The Browser Acid Test

The Acid Test is a webs standards test to which browsers can be subjected to see which is best. Here are some of the current results for browsers that are released (the one you are likely to use if your software is reasonably well updated):

Konqueror on Ubuntu 7.10: 62%
Epiphany on Ubuntu 8.04: 59%
Camino on a Mac and Firefox on Mac, Windows XP, or Windows Vista: 52%
The list that I’m looking at then has fourteen combinations of different browsers, versions, and operating systems ranging from 39% to 52%

Then, way down the list, we get:

INternet Exporer 5.50 on Windows XP at 14%
Then a bunch of combinations of IE and various windows versions ranging from 11 to 14%.

So, we may conclude the following:

1) The operating systems that run Mac and Linux boxes (which are, from the broad perspective, very similar under the hood) are substantially better than the operating systems supplied by Microsoft for Browsing. Of course, who does browsing? Well, actually, for many it is the main thing you do… or second place, anyway.

2) The Microsoft paradigm of pretending that the browser is part of the operating system may be a useful legal ploy (well, not that useful it turns out) but it does not appear to be a good design feature, or at least, the browser that emerges from that philosophy sucks.

3) Ubuntu Linux kicks ass.

I got this information from this post, which is frequently updated.


  1. #1 chezjake
    March 12, 2008

    It’s very interesting to note that the best performing version of Internet Exploder is the ancient v.5.50 – 14%, and all subsequent versions perform worse.

    Of course, I’m also wondering how long I’ll have to wait for Apple to release that Beta of Safari with a 90% rating.

  2. #2 Left_Wing_Fox
    March 12, 2008

    Safari is at 90% right now. Apple made the Acid2 test a priority when they first released Safari, and were the first ones to hit it. KHTML benefits from Apple’s developments thanks to the shared heritage, but KHTML and Webkit are pretty different beasts by now, so sharing code apparently isn’t as easy anymore.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2008

    That 90% rating (and all the other high ratings) are all for the Beta’s. The release versions are all way slower. I suppose there is a reason for that.

  4. #4 Lassi Hippelinen
    March 13, 2008

    If Firefox+Windows rates at 52% and IE+Windows at 14%, it isn’t an OS problem, it’s a browser problem. Microsoft has chosen to be non-compliant. They want their own WWW. That’s why even their web server tools differ from standards.

  5. #5 StuV
    March 13, 2008

    The Acid Test is a webs standards test to which browsers can be subjected to see which is best.

    Thanks for the laugh. That was a good one.

    Anyway, you realize the Acid3 test has been out for, oh, a week, right? That it tests things that aren’t in an approved standard, right?

    If you’re going to troll Microsoft, at least do it right.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    March 13, 2008


    I don’t think I quite get what you are saying. Is there a minimal amount of time a test must exist before it is valid? The Beat/Release differential (see the site linked to above) argues that such a time span may be a matter of days or weeks.

  7. #7 Left_Wing_Fox
    March 13, 2008

    Bear in mind, the Acid2 and Acid3 tests were specifically designed to break on all current browsers. Stu’s incorrect that they don’t test for approved standards; they do. But they do test some of the most obscure or unusual parts of the standard that are rarely implemented correctly. The goal is not to castigate specific browsers for being incompatable, but to provide a goal that developers can work towards to ensure full compliance with existing standards.

    And yes, I realize that Apple’s 90% is a nightly beta. The wikipedia page has a link to an archive of Dave Hyatt’s “Surfin’ Safari” blog, back when he was fixing Webkit to hit the Acid2 test. It took about 6 weeks for the fixes he made to make it into a public release of WebKit, and 6 months before it was part of the commercially shipping product.

    It’s likely that hitting the Acid Test likely breaks a lot of shortcuts used to be “mostly” compliant in the current release, and those new bugs need to be then fixed before they can ship the product.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    March 13, 2008

    So, the Beta values are probably actually more valuable then, really.

  9. #9 StuV
    March 14, 2008

    My bad; I should have said finalized standards.

    I also did a bad job of making my actual point: as much as I personally like it, IE sucks in so many other ways (like, oh, having Find functionality on a par with farking Notepad for crying out loud) that griping over noncompliance with section 54238 b (ii) C of draft 914 of CSS 3.1.03856 seems like silly nitpicking.

    To me, at least.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2008

    It is my belief that Microsoft does not want us to find things. Search and find functions seem to generally be really sucky in most MS applications. Especially Outlook.

  11. #11 StuV
    March 14, 2008

    I’m positive Outlook Find was an inside joke that somehow made it into the shipping code.

    Windows Desktop Search FTW.

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