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 5 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 view.

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 enthused.

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 2009.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments