I got a message from Dan last week asking about favicons. See, we both are on Mac OS X. It seems anything that comes from the Windows word requires an extra level of understanding when it’s in the Mac world.

After a bit of googling, I found the no non-sense answers I needed.

Some of you may see the redleopard favicon. Others may not. Why? Who knows. I ran a little experiment.

First at Greg’s blog


and then my blog


The two favicons are similar in size.

5,046 bytes Scary Sharp
5,174 bytes Red Leopard

Did they show up in the browser? (SS:ScarySharp, RL:RedLeopard)

Browser OS SS RL
OmniWeb 4.5 OS X N N
OmniWeb 5.0 Beta OS X Y Y
Safari 1.2 (v125) OS X Y N
IE 5.2.3 (5815.1) OS X N N
Mozilla Firebird 0.7 OS X Y Y
Mozilla Camino 0.7 OS X Y Y
IE 6.0.2800.1106 Win98 N N

Greg sees the favicons from both ScarySharp and RedLeopard. He’s on Windows NT and XP.

I gave my home linux box to my nephew last summer so I don’t know if any of those browsers show the favicon.

The significant linux browsers fall into two camps: Konqueror (KHTML) and Mozilla. OmniWeb and Safari are based on KHTML while Firebird and Camino on Mozilla. IE is end-of-life on the Mac so who cares. Windows 98 has the bulk of the home market, but is on the decline.

I then found a gem. How to create your own favicons using Adobe Photoshop on OS X. Sweet.

First, a plug-in for photoshop to create your own favicons.


I discovered it through the a site that walks you through creating a favicon (on OSX no less).


I downloaded the plugin and could save a file in .ico format. Seems straight forward.

Pay close attention to the note:

    ‘Do not be alarmed if the Finder shows
    an unexpectedly large file size for
    ICO files saved out of Photoshop. The
    ICO itself is stored in the data fork
    and is as small as possible.’

I created a 16×16 favicon. Finder reported it was 40K bytes. After I ftp-ed the file up to my linux account, the file was ~1K.

In a subsequent conversation with Dan, I learned that his browser Safari 1.1 (v?) didn’t show my favicon but then mysteriously started to. Huh. Go figure.

Why is it that something so goofy, useless and non-standard as a favicon can demand so much time? I don’t know. But it does.