The Safari 3 beta has been out for a couple days now and I’ve read hundreds of comments and articles about what people think about it. There’s a lot of mixed thoughts, some good and some bad. Unfortunately a lot of people do not like the beta release but I think 90% of the negative comments towards this release are from people who do not understand what a beta release is. I personally find it very common that many ‘average joe’ computer users download beta programs and they expect it to work as if it were a final release. It definitely causes a lot more problems for them since they’re expecting more stability in the application. I think it has come to the point where I know lots of people are going to download beta applications no matter what their understanding of beta status is and how experienced they are with computers and I’ve gotten used to their comments. That said, let’s have a look at what some people saying about the Safari 3 beta!

One of the most read comments about the beta on various news and information sites is the fact that Safari 3 beta breaks a lot of applications. I myself use the Mailplane beta and Safari 3 beta apparently breaks the ability to click links within Mailplane. Fortunately the Mailplane developer came up with a quick solution to fix that. Unfortunately not all applications have a quick fix like that. I’ve read that Safari 3 beta breaks various widgets, and any other applications that rely on the Safari engine, WebKit (mostly internet, network applications). Also any plug-ins that you were using (Saft, Pith Helmet, etc…) do not work. For me this is fine as I never used any of them anyways, but a lot of people are highly disappointed that none of them work or are working incorrectly. I’ve had the same issues with FireFox, when I was testing out the beta 2 a bunch of the extensions I used wouldn’t work. I understood that though because it was in a beta stage. I am sure developers will fix their applications to work with Safari 3, although I’d rather see that some of the features that these plug-ins do get added right into Safari we won’t have to go and download an extra application. Of course having the ability to develop plug-ins is great for developers and makes for less bloat in the original application.

Security is something very important to me, and hopefully to you also. Safari on Windows has been known to have some MAJOR security vulnerabilities. As far as I can tell, these are limited to Windows, I haven’t read anything that suggests they are valid on Mac OS X. It appears these exploits are also the fault of the poor security in Windows. A lot of security features found in the OS X version of Safari uses the strong security of OS X as the backbone. Being that Windows isn’t a very secure system, that insecurity is passed down to the applications that run within it, such as Safari. Even worse the people that discovered the exploit said that it wasn’t very difficult to create.

One comment that really stood out about this issue was the reason Apple put out Safari for Windows, was to show Windows users how good Mac software is but when you put software on Windows it emphasizes the poor security of the Windows operating system. I find parts of that to be true, but those security holes are mainly the fault of the Safari development team. Obviously having an insecure operating system to start off with and build from doesn’t help though.

I have not personally tried Safari 3 beta on Windows, I probably won’t get the chance to either but if it gets developed like iTunes for Windows I think Apple has a good chance in getting a lot of people to use it. I for one have stopped using FireFox on my Mac and am now using the Safari 3 beta. I’ve had 1 crash in the whole time I’ve been using it. Other then that I’ve experienced zero issues with it. There is one thing that I wish Apple had done differently and that’s to have kept Safari 2 instead of getting rid of it. Fortunately the Safari beta 3 installer comes with an uninstaller which will bring back Safari 2.

My overall thought about the Safari 3 beta is that it could have gone through a bit more internal testing before being publicly released, especially the Windows version which probably feels more like an alpha then a beta, but the OS X version definitely feels like a beta. Being that I haven’t been extremely affected by the beta I will continue to use it. I look forward to seeing its final version in Leopard!

Resources:

Ars Technica – First Look at Safari 3 on Windows
Beta Beat – New to Safari 3
Windows Safari Bugs and Exploits
Safari 3 Heads up – Your Widgets May Break
More on Rolling Back From Safari 3 Beta
Safari on Windows – Your Reports
Day One for Safari for Windows Becomes Zero Day Nightmare
Apple’s Safari – A Windows Security Risk
Thread on MacRumors

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