Nowadays, we take Safari for granted, however it was very nearly called Freedom. Don Melton, the man behind Safari, reveals on his blog that Steve Jobs really liked the name, as it invoked a freedom from Internet Explorer. Unless somebody had come up with Safari (and a certain feminine hygiene product didn’t exist), it might well have been Freedom.
During the Summer of ‘02, Steve Jobs and the Apple management team realized that we were going to pull this off — we could actually ship a Web browser by the end of the year. And at one particularly good Human Interface design session, discussion turned to what we were going to call this — thing.
As I remember, Steve just started saying some names out loud — I suppose trying them out to see how they felt in his mouth and to his ears. Which is not as odd as it seemed then — it’s a good technique now that I think about it.
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.
While Melton was at first cautious about the Safari name, it grew on him and he now thanks whoever came up with the idea. Rather like how the Mac was almost called MacMan, it’s an interesting story and an awesome way to create conversation at a geek dinner party. Despite the fact that this was actually posted a while ago, I felt that, having come across it now, it might still make some interesting discussion!