Tiger update brings Safari headaches

Tiger update brings Safari headaches

Summary: Customer experience with this week's Tiger Combo Update may be mixed. While the update brings Safari 3.04 to Tiger, it also breaks compatibility with popular browser plug-ins and hacks.

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Tiger update brings Safari headachesCustomer experience with this week's Tiger Mac OS X 10.4.11 Combo Update is mixed. Some users may be happy with the update's switch to Safari 3.04. But for many, trouble comes with the update's breaking of compatibility with popular browser plug-ins and hacks.

I encountered this issue myself following the installation of the Combo Update. Safari stopped working in a rather bewildering manner: The browser would launch but not browse. If you clicked on a bookmark button, nothing would happen. If you entered a URL, it wouldn't seek the address. You could access menus and preferences but Safari wouldn't do what it was supposed to.

First off, I tried the usual magic fixes for performance: I emptied the cache (it's under the application menu) and quit Safari. Then I deleted the form values and download.plist files from the ~/Library/Safari folder; and then deleted the com.apple.Safari.plist preferences file from ~/Library/Preferences.

However, that process didn't do the trick.

In a hurry and without much thought, I copied back the older 2.x version of Safari from the clone I had made before updating. That reversal changed the app's behavior a bit, but Safari still didn't browse.

So, I returned Safari 3.0 to my Applications folder and launched Firefox. That browser still worked.

A quick look around the discussion boards showed that I wasn't alone with this problem. The culprit was the popular PicLens browser add-on for viewing online images. Once I had removed it from ~/Library/InputManagers, Safari worked. There are reports that the Leopard-compatible PicLens update fixes this issue. A post on MacInTouch by Kevin Purcell also suggests removing the SIMBL (Smart InputManager Bundle Loader) and Internet Plug-ins from their respective folders in user and root level Library folders.

Some commentators, such as John Gruber, say we should know better than rely on such hacks. And I agree to a point. It's not all Apple's fault when it introduces something that breaks an "unsupported" feature provided by a third-party developer — even if that feature is popular and useful.

However, I suggest that most of us forget that these "hacks" are hacks. We install them one evening and then grow accustomed to the capability. It's easy to forget this or that feature isn't really a part of the standard application. We accept it into the workflow and it becomes a part of the general user interface on our particular Mac. Until they break, of course.

Perhaps Apple should stop blaming users and developers for taking on these little hacks and acknowledge their existence? The installer could look for them during the update and move them to another folder and then report that action to the user. It's not as if they are so deeply buried that they can't be easily uncovered and moved.

Shiira iconAnother lesson from this experience is that it's critical to have a couple of spare browsers already installed in case there's a problem. I've always had a couple of different browsers ready to go in case of a problem page or online form.

Most of the time, I run Firefox 2 as my standard browser. In the past, I've also used the Shiira browser, a project from Japan that is based on Webkit. The Core Image page transition effect in the browser is a lot of fun.

What browser do you prefer?

Topics: Browser, Apple, Operating Systems

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27 comments
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  • But it IS Apple's fault

    [i]Some commentators, such as John Gruber, say we should know better than rely on such hacks. And I agree to a point. It?s not all Apple?s fault when it introduces something that breaks an ?unsupported? feature provided by a third-party developer ? even if that feature is popular and useful.[/i]

    Wow, way to apologize for Apple! It [b]IS[/b] Apple's fault that their browser forces people to use hacks that then break during minor upgrades. No matter how you slice it, it is a problem in Safari, no way to apologize for that. Firefox and IE don't have problems like this, only Safari.

    Stop apologizing for Apple. Either accept that Apple isn't perfect and don't complain about it or switch to something better. If you don't switch, Apple will simply assume that they can abuse you over, and over, and over again. It is much like a battered spouse who pleads for the abuse to stop but never leaves, no matter how many times it happens.

    "Mac: It Just Works As Long As You Don't Try To Actually Do Anything With It"
    NonZealot
    • Oh come on, you're just saying that

      nt
      D T Schmitz
    • Buy yourself a clue Zealot .

      Apple many months ago stated that Safari 3 would not be supporting third party
      apps/extensions . Now here you are blatantly stating that it's APPLE's fault . Why
      should APPLE support 3rd party apps/extensions ?
      Intellihence
      • for the same reason you say microsoft should leopard you can't have it

        for the same reason you say microsoft should leopard you can't have it both ways.

        your always saying windows breaks things with updates and they are bad and everyone should buy apple because they don't break things with updates.

        ok which is it you can't have it both ways.
        SO.CAL Guy
        • who said that?

          I always hear anti-Apple people claiming some Apple supporter said something, but i never hear any Apple supports really saying that stuff.
          doh123
        • WTF are you babbling about

          I never made such a claim , if so provide proof . if anything it's the Windows Zealots
          like Non_Zealot and ShadeTree who go out on a limb to state the things you just
          mentioned .
          Intellihence
      • Still using that lame tag

        So Leopard's stalking still is it? No, it's being insecure, crashing and not working well with third party apps.

        I know it's hard to imagine the number of third party apps available for Windows, but think of all Apple's and then raise it to the power of 10. MS manages to test the vast majority of these apps and offers fixes for others that might appear.

        It appears that all Apple is worried about is money, not their customers. Once again it's the user's fault for using pesky third party software. Oh sorry they're not software apparently, they're hacks.

        My sympathies, you must be SOOOOOOOOO disappointed.
        tonymcs@...
        • Everything has been fixed already !

          Within a matter of weeks Apple has fixed the issues with their service pack and are
          currently working on another service pack for Leopard , which is more than can be
          said for Microsoft . Almost a year already and Microsoft still hasn't pushed their
          service pack out the door .
          Intellihence
          • Check the topic.

            "Tiger update brings safari headaches", probably not the best venue to try and claim that rushing updates public is a good thing.
            rtk
      • re: Buy yourself a clue

        [i]Apple many months ago stated that Safari 3 would not be supporting third party apps/extensions.[/i]

        Why? Why is it that you are not allowed to have useful applications running with Safari? I can only assume that Apple thinks it knows better than it's users what they need. That seems rather short sighted and controlling to me.

        "Beyond the login screen, a Leopard is stuck"
        Badgered
        • It beats having your active x and third party hacks

          compromise you precious Internet Explorer browser . These Window personal attacks
          against me/don't phase me .
          Intellihence
    • all he has to do

      is install the leopard compatible version of piclens. don't make a mountain out of a molehill. this could and does happen to any software that has 3rd party extensions. it happens with firefox all the time.
      lostarchitect
      • If it is so simple...

        then why didn't David say it? Why didn't Safari detect the error (like IE and Firefox do) and tell the user how to fix it? Do you think that behavior is more or less than intuitive than, and I quote:
        [i]The browser would launch but not browse. If you clicked on a bookmark button, nothing would happen. If you entered a URL, it wouldn?t seek the address. You could access menus and preferences but Safari wouldn?t do what it was supposed to.[/i]

        Now, if someone as experienced with the Mac as David is has to go through these steps, and again, I quote:
        [i]First off, I tried the usual magic fixes for performance: I emptied the cache (it?s under the application menu) and quit Safari. Then I deleted the form values and download.plist files from the ~/Library/Safari folder; and then deleted the com.apple.Safari.plist preferences file from ~/Library/Preferences.

        However, that process didn?t do the trick.

        In a hurry and without much thought, I copied back the older 2.x version of Safari from the clone I had made before updating. That reversal changed the app?s behavior a bit, but Safari still didn?t browse.[/i]

        what chance does a regular user have? WOW!!! That's a lot of work! Firefox and IE would have simply disabled the offending extensions/add-ons but I guess since the Apple way is to launch but prevent browsing, that [b]must[/b] be more intuitive!

        You pay through the nose for a more intuitive system. Yeah, sure is more intuitive!

        snicker, smirk :)
        NonZealot
        • because...

          safari [i]does not support[/i] 3rd party add-ons like firefox does, so how can it detect that something has been made incompatible if it [i]does not support[/i] that thing? use some logic.

          if you would like safari to support 3rd party add-ons, if you see that lack of support as a negative for the browser, then [b]SAY THAT[/b]. Don't flap your lip about software needing to notify you about add-ons that it [i]does not support[/i].
          lostarchitect
        • The average user

          probably would not have installed a hack in the first place. Usually any plug-ins that
          the average user might need have been created to work properly with Safari and
          therefore do not create issues when an update is rolled out. Therefore, if you have
          spent enough time to find a hack that isn't programmed that way, you should have
          plenty of time/experience to figure out what is going wrong. So your argument doesn't
          make sense. It isn't complicated for the average user because they would never put
          themselves in that situation.
          pplsaydumbthings
    • reading comprehension

      he said it is not all Apple's fault... he never said it wasnt Apples fault. the word all in there means that it is Apples fault, but some of the blame lies elsewhere. So dont go claiming he is saying it is not Apples fault, when he said blame does lie with Apple.
      doh123
    • Firefox and IE do have this problem.

      "Wow, way to apologize for Apple! It IS Apple's fault that their browser forces people to use hacks that then break during minor upgrades. No matter how you slice it, it is a problem in Safari, no way to apologize for that. Firefox and IE don't have problems like this, only Safari."

      Tell any system or network administrator that IE doesn't have problems with "hacks", and be prepared for a laugh.

      And look at all the Firefox plugins that break when a new version comes out.

      "Either accept that Apple isn't perfect and don't complain about it or switch to something better."

      I don't understand exactly what you're getting at here. First, preferring OS X doesn't mean thinking that Apple is perfect, it just means that it's less broken FOR THAT PERSON. Second, if you call what Apple does "abuse", then what Microsoft's done demands terms like "genocide". Ask any network administrator for horror stories.
      Resuna
    • Oh look it is dribbling again

      I am the real none-zealot. I am the super uber windows zealot, even with the millions
      of problems that microsoft is having it beats the heck out of any other company.

      snicker smirk, tee hee
      The_Nutty_Zealot
    • Apple's perfect

      you aren't NZ, now go away and play in another sandbox.
      mlindl
  • RE: Tiger update brings Safari headaches

    Not a mac user, but I can understand the annoyance. What Apple should have done is built something to check addons (/hacks) for compatibility and either warn/disable them if a new version will not work (just like FireFox does with browser extensions). If Apple worked with the community on that particular venue (among others) then it would likely increase its esteem in the eyes of its users, and make it so maybe people wouldn't turn to using FireFox more than Safari on Mac platforms.
    carlosjuero