According to Ars Technica,Apple’s Safari Web browser–both the iPhone mobile version and the desktop version for Mac and Windows–hasbeen slowly gaining marketshare in the browser wars. Ars takes this asa tribute to the slow success of the Mac in general. But Safari’sgrowth probably comes as a surprise to most Mac users,those who downloaded Firefox because Safari,for most purposes,is a crappy browser.
Firefox has been growing too. On personal computers,Internet Explorer claims 65.5% of users, though this is dropping.Firefox has 22.5% of users. Safari is inching up to 8.5%. Chart belowcourtesy of Ars.
Maybe Safari is more stable onWindows; I use Chrome on my PC (1.8% marketshare). But for some reasonunacknowledged by Apple, the most recent versions of Safari (3.X and 4Beta) tend to crash on the Mac. A lot.Check out Apple’s Safari support forum, and you’ll see whatI mean; the top threads include “Safari unexpectedly quit,” “Safaricrashing!!,” “Safari hanging,” and the ever-pitiful “Please, Pleasehelp! Safari keeps crashing.”
Perhaps that’s why plug-in development for Safari has been so sluggishcompared with Firefox. On Firefox, I can set up panes with Google Mapsor Flickr; I can keep Twitter in the bottom right corner of eachwindow; I can customize the look and feel and even add Greasemonkeyscripts to sites I use frequently. Safari’s star plug-ins are AdobeFlash and, well, a bunch of pop-up blockers. There is GreaseKit, which takes the place of Greasemonkey, but it isn’t quite as easy to install as you can see here. Overall, the list of Safari plugins has grown, but it has yet to rival Firefox. Check out this sadlist of 20 excellent Safariplug-ins published last month, and you’ll see what I mean.
Since Safari for the iPhone is rock-solid, it’s a wonder that Apple hasn’t woken up and ported it back tothe desktop.