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Restart to upgrade Safari, really!?

Given all the stability problems I’ve had with Safari recently I was glad Apple announced a new, more stable version today (v5.0.1).

I ran Software Update and two installs were suggested:

  • Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Update 1.0
  • Safari 5.0.1

I agreed to both and Software Update downloaded them, then told me it needed to restart my computer.

Really? A system restart for a web browser update and driver updates to devices I don’t use yet?

Come on Apple, this sort of thing will make you the subject of ridicule… Sigh.

I did the restart, but am annoyed. I’ve effectively switched to Firefox anyway. Wish the update did NOT require a restart, and for the rare one that actually does, wish it warned the user before starting the update (a little flag to the right saying “restart required” would be sufficient).

At least Safari 5.0.1 is dramatically more stable than Safari 5.0 on 10.6 – huge improvement in stability. Opening a dozen sites in tabs no longer reliably crashes the browser…

Update: it turns out that the “Safari” update is really a WebKit Framework update, potentially impacting dozens of applications – that makes more sense to require a restart, though now I wonder why Apple did not label it as a WebKit Framework update and indicate in the details of the download that a restart would be required.

{ 10 } Comments

  1. R | July 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Restart required for Safari 5.0.1 upgrade ONLY as well.
    A software which is even not running…

    Strange indeed on a Unix based system.
    Maybe we are missing something?

  2. R | July 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    ahh… found something on

    reallycrazyguy said

    “…Safari update patches the WebKit framework, which more than just Safari uses. Lots of other software use it, including iTunes, lots of 3rd party software. Updating the framework files can screw up the operation of the applications, as MacOS X doesn’t support live updating of frameworks for running applications.

    It’s just safer to get the user to restart, to make sure all apps are using the updated framework. You can force-quit the Installer, and relaunch apps that are obviously using WebKit, but you can expect random problems to occur, that may or may not be readily linked to the update (that won’t happen after you restart).”

  3. snolan | July 29, 2010 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Ah, thank you! That makes more sense; though Apple really should call it a WebKit Core Update, and indicate before the user commits that it will require a restart.

  4. Sandro Fouche | July 29, 2010 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Actually, Apple *does* warn you, in the same way they have always warned you.
    In the left-most column in Software Update (assuming you’re showing details), the Safari update shows the “reboot” icon. It’s a small grey circle with a left pointing triangle in it.

    Just above the buttons at the bottom of the window there’s a line explaining:
    “You must restart your computer after the update is installed.” adjacent to that same icon.

    If you don’t select an update that requires restart, that message disappears.

  5. snolan | July 29, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I noticed that on my Leopard boxes this morning, but I did not on my snow leopard boxes… will look again… hmmm

  6. failure | July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Fail. Dude, I just yell’d at my father telling him that SOMETHING IS WRONG ON ZEH INTERNETZ!!!

  7. Jeff Holt | November 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    They just did it again. The Safari 5.1.2 update window on my Lion MacBook Pro says “You must restart your computer after the update is installed.”

    How did reallycrazyguy figure out the files being updated by the update? The whole update thing seems intentionally opaque, which is fine by me if it does the right thing. I looked for the post by him that you cited and couldn’t find it.

    Requiring a reboot for Safari? Bad. Lying about what you’re really updating? Inexcusable.

  8. snolan | November 30, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Yeah – I noticed the warning this time, on both Lion and Snow Leopard. I am postponing for now, because:
    1) I don’t want PDFs inline in my browsing – I like that they are a separate app right now
    2) I am not using Safari much anyway as the cross-site javascript hacking is too risky without NoScript like functionality… so I am Firefox and Chrome for now for security reasons

  9. snolan | November 30, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    @Jeff: He (reallycrazyguy) probably looked at both the Apple Support page for that update and analyzed what was in the delivered packages with Pacifist or another package examiner.

    This update’s support page:

    Apple is actually wonderful about providing details if you dig a little – they just make the automatic descriptions very easy for non-techies to read. Techies can dig for details if they like (and we do)…

    Obviously, click “Show Details” on every install, and then click each item in the list to read about the install. Click Not Now and then Google the specific versions that the updater wants you to install. Somewhere in that google list will be the Apple Support document for the install.

    You can download the update as a package and examine the files inside. You can then (and IT support guys like this) then schedule the package you downloaded ONCE to install on hundreds of Macs if you support them (saves on internet bandwidth).

  10. Jeff Holt | November 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Odd. The link you provided shows only 5.1.1. When I google I get the same link but when I click it I get a page that shows 5.1.2. I digress.

    I still have a couple of problems (since I have to update at least a test machine). The first one is that the information needed at the web page (which isn’t even linked to in the update application) is not there.

    I do see that I can download something but the download is the entire application not an update. I don’t see a link to download the “patch”.

    My guess is that reallycrazyguy probably had to download the entire application for two versions and then compute the diff.

    I’m not comforted at all by what you’ve helped me find. I’m not going to compute the diff. And so, apple isn’t really that different than microsoft w.r.t. updates (possibly many others).

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