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After complaints, Apple tweaks Software Update for Safari

Software Update program now distinguishes between "New Software"--that is, Safari for Windows XP--and "Updates." Some Mozilla folks say it's still not quite enough.

Following a storm of criticism, Apple has changed its Software Update software to mark a distinction between new programs, such as its Safari on Windows browser, and updates to existing ones.

Last month, Apple started to include Safari 3.1 in a list of applications available from its Software Update program.

Now Apple Software Updates distinguishes between new software and updates. Asa Dotzler, Mozilla

That practice got many people riled up, complaining that Apple was essentially deceiving people into installing a new program--Safari 3.1 for Windows XP--through a program meant to update already installed applications, namely iTunes and QuickTime.

Among those complaining was John Lilly, the CEO of Mozilla which makes the competing Firefox browser.

In a blog, Lilly said that Apple's practice was "wrong" and bad for the industry "because it undermines the trust that we're all trying to build with users."

Now, Apple's Software Update has two separate boxes, one labeled "New Software" and the other labeled "Updates." Before Safari 3.1 was under the "Updates" box and there was no "New Software" heading.

The old way: including new programs like Safari in with updates of already installed programs. CNET Networks

The folks at Mozilla noticed the change but don't appear fully satisfied.

"This is a good first step. Now Apple needs to stop checking the box for "New Software" items by default. With that change, I think I'd be pretty happy to let the Apple Software Update service back on my Windows machine," Asa Dotzler, director of Mozilla community development, wrote Thursday.

An Apple representative told Computerworld that the change was done to distinguish new software from updates but declined to say whether it was in response to criticisms or whether Apple may leave the "New Software" box unchecked, as Mozilla's Dotzler suggested.