How Safari Pretended to Be Mozilla Before It Was Released

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Former Apple employee Don Melton is sharing a unique look behind the scenes of the Safari development team. Melton was the team leader on both the Safari and WebKit products that are now used by millions of users on both iOS, the Mac, and Windows.

    Previously, Melton explained how the Safari name came about, but today he shares the tale of Safari's User Agent string and the strategies his team used to keep the project under wraps.
    Melton's blog has the rest of the details about how his team kept things quiet before the big reveal.

    Article Link: How Safari Pretended to Be Mozilla Before It Was Released
  2. WAM2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2011
    United States
    THIS is why I love Apple. Just a bunch of geeks running a company. Now I Cant say Mr. Cook is much of a geek. But the ones who do everything to run apple, are.
  3. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    So, he hid Safari as being Mozilla, by changing the user agent string. MAN THIS IS ONE HELL OF A FASCINATING REVEAL

    Also, Safari is the best browser out there now, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that there was nobody in the industry that cared when it was released except the Apple fans
  4. Macrolido macrumors regular


    May 14, 2012
    Monterrey, Mexico
    It´s interesting the fact that he says Scott Forstall was a great boss.
  5. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    Kind of surprised that this kind of this wasn't suspected/known about already. They could do with disguising it in geek-bench results too, but that would mean fewer rumors :(
  6. Rocketman macrumors 603


    Does anyone keep track of how many 10's of millions of instances of Safari are alive in any given day, week, month, or year?
  7. Risco macrumors 68000


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    So now if anyone looks their server logs and see a 17 in the IP at the beginning, they know it is a good chance of it being Apple!

    Tim Cook is sure doubling up on secrecy! :eek:
  8. adamw macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2006
    Interesting read. I use Safari as my browser of choice. It has been fairly stable.
  9. alex00100 macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
  10. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Too bad Safari is awfully broken. At least for me...
  11. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604


    Oct 13, 2008
    Everywhere And Nowhere
  12. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Jul 5, 2004

    As far as I know, Safari is no longer available for Windows.
  13. fabian9 macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    That's right, Safari 6 isn't available for Windows.
  14. Hes Nikke macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2001
    It has been common knowledge that apple owns the 17 class A block since forever. This is not a new revelation for those of us who have been apple followers for 20+ years.
  15. ManWithAPlan macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Correct. And of course it would be trivial to test from another netblock through a separate Internet connection than the main Apple HQ networks, so as to NOT be using 17.x. Nor is it difficult to forge a User Agent String in a web query, it's done all the time for security reasons by various enterprise security products, etc. Even without those products, it's a trivial effort. Nothing surprising at all, wake me up when they get really stealthy. BTW, rumors around the playground are that they have indeed gotten MUCH more stealthy, and Cook is a big believer in the advantages that secrecy can give them - not that they've been always been good at it. But they realize the value in it, he said so on 60 Minutes even (doubling down on secrecy), and I would expect more and more sophisticated attempts to "hide" product plans going forward. The only question is whether those attempts will be successful. Time will tell I guess.
  16. imgonephishin macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    I frequently used to change my user agent string when a site would tell me I had to use IE or FF to access it and 9 times out of 10 it would work fine in Safari. Can I write an article about my 1337 hacking skillz? :cool:
  17. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    You need to learn what "common knowledge" means :rolleyes:
  18. hachre macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    Safari is better than ever before right now and has replaced Chrome for me since version 6 has been in beta.
  19. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    I like how the MR article mentions "Mozilla" nowhere except for the title. Reading the MR article itself doesn't tell you at all that they masked Safari as any Mozilla product. That's some quality writing right there!
  20. stevedun macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2012
    Safari was a pain in the neck in it's early versions before becoming the gold standard in Mac web browsers. I've been a Safari advocate for years now.

    Version 6, however, is infuriating. The reload-on-back behavior is unacceptable. I use the trackpad or Magic Mouse to swipe back a page, and the animation looks great, but the fact that it forces a reload of the page, delays me while it reloads, and often puts me at the top of the page is a real detractor. I'm trying to deal with it until something changes, but I may need to hop ship to an inferior browser if this basic functionality is not addressed.
  21. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    Yup. It also omits one of the major platforms that use webkit - Android. Brings me back round to this thread:
  22. vastoholic macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Hell I even tried to move to chrome last month. It was slower (more beachballs and even youtube seemed to be slower, probably just my head) and had one single fundamental flaw for me: Microsoft Office documents would not download properly, requiring me to go to the file and change the extension just to get it to open up. Silly and trivial, sure, but seriously, why is that kind of issue even there in a browser in 2012-2013?
  23. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    None of this is really news to any of us. I mean, haven't we already seen articles posted on MacRumors that go like "examination of webserver logs reveal iPhone 6 is already being tested"?

    Same thing.
  24. Kobayagi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2012
    Exactly. What also annoys me is that they made the tabs so huge. Now, when you want to close a few of them, you can't simply stand on the X icon and keep clicking, but you have to track down the X every time you close a tab because they keep changing in size.

    Though Safari sometimes just doesn't work as nice on some websites. I thought it might be adblock or it's blocking pop ups, but after turning both off, it's still buggy on a few sites. Then I just use Chrome.

    Other than that, I really like Safari, it's neat and clean. Top sites are also very nicely done. I just hope they fix some of the issues.
  25. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    If anything, that just proves that Apple has lost this "masquerading" technology some time over the past 10 years!

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