kottke.org posts about browsers

Web browsers I have known, 1994-2012Jul 26 2012

I'm switching to a new default web browser today (i.e. the browser I use the most on my computer) and that put me in a reminiscing mood. So here are some screenshots of all of the browsers I've used as my default for the past 18 years.

Using NCSA Mosaic to surf the World Wide Web for the very first time in the basement physics lab at college was as close to a religious experience as I've ever had. It was a thunderbolt that completely changed my life.

NCSA Mosaic

When Marc Andreessen left NCSA and formed a company to build web browsers, it was clear that their browser was the future. The first version was called Mosaic Netscape:

Mosaic Netscape

NCSA didn't appreciate the new company's use of the Mosaic name so they changed it to Netscape Navigator. This is a screenshot of Netscape 3, still my favorite web browser.

Netscape Navigator 3.0

I continued to use Netscape 3 even after the release of Netscape 4, which was a such pile of junk that I eventually decamped for the sweaty embrace of Gates and Ballmer. You may not remember, but IE 4 was a pretty good browser. Microsoft won the browser wars, in part, because their browser was better than the other guy's.

IE for Windows

I used IE on Windows until I bought a iBook in 2002. The default browser for OS X was IE for Mac:

IE for Mac

From IE for Mac, I moved to Chimera. I loved Chimera...it was fast and was the first browser I used that supported tabbed browsing.

Chimera for OS X

Chimera soon changed its name to Camino for legal reasons and I switched along with them.

Camino for OS X

Eventually, the team and resources for Camino dried up, the release schedule slowed down, and the other browser makers caught up. At this point, I can't quite remember what I switched to. I might have gone to Firebird (which was renamed Firefox), but I probably just went straight to Safari.


I used Safari for a long time until switching to Firefox a couple of years ago.


And today I'm making Chrome my main browser. I'll still use Safari and Firefox for some stuff but links will open up on Chrome by default.


Chrome will probably be my last default browser on a non-mobile computer. Many of you use Mobile Safari much more than any desktop web browser; I'm not quite there but will be soon enough.

8-bit Safari browserFeb 17 2011

Pixelfari is an 8-bit version of Safari that renders everything in pixely fonts and graphics. Here's what kottke.org looks like using Pixelfari:

Pixel kottke.org

Cool Safari extensionsJun 11 2010

Safari 5 supports extensions now...here are some I've downloaded so far:

SafariRestore automatically restores your previous browsing session. That Safari still doesn't do this by default is beyond ridiculous.

YouTube5 converts YouTube videos to their HTML5 video tag equivalents. It says it only works on youtube.com right now, but it works great on the kottke.org as well. (See underwater base jump, e.g.)

NoMoreiTunes stops Safari from opening iTunes when you visit an iTunes Store link. Again, Safari's default behavior is not optimal here.

I got all these from the Safari Extensions Tumblr, which is a bit overwhelming. I wish they'd curate a bit more instead of letting everything through. To that end, are you using any good extensions people should know about? Do tell.

How people use FirefoxApr 01 2010

From a study on how people use Firefox, a heat map that highlights the most- and least-popular menu items. Bookmarks got the most use by far, followed by copy and paste. Copy was used about twice as much as paste, which suggests that about 50% of the time, people are copying things to be pasted into another program. Oh and not a single person used "Redo". (via ben fry)

Safari 4 betaFeb 24 2009

It's supposed to be really fast. Check it out here.

Update: The new location for the tabs is pretty disorienting so far. (So far = 10 minutes of use.) I keep glancing up in the middle to see the title of the page I'm on and it's not there...and then I have to hunt for whichever tab I'm on. The separation of the tabs from the page content is also causing me problems. The page area is What I'm Looking At Now and the tabs are What I'm Going To Look At Soon...why separate them with a bunch of stuff (aside from the URL) that is unrelated to either of those things...i.e. What I Almost Never Need To Look At?

How to run Greasemonkey scripts in Safari.Nov 16 2007

How to run Greasemonkey scripts in Safari. Doesn't work with some scripts, but something is better than nothing. (via justin)

Word is that Firefox 3 will support offlineFeb 12 2007

Word is that Firefox 3 will support offline web apps. The WebOS comes a bit closer to reality.

Here's what kottke.org looks like usingDec 22 2006

Here's what kottke.org looks like using the browser on the Wii. The browser is from Opera and is available for free by going to the Wii Shop Channel, then Wii Ware, and then click "Download".

Now that you've installed the new versionOct 26 2006

Now that you've installed the new version of Firefox, here's all the tweaks you need to make it work right.

Because of the Eolas patent crap, MicrosoftMar 17 2006

Because of the Eolas patent crap, Microsoft is updating Internet Explorer so that you need to click to "activate" any Flash or Quicktime applet. There's a workaround that involves replacing all your <object> <embed> and <applet> tags with JavaScript functions that write those tags. This is going to make a lot of web sites a pain in the ass to use with IE and developers are going to have to modify a lot of code. What a nightmare. (thx, dunstan)

Camino, a web browser for the Mac,Feb 14 2006

Camino, a web browser for the Mac, finally goes 1.0. It seems like 5 years have passed since I switched away from Camino. I loved it then and I'd switch back in a second if had the features of and was being developed to the extent of Firefox or Safari. (via df)

Positive review of Flock, a new Mozilla-basedAug 16 2005

Positive review of Flock, a new Mozilla-based browser with drag and drop blogging and Flickring built in.

Looks like the new version of GreasemonkeyJul 27 2005

Looks like the new version of Greasemonkey fixes all the security holes and is "incredibly backward-compatible".

Cello is a graphical WWW browser like MosaicJul 26 2005

Cello is a graphical WWW browser like Mosaic. "Cello runs under Microsoft Windows on any IBM PC with a 386SX chip or better. While we have run Cello with only 2MB of RAM on a 386SX-16 machine, we think you'll like it better on a machine with more memory and a faster chip."

WiReD magazine on the Mosaic WWW browserJul 26 2005

WiReD magazine on the Mosaic WWW browser and how it is "well on its way to becoming the world's standard interface". "Mosaic is the celebrated graphical 'browser' that allows users to travel through the world of electronic information using a point-and-click interface. Mosaic's charming appearance encourages users to load their own documents onto the Net, including color photos, sound bites, video clips, and hypertext 'links' to other documents. By following the links -- click, and the linked document appears -- you can travel through the online world along paths of whim and intuition."

The makers of the WWW browser MosaicJul 26 2005

The makers of the WWW browser Mosaic are keeping track of what's new on the WWW. "Carnegie Mellon has announced their Web server; here's the 'Front Door'; here's the home page. ('Front door'... interesting metaphor, that.)"

There's a HUGE security hole in Greasemonkey;Jul 18 2005

There's a HUGE security hole in Greasemonkey; Mark Pilgrim recommends uninstalling immediately.

A ridiculously long list of all theJun 21 2005

A ridiculously long list of all the Microsoft browser user agent strings.

A map of Firefox usage in EuropeJun 08 2005

A map of Firefox usage in Europe. 30.5% in Finland and almost 25% in Germany.

The next version of Internet Explorer will have tabbed browsingMay 16 2005

The next version of Internet Explorer will have tabbed browsing.

The latest version of the Opera webApr 18 2005

The latest version of the Opera web browser has been released.

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