Windows

Apple announces Safari for Windows


Steve JobsApple has done it. A test version of Safari 3 for Windows XP, Vista, and Apple Macs running OS X is now available for download from the Apple Web site.

Apple is dreaming big and wanted to expand the 4.9% market share that Safari currently enjoys, says chief executive Steve Jobs at Apple's 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference.

From BBC News report Apple announces Windows browser:

He [Mr. Jobs] said Safari was “the fastest browser on Windows,” saying it was twice as fast as Internet Explorer.

According to Mr. Jobs: “We think Windows users are going to be really impressed when they see how fast and intuitive Web browsing can be with Safari.”

See the TechRepublic exclusive photo gallery: Safari 3.0 Beta For Windows: The Right Tool for the Job?

Do you think the landscape will shift significantly with the entrance of Safari for Windows? For the Web development folks, does this represent yet another browser to test against, or do you see it as an easier way to access Safari without having to physically access a Mac? Join the discussion.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

52 comments
JesseLee
JesseLee

Wow! I just installed Safari on my Windows XP machine and it runs a lot faster than IE or Firefox. This is amazing. :-)

fcleroux
fcleroux

It was only hours after Apple made the beta version of the Safari browser for Windows available that researchers starting finding vulnerabilities in it. Beta software tends not to be perfect, but the rapidity with which problems were found and the nature of the problems had some researchers' jaws dropping. Reacting to a description of one cookie-stealing vulnerability, Michal Zalewski, a veteran browser security researcher said "...this is the type of a flaw you probably no longer even test for because it seems too obvious..." and "...what rock did Safari developers hide under for the past 8 years or so?" Then, in the wee hours of Thursday, June 14, Apple released Safari 3.01 for Windows. The release notes indicate that it is a direct reaction to the quick collection of vulnerabilities. Not all of them are addressed, but three serious ones are, including Thor Larholm's command injection vulnerability.

paulmah
paulmah

It is hard to be able to objectively compare the standard of Apple's security team with Microsoft's, given that so many Microsoft's product receive so much more scrutiny. But perhaps this is an indication that MS security indeed, have been shaping up better than Apple's, if at least directly due to the more rigorous and bigger pool of security folks poking for holes.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm not saying one company is better than the other with regards to overall security here but I did want to point out the amount of time between vulnerability anouncements and Apple releasing an updated version. Hopefully that's not just because it's Beta with the focus of the developer budget on it temporarily.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But I think it's for the same reasons. IE is bloated with every feature MS decided the user needs. Firefox is bloated and growing fast with all the content support and plugins (and we love it for that but it's still big and slow now). Safari still has less "features" and general bloat built into it so it should feel faster than the two larger browsers on most systems. Lighter browsers than Safari such as Netscape Standalone should respond even faster than it or the two giants listed above it. I picked Lynx only because it's about the lightest browser I can think of.

paulmah
paulmah

Its faster than Lynx even. Though you do have to type out the HTTP request by hand after connection...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I never did try the httpd but smtp and pop where of use through a telnet client. Not for the "anonemail" aspect surprisingly enough. But yeah, same reason. Telnet is even slimmer than Lynx. Less crap between the network packets and rendering area makes stuff apear on screen quickly.

paulmah
paulmah

Reports from folks trying out Safari have been tickling. It appears that the general consensus is that Safari is faster (but how much so varies, with some users claiming it is the same speed). There are different complains pertaining to its user-friendliness and/or conformity to standard Windows UI though. As well as some doubts cast on its rendering capabilities. Perhaps you would be able to feedback on those aspects as well?

gerbo_san
gerbo_san

http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/12/0120230&from=rss it says that Safari has some security issues. Better give it the use it deserves as a Beta software =) Of course we have to be good internet neighbors but, with these world we have currently, Would you use a software that has security issues? ;)

joseph.leung
joseph.leung

Please tell us which secure OS and browser you are using.

CQ_West
CQ_West

Yeah.. I bought a computer and put it in a closet -- most secure computer ever!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think iTunes would be as easy to port to another *nix platform; it's either a simple recompile or already runs happily on whatever it thinks is BSD inside. Hehe.. that makes me giggle a little; ?Hey, Look at us! We now offer iTunes/iPod to the Linux/BSD consumer as well? ? ?Great, so now we can have our music locked into your DRM device too? Or, does the iPod now support OGG?? Heheee.. That?d be a hard sell. It?d be like declaring war only to have nobody show up. Yet, on the other side again, if Jobs convinces his media content providers to bugger a duck with there DRM crap then some computer genius will probably figure out how to run iTunes on his Linux box just as a weekend puzzle.

GoodOh
GoodOh

If my theory that having Safari on your desktop is about enhancing the iPhone experience is right (and it might not be) then I would expect to see Apple release a 'Safari for Linux' for the same kind of reasons as 'Safari for Windows'. Since, as I understand it, Safari is based on the 'KBrowser' (aka 'Konqueror') then it shouldn't be as big a challenge as Windows. Or maybe they can sync between one another already? An interesting point!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Being BSD now proted to win32, I don't see why Apple would not compile a BSD/Linux native version. If they don't, there are other ways: Safari win32 under Wine or Cedega. It should probably run like any other win32 supported by Wine/Cedega. I don't see a browser needing 3D GPU functions or anything that would tax Wine libraries. Safari win32 will definately run in a Windows VM. Since your a developer, instaling VMware shouldn't be a great challenge and they your Ubuntu host can have whatever guest OS you need to test browsers through. My test list is still IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Netscape Standalone (old version), handheld browsers, Lynx (more out of curiousity these days). Ideally, a website should work in some form under all the browsers, the framed graphic wonder can run under IE/Firefox/Safari and the unframed text base site can run under Lynx and such. I also admit that I don't currently have deadlines and budgets to restrict my creativity though. Heck, there's a nice little VMware appliance that has a bunch of different browsers in it for testing websites. That's probably better than building your own seporate guest OS if you go the VMware way.

grax
grax

I?m glad that things cheered up here. I was getting tired of comments like: ?- alot of webpages I visit in Safari do not work properly,? from LockOutGirl. That?s more likely to be the fault of incompetent web site designers as Firefox users know only too well. fcleroux quotes Aviv Raff: The bug causes the browser to crash and "might be exploitable," As someone else pointed out it is a Beta and I'd like to point out that the bug might NOT be exploitable! That wouldn?t make for such a good headline, would it? CQ_West said: ?Safari users are welcome to browse our corporate website to their hearts delight.? Such generosity. I notice that you completely ignore anyone who might use Opera. Yeh Right said: ?Is everyone forgetting you already run an Apple web app on a PC if you have iTunes?? Since I?m obliged to use iTunes, having bought an iPod for my wife, I think I?ll give it all a miss. iTunes is idiosyncratic (doesn?t do what I want but when it does, it does it badly) and only works one way! I have a policy not to use Beta software if I can avoid it. When Apple produce a working version I will try it because it?ll save me having to visit a Mac friend to check my web pages. Of course, by then I?ll have migrated to Ubuntu. Will Safari work on that? do I really care?

paulmah
paulmah

You know, that 486 lying under the bed that refuses to boot up?

paulmah
paulmah

In an ideal world, we're never use software that has security issues or even the potential of one. But in such a case, we'll all be using NetBSD or something (duck)

fcleroux
fcleroux

Safari Hacked Already as per this NetworkWorld Article. _____ Safari for Windows: Released and hacked in a day By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service, 06/11/07 Apple is becoming a favorite target of security researchers these days. In April, there was the $10,000 CanSecWest hack a Mac contest, and on Monday there was the Safari Web browser. Or the public beta of Safari for Windows, anyway. Just hours after Apple released its first Windows beta of Safari researcher Aviv Raff said he'd found a bug. In an interview, Raff said that it took about three minutes of fuzzing to find the bug and that he hadn't tested the issue on Mac OS X. So he couldn't say whether or not it affected Safari on Windows only. The bug causes the browser to crash and "might be exploitable," according to Raff, meaning it could possibly be used to run malware on the PC. Raff was clearly unhappy with Apple's claim that Safari was designed to be "secure from day one" (he called this claim "pathetic") but he said he wasn't particularly going after Apple. "I don't pick just on Apple," he said. "I've posted about Microsoft and Mozilla issues too." "Everyone has bugs, but not everyone say that they are 'designed to be secured from day one,'" he added. "I guess it's day zero now."

paulmah
paulmah

Having said that, I have seen the reports on various security issues pertaining to Safari for Windows. And this is like what, less than a couple of days... Certainly, the prognosis doesn't seem to look good for a software that is (supposedly) designed to be secure from the ground up. Let's wait and see how the security angle pans out huh!

GoodOh
GoodOh

Hi paulmah, You are completely right that what is being attacked is a beta. Trying to break a beta is the whole point and people should remember this is not claimed to be the 'consumer' product. However it would be nice to see Steve Jobs embarrass himself less by reigning in his hyperbole sometimes.

paulmah
paulmah

The BSOD happened perhaps, because that demo was just a tad too 'hastily' prepared. Then again, perhaps he was demo'ing the 'praying' aspect of plug and pray... :)

GoodOh
GoodOh

Not sure about the 'hasty' but he is often (usually?) using specially prepared versions of products. I don't think that's all that strange. Does anyone remember Bill Gates demo'ing 'plug and pray' with a printer and the BSoD appearing in front of a room full of people? Not something that anyone wants to happen and most take steps to avoid it. (http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/geekend/?p=623) That's what can happen if you don't prepare properly.

paulmah
paulmah

I read somewhere that some of what he demos on stage (at times) are rather hastily clobbered together simply to reach minimum usability to be in time for his (Steve's) presentations. Now, if I could only find the link...

UserDeletedByRequest
UserDeletedByRequest

its about time they got it for windows!

Tom_geraghty
Tom_geraghty

it doesn't seem to work at all on my vista box..

mzuydam
mzuydam

I installed Safari on my Vista (Home Premium) yesterday. No issues. To be fair only had a quick look but it does not seem 'faster' as claimed. It is just another browser. If it has holes, like all software I'll be careful but I will give it a go just out of curiosity.

GoodOh
GoodOh

Here's a 'Safari Only' service that might be of interest. (http://safari.oreilly.com/) Haven't tried myself (can't get the beta to work) but looks interesting (if it works).

paulmah
paulmah

Can you confirm that you tried the v3 Safari and it doesn't work on your Vista? (Let's not get started why i don't have a Vista box around...)

Tom_geraghty
Tom_geraghty

But yeah, there could well be something wrong with the vista installation...

paulmah
paulmah

But I guess you don't really care now do you. :)

Tom_geraghty
Tom_geraghty

Just tried a reinstall and repair, with the same issues. It's v3 on Vista ultimate, on a dual core, 2gb, high performance box. The problem appears to be a reluctance to display any text, including text inside the browser window and also the context menus etc. Might be a simple font issue on my machine or something though. I'm not about to bother investigating it though, as I'm more than happy with firefox and my never-ending browsing session :)

joshuachr
joshuachr

I think it's great they're making more software for the Windows platform (which I think in the long run is better marketing for them). On the flip-side... Don't we have enough browsers? Don't we also have enough that don't comply with W3C specifications 100%? I'll definately play around with it on my PC - you never know, Apple my have hit nail on the head with v3.

paulmah
paulmah

For myself as someone who dabbles occasionally in web-based programming, I must say it has just become another browser I (now) absolutely have to test against. But those of you who are FULL time web developers, does it signify more work? Or do you guys test against Safari already anyway?

GoodOh
GoodOh

It will be interesting to see what happens with the 'Safari not welcome here' sites when the iPhone hits the streets. People with the cash to buy and run an iPhone may scream 'blue murder' at companies who choose to block their phone. Alternatively the not uncommon practice of blocking Safari may produce screaming at Apple. Or maybe people will just shrug it off as 'one of those things'. Time will tell but I have a suspicion that the 'hip, cashed up and free spending' people that we might expect to get iPhones MIGHT (and it's a big maybe) drive a need for sites to be open to Safari or drive away people with money and the desire to throw it at you. If the iPhone hype produces lists of companies not to bother visiting because they are 'iPhone unfriendly' CEOs might get a little shiver as they see people who spend money going where they are welcome and spending there instead.

paulmah
paulmah

For the foreseeable future at least huh!

CQ_West
CQ_West

I can't speak for all web developers out there, but when I look at the web statistics for my corporate sites and notice that 80% of my traffic comes from IE, 10% from Firefox and less than 4% from Safari, then I focus my time on developing web sites that work in IE and can be presented well in FireFox. As a matter of fact, all of our web applications (extranet) are set to block Safari and display a user to let them know that the web application they are attempting to access is only accessible in IE or Firefox. However, Safari users are welcome to browse our corporate website to their hearts delight. Besides, if corporations want to leverage some of the Microsoft tools (such as SharePoint), end users will get the best experience using IE. So, IE is still, and will remain, king of browsers.

paulmah
paulmah

It just occurred to me; that the Safari 'port' to Windows could be an indirect spin-off of the code compatibility work that must have happened when they ported OS X to run on Intel hardware.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If osX is a layer on top of BSD. Wouldn't that make the entire process of porting to the new processor simply recompiling the kernel for i386 instead of ppc? Sorry to start the tangent but it had just occured to me. *nix hardware modules (drivers) go from 32bit to 64bit with no more fuss than recompiling wit the 64bit library. *nix also manages hardware through the kernel so if it knows how to talk to the hardware then the software talking to it doesn't need to care. Yup, seems porting to a new processor would simply mean recompiling the BSD kernel and modules then confirming the install worked on the new hardware.

GoodOh
GoodOh

I agree. I think there is a NEED for Safari for Windows to make the iPhone work correctly for Windows users (This is just my guess - I have no inside info but I can't see how else Apple would want to do this - but integrating with IE seems highly undesirable.) After that need is met the chance to build a web-based platform within the Windows system seems like a natural business development (somewhat like the inroads Google has made with it's web-based tools). If I have an iPhone and I have to use Safari to make full(ish) use of the features then there is a chance to generate a halo effect along the same lines of the iPod/iTunes model. Thoughts like 'If I am using Safari already and I like it maybe I could have a look at moving to OS X instead of Vista.' would be a joy to Apple. OS X users get more functionality out of their iPod than Windows users and the idea of my iPhone being 5% more useful in OS X than Windows could be the 'teaser' that brings another group of 'switchers' across. All very interesting.

paulmah
paulmah

You know, Apple could just be pulling a "Microsoft" on, yah, Microsoft. MS has always cross-promoted its applications. i.e. Outlook works best with Exchange. Exchange sits on Windows Server OS. IIS talks well with MS SQL, Visual Studio is the happiest with MS SQL and .NET which runs on Windows. And so on and so forth. So now you have Apple, but turning the tables with its hardware. AppleTV and iPod with iTunes. Hack, you can even run Windows on Mac hardware now ha. I wonder just what kind of integration Safari will bring further down the road. :)

GoodOh
GoodOh

Is everyone forgetting you already run an Apple web app on a PC if you have iTunes? Unless Apple has gone mad they reuse the relevant code across both. The iTunes store worked when Apple was PPC only and continues with the change to Intel so I think that gives you the hint of how 'easy' it is to do this stuff. My hint - Safari for Windows will allow a Windows user to have a browser that sync's with an iPhone (bookmarks etc). Just like iTunes for Windows it will be requird if Apple wants to sell the hardware to Windows users. Isn't it completely obvious that I am going to want my hand-held internet tool to be sync with my desktop/laptop? Maybe it isn't obvious as not a single pundit I have read or listened to seems to have had this thought.

paulmah
paulmah

I must say I honestly have no idea. Would programmers who have worked directly with Unix/BSD kernels care to comment? (Or is it too much to hope that they'll be reading this thread in the first place!) :)

paulmah
paulmah

So do you think the landscape will shift significantly with the entrance of Safari for Windows? For the web development folks, does this represent yet another browser to test against, or do you see it as an easier way to get access to Safari without having to physically access a Mac?

LockOutGirl
LockOutGirl

Safari is the IE of the Apple world. When I first started using a Mac, Safari was the only thing I would use. But as time went on, and I began to expand into other browsers, I realized how terrible Safari is. I might use Safari on a PC instead of IE, but when I've got Firefox available, why would I? Compatibility issues on Safari are a big concern for me - alot of webpages I visit in Safari do not work properly, or the view is severly distorted. This may have eased recently, but I wouldn't know. I've been using Firefox almost exclusively for a few years now. Because most of the world designs with PCs and IE users in mind, I'd rather compromise and get the best out of my browsing. I just don't see this making a big impact, to be honest, but I might not be seeing a hidden niche somewhere.

GoodOh
GoodOh

"I might use Safari on a PC instead of IE, but when I've got Firefox available, why would I?" Because you might want to sync your bookmarks etc etc between other computers and internet devices (can anyone say 'iPhone'?).

paulmah
paulmah

Ah.. the conspiracy thickens, especially as you consider there will be no SDK for the iPhone...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Originally, Safari had issues with many websites but the more recent versions seem to have improved greatly. My wife has Safari and IE on osX and only touches IE when there is a website that absalutely won't work with Safari. As for me, I'm of the older way of webdevelopment thinking. I'd still be testing sites under Netscape Standalone (v3 I think) if I could find another original install for it. Anything else I can throw a website at just increases who will be able to make use of it.

bikingbill
bikingbill

I use Safari at home all the time, and have only ever found one site that didn't work properly using it. It has some nice touches, and beats IE all ends up. But at work I use a PC with Firefox. Firefox plug-ins are a huge plus, and Firefox has more in-built flexibility than Safari. I haven't seen this v3 Safari yet, but it would need to address these advantages of Firefox to make any impact. I suspect Apple has some strategic purpose in releasing Safari on Windows; without this it is definitely a niche product.

paulmah
paulmah

There seems to be quite a fair bit of negativity on it over the last few hours, mostly pertaining to bugs in the software. Since you are a (part-time at least!) Safari user, it would be great if you could provide a more moderate view of Safari for Windows from the perspective of an end-user! :)

paulmah
paulmah

I reckon a a certain percentage of users will simply switch to Safari either out of curiosity or due to the hype. Whether they will stay there will depends I guess, as you say, on just how good Safari is compared to the competing browsers on Windows.

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