The reference rendering for how the Acid3 test should look -- aka the page you aren't going to see on your browser.  (Source: Web Standards Project/DailyTech)
Firefox 3 in Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8 still receiving failing grades in Acid3

When the Acid3 test came out, most expected it to deal a serious blow to modern browsers, with its array of advanced graphics and compatibility tests.  With a focus on rendering graphics embedded in HTML code, CSS3 compliance, DOM compliance, CSS2 downloadable fonts, as well as handling new graphics formats and Unicode support, Acid3 challenged modern browsers with the web's bleeding edge technology.

It turned out they were even more woefully unprepared then expected for the task.  Now one blog site, Anomalous Anomaly, is taking up the challenge of scoring and compiling scores for all widely available browsers.  The list, which can be viewed here, paints an interesting picture of web compliance.

Contrary to previous reports, the site finds that Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8 in their current Windows Vista builds both receive failing marks.  The site notes the OS that the test was performed under, for helpful reference in the case of multi-OS browsers like Firefox.

For the record Firefox 3.0 definitely comes out ahead of IE8 in the Acid 3 tests, for what it’s worth.  Granted, Firefox is in its third beta, while IE 8 is in its first.  Currently the best
IE 8.0.6001.17184 (Beta) could muster up was a lowly 17%.  Firefox's 3.0b3 (2008020514) hit a slightly better, but still substandard 58% running in Windows Vista.  The best results for Firefox (and the only passing results for the browser) came with the pre-release of its fifth beta.  Firefox 3.0b5pre nightly (2008030[89]04) received scores of 69% in Mac OS X 10.5.2 and CentOS 5 (Linux, RHEL-based).

Opera 9.5 (beta) leads the browsers running in Windows Vista, providing a score of 60% -- just passing in grade-school terms.  Just ahead of Opera are SeaMonkey for Mac OS X 10.5.2 and Konqueror for Ubuntu 7.10, at 69% and 62% respectively.  Interestingly, IE 5.5 beats the oft maligned IE 6 as well as the better-received IE 7.

The relatively unknown Camino browser for Mac OS X 10.5.2 scored a surprising 69% with its 2.0a1pre nightly (1.9b5pre 2008030800) release, the alpha candidate for its Camino 2 browser.  By far the best scores, though, belong to Apple's Safari browser.  Safari 3.1 scores 74%, while a tuned-up WebKit Nightly (r30881) edition of Safari scored a current record mark of 90%.

Some may perceive the Acid3 test as biased against Linux and especially Windows browsers, after viewing the current marks for the browsers.  Indeed, OS X browsers virtually own all the top marks, with only one Vista browser even passing, and no XP browsers passing.  Others will likely discredit the importance of Acid's testing.  After all, very few pages implement the advanced features found in the test, yet.  Most major pages go to great pains to provide compatibility with Firefox and Internet Explorer, so these browsers' failings in Acid3 have less to do with customer impact and more to do with a critique from a technical standpoint.

Still, the Acid3 test provides an interesting look at the future of web standards.  It also provides another amusing chapter in the battle for browser supremacy between Mozilla and Microsoft.  And to the chagrin of many, it provides Apple users with something more to feel smug about.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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