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Safari 3: speed, security, font blurriness

updated 09:10 am EDT, Wed June 13, 2007

18 flaws in Safari 3 beta

Naysayers have challenged Apple's performance claims and security in the company's latest Safari 3 browser and have highlighted differences in font rendering. Within a few days of its release, security researchers have found as many as 18 separate bugs in Apple's newest Safari 3.0 browser, which was released as a public beta this week. Some of the security flaws reported, according to a new report, could be used to run unauthorized software on a victim's PC, challenging Apple's claims that Safari that "Apple engineers designed Safari to be secure from day one," one researcher told Infoweek. While the report notes that that Safari 3.0 beta is expected to contain bugs, Apple should have been more careful about exposing the public to such flaws, researchers claim: "In order to have a useful beta test of a Web browser, people need to use it in the real world, which is ultimately exposing them to malware," one researcher who discovered 10 separate flaws told the publication.

Apple's performance claims for its Safari browser are also being challenged by various reports. Apple's CEO told WWDC attendees during his keynote that the new browser was faster than its Internet Explorer and Firefox components; however, online reports have challenged the Cupertino-based company's claims. Tests performed by a Wired News blogger show that "Safari is slower than both IE 7 and Firefox in the login page and message index tests, in both cases by a substantial margin. Only when loading Google Calendar does Safari have a slight edge, clocking in at 12.8 seconds to IE's 17 seconds. But even there, Firefox has both the other browsers beat."

Online reviews also suggest the new browser --in its current beta form -- is not a compelling alternative. "Overall, it's hard to find a compelling reason to like or to dislike the beta version of Safari 3. And without a compelling reason to switch, most Firefox and IE users won't," one Wired News reviewer concluded.

eWEEK said that the browser is "too Mac-like" under Windows and criticized Safari Windows for a lack of customization options, problems with SSL certificates and more while lauding it for simplicity in some areas and features like SnapBack.

Font Blurriness?

The company has also implemented its own algorithm for font rendering, which many believe is inferior to Microsoft's own and causes font blurriness; however, it may be just result of a difference in philosophy, as both companies use sub-pixel rendering to coax sharper-looking fonts out of typical low resolution screens: Apple prefers to adhere to the original design of the font, while Microsoft prefers readability.

"Now that Safari for Windows is available, which goes to great trouble to use Apple's rendering algorithms, you can actually compare the philosophies side-by-side on the very same monitor and see what I mean," one blogger writes. "I think you'll notice the difference. Apple's fonts are indeed fuzzy, with blurry edges, but at small font sizes, there seems to be much more variation between different font families, because their rendering is truer to what the font would look like if it were printed at high resolution."

by MacNN Staff




  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    look it up in wikipedia.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Free Research

    Thanks to all these Apple snipers for helping to make the forthcoming 1.0 release better.

  1. marmotton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Terrible font rendering

    I gave up on Safari already because of the terrible font rendering: the font used in the menus is larger, blurrier and takes up more space than the comparable text used on Firefox. By comparison, Firefox looks very sleek and professional. Safari looks terribly childish and draft-like. It is just not acceptable.

    Oh and also Safari crashes easily on the same reproducible actions (for example printing a page to PDF).

    It is just not ready for prime time and Apple should pull the beta from its website before it further damages its brand and people start shifting their doubts to the iPhone's software.

  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So according to this "researcher" a beta should be a final release?

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have always found IE's font rendering to be horrible, but as many things it is subjective. I also see that most of the founds bugs are of the DOS / browser crash type. I never found the ability to crash a browser as a huge security issue.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: beta

    [i]look it up in wikipedia.[/i]


  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: terrible font...

    You know, I really love the extreme comments that get posted at places like this. For example: "Safari looks terribly childish and draft-like. It is just not acceptable"

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Now, maybe you don't like it, but that's certainly a subjective thing. Moreover, what kind of fool bases his/her choice of web browser exclusively on what the text rendering. People, seriously, I've heard SO much complaining in the last day or so that it's unbelievable. Are you people EVER HAPPY (stupid question, I already know the answer). Call me an Apple fanboy if you like, but it's not even about that, it's simply about making legitimate and well thought out criticisms. If you're going to post, why not actually try to make it something worth reading.

    The only thing childish and draft-like in my Safari is marmotton's post...

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Convention Name?

    Lets see, it was called the World Wide DEVELOPERS Conference. It was Labeled as a Beta, and at least on Mac came with an UnInstaller right next to the install file.

    Isn't the point of Beta software to find the holes and fix them?

    Grandma shouldn't be using Beta Software, and neither should the kids. In fact, it probably shouldn't even be on a primary machine. It's not even like people PAID for it.

    The problems found are GOOD things!!!! Perhaps they should have released it on the developer's site, that would have really pissed the non Apple Developer's off.

  1. ecrelin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is the most blatent trojan ever on Windows! Why would Apple offer Safari to Windoids? To get them to buy Apple stuff… ah ha ha ha ha, stupid to give them a buggy piece of c*** but as a free promotional item we'll see how much Apple spends on it, hee hee, imagine software that crashes or looks crappy on a PC, ah ha ha ha ha on the other hand, remember that everyone else is trying to make their stuff more secure, maybe the ploy is that the exploit they suffer when using Safari will be the last straw and they'll go to Mac… ha ha ha ha ha

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The complaints coming from the Windows world just prove how much less sharp Windows advocates are -- they can't even grasp the concept of "beta." Mac users may be fanatical nuts at time, but at least they aren't dull.

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