a current user of Camino to back up ~/Library/Application Support/Camino first before trying out this build, lest they potentially mess up their personal data in Camino.

  3. Hasn't broken any of my add-ons, oddly enough. Shiretoko has broken a few in the past, but that may just be because of Firefox's addon system not recognizing the program. Perhaps since Camino's addon system is generally the manual moving of files within the package, it just works better. Regardless of why, I can say that this is working really well and I have had no problems.

  4. I like the idea, but camino is far from passing acid3 test, and i know that is not the end-all-be-all, but (i know im going to be crucified) why not stick to safari?

    1. I tried to explain in my post why I like Camino. The spinning beach ball's appearance in WebKit had me using Camino more and more often. The WebKit nightlies running under Snow Leopard seem to be doing a lot better.

  5. Chris, Have you done any work on or had experience with OmniWeb? Just wondering. I have been around the mozilla community for a very long time and camino has always been a stable for me in the browser wars. But OmniWeb just works. I would love to see you 'optimize' a build of theirs as well. Thanks man for all your hard work. You probably don't hear that very often. Be well.

    1. I haven't done anything with OmniWeb, but have messed around a bit with WebKit. I did some 64-bit optimized builds a couple months ago, but they didn't result in any performance increases.

      What might be interesting is to write a wrapper script for WebKit that launches OmniWeb as the front end (the way the WebKit nightlies do with Safari). This might result in better speeds.

      Is OmniWeb open source? Last I knew it was closed so there probably isn't much I can do there beyond hacking defaults.

  6. Chris, thanks for this update. While I love Camino, I run into various problems when using Google Docs or other cloud based applications. Camino renders the Google Doc spreadsheets rather quickly but when applying various functionalities, I tend to have problems. I'll test out your version and provide feedback.

    As you mentioned before, Firefox is too slow in everyday, real world use. Especially as a power user – 20 tabs open, uploading and downloading frequently for work related purposes, several Adobe applications that must stay open throughout the day, Lotus Notes user on a mac which is dreadfully painful but required by IT department.

    I'll stay in touch and good luck!

  7. Hello Chris;

    First of all, thanks a lot for the effort and congrats on the result 🙂

    I have spent the last 3 weeks browsing around, looking for browser alternatives and completely unsatisfied with what i had at hand, but now your version of Camino seems to be enough to keep me happy for a while 🙂

    I'm on a macbook pro, and after upgrading firefox to 3.5 i felt like i was riding a snail over a sand dune… Camino was an evolution from that, but still felt buggy sometimes with content intensive webpages, specially multimedia oriented ones, plus i didn't like the keyboard shortcuts (as opposed to firefox) and felt it was quite a bit on the ugly side…

    I tried all the new stuff (stainless, cruz etc), but they seem all too raw by now, and don't support the 3 finger swipe for back-fw (which is the coolest thing you can do with a trackpad if you ask me…), so i went back to firefox, until i decided to try out your version of camino for intel 2.1…

    That and a visual upgrade with CaminIcon made my day… Your version feels a lot faster than the original, and it's also a lot more stable with media content… Now is it possible to add something so that we can edit keyboard shortcuts? Would it be possible to dress up the Camino engine with the firefox front end?

    Anyway, thanks a lot!

    1. Glad you like it.

      My primary browser is now Camino, has been for the past couple months actually. Maybe there is something in about:config that will allow you to edit keyboard shortcuts. I'm not that familiar with this area of the code so I couldn't really help you out there.

      The Camino engine is the same as the Firefox engine. Actually this version of Camino is one release behind, and it also does not have TraceMonkey support. But there are so many other optimizations, it feels as fast or faster than any other browser.

      I'll probably do another compile in the next week or so.

      1. Hello again Chris!

        Still going strong with your camino 🙂

        As you told me to, i inspected the about:config and googled around for ways to change keyboard shortcuts etc… it turns out that somehow (i don't know why…) you cannot add ctrl-tab shortcuts through os-x (which was the direct way of doing so), so i guess that only browsers that already have this coded in will get it…

        i liked it this way (as in firefox) because it enabled me to switch tabs with the left hand while still keeping the right hand on the trackpad or mouse, and it seems that this shortcut will only come our way if either you or some other well meaning programmer decide to mod-it in…

        the other thing that bugs the hell out of me in camino is that there is no auto-complete for the web-search input field, whereas firefox even takes it a step forward and does a mini-search to auto-complete what you might actually search for… never noticed how good that was until i was actually forced to choose between performance or those small improvements that you really take for granted… and i miss it a lot, it feels like you are blindly searching for stuff in camino, and the ideas only show up a step later after you press return…

        all in all, i've done a lot of comparing between your shiretoko 3.5.2, safari 4.0.3 and your camino 2.1, and i can say that:

        shiretoko is somewhat slower than both, but better at handling flash and stuff like this, and it has all the firefox accessories;

        safari is sometimes faster than both (not always), but so cpu and memory hungry that after a few tabs are opened it's just a waste of resources, plus it really becomes unstable as you pointed out;

        camino is most of the time on par with safari (performance-wise), a little worse with flash content, but so much better when you consider the tiny footprint and the stability even with lots of tabs and windows open, so it is the clear winner for me here (ah, if only it had those small convenient additions to it)…

        again, thanks a lot for the effort, your work has made my web experience really a lot better, and at the moment i don't think there is a better all-round browser out there…

        rgds bro

        1. Thanks for the report, very helpful.

          I can run Camino for *weeks* on my machine with no problems. There is no way to do this in any other browser I've tried. My main issues are with debugging, but the console is good enough for most cases. If I really need to dive in, I open up Shiretoko and use Firebug.

          I can see the frustrations with the search auto-complete. I think this would be an easier thing for me to take on (code-wise) than implementing keyboard shortcuts. When I get the chance, I'm going to do another build with Clang, plus see if I can add the search auto-complete.

          1. Really looking forward to a new round of browser compilations. 64-bit patches were recently checked in for Firefox as reported on Josh Aas' blog, and I honestly am dying to see some sort of Firefox build that incorporates Grand Central Dispatch in some way. There's got to be some benefit that warrants its inclusion, even if it's just faster Javascript rendering.

  8. Is there any chance that we can hope for a Camino 2.0 build from you? Or maybe a build of the current RC? This would be great.

    I tested your 2.1 Alpha and was pretty amazed at how fast it worked here even on my CoreDuo Mac Mini.

    Because of occasionally crashs on sites I visit regularly I had to go back to the official 2.0 beta4 which doesn't crash.

    1. I'll see what I can do. There is an official bug (#514495) that is causing problems when building Camino under Snow Leopard. There is no official patch, just differing config options.

  9. Hey Chris,

    You should do another Camino.

    I really like Camino, except for the Color Management problem.

    I have been using your version of Minefield {3.6a2pre} for this reason & as it runs well. Yet, if you could make it an option to reopen all the pages {tabs}, rather than it doing so automatically, that would be appreciated.

    Both very quick & well~running!


    1. I believe that is an option that you can set in the about:config. I didn't touch these options at all so this is the default behavior for 3.6.

      Camino no longer builds for me. I finally figured out why, but that was after I already wasted an afternoon. Anyway, I can barely get any optimization out of it as they've done a great job of doing this already. I'll try again this weekend.

  10. hello mr. latko, it’s me again!

    so, since you appreciate the feedback, and since i am always checking your domain out (which like i said many times has drastically improved my web experience, thank you very much!), my browser testing during my day to day life now includes the chromium builds to which you provided a link… I was after chromium a while back, but thought it was too early and the releases were too unstable… Not the case anymore, it’s my 3rd day running it with absolutely no problems…

    so here goes:

    1) i tested 3 different builds, oddly enough, latest doesn’t mean fastest, probably because there are just too many hands on it now 🙂

    2) loading times for simple text only pages, such as yours, are similar between camino and chromium;

    3) loading times for media-intensive content is scary fast with chromium, it screams past camino and then some…

    so, besides having to test every different build, which can be annoying, chromium is on average faster than your already fast camino, and more stable with flash content, with better performance/behavior across the board when it comes to handling media and scripting…

    all the above, plus dragging out tabs to make new windows, duplicating tabs, google auto-complete on the location bar and the ctrl-tab shortcuts firefox style got me pretty much sold here, i’m really enjoying chromium for now 🙂

    the downside is the extra-lame bookmark management, somehow bookmark management is either not included with chromium builds or i am doing something terribly wrong, because i see the context menu item but cannot click it, so it’s pretty much unmanageable, unless you export your camino bookmarks, load them in safari, then import safari’s bookmark structure to chromium and deal only with the simplest changes via the star button, which also lets you delete bookmarks you already have, but all in all it’s a pretty stupid process…

    anyway, thanks a lot, keep up the good work, and i’am waiting for your new builds (maybe you’ll do a chromium one soon?)! by the way, i’m waiting a while to upgrade to snow leopard because i’ve got a lot of pro audio software and hardware running here and i dont really want to mess up the balance, so i couldn’t test any of your firefox builds after 3.5.2, even when it’s not explicitly written “snow leopard only” there, none of the others work here…

    so, all the best man, rgds!

  11. ok so scratch that, super cool chromium reaching 90% processor load when streaming some flash content…

    i filed a bug report to the chromium community, will keep track of new versions, but i’m back to your trusty-old(!?)-light-fast and stable camino 🙂

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