Safari has been the default name for Apple’s internet browser for 10 years. But it could easily been called something else if Steve Jobs had his way. According to some recently revealed information, the late great co-founder had ‘iBrowse’, ‘Alexander’ and ‘Freedom’ on the shortlist. A developer who worked on the project with Apple back in the day stated that ‘Freedom’ was a favorite with Jobs as it signified a freedom from Microsoft’s IE browser.
Don Melton, the engineer, has written a blog reliving the time they came up with the name:
“I don’t recall all the names, but one that stands out is “Freedom.” Steve spent some time trying that one out on all of us. He may have liked it because it invoked positive imagery of people being set free. And, just as possible and positive, it spoke to our own freedom from Microsoft and Internet Explorer, the company and browser we depended on at the time.
Of course, all I could think about was, “Please don’t let us name the browser after a feminine hygiene product!” But cooler heads and filthier minds prevailed. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one in the room with that concern. So, after some discussion about its actual merits, “Freedom” moved off the candidate list.”
Names for the browser apparently got worse, with ‘Alexander’ and ‘iBrowse’ being suggested. The latter become something of an inside joke among the crew to the point of having T-Shirts printed with it on. The former was the codename for a long time. When Don was initially confronted with the final name ‘Safari’, his first response was “It doesn’t suck.” After which the name grew on him, and was a hit with the rest of the engineering team.
To read the entire recollection, head on over to Don Melton’s blog post. It’s pretty interesting.