Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Jun 2007 09:26 UTC, submitted by TB
Internet & Networking "Apple's Safari is making its way to the Windows platform with the serious intention of making a dent in the market. As brilliant as the people are at Apple, I can't help but laugh at their, to put it politely, delusion. Before I ramble on too much, here are my five reasons why Safari will fail on the Windows platform." My take: Safari on Windows isn't here to take over the Windows browsing market. It's here for the iPhone.
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RE
by elsewhere on Wed 20th Jun 2007 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE"
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

Elementary? I trust that you make a living writing web browsers then?
Seeing as Safari is secure on the Mac, the Windows bugs were obviously introduced during porting. Not knowing exactly how that process goes, I can't really comment on how "elementary" these mistakes are.

My guess (and it is just a guess) would be that the port is based on the old OpenStep for Windows (OPENSTEP Enterprise) APIs. To get a modern Cocoa app to run on that would require the writing of Windows versions of several Mac OS X frameworks.
It is likely that these frameworks are currently in a very early state of development and therefore include many "elementary" bugs, such as buffer overflows and the like. (When porting software, it is common to write "minimally-functional" libraries in order to get the application running, then go back and improve the stability/security/performance of these libraries at a later date, often when preparing a final release).


The flaws were not all simple coding errors or buffer overflows. For instance, the URL handling exploit was simply a design flaw, and one that has no legitimate reason for existing today. Not for a company that claims to be committed to security.

Regardless of whether the vulnerabilities are being found as the cobwebs are blown out of an old framework, it's inexcusable for a *beta* product to have flaws this easily found. It means that the product was not properly tested during the alpha stage, or more likely, it never really had an alpha stage and was rushed to market in order to cash in on the iPhone hype and dev conf. It also implies that the entire framework the product is built on needs to be broken down and examined, which means that this is in fact not a beta product nor anywhere near production ready, at least one hopes.

It's also worth pointing out that due to the code sharing, some of the flaws discovered in the Windows version were then found to apply to the OSX version as well. That should be an alarm bell for both Apple and their OSX user base; if Apple wants to expand Safari's footprint by dumping shared code on a Windows platform, they'd better be ready to batten down the hatches on their own platform as well.

Does the world need another browser? Who knows, I'm just happy that Konq/KDE has benefited from Apple's involvement with KHTML. People can have pissing contests all they want over which browser is best, it's a moot point.

But if Apple is going to start claiming the vaunted "Most Secure Title", they had damned well better be ready to walk that walk, and not just talk the talk. Windows users don't fall for that any more, not after years of being abused by Microsoft who once made similar claims before actually investing in the resources needed. Safari being broken, several times over, on it's first day of release isn't a coincidence or something to be dismissed because "it's a beta.". On the contrary, I suspect it's a sign of things to come. Apple better be ready.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE
by DigitalAxis on Wed 20th Jun 2007 16:55 in reply to "RE"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I think we're running into a problem with different meanings of 'beta'.

The pre-1.0 versions of Gaim were fairly stable; Filelight pre-1.0 was pretty stable, K3B was pretty stable and functional years before it hit 1.0; Firefox was... well, pretty usable... A lot of Google's projects (such as Gmail) are still 'beta', and are basically just sitting there probably because nobody wants to change the label. And then you have projects like Knoppix, where Klaus Knopper (at least used to) labelled every release as a 'beta' because the Linux kernel wasn't finished yet. Well, it'll never actually be 'finished'; it's an evolving project...

And then you have beta versions where things actually aren't working and have obvious bugs, like this Safari beta. And everyone gets up in arms about it being broken, because we've been spoiled by programs that work great even while labeled as beta or 0.x

I think this all boils down to what various people consider a beta release. Gmail probably ought to have been released as 1.0 by now; Safari apparently has a long road ahead of it.

Edited 2007-06-20 17:08

Reply Parent Score: 3