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Inquisitor 3, present and future

Inquisitor 3.0 (v43) is now available for download. This release restores instant search results for users using Google.com (US) as their search source.

This minor release aside, I’d like to talk about something a bit more serious. It’s been widely reported that Apple will be eliminating the Input Manager construct in Leopard, which is the mechanism Inquisitor uses to add its features to Safari. Quite simply, if the reports are correct, Apple will effectively be sounding the death knell for Inquisitor (and the many other popular application extensions users rely on).

For me, this is deeply saddening news. Inquisitor started as a crazy idea conceived of on an airplane, and has grown far beyond my expectations into a community with hundreds of thousands of loyal users. Inquisitor provides a unique user experience that streamlines the common task of searching the web, and using Safari without it feels like taking a step backwards. I had been looking forward to taking things to the next level through new features and further refinement of the Inquisitor user experience, but it now appears that my hands have been tied.

I realize that I’m but one person who has no ability to influence policy at Apple. That said, if you as an Inquisitor user feel disappointed by this, you should probably send some feedback to Apple, though I don’t know if anyone is listening.


  • August 24th, 2007 12:01 am




PS: you may consider sell this to Apple


David, a couple of things…

It would be great if you or someone else could in more layman terms how one should even complain about this. I started writing a note to Apple about their “removal of the Input Manager construct in Leopard” – but I stopped myself and realized I couldn’t really pull this off with any level of credibility. It would be obvious I don’t know what I am talking about.

I could cry to them that my favorite Safari plugin isn’t going to work…and well, we know what kind of reaction that would get. What are they removing and what impact will it have beyond Inquisitor…name some other popular application extensions that will die as a result of this.

Secondly, I think for non devs you might been sending people to the right page – but for Apple devs with beta releases of Leopard, I think there is another page to which they can go and complain. With complaints that might actually be read. Maybe someone can look into that.

Thirdly, is Apple’s change going to require that you re-write Inquisitor in some completely different manner – or does it kill (unequivocally) the ability of plugins like Inquisitor to function under any circumstances. Please elaborate. And thanks for Inq.3.0.


Feedback sent to Apple:


I am an avid user of some tools (Inquisitor, Stand) which extend Safari using Input Managers. If the rumours that Input Managers will be removed from Leopard are true, please provide a plugin mechanism for Safari which will allow these great tools to flourish in the future. I believe that not having any plugin capabilities will drive more people to Firefox. The sheer number and diversity of plugins available for Firefox is one of the main reasons for its popularity.

Kind regards,

Inquisitor cannot be redesigned for the new reality. Apple is, according to the reports, killing the extension mechanism (and not replacing it with anything comparable). This means that application extensions of this sort are simply technically impossible. If you want other examples, basically everything over at PimpMySafari will suffer the same fate.

What are the alternatives? Well, Apple could defer the termination of this feature or at least make it easily configurable by the user. Alternately, they could provide a proper extension API for Safari. Alternately, they could incorporate Inquisitor directly into Safari. The last is arguably the best solution (from a software architecture viewpoint), and I would oblige if Apple so desired.


I sent feedback to Apple. I disagree about Inquisitor being built in… it would be great but fact is there will always be somebody out there who makes some sort of genius plugin that Apple didn’t think of so it is important to maintain the plugin architecture. Inquisitor specifically is very important as it one of the first things i install on mine and any other system given to me to set up. I have introduced many people to it and it becomes synonymous to them with the benefits of OS X. They don’t really distinguish between the two but Inquisitor is so cool that they take pride in their OS because of it. On a side note, I love your apps. I would have never have thought that I would ever pay money for a torrent app. I mean who does that? It’s just so nice though that it is an irresistible app. PS. Please change the design of the buttons back to the non-beta version. Those other buttons look too Windowsish or something like that


David, I’ve penned my first ever feedback note to Apple, hope it helps. At the very least they should put you on the Apple payroll!

Makes me wonder, a possible Spotlight-powered Safari search box coming up in Leopard, perhaps? ..



I would really hate to see Inquisitor go away!

According to David Watanabe at http://www.newsfirerss.com/blog/?p=175, the impending release of Leopard will remove Safari’s InputManagers which are necessary for applications that extend Safari, such as Inquisitor. I am an avid user of Inquisitor.

Please either:
* Defer the termination of Safari’s InputManager, or
* Make this feature easy for the user to activate, or
* Provide a proper extension API for Safari, or
* Incorporate Inquisitor directly into Safari.


Another alternative, would be to make inquisitor independent of safari – a menubar/spotlight search field summoned by a global hotkey, or a quicksilver plugin…

but, yes it would be very unfortunate for inquisitor and all other extensions to be killed off.


I’m going to make a suggestion out of left field here:

Why not port it to Camino or open source it so it can be distributed with Camino?

Does it make you any money as it is? I paid for version 2 once it began supporting Camino; but has version 3 made any money for you?

If it does make money then I suppose this suggestion seems far less inviting. I also realise Camino is a relatively small player in the Mac browser market but if Inquisitor’s home is on it’s way out then making a new home doesn’t sound so bad.

I suppose that deep down I’m just wanting Inquisitor on my favourite browser. Although this suggestion is selfish in nature, I think it’s an option that might be viable to explore.


Feedback to Apple:

By many reports, it is rumored that Apple is eliminating the Input Manager construct in 10.5 Leopard. This would put an end to Inquisitor (http://www.inquisitorx.com/safari/), arguably the most used, most useful, Safari plugin available. As stated here (http://www.newsfirerss.com/blog/?p=175), “using Safari without [Inquisitor] feels like taking a step backwards.”

I hope these reports are just rumors, because if I can’t use Inquisitor with Leopard, then I can’t use Safari with Leopard.


Here is what I just wrote. Hope it provides some with ideas.

There are rumors that the input manager will not be part of Leopard.

One of the reasons that Safari remains the principle browser on the Macs across the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (250,000 employees, over 3,000 Mac and growing) is a small piece of freeware called Inquisitor. Inquisitor provides a greatly accelerated and more efficient method of using the Safari built-in google search box. Inquisitor allows our users to bypass the google interface and move from Safari input to successful location of information in one step. By bypassing the Google results page, users find themselves operating faster and more accurately in many cases saving you tax dollars and providing clear superiority over the search experience in MS Internet Explorer 6. Good for our users and good for your potential new customers.

If this rumor proves true, I would strongly urge you to reconsider or to purchase Inquisitor from the developer (and hire the fellow for the Safari team?).

In addition, I believe this effects Spell Catcher as well? Spell Catcher is an integral part of the Section 508 Disability Act additions to a Macintosh system allowing our disabled Veterans to type with macros. My signature below comes from typing “wwa” and Spell Catcher expands it.

Very Respectfully,
Wm. Cerniuk
Project Manager / Sr. Systems Architect
Veterans Affairs
877.529.5730 (toll free)

Time is Short, and the Water Rises


If I remember correctly, InputManagers will remain present in 10.5. However, for security, I think you’ll have to explicitly start to enable them. So basically, InputManagers have a stay of execution from Apple.


sent feedback..

i thnik inquisitor is best thing that happened to an apple program.


but what about camino? there was a time when inquisitor supported that browser.

and yes, it would be so cool if you could turn to apple and sell inquisitor to them, so it becomes a standard feature of safari… 3.???


well at least they didn’t kill tcp/ip support or the network stack or something else that might make your other products worthless over night.



Didn’t Apple already steal this idea and implement it on their new website?


Please add or provide way to add Google.lv (Latvia) to search sources. Thanks!

Your customer from Latvia (NewsFire, Inquisitor, Acquisition).


I do like Inquisitor a lot, it’s a very clever productivity tool. But in respect of Input Managers, I’ve read an argument about the security problems that they could open. This comes from the BibDesk mailing list, a program that also use very cleverly Input managers (for citation auto-completion in Cocoa apps). I guess it was written by one of BibDesk developers, Christian Hofman :

Input managers are loaded automatically by every app, behind the back of the user. They actually change the code of the app into which they are loaded, and can basically do anything (at least as long as the app has sufficient access). Other apps are directly opened by the user or as a result of opening a file (which asks the user the first time it uses an app). In other words: when you have an input managerinstalled it is potentially always used, without the user being in the loop, while for normal apps, the user specifically asks for the app to be opened, directly or indirectly. Note that although in bibdesk you tell which apps use the input manager, it is still loaded into every cocoa app. It just does nothing when it is loaded into an app that is not registered. But we could easily be lying about that.

Plugins, like custom system prefs, are somewhat in between. But still much safer. They interact with the host app only through a fixed API, they don’t change the code for the host app. And they are used under the conditions of the host app as plugins.

Actually, I think the system should ask the user to use an input
manager the first time, as it does with apps for opening a file.

I guess that for Apple this is also a difficult decision to take, and I hope they maybe find a way to open the doors for integration with third-party add-ons, but keeping the house safe.



so discouraging to hear.

i hope they get the message.

on another note, this add-on would benefit from incorporating the pull-down option to “search this site” using the google hack site:domain.com incorporated successfully into acid search.

that was one of the best features of acid search.

also: can you figure out a way to keep inquisitor prefs intact even when one is forced to delete corrupt or problematic safari prefs because it is a pain in the kibbutz to have to reconfigure inquisitor every time.

if not, i’d rather have more of the preconfigures options as default in in inquisitor because it’s easier to delete the extras than add the missing ones.


Inquisitor must be top of Apple’s list to buy. (Although its a redmond tactic)
Inquisitor is probably one of the only reasons I won’t be upgrading to Leopard in october


I was encouraged to see that Input Managers still worked with the Safari 3 Beta, and hoped that was a sign that they would continue into Leopard.

Unfortunately, I believe this means that many users will be jumping to Gran Paradiso (FF3) on Leopard, since it will be just as quick as Safari and customizable. I guess they could switch to Camino, but it’s just not as customizable and with the speed improvements in FF3, and new Gecko engine, there will really be little use for Camino at that point IMO.

Dave, thanks for your continuing work on Inquisitor despite the possible future end of its use.


Just send feedback to Apple. I support you, love your software.



Why you make Inquisitor not as NSMenuExtra like Spotlight?



Inquisitor is my favorite 3rd party application, even more so than QuickSilver. When it was first released, I was privileged to buy it.

Apple’s own search feature on their website is more like inquisitor than spotlight.

Please DW, find a way to make a version for Leopard!



English is not my primary language but i send my feedback to Apple.



I just started using Inquisitor a few days ago and I love it.

I have to say that 1Passwd is also using InputManagers in Tiger but we had to switch to a different architecture for Leopard extensions. It took over 2 weeks of research to figure it out. It is possible that it will work for you as well. Let me test our solution with the latest Leopard build and then I will get back to you.


I very much hope that there’s a future for inquisitor. It’s such a great little app.

Also, dave, would you mind to put more pages listing per search? Right now in the prefs you can only go as high as 6 results. I would love to go higher.

Thanks and keep up the great work.


I wish inquisitor still opened a new tab if you hit option-return. I keep blowing away my current page when I search in the search box because I’m used to it working the other way.


Noooooooooo i love Inquisitor :(


I have been using Inquisitor long time ago, the next day after safari loose inquisitor i move to firefox.

Feedback SENT. (Fist feedback ever)


I love this little program so much, I was hoping that Inquisitor might find it’s way to Safari for Windoz, but instead I might not even have it on my Mac? I dearly hope this plugin makes it way to Leopard one way or another, I simply can’t use Safari without it!


Very cool app. Any one else get %20 s between search terms if you don’t select an autocomplete item (ie, search for ‘inquisitor safari’ and hit enter — the resulting search term is ‘inquisitor%20safari’ for me (which doesn’t yield any results.


This is an incredibly sad development, David. The talents you brought to the search box are fantastic…. Inquisitor brought me back to Safari.

I have sent feedback to Apple, and hope they work with you to find a way to make it work somehow.

As an aside, I’m very sad that you use your referrer links through Amazon as the No.1 result for searches such as “Sony”, “Samsung” and “Microsoft”. I am a huge fan of your work and would probably use the links anyway, but the option to opt in or out might be more transparent?

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I love & own every piece of software you write….


Guys, no need to panic (or to send feedback). Inquisitor runs just fine in the latest Leopard seed.


I’ve just installed v3 of Inquisitor and the search using Google UK calls http://www.google.co.gb it should be .co.uk no?


The update to v44 has broken using Google UK; it’s attempting to use http://www.google.co.gb as the address. Not sure where that’s come from, but suffice to say it ain’t right!


It looks as though the iTunes Store has now got predictive text.


So I guess Apple are doing this in another way??


I wonder if you could bring ask.com to Inquisitor before Apple kills it?


Loving this new inquisitor 3! Can’t say I love the old version very much but it beat the pants off the default.
This might seem like a simple thing to alot of user but I use google like 100 times a day and this makes my computing life much much better. thx.


Frankly I’d like to see Inquisitor become a standalone app – keep the same look, just have it activated via a hotkey and just have it linked to whatever default browser users decide to use.

I’m probably oversimplifying it all.

Inquisitor is the only thing tying me to Safari at the moment. Nothing else compares. I guess I’d just love to be able to use it with other browsers.


Dear god save Inquisitor. I only found this awesome plugin a couple weeks ago, and already I hear of it’s potential doom?! There must be a way to save the plugin, because there is no way in hell I’m going to leave Safari.


I have been considering moving to Firefox for a while but having to learn about all the plugins has put me off. Preventing Safari plugin use would likely necessitate the switch. However it doesn’t make any difference really, because is Leopard worth it even without Safari? If the answer is yes, then why should Apple care?


Shame on you Apple (if it is the case)!

Inquisitor is just the sleekest safari add-on out there!


Guys, first of all let me say I love Inquisitor, but realize that Apple is highly involved with Google, who just so happen to make their money of people searching through Google and clicking on the Advertisements, so you can rule out that Inq. will ever be built into Safari. Money makes the world go round…


At least someone at Apple uses Inquisitor.

Look at the seach bar on this picture from the iPhone HIG. Cool, huh?

Nice catch Radu! That’s awesome.


Have you thought about making this plugin for Omniweb? I don’t know technically challenging that would be, but I just love the plugin.

Please consider.


If Inquisitor can’t survive the transition to Leopard, for whatever reason, I agree that Apple should integrate its functionality into Safari.

They’ve actually already done something very similar, and it’s absolutely everywhere — Cover Flow. Cover Flow started out as one guy’s pet project, a standalone app (not even an iTunes plugin!) that read the cover art from your iTunes library and displayed it in 3D all in a row. You’d scroll along and click an album to have iTunes start playing it. That’s it.

Now, Cover Flow (which has even retained its original name) can be found as a feature right in iTunes, on iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod Classic, and even in OS X 10.5 itself as part of the Finder, where they’ve incorporated live previews of many different file types. It’s everywhere, because Apple saw the value and elegance in it and decided to make it “canon”.

Compared to Cover Flow, Inquisitor makes far more sense as a product with which Apple should take that course of action. Spotlight has already been a part of the operating system since the introduction of 10.4, and extending its fuctionality to web searches in Safari — what you’ve already done, David — is an absolutely obvious and logical step forward, especially since they’re already touting Spotlight’s ability to search across networked computers in Leopard. I doubt it’d be kept on as “Inquisitor search in Safari”, per se, but as a new, enhanced version of the existing search box, or “Spotlight comes to Safari”. As much as I would like Safari to remain extensible, Inquisitor in particular is a no-brainer as a feature that should logically already be in Safari. I hope Apple catches on to that before they kill Inquisitor altogether.


i can’t figure out where to request features for inquisitor.

can you allow command-return to create a new tab with the google search, like the default search does?



Why can’t you port this to Firefox as well? If the death knell is looming from Apple, what is keeping you from having it work in Firefox? Or is this all related somehow?


InputManagers are a fundamentally broken idea. They bypass so many layers of security that they should not be present. They are virtually equivalent to INITs in the old Mac OS. I hope Apple removes them (despite the fact that I use two of them with Safari all the time). What we should do is petition Apple to provide a plug-in interface to Safari so these hacks are not needed.


The following programs will allow Inquisitor to work under Leopard.



So, does it work? I may not upgrade to 10.5 if it doesn’t. DW, this is an amazing plug-in, is there no way you could use SIMBL or something else if it doesn’t work?


Today Leopard is out. And Inquisitor is out too – out of Mac OS X. As is Saft, PithHelmet and a bunch of other great apps that were in my Input Manager folder.


PLEASE PLEASE, do what you can to make Inquisitor work in Leopard.

I am NOT installing Leopard for this very reason: I won’t be able to use Inquisitor. There must be some other way around this?

I use Inquisitor religiously – I absolutely need it.


Hmm.. so far looks as though Leopard HAS broken Inquisitor. Which is a crying shame – and much like another app I use daily – well, more than daily (Sound Source, the menu bar app) will be missed.

.. for now.


So we all know now Apple didn’t listen. What a pitty, I really, really like Inquisitor. Next to the Monty Python ones, of course.


Actually, I’m using it on Leopard right now. You need to do a couple of things.

1) move the Inquisitor bundle from “/Users/yourname/Library/InputManagers/Inquisitor” to “/Library/InputManagers/Inquisitor”

2) in the terminal:
cd /Library/InputManagers
sudo chown -R root:admin *

restart safari, and you are golden.


Just installed Leopard, and I’m reinstalling all of my favorite old software.

I was appalled when I learned Inquisitor wouldn’t work.

I sent feedback to Apple. They have to hear us. Good luck David.


Awesome Stuart, I got Inquisitor working with Plugsuit. I dont seem to be able to get to the Inquisitor preferences however. Do you know how to do this?


did any one tried programs stuart suggested?
i didn’t install leopard yet, so i didn’t have a chance to check

i have three adorable plugins, inquisitor, synergy and transparent dock
if leopard don’t let one of them, im not installing it!


sweeeeeeet! thank u Stuart!!!!!!


That works. Except that I can’t change any preferences as the Inquisirot Prefs icon does not show up in Safari Preferences.


You can actually use inquisitor just fine on Leopard without any additional programs.

All you have to do is put inquisitor in your /Library/InputManagers directory and then go to terminal and type: “sudo chown -R 0:0 /Library/InputManagers/Inquisitor” without the quotes.

Runs great!


I’m wondering if there might not be another path to take…for example I’d love to have inquisitor in the menu bar…hit return and it opens up the search in the default menu bar… the it would work in both Safari and firefox…



Please add Google.co.jp/Yahoo.co.jp (Japan) site.


well i love inquisitor but it really does bug me how i can’t turn it off! its great most of the time but sometimes i just can’t deal with it. is ther a way or could you make a way… i’ll be with tiger for a while…


sent feedback as well – inquisitor keeps safari my number one browser.


How do I uninstall Inquisitor 3.0? The installer package doesn’t have an uninstall option.