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Safari goes community - again

Second bite at open source

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Fresh from alarming Apple developers with the news it's going Intel, Apple Computer has also re-worked its open source strategy to drive the Safari browser. Following criticism of its rather closed Safari development process, Apple has now launched a new online presence with project management tools for its browser.

Apple engineer David Hyatt, who works on Safari, and who disclosed news of the changes, said Apple would now be: "Engaging actively with the community."

Under the changes, Apple has launched the WebKit Open Source Project, for the WebKit, WebCore and JavaScriptCore Safari components. Apple's project features full CVS access to WebCore and the JavaScriptCore, KHTML and kjs-based frameworks, and full access to the project's history. There is a public mailing list and bugs can be submitted and tracked at bugzilla.opendarwin.org.

Reaction from developers was largely positive, if comments to Hyatt's blog are anything to go by.

Apple launched the WebKit Open Source Project after reportedly attracting criticism from developers of the KHTML browser engine, used in Safari, that the company was taking more from the project than it was contributing.

Apple will no doubt also be hoping that a little of the open source, community-based magic that has helped propel Firefox to increased downloads and steadily growing market share will also rub off on Safari.

Firefox currently has between five and 10 percent market share, depending on which analysts you choose to believe, along with 50 million plus downloads since version 1.0 became available in November 2004. Safari has managed roughly two percent market share in the two years since Apple picked-up it up - Safari runs only on the Mac and is not cross-platform like Firefox.®

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