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Apple Businesses

Major Problems With Safari 199

kuwan writes "There have been many problems reported with Safari on Apple's discussion boards. The two most prominent are that option-clicking on a link to download can replace your Home folder with the downloaded file, effectively nuking your Home folder. The other has been reported as a printing problem, but is far worse. The printing problem occurs because Safari deletes /tmp, which is a link to /private/tmp."
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Major Problems With Safari

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  • by xyrw ( 609810 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @05:44PM (#5050405) Homepage
    Use at your own risk...

    Granted, I was using Moz while it was in Beta, but there had been testimonials... and if you're an early adopter you ought to have good backups anyway.

    Just my 2 cents...
    • Problem is, nowadays a lot of software never leaves Beta stage, a 1.0 version is often years away. Using a beta version usually means you're using what should be called version 1.0. Instead, it's called a beta, features are tacked on and the 1.0 milestone seems to drift further and further away.

      • by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @06:11PM (#5050667)
        The responsibility for that problem lies squarely on the shoulders of the Mozilla guys. Back when I was young, "beta" meant "feature-complete, but not yet debugged." If a product is in "beta," that meant that it was absolutely not going to get any new features before release.

        The Mozilla guys kept glomming features onto their browser for months and years. Eventually they got rid of the term "beta" and started calling them "prereleases" or "milestones" or something, but the fact remains that it's an awful practice.

        Apple has a history of treating betas like betas. The Mac OS X public beta didn't get any major new features when it went to 10.0. iSync beta didn't get any major new features when it went to 1.0. And I hope, oh I hope, that Safari doesn't get any major new features before it goes to 1.0.
        • Users still shouldn't expect something labled as beta to be a 1.0. Betas are supposed to be for testing and debugging. Too many people use Beta software in a production environment with the mindset of the parent poster. It says beta but it should really be a release. If it says beta expect bugs.

          The mozilla project helped a growing trend of using beta software in production environments, but the blame still lies with the person installing the software and expecting it to be release quality.
          • Users still shouldn't expect something labled as beta to be a 1.0.

            Yes, but the converse is also true: users shouldn't expect something labeled as 1.0 to be beta-quality. When Mozilla went from beta to 1.0, they apparently didn't do a feature freeze or anything. I can't even seem to find any evidence of automated regression testing, although I can't imagine that there wasn't any.

            Taking the last beta and slapping a "1.0" sticker on it is not a good way to release a software product, guys.

            (I guess this is technically off-topic now. Sorry about that. End of rant.)
            • You are exactly right, there is far too much beta quality software put out claiming to be release quality. This is another problem entirly and deserves as much attention if not more as it increases the number of users that think beta software is good enough.
            • Are you kidding? Of course Netscape did a feature freeze when going to mozilla 1.0. In fact, they were tightly controlling features since 9.6 or whatever. And there are more regression testing scripts for Mozilla than you can shake a stick at. Granted, the end result may have not made those evident in the past, but it's pretty obvious right now.
            • Mozilla had a feature freeze.
        • They're not alone though, ICQ for instance has always been a beta hasn't it? I'm starting to think that Beta has taken on the meaning of "Still a living evolving product", ie, as long as there's any development done on the project it's called a beta or development version or some such, no matter how solid it is.

          People think that beta simply means the latest and best, thus when they encounter something that is a true beta, ie Safari, they're surprised that there are still bugs.

        • And I hope, oh I hope, that Safari doesn't get any major new features before it goes to 1.0.

          Well. Yeah. But it could use some tabs... :-)
          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @01:03AM (#5052853)
            Well. Yeah. But it could use some tabs... :-)

            According to some of the developers who wish to remain nameless (no, Hyatt isn't one of us... publicly) Safari will get tabs over our dead bodies. We didn't omit them because we didn't have time. We left them out because they're a terrible UI design. To see this in action, just open six or seven tabs in a Chimera window. You can't even read the titles any more! Tabs are pretty useless at that point.

            Read my lips. Safari will never have tabs.
            • Right, its so much better to have 6, 7 or more windows cluttering up your desktop. One of the hallmarks of good UI design is to maximize the amount of free desktop real estate, which is one reason why tabs are so popular.

              And as for the problem of having the titles disappear: just open another tab bar if thats such a big deal to you!
            • I have 7 tabs up in Chimera right now -- my "Mac Surf" bookmark set. Yes, it's true that I can't read all of the titles, but I can read enough of each (with their favicons) to know what's what without any problem. The tabbed page in the foreground has its full title in the window's title bar, too.

              I don't particularly like opening up 8-10 unfamiliar sites as tabs, but for frequently accessed clusters of bookmarks, tabs are great. Surely you can make sense of my current line of tabs:

              MacinTouch:... | InsanelyGreat... | MacSlash: A d... | /. Major Proble... | MacOS Rumo... | Think Secret - ... | Mac OS X Hint...

              One click on MacSurf in my favorites bar loads them all, then it's just a quick cycle from one news aggregator to the next, preloaded for convenience, and I've read almost all the daily Mac news I'm interested in. Do the same with favorite "regular" news sites, general tech sites, non-tech hobbies (gasp!) whathaveyou. That's what it's about. Random external links get opened in new windows, not as tabs.

            • Tabs are a killer feature for me. Once I started using tabs in Galeon, all other browsers suddenly seemed awkward and frustrating to use over a long period of time. Right now I have 7 tabs open in Galeon, and I can easily read enough of the titles to know what page is what.

              Many of the tabs have become a semi-permanent fixture in my browser, in that I use them for quick access to site multiple times a day. Some of the pages the tabs point at auto-refresh, so all I have to do is hit the tab to get a quick update for that set of information.

              Another great way to use tabs is to index a string of links as you pursue it. It's like sticking your fingers in a choose-your-own-adventure book at each junction, for those who can remember ever doing that. Tabs make this very easy to do, much easier than bookmarks.

              Tabs manage pop-ups more elegantly than full-pages. The pop ups do not obscure the previous pages, so you can read them only when you are ready.

              One feature galeon has that complements tab-browsing is that it remembering your tabs and across sessions, so even if you have to reboot or accidently kill the webbrowser you can instantly get back a rich session that might otherwise take 10 minutes to set up.

              I like Chimera a lot, but I still prefer galeon because Galeon puts close "X" buttons on each tab. If Chimera did that it would be perfect for me.

              I can't even contemplate a tabless browser for anything more than rudimentary local HTML file viewing. People multitask, and tabs help you do this without wasting screen space or cluttering the task bar, which has enough applications to deal with as it is.
            • Praise Jesus. I hope you are who you say you are.

              Tabs are a solution to a *speed* problem: If ctl-tabbing through moz windows was instantaneous, there'd be no need for tabbed windows. Everything could just be maximized all the time. Even more screen real estate, complainers.

              I can't use more than three or four tabs on Chimera, because once you start using that many tabs... it starts slowing down the UI! That's unbelievable!

              Anyway. I feel like Chimera will continue to have one killer feature: Nightlies. If webcore and KHTML use the same codebase, and we can compile our own webcore from CVS with the most current stuff, *and* front-end bug fixes get released within a month of discovery, then Chimera will be left in the dust. Of course, this path could easily lead to user confusion if it became popular, which , I'm sure, is not Apple's goal.

              So, if Apple makes it slightly hard (it's certainly not hard right now) to keep Safari frequently updated, or lets the non-webcore portion go unreleased for long periods of time, then Chimera could pull out ahead pretty quickly. They could, of course, co-opt all of the innovation from Apple's browser. Apple might not mind. I imagine the Safari team would just be flattered.

              The first step, imho, for Chimera, is to figure out why their UI still feels kindof heavy. Maybe they need more threads. Iduno. Safari proves the UI can be faster. I might be crazy, but I think first step for Safari is to figure out why some pageloads download all the images in sequence rather than in parallel. Perhaps I'm just imagining that Chimera does the downloading faster, while Safari does the rendering faster.

              Safari's few and far between html rendering bugs will probably vanish in weeks. It feels like the Safari devs have become internet saints. They'll get all the help in the world...
            • According to some of the developers who wish to remain nameless (no, Hyatt isn't one of us... publicly) Safari will get tabs over our dead bodies. We didn't omit them because we didn't have time. We left them out because they're a terrible UI design. To see this in action, just open six or seven tabs in a Chimera window. You can't even read the titles any more! Tabs are pretty useless at that point.

              OK, so tabs are bad UI design, but the (default!) behavior of adding bookmarks to the bar without any visual separation between them was a good UI design? Or what about giving the user the option to hit cmd-1...cmd-n to go to that bookmark, but making the user count from left to right to figure out which key to hit? I have been a Mac user since 1984, but I'm a fast touch typist and I'm *not* going to reach for my mouse unless I have to, and I shouldn't in this case. Actually, why should my bookmarks appear on the bar by default anyway?

              For that matter, I know that Safari programmers have nothing to do with the Apple website, but don't you think it is interesting that Apple's own website uses a tabbed interface itself. Only they are fakey pseudo-tabs (seven of them at the top level; why isn't that useless?) with no non-mouse means of navigation.

              Seriously, I will admit that multiple document interfaces can be tricky, but to tell me that the row of 7 tabs in my Mozilla session (under Mac OS X, of course) is useless is pathetic. I can immediately see what pages I have "open", I can get to them via the keyboard without having to count items across the bar, I can have 3 windows full of 7 tabs each and reach any of those pages within 7 keystrokes (yes that should be 2; assigning cmd-# to each of the tabs and putting the number in the corner is a no-brainer while ctrl-pageup/down is doofy). You apparently want me to cycle through windows via cmd-~ or something.

              For that matter, shouldn't cmd-# take me to a window (like Terminal.app) rather than to an un-numbered bookmark?

              Read my lips. Safari will never have tabs.

              I'm glad that you can be so triumphant in your pronouncements about working solutions to problems when you have no answers to those problems yourself. Is the tab interface in Mozilla perfect? Heck no. Does it solve a real problem? You bet. Does it get in the way of users if they don't want it? Nope. Could Apple do better? I'm sure they could, but it's not clear from your post whether they even want to, which is unfortunate.

            • Apple can have some bone-headed stubbornness that makes them say moronic things like this, and never ever ever admit their error. Having external parties control Chimera will save it from the worst Apple-isms like a universally reviled Metal UI, tabs because some dimwit UI "expert" says they are bad, etc, while still keeping the better parts of Apple's OS design.
      • If it says beta it isn't 1.0 period. If it says Beta and you expect it to work flawlessly you are going to be dissapointed. The truth of the matter is there is much too much software hitting release that isn't labeled as beta quality but is only beta quality.
    • Yeah, too bad we can't mod the story as redundant. The purpose of a beta release is to find bugs, so the Safari beta seems to be doing its job. It's better to have a buggy beta than a buggy final release.

    • I do not see why they should be forgiven. It is one thing for mozilla or openoffice.org to post beta software on their website. People who generally visit these sites understand the risks. In addition there is generally a choice between the latest build and the stable distribution. The warning are often very explicit and descriptive, as on the openoffice.org website. On the other hand, posting a link on the Apple home page to untested built code, it is an irresponsible act.

      Don't get me wrong, I have been using Apple products for 20 years and still feel they are a great value. OTOH, they have been posting a lot of beta software lately for full public distribution. iTunes a while back; iCal just a few weeks ago; and now Safari. If Apple wants to build buzz by releasing beta software, they should have a specific page for that purpose. Releasing such low quality products from their home page, even as beta, it makes then look incompetent.

      • In addition, most Mac users are still accustomed to a lower-power OS, where not much damage could be done by too many things. OS X is a new breed, and old work/play habits are still being used.

        Not to insult the people new to the Mac, who have come over because of OS X, or those who *DO* understand the meaning of 'beta', but most Mac and Windows users think of "Beta" as pre-release, as in "It might crash before you can save your file". They don't realize that the potential exists to cause extremely wide-spread damage and data loss.

        A company with the userbase that Apple or Microsoft have, should spend a LOT more time educating their userbase as to what "Beta" means before making it as easy to download as it is. If the casual user (I'm thinking about some of my non-computer-inclined friends, some co-workers, my mother.. You know. Average.) were to see "Beta", either they a.) know what the word means in this context due to extensive exposure to long lectures on the topic courtesy of the resident geek, b.) know that in green it's the second letter of the alphabet, and assume "Beta" means "Second release", or "Version 2" or c.) Looks up "Beta" in the dictionary and sees that it's the second letter in the alphabet, is totally confused as to what the heck it means, and downloads it because Apple says it's cool, fabulous, and faster than anything out there.

        Those users are also those that are most likely to be screwed by a major software bug. They don't know what "backup" means, they don't know how to "backup", even if they do know what it means, and they think computers are rock-solid stable things that will never lose anything of theirs.

        If these people make up even 10 percent of your total market, you have a MAJOR obligation to inform them of what "Beta" means, and make sure they actually understand that it can result in extensive damage. Apple doesn't. It's three clicks from the main page until it's downloaded, and no place does it say in big red letters "CAUTION".

        It should.

    • But Joe Yeah-i-did-backups-last-year User might not even understand what beta means. There should be a large warning on this [apple.com] page.

      Atleast it isn't as bad as when iTunes could wipe an entire partition.

      Why is it that these things keep on happening? Is it because it's OS X is UNIX? Apple just still having a few teething probelms?
      I've never had anything like this happen with Windows...Sure, it's stuffed up more than it fair share of installations to the point where they don't boot and need to be re-formated. But I've never lost any data.

    • Beta does *not* mean "use at your own risk". Beta software
      might not do its job properly, but that doesn't mean it
      should randomly delete user data.

      Anyone who releases software that can delete your home
      directory is irresponsible, whether they call it beta, alpha,
      whatever. (Cue joke about AT&T being irresponsible for
      releasing "rm".)

      By the way, pkg_add in FreeBSD 2.1.5 once blew away my
      home directory. The author apologized to me and had a
      free set of 2.1.7 CDs sent to me. Now *that's* customer
    • You use any software "at your own risk" (check your EULA).

      But beta software is deliberately released to customers for testing. This is for the benefit of the company, not the customers. Companies should go out of their way to make sure their beta software doesn't do anything seriously bad, and blaming the user for trying the software is self-defeating.

      If anything, beta software should have lots of extra checking compiled into it; it might quit more often than released software and run slower, but it shouldn't crash in unexpected ways any more frequently, and it should definitely go out of its way to guard against data loss.

  • by DansnBear ( 586007 ) <DansnBear@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @05:46PM (#5050425) Homepage Journal
    Dont get me wrong, Im as big of an apple person as they come (I refuse to use a windows machine) but as the page stated (and jobs in his keynote) many times: It's Beta. . . use at your own risk. . . Im sure once it goes to a full release it will be the most kickass browser around, but untill then, I keep my copy of opera in the dock, right next to safari.
    • Man, we all know the software companies have to say that nothing works and everything should be used at our own risk, it's just the lawyers that make them say it, but (nudge nudge wink etc) it actually works like a charm with no problems whatsoever.

      When you're warned about all software, even final retail copies, it's hard to remember to take beta warnings seriously.

      Remember when you found out your teachers lied to you about all illegal substances turning you into a zombie or worse? You were smart enough to figure out what's OK and what's not, but some people figured they should just ignore all the warnings because they don't mean a thing. That's right, the points don't matter, just like Netscape.

      • Apple has a very specific warning on their beta software that never appears on final versions: Important Note: this is trial, pre-release, time-limited software meant for evaluation purposes only. This software should not be used in a commercial operating environment or with important data. Before installing the Apple Software, you should back up all of your data and regularly back up data while using the Apple Software.
    • Chimera 0.6 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:14PM (#5051118) Homepage
      For Mac faithful, try Chimera Navigator which is astonsihly based on Gecko yet worlds apart from Netscape. It's a nice example of a rapid development project benefitting from the OS X environment. 0.6 is a major advance.

      I use Opera and like it, but you do have to pay $40 for it, and we have three machines. I'm a little worrid about Opera's apparent feature creep.

      I don't know what Chimera's future is, but it's free and GPL. I wish Safari all the best but will wait a little. And WHY with Aqua have they still not dropped that awful brushed metal look??? Chimera does a better job of Aqua than Apple's own product.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We just discovered that a discussion board about a beta software program includes complaints about bugs! Shut down the press, we need to get this hot news item into today's edition. Nothing like this has ever happened before!!!!
  • by nrich123 ( 581907 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @05:48PM (#5050452)
    Instead of useless scaremongering.

    I have done multiple control click downloads, and printed a gazillion pages with Safari b48- with no problems.

    So can you please tell us *exactly how to reproduce these bugs so we can avoid it, or stop yelling fire in a crowded theatee?


    Of course, I wouldn't have installed beta software on an unbacked up production machine mysefl, but there we go.
    I don't have a production machine with less than daily backups.
    • Well, my original post was truncated somewhat, I guess to make it fit better on the main page. The problem with /tmp being deleted is a big one. I don't know how to reproduce it yet, but 5 out of the 6 people I work with who have Macs all had /tmp deleted (including me). No one here had their home folder nuked however, but a lot of people have been reporting it on the discussion boards so that's why I included it.

      What happens is that Safari may delete the /tmp symbolic link. The result is that a lot of applications that need to write to /tmp will not run, these problems may include:

      1. Can't launch any Classic Application
      2. Can't run Software Update. I get "an unexpected error has occured."
      3. Can't log in as any other user except the Admin.
      4. Can't print.

      Not being able to run Software Update is a big problem since that would have been Apple's best delivery method to fix the problem.

      Here's how you fix the problems.

      You need to recreate the /tmp symbolic link (/tmp is just a link to /private/tmp).

      1. Open the Terminal application.
      2. Type "sudo ln -s /private/tmp /tmp" (without the quotes).
      3. You'll be prompted for your password, so enter it.
      4. Everything should now work like before (you may have to log out and then log back in again).

      I agree that you should use caution with beta software, but considering that over 300,000 people downloaded it on the first day there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be needing a fix.

      • I don't know how to reproduce it yet, but 5 out of the 6 people I work with who have Macs all had /tmp deleted (including me).

        Make that 5 out of 7. I just want to cast my vote. I've been using Safari damn near constantly since it was released, and I have had neither of these serious problems. My biggest problems were one application crash and what appeared to be a corrupted plist file.
        • and make that 5/8, My tmp directory is still here, large as life . I have used Safari since I downloaded it right after the keynote. No problems whatsoever. So once again: Somethign bad but unrepeatable happened to me is *not* a bug report. Do xyz to repeat this behaviour is a bug report. I haven't seen a bug report on any of the sites, just a lot of hysteria, which will do more harm than good. I agree that a lot of newbies will have downloaded beta software onto production machines which they don't understand deeply, so that errors of the sotrt you describe will not make them think - aha , my tmp directpry has been hosed' . But that's a matter of 'caveat downloador'. And screaming fire is not going to help them. All the best nick
    • So can you please tell us *exactly how to reproduce these bugs so we can avoid it, or stop yelling fire in a crowded theatee?

      Read the posts that this article is talking about; the information is specific and useful. Those who have discovered the bug experience the following: (1) option-clicking a link deletes ~/. If this doesn't happen to you, consider yourself lucky. Me, I'm not going to experiment, because I don't back up my machine often enough. In fact, I'm deleting Safari for now; I don't want to take the chance that I will forget to not touch the option key when using it. (2) the printing bug affects users whose /tmp directory is destroyed, and can be fixed by replacing the directory. To find out if this bug affects you, cd /tmp .... if you can't, then the bug affects you. Anyway the information is pretty specific; I don't see why this is shouting in a theater.

      • Those who have discovered the bug experience the following: (1) option-clicking a link deletes ~/.

        For the record, there are very few reported instances of this happening, and none of them is crystal-clear. On Apple's support boards, I think I counted three people who said that this happened to them, but none of them have thus far been able to describe what they were doing when it happened. (Their accounts sound something like Ellen's "switch" commercial, if you can believe that.)

        For kicks, after I heard about this I DVD'd my entire Users folder and went about option-clicking everything in sight. I ended up with a bunch of files on my desktop, but I didn't have any problems even remotely like what has been reported.

        Should you be cautious? Hell, yeah. It's beta, for Chrissakes. If it sneaks out of your office in the middle of the night, rearranges your sock drawer, eats your children, and deletes all those unwatched episodes of "Wild On" off your TiVo, it's nobody's fault but your own. But is it a disaster just waiting to happen? Apparently not.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:10PM (#5051417)
        I've tried to replicate this bug and cannot, when noone is giving specific information that will allow a tester to replicate a bug that usually means that something else has happened. I'm a software developer who been through many alphas and betas and I can smell hysteria here. It's human nature to assume that computer problems are caused by the software that's currently being tested. Sometimes this is true, and in those cases the effect can be reproduced and hopefully fixed. Many other times the software in question cannot be prodded into recreating the error, and it is often something else (like something the user did that is not related to the software being tested).

        The second part of this phenomenon is the hysteria -the (possibly erroneously reported) bug looks bad and pretty soon everyone's talking about, it seems like everyones got it and anything that goes wrong with a person's computer is due to the program.

        You also get a significant "joiner" effect -people who didn't like the software, or company or whatever begin clamoring about the (now many) debilitating bugs.

        I'm not especially impressed with Safari one way or another, but I've been using it for many hours, doing all the things that are supposed to cause problems, and I still:

        1) have a home directory
        2) have a sym-link to /private/tmp in /
        3) can print

        What am I doing wrong!!!

        Forgot my UID so I am anonymous...
        • For my part, I would have been using Safari for hours, but it no longer opens. What I did:

          1) Play with both Safari and Chimera for awhile, comparing performance and rendering on several webpages.

          2) Shut down and go to bed.

          3) Reboot. Try to launch Safari. No luck. Safari has unexpectedly quit; your system has not been hosed. Reboot and try again. Fidget with settings. Try again. Still doesn't work. Wait for the next version.

          I still have /tmp and ~/. I can't print, but that's nothing new since I don't have a printer.
    • It's funny. People really mean "my graphics workstation" when they say production machine.

    • I would like to know:

      - If there are cases of this happening where the affected user does *not* have admin permissions
      - What the affected users have set as their default download folder

      This seems like a serious threat, but without more data it is hard to know just how serious.

    • I have a friend with a PBG4 (600MHz, I believe) named Virginia running OS X 10.2.3 who uses Safari with no trouble. It loads pages quickly, generally renders them error-free, and doesn't crash.

      I have a PMG4 2x1.25 GHz named Louise running OS X Server 10.2.3 (why? because I can) and I have tried Safari. It crashes frequently while loading www.versiontracker.com, generally loads pages extremely slowly and renders them incorrectly.

      What do you want from a beta? Safari probably has issues with multiprocessor systems, or with Server. I'll use it when they release it for real; till then (though I know I'll get plenty of flak for it on /.) I'll stick with IE.
  • remapped the right mouse button to fire off random commands such as rm -rf $HOME

    Seriously though, did anyone check to make sure they got the right file from the site rather than a hacked version that was put in place of the original. You would think that these kinds of bugs are serious enough that they wouldn't even put out the program (even in beta) until they were fixed.

    • Seriously though, did anyone check to make sure they got the right file from the site rather than a hacked version that was put in place of the original.

      How? They didn't sign it. It's not open source, and if it were, you'd have to sift through the source for hours to have a hope of finding anything.

      You would think that these kinds of bugs are serious enough that they wouldn't even put out the program (even in beta) until they were fixed.

      Yeah. I would guess what happened is that Steve said to be ready by the expo, and they weren't, and they didn't have time to test extensively for major bugs like that. In any case, it's Chimera for me until the next beta.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KH ( 28388 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @05:54PM (#5050531)
    I am a bit skeptical about the reports. It sounds like some people are freaking out because something they didn't happened. Is it not possible that someone tried to download a file whose name was exactly the same as his home directory, and he has set his download location to /Users for whatever reason I don't understand?

    Also, the reports say that /tmp was missing, not that Safari replaces /tmp with a link to /private/tmp. /tmp has always been a link to /private/tmp.

    Safari is a beta software anyway. Use it at your own risk.
    • That may well be "possible", but it's still multiple defects. First, the OS should ensure that /Users is not writable by non-root accounts. Second, no web browser should replace a directory with a file when downloading.

      Safari is a beta software anyway. Use it at your own risk.

      Beta software is handed out by companies to get useful feedback from users. It's of benefit to the companies. Users download it out of curiosity, but that only goes so far. Companies that take your attitude will soon run out of beta testers (and probably users).

      Beta software may perform poorly, but if anything, it should have extensive error checks compiled into it.

  • X11 and /tmp (Score:4, Informative)

    by Daleks ( 226923 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @06:12PM (#5050675)
    The other has been reported as a printing problem, but is far worse. The printing problem occurs because Safari deletes /tmp, which is a link to /private/tmp.

    So that explains it. Apple's X11 application was crashing on me shortly after launch and immediately when requesting the creation of an xterm. The logfile said a lock file in /tmp could not be created.
  • First off, this is a beta. Secondly, I also have had no problem with safari and I've printed a bunch. That said, I sure am going to make sure I don't hit that option-key while downloading!
  • by kuwan ( 443684 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @06:26PM (#5050767) Homepage

    The following was deleted from my original post. Here's how to fix the problems with /tmp:

    You need to recreate the /tmp symbolic link (/tmp is just a link to /private/tmp).

    1. Open the Terminal application.
    2. Type "sudo ln -s /private/tmp /tmp" (without the quotes).
    3. You'll be prompted for your password, so enter it.
    4. Everything should now work like before (you may have to log out and then log back in again).

    I agree with those that have said that you should use caution with beta software, but considering that over 300,000 people downloaded it on the first day there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be needing a fix. 5 of the 6 people I work with (including me) that used Safari had /tmp deleted. That's 83% which means there's probably more than 250,000 people (from just the first day) that are going to need a fix.

    Other problems that might be experienced include:

    1. Can't launch any Classic Application
    2. Can't run Software Update. I get "an unexpected error has occured."
    3. Can't log in as any other user except the Admin.
    4. Can't print.

    There are many more problems that may come up, so anything we can do to get the word out is a good thing.

  • by shdragon ( 1797 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @06:36PM (#5050859) Homepage Journal
    This is a rather old debate...please see link for related debate.
    KDE Office Beta [kde.org]

    Above is an old thread regarding KDE office beta and the confusion caused by alpha, beta, etc. and different people's expectations.

    I think that a good general rule of thumb is to say that:

    pre-alpha/alpha software all bets are off.

    Beta - We've worked out all the major computer destroying bugs but there's still lots of little annoying ones.

    Pre-Release candidate - Hey, we got this thing to work pretty well and now we need people to try and break it so that when we actually release we can

    Honestly, I'd be pretty pissed if someone released a beta and it did something nasty like erase my ~ directory. We're not talking about CS 101 students releasing the Hello World Browser.
  • Hey fellas,

    Not sure if this was Safari, OS X X11, or me rm -rf fink's /sw directory, but I had the misfortune of losing all control over the trackpad on my TiBook. Persisted across restarts, across pram zapping, across power manager reset. No mouse movement with USB mice either. My CD drive was fscked, so I couldn't boot off of OS 10.2 CD.

    I ended up putting my TiBook in Firewire Disk Mode, and reinstalling Jaguar from my wife's iBook onto the Ti. It seems to be working so far, and I even felt adventurous enough to reinstall Safari and X11. (Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment.)

    Has anyone out there has had a similar problem?
    • I had a very similar experience with my Pismo PowerBook & Jaguar. No CD , wouldn't boot. Apple store said it is completely stuffed - they didn't even know about the firewire disk mode or single user mode.

      I got as far as single user boot - but no gui and no way out.

      I did what you did and I now have a functional powerbook again - but the dvd/cd was fscked so I now have an ill fitting cdrom in the slot.

      I have not loaded the dev tools or X11 this time (these older 5gig drives are just too small) and I have no problems. I have nothing to indicate that fink/X11 had anything to do with my problem - it's just that they are the only things different this time around.

  • Rushed job? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by batobin ( 10158 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:25PM (#5051186) Homepage
    A friend who is considering updating to Jaguar asked me if I liked Safari. I had to think for a second. I've switched between iCab, Netscape 6, Mozilla, IE, OmniWeb, and Chimera since I started using OS X. I had finally settled on Chimera as my primary browser before Safari got released.

    So what did I respond? I told him that it seemed to me like it was a rush job. I didn't really see any signs that Apple had spent much time or effort developing the software. Yes, I fully realize it's beta. It should have bugs. But bugs as big as are mentioned in this story? Good gracious no. I've been beta testing Apple software for a long time, and bugs this big are usually taken care of with internal builds. Even seeds delivered to ADC members shouldn't have bugs this big. Safari is a widely publicized public beta.

    Does anybody see any features that really show work? I know they did a lot of under-the-hood stuff, but what did they start with? What was the state of KHTML before Apple started contributing? I'm sure Apple is going to make the browser a large priority, but how much did they really put into Safari before it was released?
    • Re:Rushed job? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are some notes [mamasam.com] in the Cocoa mailing list about the Safari implementation.
    • That's nothing really. Companies sell software with even bigger bugs. Pool of Radiance 2 would delete your C drive if you tried to uninstall it, and it wouldn't install anywhere other than your C drive.
    • Re:Rushed job? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by P. Niss ( 635300 )

      Well, for one thing, prior to Safari, KHTML (in the guise of Konqueror, I guess, although I've never run it under Mac OS X myself) ran as a KDE application under X11 in OS X; now, Safari runs as a native application in Aqua. I don't know how much work this took, but it obviously differentiates Safari from KHTML. The UI of Safari is noticeably different from prior implementations of KHTML; I don't remember having seen the SnapBack feature in KHTML before Safari, although I could be just out of the loop; and, as one would expect, KHTML prior to Safari did not include the Address Book and Rendezvous integration that Safari now has. These facts, among others, indicate to me that, while Apple might still have a ways to go with Safari (hence the "beta"), they did put at least some significant degree of work into it before releasing it, and I'm not sure there's any evidence, in the absence of inside information, that Safari was a rush job.

      With regard to the two major reported bugs, I don't think it ever makes sense to tell otherwise intelligent people who've just had their home directory wiped out after trying to download a file that the bug is nonexistent. In reality, however, these bugs seem to be being reported sporadically at best, and there may be some specific set of circumstances outside of Safari which cause these bugs that we're unaware of. I think the best you can do, then, is acknowledge the usual caveats that go along with using a beta; unless you've actually experienced the bugs, however, I think running scared from Safari might be overdoing it a bit. As always when dealing with software before its official release, caution is the better part of prudence.

      • Good points. I haven't used Konqueror, so I really didn't know.

        Regardless, even if it was bugless, I'm not impressed. Chimera seems to hang less downloading pages, and I can't tell a difference in rendering times. When you have a Dual 1GHz G4, everything is fast. :)
      • Dude. I love Safari, but any bug that can wipe out your home directory is bad.

        My Mac is a production machine, and that kind of risk is far to much to swallow. I am very much looking forward to the next releases of Safari, but until then, I'm back on IE :-(.

  • Oh, and please implement the netscape.javascript.* package. A java class that cannot mess with the browser is a sad java class.

    But yeah. gimme some debugging consoles first.
    Then I'll beta-test the darn thing.

    Thinking of which, is there some form of public bugzilla for safari where I can moan about this AND have a hope of something being done about it?
  • i had set specifically my download folder a long time ago in an era long since forgotten... 10.1... to something other than the default... this download folder was picked up by safari as my preference when i downloaded anything and temp was not nuked.

    too sents

    yes! it may have been too early for a widespread public beta. your mileage may vary.

  • I thought the Unix underpinnings of OS X would prevent things like the deletion of /tmp.
    • Typicaly no, however the /tmp directory has to be world writeable for lots of diffrent apps out there. There was a reference in an older editon of O'Reilly's "System Administration" about a "overzelious" sys admin who changed the /tmp dir to 600 or something similar. As a result it broke vi :)
    • by KH ( 28388 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:29PM (#5051526)

      [xxx@xxx:~]% ls -l /
      lrwxrwxr-t 1 root admin 12 Jan 10 00:43 tmp@ -> /private/tmp

      If you are a member of admin group, you can delete it.

      I am beginning to get an impression that people who had set Download folder to Macintosh HD:tmp in OS 9 using Internet Config may be affected. Looks like Safari honors the setting from the Internet Config.

      Posting from Safari :)
      • [xxx@xxx:~]% ls -l /
        lrwxrwxr-t 1 root admin 12 Jan 10 00:43 tmp@ -> /private/tmp

        If you are a member of admin group, you can delete it.

        Yes, you can delete the link. But not based on what you show here. The permissions on the file allow you to WRITE to the file not delete it. In order to delete the file you need write permissions to the directory it lives in. In this case "/".

        The permissions on "/" are

        drwxrwxr-t 46 root admin 1564 Dec 16 20:38 /

        Which, of course, are exactly the same. But still different.
        • So theoretically, if you've changed mode on "/" (I run Sendmail locally, so I go with
          to keep it from bitching and moaning), you should be immune to this, n'est ce pas?
      • lrwxrwxr-t 1 root admin 12 Jan 10 00:43 tmp@ -> /private/tmp
        If you are a member of admin group, you can delete it.

        Someone needs to brush up on their UNIX. to delete /tmp, you need write permission to /, not to /tmp.

        • Yeah, I need a brush up...

          But / was also group writable, too. I was able to delete /tmp. Yes, I tried rm /tmp :) I am in the admin group.
        • both . and tmp are writeable by the admin group, which the primary user is automatically in. scary. i'd change permissions, but i've noticed that doing things like that will sometimes have weird outcomes. ====
          [cheshire:/] scott% ls -al
          total 9929
          drwxrwxr-t 33 root admin 1122 Jan 10 07:42 ./
          drwxrwxr-t 33 root admin 1122 Jan 10 07:42 ../
          lrwxrwxr-t 1 root admin 12 Jan 10 07:42 tmp@ -> /private/tmp
  • by Van Halen ( 31671 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @08:46PM (#5051605) Homepage Journal
    Although there doesn't seem to be much detail about exactly what Safari is mistakenly doing to cause these bugs, I don't think they would happen to a normal (not in the admin group) user.

    Actually I'm a little perplexed about the home directory thing and would like to see more details on what is going on. /Users on both of my machines is writable by root and the wheel group, but not the admin group. It doesn't seem like this could happen without write permission to /Users, so it sounds a bit fishy. However, if the user were in the wheel group, that could explain it.

    The /tmp thing is easily accomplished if the user is in the admin group since most Apple software updates like to chmod g+w / even when I don't want it that way.

    Personally, I run everything as a non-admin user and have a special "admin" account which is the only one in the admin group. I've ranted on this before, but I still think Apple would have been better off telling people, when they first configure the machine, to simply enter a special administrative password, separate from their normal password. Behind the scenes, they would create an admin user, but any non-advanced user would need not even know that administrative privileges are given via a separate account. All they need to know is their regular account (non-admin) password and the admin password. The facilities for this setup are mostly there - many system-type actions (system-wide prefs, software installs) already ask for an administrative user/password. Just dump the user part (defaulting to "admin"), so as not to confuse non-advanced users. Then add stuff in places like the Finder - try to copy a new program to /Applications and get a dialog asking for the password. Make it as seamless as possible.

    I really think this sort of scheme would have been better, more in line with the traditional Unix security model while still giving people full control over their machines without absolutely requiring knowledge of "root," "sudo" and other Unixisms. Advanced (or wreckless) users could even be given the option to "give my account full time administrative privileges" (add to the admin group) with proper warnings of possible doom.

    • Personally, I run everything as a non-admin user and have a special "admin" account...

      The only difference between an admin user and a regular user is that the admin is in the sudoers file and in group "staff" (not group "admin"). Unless you authenticate to the system (equivelant to sudo), you have no more privelages than a regular user unless you have made lots of stuff owned by the "staff" group.
  • Okay, we've got the first post [apple.com] on Apple's Discussion boards at (Posted Jan 8, 03 3:35 am) and the bug report has made it to Slashdot by 4:37 EST, I assume. The "world" knows about this problem, and has for hours.

    I'm upset for a number of reasons. Hey, this is a beta, sure. As a software developer myself, a huge bug that doesn't turn up until you let someone else take a look is, unfortunately, expected. The Chinaman (Big Lebowski screenplay here [screentalk.org] if you missed the reference)... ur, bug's not the issue here, dude.

    Here's what's wrong -- we've got 300,000 people who prefer mice with one button a hair's breath away from erasing pretty important folders. We can hardly expect they've backed everything up. Here are three reasons Apple's more than just dropped the ball...

    1.) Fire up Software Update in OS X. We've come to expect IE updates here. There's nothing about a Safari update.
    2.) Go back to apple.com/safari. Try to download. Same version they released right after the keynote. No fix offered.
    3.) There's not even a mention about the problem on the Safari project lead's blog [mozillazine.org], though there are mentions that they've fixed the appearence of VersionTracker's front page [versiontracker.com] (Admittedly, I sent that bug in yesterday with probably literally thousands of others). Can they really not be aware of the directory-erasing problem?

    Look, this is worse than MSN Messenger going down for five hours due to human error [cnn.com]. So what if I can't IM? I'll finally get some work done. With Safari, there are people reporting that they're losing their iPhoto set-ups, their Documents folders, and even their entire home directory. Expecting Joe iPhoto user to reattach symbolic links is a bit much, folks.

    It's embarassing, even if this is some sort of strange hoax (which it certainly doesn't seem to be) that Apple's not on top of things. More than mud in Apple's eye, this is nearly scandal.
    • I am beginning to wonder if open betas are really the right way for software development to be moving. Recently someone mentioned how easy it is to get beta software these days, and I realized that they were right, it wasn't long ago that beta software was something you had to apply for and hope to be chosen to recieve. I think that this uniqueness prevented less knowledgable users from gaining access to the software, at least without some effort, which meant that if you got it you generally knew what it could do, and were prepared to deal with the consiquences. Perhaps more software should go back to a more closed beta to prevent these sorts of situations from occuring.

      Incidentally, did you know that SPAM is concidered a treat in Hawaii? They have some resturants that feature it in $20 a plate dishes, and it usually sells out on paydays. I have heard that it was popular at truck stops as well.
      • by mtec ( 572168 )
        I likespam. Always have. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam right now!
  • Everyone loves and remembers the silly kernel panic from OS 10.2. I never got it to work on my machine. Maybe this problem with Safari is the same sort of thing. I know that 10.2 must use the VFS "virtual filesystem interface", so from this I will make some very gross assumptions.

    1. The VFS UFS implementation is pretty stable. Lacking softupdates at this point, but still both mature and robust.

    2. The VFS HFS / HFS+ implementation is newer, and a bit slower (quite subjectively), and seems to me to be somehow weak, or flimsy, or not-quite robust.

    I get the same feeling from the VFS HFS+ layer that I did from the P/T Cruiser and the Ford Focus. No offense to anybody who worked on the code, but it doesn't feel right.

    I'll take this opportunity again to tell Apple to just put a kibosh on HFS+ for good. Go FFS+S, or something else but for heaven's sake, if you're going to remodel the house, you might as well finish!
  • Has anyone figured out how to stop Safari from spawning its windows anywhere and everywhere, randomly on both my monitors? Does anyone else have this problem?

    At least in Omniweb they finally included a Save Window Position option. Safari is just weird.

    Which brings me to another problem. When I hit the + gumdrop, I sometimes get a window that is maximized to the dimensions of my smaller screen (1280x854) instead of 1280x1024! That happens a lot though with a bunch of different applications. Does anybody know how to make a Cocoa app's window take up both screens without having to do the little dance of maximizing it, nudging the window over onto the other display a little (like 1 or 2 pixels) and then grabbing the resize handle and finally making it the desired size?
  • I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ealar dlanvuli ( 523604 ) <froggie6@mchsi.com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @12:25AM (#5052669) Homepage
    None of those posts claiming their home directory was deleted contained any of the following information:

    1: The file being downloaded
    2: The download destination
    3: Their Username
    4: The settings they had in Safari.
    5: How to attempt to repeat it.

    Sounds like a nice distributed troll with a goal of ruining Safari's reputation. If anyone can provide those 5 peices of information to me, I will start to believe this might possibly be a legitimate rumor.
    • "Bullshit" was the first thing that crossed my mind, actually. I've been scanning this discussion looking for anyone else of a like mind.

      The bug in question was first reported in a public forum. Anyone who wanted to could go in there and say anything they liked. There are people out there who like to spread M$ FUD, as a religious duty. The only way I'm going to buy these reports is when Apple is able to replicate them. It should not be too hard to do so once they know what to look for.

      The browser wars are on again, people. The M$ FUD machine is going to start churning out poop. Get your shovel and start digging.
  • whew! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Slur ( 61510 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @12:59AM (#5052833) Homepage Journal
    Thank goodness, according to the latest reports it only affects Microsoft astroturfers.
  • by cmdrjbgoode ( 586617 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @01:17AM (#5052903)
    i run 10.2.3, and have two main users, an admin and a normal user. i always log in a the unprivileged normal user and only use the admin for, uh, admin. duh. when files are downloaded, they go to ~/Desktop. i won't reveal my usernames for security reasons but they don't contain spaces. my admin user lives on the same disk as os x (/users/admin/), and my normal user lives on an external firewire disk (/volumes/disk/foouser/) i download flat files from my bank to import into quicken. on every other browser i've used, clicking the appropriate link on the bank's page downloads a file "foo.qif". safari comes out, i get it and use the default settings. i try downloading the file. safari shows me the contents of the flat file in the window. i go back to the previous page, option click on the link and choose "save link target as..." (i don't have the exact text, because safari is banned for reasons that will become obvious). the file downloads, i import it. fine. good. i keep using my computer for a few days, using safari (but not option-click downloading anything). i read here about how this problem has happened. i logout from my normal user, log in as my admin user and delete /Applications/Safari.app, ~/Library/Safari/*, and everything else i can find with that name. (yes, i know i can do that from terminal, but i had other stuff to do in the gui.) when i try to log back in as my normal user, i get the default desktop and dock. yikes! sure enough, my home dir /volumes/disk/user is empty except for . and .. after a few minutes of panic & regret & resolutions to get a friggin cd burner for backups of those priceless photos of my kid, etc, i realize the disk usage hasn't changed. relief sets in and i realize the files aren't gone, they've just been misplaced. i log out and then log in as my admin user. i run disk utility and repair the external disk. it says the directory listing is incorrect and repairs it and then everything is magically good as new. i log in as my normal user and all my files are back. i never had any printing problems.
  • Other Bugs (Score:3, Informative)

    by rixstep ( 611236 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:30AM (#5053392) Homepage
    These are other bugs I have seen. It will be interesting to see if anyone else has experienced them.

    1. Safari can handle only three downloads at a time. If you put a fourth download in the queue, it will replace the third, which will be completely skipped; the fifth will replace the fourth; and so on.

    2. (Cosmetic) The "no man's land" in the lower right hand corner between the scroll bars can get screwed up if you start scrolling before Safari's finished rendering the page. Occurs especially when the horizontal scroll bar is in use.

    3. (Cosmetic) Safari attempts to win time by rendering each frame in a frame URL as it is received, but before the entire frame set is known. As a result, rendering can look clumsy, with frames jumping across the window and back again.

    4. You can't turn off auto-complete. To not get an entire URL as Safari presumes it, you have to delete the completion twice.

    5. You cannot stop animations, and you cannot set animations to loop only a single time.

    6. The History menu becomes impossible to use with too many URLs - it locks up as Safari attempts to load the "Earlier Today" submenu. Workaround is to hit the up arrow key when the menu is highlighted on the menu bar.

    None of these are serious, except perhaps the download queue bug, and that's a good one.

    Cheers, R.
    • Well, not the one you detail, anyway.

      How's that?

      Simple. I'm downloading ten DIVX files right now. TEN. AT ONCE. Thank you.

      The number of files you can download at any given time is a *preference*. I made a lot of hotheaded mistakes with Safari when I was first using it- this was one of them.
  • I would've posted a more elaborate description and a link, but the "Lameness filter" prevented me from doing so, even in Plain Old Text.

    Anyway (rolls eyes), go to Apple Discussion Boards [apple.com] and search for Galen Muir (the one who gave me the solution). Look for a post (or posts) with subject "RE: Possible Solution"

    This fix should resolve any issues you may have with Classic, Software Update, Installer (and maybe printing, CD burning, and "incorrect PPP option" while trying to connect to the internet).

    If you have downloaded Safari, and suffered thse problems, then i highly suggest that you check those posts and carefully follow the directions.

  • OK, so I was one of the ones in hyperventilation mode about this, but I think I have hit on a workable compromise that breaks no UI laws, costs no screen real estate, and continues in the tradition of list navigation that every Mac user knows.

    The short answer is that the list of currently open window would be the list of currently open (=tabbed) pages; it this list were supplied as an explict collection (like History) when in "bookmark" or "collections" mode (what you get when you click on the "book" icon or hit option-cmd-B), you can basically have your tabs in one combo-key-stroke.

    The whole story is spelled out here in my recent reply on a previous thread. [slashdot.org]

    Please let me know if you think this could or could not work.

  • Apple has posted a Safari Update [apple.com] to address the serious bugs users have been reporting.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".