I was initially excited about Apple’s release of Safari for Windows.
I’ve been a long-term
Phoenix Firebird Firefox user and I use it as my primary browser on both Windows and OS X. I love the fact that I can install extensions to enhance what I’m doing. In particular I like Greasemonkey, which lets me hack the pages I’m viewing using small scripts.
However, Firefox seems to me to have lost its way a bit. It seems to have sprung some pretty serious memory leaks (as I type this it is sitting at ~460Mb real RAM and ~500Mb VM) and doesn’t feel as snappy as it once was. As I’ve said numerous times before, this could be due to the way I use it – I’m lazy about managing the number of tabs that I keep open, and I do use a lot of extensions.
More annoyingly, Firefox doesn’t currently use colour profiles to display images. This is quite upsetting on the Mac, where I can quite happily use Lightroom to edit my images; export them as JPEGs; and view them on Flickr in Safari, and they will look just as rich as they did in Lightroom…. switch to Firefox on any platform, and they appear washed out. Progress is being made on improving this situation – in fact it looks like a possible fix has been checked in to the Firefox code base recently – but right now, Safari on OS X is my only way of seeing the colours I expect.
I had high hopes that Safari on Windows would do the same thing for me – display my photos as I want to see them. So, I installed it. Unfortunately, it looks like it is rendering images in the same way as Firefox – so clearly there’s something magic in the underlying libraries it is using that hasn’t come across from the Mac version.
A wider question remains though – without forced bundling (IE), advertising and word-of-mouth (Firefox), or hardware (as with iTunes/iPod) to drive it onto the OS, what will make a Windows user choose Safari? Cool factor? Well, the release made a small piece on the second page of this morning’s Metro newspaper, so maybe UK commuters will rush to download it. I’ll follow the size of the install base with interest.