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: 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

The Infinite Canvas

09 Feb 2018

Blade Runner 2049

14 Oct 2017

iPad Pro Pencil loop

11 Oct 2017

Troika #32: Tearjerker

04 Oct 2017

Troika #31: Dusk

06 Sep 2017

Icon Design Process talk at Reasons To 2017

06 Sep 2017

Instagram Hickstagram

  • 16 Mar 2018

    The Clientele with @corinpilling at the Scala last night were mesmerising! It also made me realise how great a guitarist Alasdair MacLean is!

  • 13 Mar 2018

    Hold me…

  • 13 Mar 2018

  • 11 Mar 2018

    Must. Push. Button.

  • 11 Mar 2018

    Dinner in the Oxford’s. Happy Mother’s Day @hicksleigh! (It was the best one of Dan - honest)

  • 11 Mar 2018

    She didn’t have a clue

  • 10 Mar 2018

    You paint a great mural, and some idiot adds their ugly tag to the little of space you left to balance the composition.

  • 09 Mar 2018

    Long stretch of Berlin Wall

  • 02 Mar 2018

    Evil snow face

  • 02 Mar 2018

    “The big squeeze” is the claim, but this bottle won’t squeeze any further. There’s a lot of marmite in there that’s only coming out with knife… #baddesignbulletin

Contact us

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

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

Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom