De-Clutter Function Comes from Existing Project

Safari 5 ‘Reader’ Based on Open Source ‘Readability’ Code

Jessica Thornsby

After the Eclipse Community Survey discovers less companies are contributing back to open source, developers are surprised to discover Safari 5 features are based on their project.

The recently-released Safari
features some surprise open source code, in the form of a
‘Reader’ button that strips away adverts and other visual
distractions from online articles.

Safari 5 detects whether you’re currently browsing a web page
that features an article and, if the Reader icon is activated in
the Smart Address Field, the article then appears in a de-cluttered
view. Users can modify this view by changing the size of the text,
and Safari will remember these settings for the next time Reader is
activated. Users can also email and print articles in this

If it sounds a little similar to the Readability project and tool for removing the clutter
from your web browser, that’s because it uses the Readability
source code. This came as a surprise to Arc90 Labs, the team behind
Readability, who spotted the feature and posted a blog praising Apple for taking a route similar
to their Readability project. “We’d love to see the other leading
browsers along with publishers and content creators continue to
improve how Web-delivered content is displayed and consumed,” they

After discovering that Reader wasn’t just ‘like’ Readability,
but came from the same source code, the Arc90 Labs team posted a
note at the end of the blog, acknowledging that “we’ve since
discovered that Safari’s “Reader” feature is, in fact, based upon
our own Readability.” Lead Product Architect and Partner at Arc90,
Chris Dary, has also noted that Readability is credited in the
acknowledgement section of Safari 5.

Readability is licensed under the Apache 2 license, which does
not require code contributions back to the community. This news
comes after the results of the Eclipse Community Survey 2010 found
that less companies are
willing to contribute back
to open source software now, than in

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