Monday, February 16, 2004

If Bill Gates did this, people would be howling. A little more than a year ago, Apple unveiled Safari, a brand-new Web browser for its Macintosh computers. The move led Microsoft to stop further development of the Mac version of Internet Explorer. So - at least for those who like to use Officially Approved Software - Safari was suddenly the only game in town.

Now Apple has finally released an upgrade to Safari, version 1.2. And I can't use it. The new Safari only runs on OS X 10.3 (a/k/a Panther). I'm running OS X 10.2 (Jaguar). Panther is not a new operating system - it's a maintenance upgrade with a few new features. And it costs $129. I'm not buying.

The problem is that I'm not seeking cool breakthroughs in Safari, just basic functionality that was left out of version 1.0, like the ability to print stuff out with page numbers. Not being allowed to upgrade to Safari 1.2 without forking over more money strikes me as at least low-level customer abuse, given that my iBook is less than a year old.

Anyway, I'm experimenting with a new browser, Mozilla Firefox. It's still in beta (version 0.8), but it seems to be stable and at least as fast as Safari. You get page numbers when you print, and some sites that don't render properly with Safari - such as Cosmo Macero's weblog - now look just fine. It interacts better with, too.

Firefox is part of the Mozilla Project, which designs open-source Internet software. There's a Windows version, too, so give it a try.

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