Comparison of web browsers explained

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of web browsers. Please see the individual products' articles for further information.

Web browser history

Web browsers by year

See also: microbrowser.

Historical web browsers

This table focuses on OS and browsers of the 1990s and turn of the century. The year listed for a version is usually the year of the first official release, with an end year being end of development, project change, or relevant termination. Releases of OS and browser from the early 1990s to before 2001-2002 time frame are the current focus.

Many early browsers can be made to run on later OS (and later browsers on early OS in some cases), however, most of these situations are avoided in the table. Terms are defined below

BrowserYearsMS 2000/XP98/MeNT953.1IBM OS/2Mac OS X
(Intel/PPC)
Mac OS 9Mac OS 8System 7
(PPC/68k)
LinuxBSDUnix
(HP-UX,
Solaris)
Other
Years (OS)- 2000/2001 1998 1993 1995 1992 1988 2001 1999 1997 1991 '94(1.0)/'91 1993 (1990s) -
AWeb 1996-Now
Cello 1993-1994NA
IBM Web Explorer 1994 (1.1h)
ICab 1998-Now (4.25) (3.03) (2.9.9) (2.9.9)
Internet Explorer 6
(Trident)
2001- 2004 (6.0 SP2) Included (6.0 SP1) (6.0 SP1)
IE 5.0
IE 4.0
1998-2000
1997-1998
(5.01 SP1) (5.01 SP1)
IE 3.0 1996-1997
IE 2.0
IE 1.0
1995 (2.0) (2.0)
IE Mac
(IE4, Trident)
(IE5, Tasman)
1996-2003 (5.2.3) (5.1.7) (5.1.7)
MacWeb 1994-1996 (2.0)
Mosaic 1993-1997 (3.0) (3.0) (2.6) (2.6) (2.6)
Mozilla
(restarted SeaMonkey)
2002-2006 (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.2.1) (1.0.1) (1.7.13) (1.7.13) (1.7.13)
Netscape Navigator 9 2008
(Mac OS X v10.2)

(kernel 2.2.14)
Netscape Browser 2004-2007
Netscape 7
Netscape 6
2000-2004 (7.2) (7.2) (7.2) (7.2) (7.2) (7.02) (7.02) (7.2) (7.2) (7.2)
Netscape Communicator 1997-2002 (4.8) (4.8) (4.8) (4.08) (4.80) (4.80) (4.08) (4.77) (4.77)
Netscape Navigator 1994-1998 (4.08) (4.08) (4.08) (4.08) 3.0.4 (4.08) (4.08) (4.08)
OmniWeb 1995-Now (4.0)
Opera 1996-Now (3.62) (5.12) (7.54u2) (6.03)
ViolaWWW 1992
WorldWideWeb 1991
BrowserYearsMS 2000/XP98/MeNT953.1IBM OS/2Mac OS X
(Intel/PPC)
Mac OS 9Mac OS 8System 7
(PPC/68k)
LinuxBSDUnix
(HP-UX,
Solaris)
Other
[1] [2]

Cell phones, Symbian, Wii, Windows Mobile; BeOS (Dropped 3.62), QNX (Dropped 6.01)

General information

Basic general information about the browsers: creator/company, license/price etc.

BrowserCreatorCost (USD)Open Source?Software licenseCurrent layout engine
AmayaW3C, INRIAW3C
AOL ExplorerAmerica Online, IncTrident
AvantAvant ForceTrident
CaminoThe Camino ProjectMPL, MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
ChromiumGoogleBSDWebKit
DilloJorge Arellano Cid, Geerken, Rota, et al.GPLDillo
ELinksBaudis, Fonseca, et al.GPL
EpiphanyGNOMEGPLGecko, WebKit
FlockFlock IncMPLGecko
GaleonMarco Pesenti GrittiGPLGecko
Google ChromeGoogle Google Chrome EULAWebKit
GNU IceCatGNUGPL,MPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
iCabAlexander ClaussiCab (Version 1-3), WebKit (Version 4+)
Internet ExplorerMicrosoft,
Spyglass
[3] Trident
Internet Explorer for Mac (Terminated)MicrosoftTasman
K-MeleonDorian, KKO, et al.GPLGecko
KonquerorKDEGPLKHTML
LinksPatocka, et al.GPL
LynxMontulli, Grobe, Rezac, et al.GPLbuilt-in
MaxthonMaxthon International LimitedTrident, Gecko
MosaicMarc Andreessen and Eric Bina, NCSA (non-commercial)built-in
MozillaMozilla FoundationMPL, MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
Mozilla FirefoxMozilla FoundationMPL, MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license, Mozilla EULAGecko
Netscape (v.6-7) Netscape Communications Corporation, AOL???, MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
Netscape Browser (v.8) Mercurial Communications for AOL???, MPL, GPL/LGPL tri-licenseTrident, Gecko
Netscape Communicator (v.4) Netscape Communications
Netscape Navigator (v.1-4) Netscape Communications
Netscape Navigator 9 Netscape Communications
(division of AOL)
???, MPL, GPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
NetSurfThe NetSurf DevelopersGPLNetSurf built-in
OmniWebThe Omni Group???, LGPLWebKit
OperaOpera SoftwarePresto
Opera MobileOpera Software$19.00Presto
SafariApple Inc.???, LGPLWebKit
SeaMonkeySeaMonkey CouncilMPL, MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-licenseGecko
ShiiraHappy Macintosh Developing TeamBSDWebKit
SleipnirFenrir Inc.Trident, Gecko
WorldWideWeb (Later renamed Nexus)Tim Berners-LeePublic domainNeXTSTEP built-in
w3mAkinori ItoMIT License
BrowserCreatorCost (USD)open sourceSoftware licenseCurrent layout engine

Release history

A brief overview of the release history.

BrowserFirst public releaseFirst stable releaseLatest stable release version dateLatest testing release version date
DateVersionDateVersion
AmayaNovember 14, 19960.9November 14, 19960.9-->
AOL ExplorerJune, 20051.0July, 20051.1-->
AvantAugust, 2004August, 2004-->
CaminoFebruary 13, 20020.1February 14, 20061.0-->
DilloDecember, 19990.0.0December, 19990.0.0-->
ELinksDecember, 2001December, 2001-->
EpiphanyDecember 22, 20020.4September 8, 20031.0-->
FlockOctober 24, 20050.4.9November 2, 20071.0-->
GaleonJune, 20000.6June, 20000.6-->
Google ChromeSeptember 2, 20080.2.149.27December 11, 20081.0.154.36-->
iCabFebruary 17, 1999Preview 1.0February 17, 1999Preview 1.0-->
Internet ExplorerAugust, 19951.0August, 19951.0-->
Internet Explorer for MacJanuary 23, 19962.0bApril 23, 19962.0-->
K-MeleonNovember 26, 20000.2November 26, 20000.2-->
KonquerorOctober, 2000October, 2000-->
LinksNovember 24, 19990.8November 24, 19990.8-->
LynxJuly 8, 19932.0.10July 8, 19932.0.10-->
MaxthonJuly 11, 20020.1 (as MyIE2)September 8, 20051.0.0250 -->
MosaicApril 22, 19931.0April 22, 19931.0-->
MozillaDecember 7, 1998"Preview"March 19, 1999M3-->
Mozilla FirefoxSeptember 23, 20020.1November 9, 20041.0-->
NetscapeApril 5, 20006 Preview Release 1November 14, 20006.0-->
Netscape BrowserNovember 30, 20040.5.6+May 19, 20058.0-->
Netscape CommunicatorJune, 19974.0June, 19974.0-->
Netscape NavigatorOctober 13, 19940.9October 13, 19940.9-->
Netscape Navigator 9June 5, 20079.0 Beta 1October 15, 20079.0-->
NetSurfJune, 20020.00May 19, 20071.0-->
OmniWeb19940.5March 17, 19951.0-->
OperaSeptember, 19962.1b1December, 19962.1-->
SafariJanuary 7, 20030.8June 23, 20031.0-->
SeaMonkeySeptember 15, 20051.0aJanuary 30, 20061.0-->
ShiiraMay 28, 20049.1.1May 28, 20049.1.1-->
SleipnirJune, 20052.00 alphaOct, 20052.00-->
WorldWideWebDecember, 1990February 26, 1991-->
w3m1995-->
BrowserDateVersionDateVersionLatest stable release version dateLatest testing release version date
First public releaseFirst stable release

Operating system support

The operating systems the browsers have been compiled to run on without emulation; for the given browser/OS combination, there are seven possibilities:

Please note that the list is not exhaustive, but rather reflects the most common OSs today (e.g. Netscape Navigator was also developed for OS/2 at a time when Mac OS X did not yet exist) but does not include the growing appliance segment (for example, the Opera web browser has gained a leading role for use in mobile phones, smartphones, the Nintendo DS and Wii, and Personal Digital Assistants, and is also used in Interactive televisions).

BrowserWindowsMac OS XLinuxBSDUnix
Amaya
AOL Explorer
Avant
Camino
Dillo
ELinks
Epiphany
Flock
Galeon
Google Chrome
iCab
Internet Explorer (5.0)
K-Meleon
Konqueror
Links
Lynx
Maxthon
Mozilla Firefox
NetSurf
OmniWeb
Opera
Safari
SeaMonkey
Shiira
Sleipnir
WorldWideWeb (NEXTSTEP only)
w3m
BrowserWindowsMac OS XLinuxBSDUnix

Browser features

Information about what common browser features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons).

BrowserBookmark managingDownload managingPassword managing Form managingSpell checkingSearch engine toolbarPer-site security configurationPrivacy modeAuto-updater
Amaya
AOL Explorer
Avant 
Camino
Dillo
ELinks
Epiphany
Flock 
Galeon
Google Chrome
iCab
Internet Explorer   
Internet Explorer for Mac
K-Meleon
Konqueror 
Links
Lynx 
Maxthon
Mosaic
Mozilla
Mozilla Firefox 
Netscape
Netscape Browser
Netscape Navigator
Netscape Navigator 9
NetSurf
OmniWeb

Notes and References

  1. Article ID : 164539; Section Internet Explorer for Macintosh or Windows 3.1
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/164539 Accessed March 1, 2007
  2. http://browser.netscape.com/ns8/download/archive47x.jsp Netscape Browser Archive :: Netscape Navigator Web Browser
  3. License Terms for Internet Explorer 7