Review: iCab 4.0 Web browser for Apple’s Mac OS X

“On New Year’s Eve iCab released version 4.0 if its Web browser. I’m not going to say ‘long-awaited,’ because most iCab fans had pretty much given up hope that there would ever be a 4.0 release. However, it’s here, and iCab is back with a vengeance,”Charles W. Moore reports for PB Central.

“iCab was the program that replaced Netscape 4.5 as my default browser sometime around 1998, and it may end up becoming my workhorse browser again in 2008. It version 4 release appears to be that good, at least in the early going,” Moore reports.

“iCab is a Mac port of the pre-existing and successful Atari ST Web browser, ‘Cab,’ developed by German programmer Alexander Clauss. Cab was written in Pascal, but the Mac port of iCab was coded entirely in CodeWarrior C. It has been essentially a labor of love for Clauss and co-developer Oliver Joppisch,” Moore reports.

Rendering speed in iCab 4.0 is “a major improvement over iCab 3,” Moore reports. “While iCab has pledged from the outset that a free version would always be available, it remains one of the last two browsers (OmniWeb is the other) that requires a software fee for full support. A single user license of ‘iCab Pro’ costs $25 / 25 EUR. Entering this code in iCab will switch off the ‘shareware reminder’ box. At the moment, the only restriction of the free version is that annoying little ‘shareware reminder’ box popping up from time to time.”

Read Moore’s full review here.

More info and download link for iCab 4.0 here.

38 Comments

  1. CodeWarrior? Didn’t Apple tell everyone to get off that and onto XCode a long time ago?

    According to Wikipedia, CodeWarrior (which is now owned by Freescale, the CPU fab spinoff from Motorola) has no Intel compiler and is end-of-life for Mac

  2. @Jamie,
    You hate software that nags you to buy it? Then stop bitching about the nags and either write your own or don’t use it.

    Watanabe puts his time, effort, and ingenuity into Acquisition, releases it as shareware with reminders to license it, and he’s a “thief”? How dare he charge for his work! It’s un-American! After all, everybody knows that developers are only there to provide poor widdle Jamie with anything his heart desires whenever his fancy takes him, free of cost.

    You’re nothing but a fscking parasite with a chronic case of entitlement.

  3. Ryan: CodeWarrior? Didn’t Apple tell everyone to get off that and onto XCode a long time ago?

    Yeah; And iCab is now on XCode as well for Cocoa.

    I have been using iCab even through its (really!) slow 3.x versions because compared to it Safari is a quick but really “bare bones” browser with almost no configuration capabilities.

    iCab’s customization possibilities (especially with the Filter Manager) definitely make it worthwile for me, and the new 4.x version removes the one formerly remaining disadvantage: Its lacking speed.

    I still use Safari for some sites, but my regular browsing is all in iCab and will remain there. In return I have no popups and in general no molestation with the usual crazy stuff. I’ve given known “good” sites full permissions and restricted all others.

    iCab is like a luxury car in comparison to a Safari jeep… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    (Posted with iCab, of course!)

  4. Safari is based on Konqueror. I am not a big fan of either.
    It does render pages beautifully I just dislike the all or nothing cookie handling, lack of ad blocking(I mean real ad blocking-not just pop-ups) and lack of configuration options(no, I will not pay for a piece of software that hacks the system to offer it).

    So firefox it is-free, configuration options galore, real ad blocking and proper cookie handling.

  5. @ ping

    Thanks for the answer. Good information to have.

    I remember iCab from back in the Mac OS 8/9 days but haven’t heard much about it since then.

    I suppose in addition to the customization options it might provide some added security to surf with something not having the same vulnerabilities as the “big guys”

  6. hup: Installed it, 2 min later, deleted it.
    Sorry.

    Your own loss. As with many PC users who ditch the Mac right after realizing that MacOS X is somehow “unfamiliar” to them after the same two minutes, never taking the time to discover the ways it could save them time and aggravation.

    Sometimes impatience leads to waste of time… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    One of the things iCab has over Safari, by the way, is proper window handling. Safari simply opens a new window wherever it feels like, with the windows completely at the mercy of the sites.

    iCab actually remembers your own window positions and sizes. It can also prevent sites arbitrarily resizing windows if you don’t want them to.

    I prefer a browser where I am in control, not the sites I happen to visit.

  7. nekogami13: Safari is based on Konqueror. I am not a big fan of either.

    Only the engine, not the application.

    nekogami13: It does render pages beautifully I just dislike the all or nothing cookie handling, lack of ad blocking(I mean real ad blocking-not just pop-ups) and lack of configuration options(no, I will not pay for a piece of software that hacks the system to offer it).

    So firefox it is-free, configuration options galore, real ad blocking and proper cookie handling.

    iCab provides very precise and fine control of your browsing experience as well (probably even more so than Firefox), but at least for me the ugly and Mac-alien FireFox port under OS X has always stuck out like a sore thumb.

    iCab gives me the advantages without the disadvantages.

    Ryan: I suppose in addition to the customization options it might provide some added security to surf with something not having the same vulnerabilities as the “big guys”

    Unfortunately that is the one advantage the new 4.0 version of iCab gave up for the gain in speed: iCab 4.x now uses WebKit as well and no longer its own engine as in the previous versions.

    But I generally browse with JavaScript disabled and keep it active only on trusted sites. That alone eliminates most attack vectors on its own.

    Safari always has everything enabled everywhere – okay in a pinch, but most definitely not what I want for my everyday browser in 2008. Or do you drive your car without brakes, no seat belts and no airbag…? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

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