Cairo beats Safari?

10 Dec 2006

As highlighted recently by Jeffrey Zeldman, Firefox text rendering lags behind that of Safari, or rather Gecko lags behind WebKit. This is because at present, Gecko browsers use the older Quickdraw graphics library, originally developed for OS 9, rather than Quartz, or the more recent Core Image libraries. Its been the main reason I prefer Omniweb or Safari over Camino/Firefox, text just looks SO much crisper and smoother.

Things are about to change however, as the switch to the Cairo graphics library in Gecko browsers will allow them to use Core Image on the OS X platform. There is already a developer release of Firefox 3.0, codenamed Gran Paradiso with Cairo enabled. You can also grab a latest trunk build of Camino, which also uses Cairo.

The improvements are already easy to see. My personal rendering bugbear has been the sub navigation on Amazon, which always renders roughly, particularly in Gecko. Compare these screenshots:

Comparison screenshots of Amazon navigation in Camino 1 Safari 2 and Camino 1.2+

Not only is Gecko with Cairo improved, it actually looks better than WebKit!. Looking at the example that Zeldman used, italics are MUCH improved also:

Zeldman.com in Camino 1.2+

It’s early days so there will be plenty of bugs, especially as the Mac platform is behind Windows and Linux, who’ve had Cairo enabled for about 6 months now. Testers are needed for OS X, so if you can lend hand, so please do grab a build and get reporting those bugs.

Recent Posts

Troika #33: Endings

18 Feb 2019

Identity Design discussion on Elastic Brand podcast

23 Jan 2019

Using the iPad Pro as my main computer

07 Jan 2019

Hicks' top albums of 2018

22 Dec 2018

Hicks Studio Clearout!

17 Dec 2018

New Identity for iHasco

13 Nov 2018

Leigh and Jon did Inktober

01 Nov 2018

We are Oxvik

15 Oct 2018

The Hicks Logowall

05 Oct 2018

Instagram Hickstagram

  • 18 Feb 2019

    Troika #33 is out, for pleasuring your lug-holes! Link in the bio!

  • 17 Feb 2019

  • 15 Feb 2019

    I didn’t manage to do a single episode of the Troika Podcast in 2018, but I’ve managed to record one now. Doing the whole process on my iPad Pro is wonderful! Episode 33 coming soon…

  • 14 Feb 2019

    That time of year when I keep marvelling at “Still light at 5!” On my way home…

  • 03 Feb 2019

    Black-headed Gulls huddled together on the ice at Rushy Common. #birding #digiscoping

  • 02 Feb 2019

    Found a bundle of things from my birth while at my Dads today. Leaflets on maternity benefits, welfare services and my weight card (Johnathan? Have I been spelling my one name wrong all these years?!)

  • 01 Feb 2019

  • 01 Feb 2019

  • 27 Jan 2019

    For her birthday last year, some of Leigh’s chums clubbed together bought her a gin blending weekend at the Plough in Clanfield. We booked it for January (when it would be needed most). It was like a potions class, and after a lot of smelling, she now has a gin that tastes like pencil shavings! It’s even nicer than it sounds!

  • 23 Jan 2019

    Pondering about pictograms - we’re going to need a new symbol soon. #icons #pictograms #symbols #representations

Contact us

Call Jon on +44 (0)7917 391536, email or tweet @hicksdesign.

Alternatively, pop in for tea and cake at the studio…

Hicks
Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom