Safari 3.0 Install Snafu Cripples Some Macs

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Some Mac users who have tried the three-day-old Safari 3.0 browser beta are hopping mad at Apple Inc. because several notable applications won't work after installing the application.

Numerous postings on Apple's user-to-user support forum recounted various misfortunes when they installed the Safari preview -- or tried to. Only hours after Safari 3.0's launch, a user identified as max said, "Just downloaded it, but while installing the installer crashed. [N]ow my old safari is gone and the installer app does no longer work!"

Others quickly jumped in. "Same problem here," said Senne. "Installer crashed, can't launch any Cocoa app. iTunes, Coda, Adium, etc...all fail to launch." Others jumped in to say that they'd had the same thing happen to them. Cocoa is Apple's object-oriented development platform.

Some users were more succinct. "Safari nooooo," said a PowerBook user going by the name "viatorglu." "This is SERIOUS!" said Ron Manke, going for the all-caps shout-out approach.

In the course of 85 messages in that thread, and several more threads on the Safari 3 Public Beta for Mac forum, users came up with possible solutions, tested, rejected, and moved on. Eventually, the group puzzled out the how -- if not the why -- of the problems.

A common characteristic was that the Safari installer had crashed part-way through the Safari installation, or the user had done a forced quit after the installer appeared to hang. In all cases, WebKit framework files were corrupted by the failed install. WebKit is the open-source application framework used by Safari, Apple's Mail e-mail client, the Adium instant messenger and other Web-centric software. Some users got their machines back in working order by extracting the necessary files from an earlier operating system update, while others sniffed out that the older files were intact, but had been moved on the drive.

"The installer creates an archive in the following directory: /Library/Application Support/Apple/.SafariBetaArchive.tar.gz," said a user named "boxhead." "You can unzip this and you'll find both of the missing frameworks which you can move back to where they should be."

Another user, "max," went even farther to help, and posted a two-part video that walked users through the recovery. "Nice work, what a great help," responded Eme.

The fiasco soured many of the forum contributors on Safari 3.0, beta or not. "I don't know if I'm ever going to run Safari again," said Derry Dubuque after he'd had to rebuild his PowerMac G5's boot volume.

As users wondered whether Safari developers were getting the information they'd posted, at no time did anyone identifying themselves as an Apple representative or employee pipe up on the forum. Nor has Apple posted any documents to its support knowledge base that address this issue or any of the problems Mac users have reported with the beta. Apple did not reply to a request for comment.

Since Monday, users have posted nearly 1,500 messages to the forum dedicated to the Mac edition of Safari 3.0.

This story, "Safari 3.0 Install Snafu Cripples Some Macs" was originally published by Computerworld.

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