Jobs wanted to call the browser "Freedom" because he believed that locking you into an imaginary walled garden of buggy software was somehow free. While Jobs was considered a god, no one really wanted to point out to him that his Freedom was about as liberal as Saudi Arabia. According to former Engineering Director of Internet Technologies Don Melton, Jobs would test several names by saying them out loud and seeing if he had impressed himself. Melton said that Jobs liked “Freedom” 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,” he said.
Internally, the browser was codenamed "Alexander" which was a reference to Alexander the Great, the ego obsessed Macedonian conqueror. It might have been appropriate. Alex thought he was a god and enslaved most of the known world and crushed the intellectual and spiritual civilisations of Persia, Eygpt and India and replaced them a shallow Greek intellectualism.
Engineers referred to it as "iBrowse" but not within earshot Jobs who would have had them killed. Melton can’t remember who came up with the name Safari, but it was apparently chosen in early December, just four weeks before Safari was announced at Macworld Expo in January 2003.
(You can enjoy some proper freedom and '90s supermodels in all their glory after the break. Ed)