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Camino Upgrades Open Source Mac Browser

Version 2.1 Alpha is based on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine, adds six major features.

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The Camino Project on Thursday delivered Camino 2.1 Alpha, the first preview release of Camino 2.1, the update of its open source Web browser for Mac OS X.

"After over a year of hard work following the release of Camino 2, the Camino Project is proud to announce the first preview release of Camino 2.1," the organization said, in a blog post.

Available for download from the Camino Project's Web site, the alpha release adds six new features, although not all are yet fully implemented, the project cautioned.

Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 uses version 1.9.2 of Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine. This iteration provides enhanced support for Web standards and faster JavaScript performance, according to Mozilla. Used in Mozilla Firefox 3.6, the Gecko 1.9.2 layout engine runs on an array of operating systems such as Mac, Linux, Windows, Solaris, OpenVMS, and AIX.

The newest iteration of Camino gives users the ability to conceal the status bar by choosing the "Hide Status Bar" option in the "View" menu. In addition, the OS gives users the option to work off- or online when no network connection is available, the organization said.

With the new alpha version, the location bar's auto-complete feature searches the computer's bookmarks and history to match histories against page titles and URLs in order to fill in forms and data, saving users time. Also, the OS now disables Java by default and includes a new hidden preference that allows users to disable arbitrary plug-ins. This step was designed to improve security, since Java has been identified as an area of vulnerability for Mac malware. To enable this option, users must follow a few steps as detailed in the software's Help documentation.

Lastly, developers have made the certificate error page more informative and user friendly, they said.

Camino 2.0 was released in November 2009, and the organization last unveiled a maintenance release in November 2010. Part of the Mozilla family, Camino differentiates itself by its exclusive focus on Mac and its speed.

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