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Mac 'Camino' Internet browser reaches its retirement

If you don't own a Mac, chances are you've never heard of the Camino browser; then again, odds are good that you haven't heard of Camino even if you do use an Apple computer.

After a decade of development, Camino is finally throwing in the towel. A blog post by one of the browser's lead developers, Stuart Morgan, confirms the grim news, and he suggests that "all users" of the decade-old browser, "upgrade to a more modern browser."

That's not an admission of defeat per se – at least, it's not intended to suggest that Camino's developers failed in any way. Rather, Morgan cites the team's inability to keep up with the ever-changing Internet (likely including the growth of WebKit rendering engine, versus Camino's Gecko-driven roots) as a key reason behind the decision to pull Camino's plug.

"Camino is increasingly lagging behind the fast pace of changes on the web, and more importantly it is not receiving security updates, making it increasingly unsafe to use," Morgan wrote.

At the time of Camino's birth in February of 2002 — back when the browser was known as "Chimera" instead of "Camino" — it was one of the few available alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer for Mac. Camino found popularity in its open-source background, in addition to some of the speed and UI improvements that the Gecko-based browser brought to the table.

Bad for Camino, but good for web development, a number of the browser's various developers over the years ultimately went on to fuel the creation of some of the "Big Three" browsers that would ultimately steal from Camino's user base.

For example, Dave Hyatt, Firefox co-creator, moved over to Apple to help the company kick-start Safari shortly after he helped the early "Camino" team build the first version of Chimera.

Mike Pinkerton, an early member of the Camino team, jumped over to Google in 2005 after a long stint at Netscape, where he contributed to the development of both Netscape Navigator and Mozilla. He continued to work on Camino as part of his "20 per cent" time at the company while helping Google on its Firefox team (if this is getting confusing, we apologise) and ultimately contributing to Google's Mac port of its popular Chrome browser.

Of course, Camino fans have likely seen the writing on the wall for some time now, given that the browser's last major release hit the airwaves in March of 2012.

"It was back in February 2005 that I first started helping the Camino project, first setting up a domain, then working to get their new website published. Camino got me involved in the Mozilla community, which eventually got me my job at Mozilla," wrote Samuel Sidler in a blog post last week.

"It's sad to think this browser that gave me so much is finally being laid to rest. But here we are, more than a decade after it was first created, saying goodbye. Goodbye old friend, rest in digital peace."