Apple has terminated a “seed” program that provided Macintosh developers with early access to development builds of
Safari, its own home-grown Web browser for Mac OS X.
Safari was first unveiled to Mac users at Macworld Conference & Expo this past January, and has been released as a public beta. The Web browser is based on KHTML and KJS software developed from the KDE open source project. Apple has lauded Safari as faster than other Web browsers, including the then-current builds of Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Chimera (since updated and renamed Camino). Safari features integrated Google search capabilities, a new way of handling bookmarks, and other unique features.
In addition to a public beta version — most recently posted on February 12, 2003 as v60 — several interim builds have been seeded to registered Apple Developer Connection (ADC) members to obtain additional feedback prior to Safari’s general public release.
The use of the interim Safari builds and participation in the seeding program is governed by a non-disclosure agreement that forbids participants from sharing the software. Unfortunately, copies of the developer-only releases found their way into the public through peer-to-peer file sharing services and other resources not controlled by Apple.
Over the weekend, Apple sent an e-mail to developers informing them that the v67 build would be the final build of Safari available to them. The company cited the illicit public distribution of the v67 build as the reason for ending the seeding program.
Safari remains under development at Apple, and the v60 public beta is still in distribution and available for download directly from Apple. The company has not yet offered a confirmed shipping date for Safari’s final 1.0 release.