The big news in web browsers this week is the formation of the Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. So far it looks mainly like an accounting change so that they can work more easily with businesses that aren’t quite sure how to deal with non-profit partner. Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. will of course remain free and open-source. I’m optimistic about the change—being a for-profit company doesn’t seem to have hurt Opera much.

Speaking of Opera, they’re close to passing Acid2 in-house. They seem likely to be the next browser to pass (after Safari, iCab, and Konqueror). The next question is: Who will be the first to release a final version that passes the test? Safari and Konqueror still only pass on the development branches, and iCab’s still in beta.

On Sunday, a development version of Konqueror passed the Acid2 test. In the comments, someone posted a screenshot of iCab also passing the Acid2 test.

I did a double-take. iCab? Das Internet-Taxi für den Mac? The browser with the nice “Make iCab smile” campaign to encourage non-broken HTML on websites but CSS capabilities that have rivaled Netscape 4 as little better than a bad joke? That has been in perpetual beta for years with no sign of shipping a final release?

So I did the only thing I could do. I downloaded the new beta and tried it. Not only did it nearly pass Acid2 (there was a narrow white line across the middle of the face) but it actually handled all the layouts on my own site… something which it had always failed at spectacularly before.

The WaSP Buzz posted a congratulatory note to both this morning. Strangely, iCab is the first browser available to the general public that passes Acid2. The up-to-date Safari is still sitting inside Apple’s development labs, and while you can download the source for the updated Konqueror, you’ll have to wait for KDE 3.4.2—or possibly 3.5—to be able to use it yourself without running a bleeding-edge desktop. Update: Apple has just launched CVS access to WebCore, putting Safari in the same situation as Konqueror: you can download and compile the latest source code if you want, but if you just want to grab an installer, you’re gonna have to wait.

The Acid2 Browser Test is out, and any fears that it’s focused only on IE have proven unfounded. As Dave Hyatt remarks in his efforts to get it to work in Safari, “Every browser fails it spectacularly.”

The Acid2 test is a single page of HTML and CSS designed to use parts of the spec that today’s browsers handle incorrectly or not at all. According to the rules, the code should display a happy face… but at the moment it produced varying levels of gibberish. So far Firefox seems to handle it the least badly (I hesitate to say “best”), with Opera and Konqueror at about the same level (you can at least see a circular outline), and Internet Explorer looking like a piece of modern art.

Well, we know Safari is working on it (and the fixes should feed back into Konqueror). One of the test’s architects is high up at Opera, so you can bet they will be improving. I imagine people are already submitting bug reports to Mozilla. [Update: found the tracking bug in Bugzilla.] That leaves Internet Explorer. They’ve been notoriously reluctant to update their rendering engine, but they did ask for specific requests. I don’t have much confidence in seeing fixes in IE 7, but you never know…

Anyone want to place bets on who progresses the fastest?