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Internet Explorer The Internet

IE6 SP1 Will Be Last Standalone Version 723

Posted by michael
from the end-of-an-era dept.
mokiejovis writes "Program manager Brian Countryman stated that "as part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation." See the Microsoft TechNet article." Several of the people submitting this story have come up with elaborate theories about why: killing competition, etc. etc. I think the truth is just that Microsoft intends to integrate DRM very tightly with their OS and browser, and they're aren't going to try to backport that to, say, Win98, so they just aren't going to release new versions of their browser for old, DRM-less operating systems. In the future server-side browser detection may be more about detecting whether the browser supports the DRM your "web service" uses than what version of Javascript or CSS the browser supports.
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IE6 SP1 Will Be Last Standalone Version

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  • Thanks michael (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Telex4 (265980) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:25PM (#6085195) Homepage
    I think the truth is just that...

    I don't remember the role of the editor including giving personal opinions over and above those stated in linked articles. Why don't editors submit the story with a summary of other people's reasons, then post their own comment?

    I do agree with Michael though, it seems fairly pluasible. All the same, it obviously has a competition-killing aspect to it, since Microsoft will tightly control their DRM technology, meaning that DRM-only web sites will probably be IE only, or at the very best IE plus other browsers whose licenses allow embedded proprietary code.
  • Justice department (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zackeller (653801) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:25PM (#6085201)
    Is it me or is this exactally the thing the DOJ had them in court for so long to prevent? And finally won?
  • by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:27PM (#6085216)
    IE will continue to evolve, ...

    As far as I can tell, development of IE's features was iced around 5 years ago. Compare and contrast with Opera, Mozilla, Phoenix ... etc. ...
  • Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macshune (628296) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:29PM (#6085233) Journal
    It's the beginning of the end for private personal computing as we know it!

    Anyone got some champagne?
  • by zapp (201236) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:29PM (#6085235)
    I for one, don't care. I haven't seen anything I would call a "feature" since ... well... a while. IE6's media integration and image handling are more of an annoyance than a feature, and I CERTAINLY don't concider DRM support a feature.

    When DRM comes around, I'm moving to something else.
  • by Elladan (17598) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:29PM (#6085237)

    You mean lost. Sure, they won in court, but it turned out, they couldn't compete with Microsoft politically.

    Microsoft can do whatever it pleases now, it knows the government is a paper tiger.

  • by smilinggoat (443212) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:30PM (#6085244) Homepage Journal

    I think that Microsoft's grand plan to move the world over to Trusted Computing will end up cornering them into a one-dimensional business plan. Anything outside that market will end up thriving. Robust alternatives like linux and Mac OS will become the dominant platform because they will not corner themselves into discreet markets, but rather, will continue to expand.

    If this is the last stand-alone version of IE they are betting that their operating system and plan is the *only* operating system and plan. If they make too many mistakes in their Trusted Computing movement they may fail entirely as a company in the near future.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:31PM (#6085249)
    1. Microsoft ships their browser for free with the OS, fairly tightly integrated, thus marginalizing Netscape and any other browser on Windows.
    2. Netscape et. al. convinces Gov't to sue MS for monopolistic, anticompetitive practices.
    3. MS is found guilty of monopolistic, anticompetitive practices.
    4. MS is slapped on the wrist by the Gov't and promises to play nice, ships OS update to remove the IE icon from the desktop.
    5. {six months pass}
    6. MS announces even tighter integration of IE into the OS.

    Pity they weren't broken up.
  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PFAK (524350) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:31PM (#6085252)
    Im wondering how this would be implemented. Browsers already such as Opera can fake the version that the browser is identifed as. How will DRM work in this case? Will there be an encrypted key or something else?
  • by eaglebtc (303754) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:31PM (#6085255)
    Did we see this coming? DRM being necessary all across the board? Its founders (ARPANet excluded) wanted the Internet to be a free-exchange market of Information. I only hope, with all this control and rights-restriction, that it does not become such a restricted tool that it is left in the hands of a few individuals who make the decisions for the masses.

    Bottom line, if this ultimately makes the Internet a more secure place to do business, then I'm all for it. Digital signatures would be very cool once they are implemented on a global scale. No more paper filing, the trees would be happier :), and best of all, if this is implemented well, that bond of trust between businesses and consumers can be strengthened.

    On the other hand, I still don't want to see everything on the Internet become a pay service.

  • by pVoid (607584) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:32PM (#6085262)
    An important change of the IE Enhanced Security Configuration is that any HTML content hosted using Internet Explorer runs with lower privileges for example the MMC uses Internet Explorer to render HTML and therefore your HTML may run with lower privileges... privileges ... by default Lower privileges means that by default script and activex among other things will be blocked. However, as an application developer you can add the URL of the content you need to work to the ESC Trusted sites list either through the API, the preferred way, or directly to the registry, in both scenarios though its VERY important to make sure you write to the ESC Trusted sites, not vanilla Trusted Sites [...]

    I've always said it, and I always will, the community's incessant bitching about how insecure microsoft is has led to attrocities in design.

    Example: Windows file protection - to avoid DLL Hell. DLL Hell was pure and simple bad user habits (running in Administrator mode etc etc). So they made a system that completely bypasses security, and disallows everyone on your system from changing files... even administrators. It's a travesty, that's what it is.

    Well, here we see another travesty: because of simple HTML script exploits, which under normal circumstances (ie, if you weren't running as admin) would have very little consequences, Moft has come up with another travesty, has introduced 'state' into what should be stateless... And as a result, I just can feel the hours and hours of headache that is now set upon us programmers, for the rest of time.

    I can clearly recall posts on slashdot, (but to be fair: /. isn't the only guilty body, every bitchy tech writer of the times is), saying how IE had too many priviledges.

    All I have to say is BULLSHIT... IE has as many priviledges as the user running it - and as such, just as many, not any more than Mozilla running at the same user level.

    Now, because of that bitching, we have a 'lowered priviledge set'... something which isn't based on users... it's a whole policy scheme... It's introducing complexity where there is no need for any... Yadi yada... *Sigh*...

    Boo on everyone.

  • Everybody's jumping to conspiracy conclusions, but here's the simple answer: when you give away browser upgrades for free, but you charge for OS installations, and you think that the browser is becoming more important than the OS, you have to merge the two together.

    As time goes by, more and more applications become web-based. These days, consumers are more concerned about the version of their browser than the version of their operating system. When you try to hit your favorite web sites, check your web-based email, etc., it doesn't matter whether you're on Windows 98 or Windows XP: the browser version is what matters. They know they can't simply start charging for browsers, so the way to fix this issue is to only do new browsers with new operating systems, and blur the line between the browser version and the OS version.

    Bottom line, Microsoft wants to get consumers more interested in OS versions again. If consumers see a web site that says, "Sorry, you need Windows 2005 to view this site," then they have a much higher chance of opening their pocketbooks than if the web site says, "Sorry, you need IE8 to view this site."
  • Laughable. Sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maul (83993) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:34PM (#6085276) Journal
    It is completely laughable and sad that Microsoft was found to be an illegal monopoly for this very reason, and now they are integrating IE and Windows even further. The government really showed Microsoft!

    No matter what your opinion is about the anti-trust trial or anti-trust laws in general, this is a clear display of how the Bush administration favors big business and selectively enforces laws in the favor of big business. The DOJ forced a "slap in the wrist" settlement against MS, and now MS and co. don't fear doing again what they were found guilty of doing before.
  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skillet-thief (622320) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:34PM (#6085277) Homepage Journal
    I don't remember the role of the editor including giving personal opinions over and above those stated in linked articles. Why don't editors submit the story with a summary of other people's reasons, then post their own comment?

    Remember: in a newspaper, the editorial is where the editor gives his personal opinion.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsharitt (580506) <brandon@sha[ ]t.com ['rit' in gap]> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:36PM (#6085282) Homepage Journal
    I wonder what this means for IE on the Mac?

  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mt_nixnut (626002) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:36PM (#6085283)
    Microsoft will tightly control their DRM technology, meaning that DRM-only web sites will probably be IE only, or at the very best IE plus other browsers whose licenses allow embedded proprietary code.

    This is the most disturbing part of this whole story for me. Disturbing because this fits so well with what has been MS SOP for years now. I guess now that the fear of the GOV and litigation have been removed it is time to take monopolizing to the next level.

    ---

    Of course I'm paranoid it's crazy not to be!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:36PM (#6085284)
    Windows non-NT never had true user/administrator seperation, so it's hardly the user's fault for not running as non-administrator. Even in NT/2K/XP, you still can get away with it, because a lot of applications rely on Windows to not have this, and won't run as anything other administrator. Microsoft brought it on itself, not lazy users.
  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:38PM (#6085303)
    It's simple, really. Remember: this isn't a newspaper. It is not a real news source. Linking to other networks and sites does not make you a legitimate news site, which is fine. The term editor is being used in an unconventional way for Slashdot, so don't hold editors to genuine editorial standards.
  • by skillet-thief (622320) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:39PM (#6085314) Homepage Journal
    I've always said it, and I always will, the community's incessant bitching about how insecure microsoft is has led to attrocities in design.

    The community may bitch, but MS is doing the design. Why would MS's reaction to community bitching be the communities fault and not MS's fault?

    You have a strange concept of responsibility. (Troll?)

  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:40PM (#6085324)
    Where is the line between standalone and integrated? The IE component is used lots of places other than the web browser. I'm on Windows 95 (it runs suprisingly well), and there are quite a few places where programs other than IE use the IE HTML-rendering component.
    In Win98 and later versions, the operating system uses the IE component to render some stuff (the desktop can be a web page, for example). IE can then be seen a just a program that provides a couple of navigation buttons to the standard IE component, and it's already "integrated" into the OS, and there is no "standalone" IE.
    Microsoft is saying that from now on, they'll just release updates to IE as OS patches (service packs), and if they're not supporting your os anymore (win 95, win 98), then you won't get patches for IE. This means that if you have a version of windows that they're not releasing SPs for, then you're stuck with a browser with loads of security holes that you KNOW are never going to get fixed (although many would argue that even with a recent version of windows, you KNOW the security holes won't be fixed).
  • by SkWaSH (562395) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:40PM (#6085327) Homepage
    :P Microsoft has a reputation for creating their own technologies (ie: WMA, WMV) so it _really_ wouldn't surprise me if we see a WMG sometime soon. Then when we ask about PNG, they will probably say something stupid like "We feel that WMG is a sufficient replacement for preceding technologies . . . etc"
  • What the hell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by .com b4 .storm (581701) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:45PM (#6085353)

    Q: Why is this? the anti-trust? (no further standalone)

    A: Although this is off topic, I will answer briefly: Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.

    What, exactly, about web browsing could require 'enhancements to the underlying OS'? The only answer I can think of is DRM/Palladdium, but of course Microsoft does not want to say that. They want these "improvements" to sound like "features" that people would actually want. Perhaps they will play on peoples' fears of online banking and ordering?

  • by andy1307 (656570) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:45PM (#6085355)
    Online Banking will jump on it real fast.

    Why? Online banking works just fine today. The banks will cater to the lowest common denominator. If even 10% of their users have problems accessing their online banking accounts, the cost of customer service calls will by HUGE. Most features and services are designed to cut down on customer service calls.

  • by bheading (467684) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:47PM (#6085364)
    Hmm, all of a sudden the AOL/Netscape settlement takes on a new level of relevance.
  • by mystik (38627) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:49PM (#6085381) Homepage Journal
    Is it technically possible? Yes.

    Would the Root certificate provider sign this virtual implementation? Almost certanly not.

    You could virtualize it at just about any layer. But the whole point of palladium is to ensure the whole thing is running on 'trusted [by the content provider]' hardware.

  • by SlashChick (544252) <ericaNO@SPAMerica.biz> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:53PM (#6085411) Homepage Journal
    I have to admit that I'm a bit confused by this. First of all, it's a two-sentence statement in a chat room, so there is very little information to go on.

    My question is, does this mean that end users will have to upgrade their OS to receive a new browser version? If this is the case, that's a huge blow to web developers. There are still a lot of things that IE6 supports poorly or not at all: transparent PNGs, CSS2, etc. I'm not seeing any indication that Microsoft is concerned about the continuing development of their browser AT ALL.

    IE6 has really stagnated, and since Microsoft and AOL settled, I firmly believe that AOL will stop paying developers to work on Mozilla/Netscape. If both IE and Mozilla stagnate, the people who lose are developers whose platform is a web browser. I'm concerned that the stagnation of both browsers may stifle the innovation of developers who wish to deploy applications to standards-compliant web browsers instead of to a specific platform. (This means that those of you who don't use Windows should be VERY concerned, because if web browsers stagnate now, developers will continue to develop for a single platform instead of to a standards-compliant web browser platform. Microsoft doesn't seem to be interested in extending IE's functionality -- instead, the company seems to be pushing developers to make IE plugins, which creates lock-in.)

    The Web has only been around for 10 years, and has only really taken off in the last 6. I don't think browser innovation is at its "zenith", and I certainly don't believe that DRM is the only thing left to add to browsers. It concerns me that Microsoft (or at least that Microsoft spokesperson) seems to think this is the case.
  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:54PM (#6085415)
    Tell that to a web designer. They'll laugh in your face.

    Mozilla is fast, stable, mostly bug-free (and what bugs it has are fairly straightforward to work around) and very standards compliant. The last is important: it means I know what will happen if I write certain code.

    Wish I could say the same for IE. Even its bugs have bugs. (Though admittedly it is not as bad as NS 4.)
  • Re:No Real Loss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidstrauss (544062) <davidNO@SPAMdavidstrauss.net> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:55PM (#6085423)
    By bundling everything in together (probably with a mail client), M$ no longer have to worry about the opposition packages.

    MS will have to worry about offices making the decision now. As much as integration helps future sales to MS-only shops, it stifles sales to shops that use mixed products. If I owned a business, such integration would make me wary of buying into a complete MS solution for fear of future commitment.

  • by faust2097 (137829) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:55PM (#6085424)
    It sounds like they're not doing true transparent PNG support and there's no mention of them fixing the longstanding HTML and CSS bugs.

    Those of us who make websites for a living don't care what it's tied to as long as Microsoft can follow standards. If the browser is truly XHTML/CSS/Javascript compliant I don't care if it requires a blood sample to boot, it means that I won't have to do any browser detection or special cases to deliver a site to my clients, saving them money and me some grey hairs.

    How about a new version of IE for OS X, eh? We've been stuck with this one for 2 years.
  • No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GregWebb (26123) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:55PM (#6085425)
    Windows OEM license costs what, £80-90? Even the low end Office is double that.

    If MS start bundling something 'good enough' for most with all Windows licenses for £20-30 extra then every shareholder out there would complain very loudly. If they put the price of Windows up significantly, the low end market will leave Windows and move to LindowsOS beacuse it's 'good enough' and would then be a really significant saving.

    MS aren't that daft. Office isn't getting bundled with Windows any time soon.
  • by bj8rn (583532) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:57PM (#6085435)
    The browser won't be integrated to the OS. It will be the other way around - the OS will be a part of the browser!

    Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.

    Emacs is said to be the text editor that pretends to be an OS, but the new IE will be the first browser that is an OS...

  • by jester (8414) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:57PM (#6085438)
    Except that many banks (DeutscheBank, Credit Suisse, Meryl Lynch, etc) are using Linux themselves now internally. Deploying their own customer banking sites on MS would not make sense ... as the financial arguments had already pointed them down the route of taking up Linux technology.
  • by Soulfader (527299) <{ten.ecapsgis} {ta} {gis}> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:00PM (#6085458) Journal
    Remember: in a newspaper, the editorial is where the editor gives his personal opinion.
    That's right. And where does he/she do that? On the opinion page. While it might make for interesting stories if editors just put their opinions right in the middle of the front page articles, it wouldn't make for very good journalism.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, but we can dream, can't we?

  • Strategy reversal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:01PM (#6085466)
    I think such a strategy might ultimately be bad for MS, particularly as the Web is becoming more and more standards-based. It would essentially be the opposite of the strategy that caused a gradual migration to IE from Navigator: "You need Windows 2005 or Mozilla 1.6 to view this page." If one is free, it's not a tough choice.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:02PM (#6085467) Homepage Journal
    I can hear it now, 'screw them.. i wont upgrade, bla bla bla'.

    While that may work for some of us, big business ( the core of the market ) WILL use it, will upgrade and will continue to bend over to DRM.

    Eventually 'we outsiders' will be pushed into a non operational status.. Sort of like trying to pay for a burger with out 'money'.. sure its not requred, but try to live outside the 'system'..

    This is only one more step in the process of domination of freedom.

    Sure ill fight it to the last like the rest of you.. but bitching about it on here wont do squat for stopping the process for the *masses*. ( i.e : sheep )

  • by jester (8414) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:04PM (#6085484)
    Well it could be argued that a way to focus attention is to 'code to standards' and point senior management's attention to the fact that certain browsers are better at standards than others and so the best way to write your company's web system is to code to a 'standard' or at the very least a subset of that standard so it is understood by all browsers to a level.

    If you just follow blindly the idea that 9*% of the public use IE so we should work to their 'capability' you end up feeding the MS monopoly. Believe me, it IS possible to change opinions if you push them slowly in the right direction
  • by Soko (17987) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:06PM (#6085489) Homepage
    *Backs up the truckfull of troll food*

    I've always said it, and I always will, the community's incessant bitching about how insecure microsoft is has led to attrocities in design.

    If security was designed in from the start, the design should be elegant and transparent to the end user.

    Example: Windows file protection - to avoid DLL Hell. DLL Hell was pure and simple bad user habits (running in Administrator mode etc etc). So they made a system that completely bypasses security, and disallows everyone on your system from changing files... even administrators. It's a travesty, that's what it is.

    That actually was a response by MS to programmers who felt like using a specific API in a specific DLL, of felt they could just over-run Microsoft's designs willy-nilly. Remember, the most pervasive Windows out there is still the 9x series, not NT and it's modern kin. Most users are root whether they like it or not.

    Well, here we see another travesty: because of simple HTML script exploits, which under normal circumstances (ie, if you weren't running as admin) would have very little consequences, Moft has come up with another travesty, has introduced 'state' into what should be stateless... And as a result, I just can feel the hours and hours of headache that is now set upon us programmers, for the rest of time.

    Two issues:

    1 - Once a machine is compromised as any user, there are other ways to elevate privileges. IOW, runnig as admin usually has little or no effect to a serious cracker.

    2 - If the security mechanisms are properly designed, you won't be spending "hours and hours" dealing with security. If you are, Microsoft will have done a piss-poor job (again)

    I can clearly recall posts on slashdot, (but to be fair: /. isn't the only guilty body, every bitchy tech writer of the times is), saying how IE had too many priviledges.

    What is supposed to be and end user application is an integral part of the OS. Sounds like a recipie for exploits to me. Unless of course they implement stringent secutiry mechanisms.

    All I have to say is BULLSHIT... IE has as many priviledges as the user running it - and as such, just as many, not any more than Mozilla running at the same user level.

    But Moz isn't part of the OS. BTW, IIRC, IE (specifically MSHTML) is loaded into memory before a user logs on. That means that that part of the browser requires system level priveleges. Mozilla's "turbo" mode (whatever it's called) requires you to log in first. See a diffrence?

    Now, because of that bitching, we have a 'lowered priviledge set'... something which isn't based on users... it's a whole policy scheme... It's introducing complexity where there is no need for any... Yadi yada... *Sigh*...

    Security is never easy, but it need not be complex. The one thing MS usually does well is make life easy on thier drone^H^H^H^H^Hdevelopers (right, Mr. Ballmer?), so you may have an easier time that you think. Unless you're so used to security as an after thought, that it does become a pain. IMHO, that puts you squarely in the "Part of the problem" camp.

    Boo on everyone.

    No, shame on you for not wanting to have to do any work at all in order to have secure code.

    Soko
  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:07PM (#6085496)
    Microsoft gets a horrible name because people always are effected by what the articles have to say.

    No, Microsoft gets a horrible name because they release crappy software.
  • by arakon (97351) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:17PM (#6085545) Homepage
    Sounds to me like your trying to piss them off, especially when you charge $300 for the operating system... I think they are shooting themselves in the foot with this one. I mean is it easier to upgrade the OS or try to find a free alternative that supports the added features...

    oh say like MOZILLA...

    I have faith that the mozilla project coders will be able to implement any 'special' features microsoft adds to their browser. Especially if its based on open web standards like XML, CSS, HTML...
  • by WankersRevenge (452399) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:18PM (#6085554)
    "Be the change you wish to see in the world"

    - Ghandi (i think)
  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AstroDrabb (534369) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:20PM (#6085560)
    For those stupid sites that say "requires IE", send them an email complaining about their stupidity. Really, building a web page is not programming and it is one of the easiest things you could do. How hard is it to make a stinking standards compliant web page? My little daughter can sit down with vim and do that.
  • by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent@stonent. ... t minus language> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:22PM (#6085572) Journal
    Think of all of the friends and family that you know that bought a computer during the interet craze. Most of those had Windows 98 on them. Now think of how many of them ever bothered to upgrade their browsers. Many websites that deal with secure communications to non tech savvy people have to deal with this. At least now they can say "Oh, you need IE 5.5 or greater" and link them to a download site. Now they are going to back you into a corner and say "You need Windows 2008 or greater" or they are just going to stop developing past IE6. Either way, it is a strange move on MS's behalf. They must be underestimating Netscape / Moz's abilities. I wonder some times why there are sites complain that you need IE6 to view them, yet they work fine in Mozilla if you hack the response to mimic IE6. Lazy people I guess.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:22PM (#6085573)
    I don't bother with ie anymore
  • by pohl (872) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:25PM (#6085590) Homepage
    It's naive to think that editorial opinion is confined to editorial pages. Astute readers can detect it everywhere, including in the mere selection of which stories to print out of the myriad candidate stories. This is true for newspapers, magazines, and (of course) cable news networks, who wear their editorial bias on their sleeves, right out in plain view [foxnews.com]. Those who have been paying attention know that the journalism industry has realized that it's just a business, and they'll offer up a trough full of whatever the people are willing to consume. It is not a branch of government...just a business. It's silly to criticize slashdot for not living up to standards that even "real" journalists don't live up to these days.
  • by blibbleblobble (526872) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:26PM (#6085592)
    "Online banking works just fine today...If even 10% of their users have problems accessing their online banking accounts, the cost of customer service calls will by HUGE"

    Online banking today cuts-out everyone with a browser which doesn't transmit "MSIE" in the user-agent. Yes it sucks. Yes it's the reason I don't use online banking. And yes, it is damned stupid to be requiring a fundamentally insecure browser incapable of securely handling SSH sessions, for banking transactions. But tell that to your bank. "What? Doesn't everyone use WindowsXP? You can download MSIE for free you know"

  • by Aurelfell (520560) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:32PM (#6085629)
    Microsoft didn't kill anyone with IE. Netscape lost the browser wars because they had an inferior product (after v3.0) while Internet Explorer continued to improve. I was a Netscape Supporter to the last, but even I got tired of waiting for them to catch up. Microsoft beat Netscape, but we can't hardly blame them for that. That's what competition is all about.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:33PM (#6085639)
    Brilliant. There are probably at least 20 MS drones now pissing their pants with excitement to get to work Monday so they can propose a new forward looking strategy for an alliance between MS and the banks, tailoring banking services to the consumer.

    Thanks a fucking lot !!
  • by acidrain69 (632468) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:36PM (#6085661) Journal
    Bottom line, if this ultimately makes the Internet a more secure place to do business, then I'm all for it. Digital signatures would be very cool once they are implemented on a global scale. No more paper filing, the trees would be happier :), and best of all, if this is implemented well, that bond of trust between businesses and consumers can be strengthened.

    Bond of trust? What fairytale world are you living in? Is copyprotection a bond of trust? How come there are all these shitty CD's being released that won't play on computers? Is that the bond of trust you are talking about? How about the news that moviegoers are going to be metal-detected when going to see Finding Nemo? Is that trust?
  • Re:*blinks* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RickHunter (103108) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:46PM (#6085706)

    Now that is an interesting point. MS got AOL to back down on the browser wars by giving them what amounts to a permanent license to IE for next to nothing. Now they're saying that there won't be an independant IE anymore for AOL to license or use. So AOL gets stuck with a out-of-date browser, or has to force its users to keep on the Windows upgrade treadmill. It also looses any chance of ever competing with Microsoft, and can now be killed any time Microsoft feels like it. (Through the old "Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run" tricks)

    Wow. Those Time-Warner executives who're calling the shots are so much more business-savvy than the AOL ones who were in charge before. Why is it that whenever a company starts doing something criminal and anticompetitive, other companies start lining up to get their heads chopped off?

  • by debiant_minded (622589) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:51PM (#6085739)
    Yesterday, MS and AOL settle for MS illegally using it's Monopoly position to crush Netscape throught bundling the IE with the OS. The next day, I am reading about how they plan to integrate it even tighter to the extent that you will no longer be able to install or upgrade to the new IE without installing or upgrading Windows. The whole DOJ action has proved to be a monumental failure. The only value it has was that it temporarily restrained MS just enought to give Linux and OSS a chance to grow. It was a window ( another good word ruined) of opportunity that with the perverse synergy DRM,Palladium, Trusted Computing,Microsoft Computers,Server/Client and of course .Nyet, MS is hoping to slam shut. These are dark days.
  • by ottffssent (18387) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:53PM (#6085755)
    Is that what I have? So "standalone installation" is Microsoft code for "Well, we'll let you delete it (it goes in the recycle bin and all) but it instantly comes back"?

    If WinXP wants to protect its help system, that's fine. But the IE frontend shouldn't have anything to do with that. And even so, there's no excuse for Outlook being undeletable. It doesn't show up in the Add/Remove applications window, even under "Windows components"
  • by Idou (572394) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:00PM (#6085793) Journal
    Man, it must be 5 years since I started using www.netbank.com. Has worked great with Mozilla. I really doubt oneday I will go to the site and not being able to access my money. Banks are highly regulated, and I think it wouldn't be too difficult to construe other reasons (even if they are not true), why the bank no longer is letting me access my money. No, I think MS missed the boat with the Internet and will NEVER be able to catch up enough to gain the kind of control they are hoping for(thanks to OSS).
  • by Roblimo (357) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:00PM (#6085795) Homepage Journal
    Huh? Bank of America's online banking works just fine with Mozilla running on Linux.

    Our previous bank was IE-only, and their online banking was through (insecure) IIS servers.

    Banking is a competitive business. If your current bank doesn't support your choice of browser and/or operating system, find one that does.

    - Robin
  • Re:*blinks* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:26PM (#6085920) Homepage Journal
    Well, on the bright side (such as it is) this may be the kick in the ass AOL needs to really go with a Gecko-based default browser instead of IE. Granted, AOL/TW screwed up with the settlement (they should have insisted on a couple billion in cash and ignored the whole browser-licensing issue) but AOL really isn't any worse off than it was before. And AOL/TW as a company may be in some degree of trouble, but AOL itself is still by far the biggest and most powerful ISP in the world. If they move to Gecko, it may be a problem for them, but it will be unreservedly a Good Thing for the Net as a whole.
  • Obvious, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JohnnyBigodes (609498) <[morphine] [at] [digitalmente.net]> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:26PM (#6085922)
    Sorry, but this just begs for the question:

    Nowadays, who the hell needs IE anyway?!

  • by BrynM (217883) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:46PM (#6086020) Homepage Journal
    I could be reading too much into this, but contrast this:

    Host: Rob (Microsoft)
    Q: when will IE get transparent PNG support?
    A: Ian, I'm sorry, I can't answer that question for you

    With this:

    Host: Brian (Microsoft)
    Q: Why is this? the anti-trust? (no further standalone)
    A: Although this is off topic, I will answer briefly: Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS

    It would seem that MS has painted itself into a corner with the feature set of IE. They seem to rely on the OS for so many things the browser does (like alpha blending, or the lack thereof). I wonder if the OS development team has oversight of the IE development team. There really isn't much reason that the IE team wouldn't be able to build a feature like alpha blending independant of the OS (lots of apps like Photoshop do this), unless they have been told not to deviate from the OS feature roadmap. Why else wouldn't the IE Program Manager be able to answer a question about PNG support? Sometimes it seems like the IE team is really just a department of the OS team, which is something that MS could not legally admit from what I understand.

  • by bazmonkey (555276) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @04:02PM (#6086108)
    It's silly to criticize slashdot for not living up to standards that even "real" journalists don't live up to these days.

    It's good to know that the "Everyone else is doing it, so should we!" mentality is alive and well.

    Funny, for a while there I thought slashdot was trying to be better than just another news site.
  • by drgroove (631550) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @04:34PM (#6086257)
    There are essentially two security models developing in the world of computing right now: Microsoft's .NET/Palladium/Hardware based model, which is Windows-specific; and Sun/IBM/Etc.'s Java/Liberty/Software based model, which in theory should be OS-independent, but ultimately MS will try their best to prevent it from working on Windows, and so will likely only function in the Linux/Unix realm.

    Each passing day, MS brings the world closer to their MS-specific security model. As much as all of us want to avoid having to pay the Microsoft tax when we use technology, if left to their own devices, MS will attempt to erect a virtual toll-booth within as much aspects of technology as possible - be that the internet, PC's, or digital devices.

    As developers, hardware specialists, what have you, we need to do our best to adopt, promote, and develop open-source technologies today, to prevent MS front owning what is now public domain tomorrow. "If we don't take action now, we'll settle for nothing later; if we settle for nothing now, we'll settle for nothing later." RATM. It might sound trite, but it applies to what is happening in tech right now.
  • by user no. 590291 (590291) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @05:01PM (#6086397)
    You haven't read RMS' "Right to Read," I take it. If you have, and still only see the potential (and by no means assured) advantages of prolific DRM, I'm saddened.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x&snkmail,com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @05:08PM (#6086436) Homepage Journal
    "What this means is that you will not be able to JUST get IE, but instead only get it through Windows."

    Wasn't that what MSFT was sued for in the first place? They bundle the browser with the monopoly OS in order to stamp out competition? Haven't they learned anything?

    Well I guess they have ... they have learned that they can get away with it.

  • by wfrp01 (82831) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @05:44PM (#6086603) Journal
    And yes, yes I know, "code to standards", which is the way it *should* be...

    I think Microsoft should be given a good dose of their own medicine. Code to XPFE [mozdev.org]. Write remotely distributed web applications [oreillynet.com] using XUL and friends [xulplanet.com]. Link to your application from a plain vanilla web site that contains an "only works w/ Mozilla" icon that points to the Mozilla site [mozilla.org].

    Of course there's a big difference between coding Mozilla specific applications and coding MS/IE only applications. Mozilla is an open-source project built on open standards. MS could, if they so choose, implement any of Mozilla's features they like. The converse is not true.

    If enough people get Mozilla on their desktop, and enough people start writing good XFPE applications, this could put a serious dent in MS's plans for world domination. Among other things, Mozilla doesn't require Windows. If you write a Mozilla application, you're doing cross-platform development. If the Oracles, IBM's, SAP's, ERP vendors and the like don't see the value of this, they are missing a golden opportunity.

    Take the on-line banking example people seem to be so fond of today. You could build an extraordinarily rich on-line banking application on top of Mozilla today, than virtually anyone using any operating system could access. They would have to download Mozilla, which is free. Contrast that w/ writing to IE. Perhaps MS will someday offer an intriguing feature, but if you want your clients to enjoy the experience they will need to run the latest version of MS Windows. Unless they have a recent PC, it will cost them money to use your site. That's assuming they have a PC, and have reserved room on their hard drive to install an MS OS.

    And then there's AOL. After years of investing in Mozilla, at a time when their labors are bearing fruition, they ink an ignominious deal with their biggest enemy. The board of directors should take the people responsible for this to the woodshed, spank them soundly, and send them packing. How could management be so ignorant of the value of their own assets? They could do things on AOL using XPFE [mozilla.org] that would make the MSN droids drool. What dopes. On top of that, how much further development do you think a billion dollar settlement would have funded?
  • by Infernon (460398) <infernon@gmAAAail.com minus threevowels> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:06PM (#6086698)
    I've been using Mozilla for about six months now and I really like it. It's faster than IE (IMO) and is a lot more 'professional'. Another thing that I've found is that if I browse with IE for a week and run a spyware removal program like Ad-Aware, I find a buttload of cookies, data miners, etc. A week of browsing with Mozilla only yeilds one cookie-- doubleclick...
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:17PM (#6086758) Homepage Journal
    Walt Whitman's comment about the best gubmint money can buy was never truer.
    But what of the EU? The sad truth is that, as the Open Source community views MS, so the rest of the world views the US.
    Does this play into a duopoly, MS in North America, OSS everywhere else? I see the US as losing in the long run, in that end-game.
  • by NeoGeo64 (672698) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:44PM (#6086880)
    we see www.microsoft.gov

    Only a matter of time. Microsoft wants to control the world, and it's not gonna happen. It's not 1998 anymore. People are a little more knowledgeable of Microsoft's anti-competitive acts and the alternatives (read: linux, apple). Shoot Bill Gates [mailto] an e-mail and tell him what you think.
  • by IncohereD (513627) <mmacleod&ieee,org> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:03PM (#6086940) Homepage
    The real problem you're discussing is one that has been noted many times: the internet kills anything successful.

    Basically, the promise of the net is everyone's a publisher, and can make something kewl, and show it to everyone.

    The problem is if they do a good job of it, they get popular. Bandwidth bills go up. They can no longer afford the site, because banner ads don't get you shit. Unless you're a lowest common denominator genius like stile [stileproject.com] (but there's only one stile).

    So, they either die, get bailed out by a benevolent donor, or get bought by someone who cares about all the page hits.

    So slashdot purely existing as a "great tech news site" was not a long term option. Because being great means being attracting attention, and attraction attention costs YOU money on the net, not your consumers. This inversion is not necessarily the panacea it was thought to be 10 years ago.

    Personally, I'm quite content to go on loving to hate slashdot for the forseeable future. Gives us gov't workers something to bitch about at coffee break.
  • by IncohereD (513627) <mmacleod&ieee,org> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:12PM (#6086975) Homepage
    Even if every single current microsoft product was to fail horribly, sales go to zero, etc, etc, they still have GIANT PILES OF MONEY on hand. Like ridiculously large.

    So even if they 'fail entirely', they have enough cash laying around to start maybe 5-10 new companies, let alone restart themselves.

    They may be forced to abondon the dark side, but they will not die.
  • by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:21PM (#6087008)
    It means that from what I took from the article, Microsoft, instead of competing from the consumer end, through improved stability and features, is instead going to compete through the crony end, working through lock-in and back-room deals on the corporate end.

    "Freedom to innovate", was intended to be on the behalf of users...not their corporate masters.

    And to the futher down, I'm not a Linux zealot. in fact, I use what is the best tool for the job. (I use Windows for most casual activity, and Linux for dedicated server/long term stability). That is why this upsets me. MS has decided to abandon making the best tools for the job over and over. I don't like the idea of Longhorn (all those pretty graphics are going to get in the way), instead of making a more stable, Windows 2k variant, maybe with improved file browsing and linking capabilities.

  • by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3@nOSPam.phroggy.com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:22PM (#6087010) Homepage
    Think about sitesyouwont be able to print.. or copy text out of or look at the source for.

    Oh hell. I'd forgotten about that threat, and you had to go and remind me. And because they control the OS too, they can also disable screen shots.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:26PM (#6087027)
    You have a lot to learn about business. First off, MS if a brilliantly run company. Joe Schmoe (yourself) saying that MS is on it's way out is like Joe Schmoe telling me that Warren Buffet doesn't know investing. You're clueless.

    Secondly, Ms probably doesn't want "Anything outside that market". If you've ever studied business a day in your life, you'd know that companies tend to focus on what they're good at. Those who try doing too much tend to fail. MS expands into other markets, but very slowly and cautiously. They're printing money with Windows & Office, and if they lock people into it even more, well, then they're going to keep on printing money ad infinitum.

    Please. Think before posting.
  • by jefeweiss (628594) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:29PM (#6087037)
    Hehehe

    Lighten up.

    Slashdot is whatever the editors want it to be.

    And they don't have to tell us what that is, if they don't want.

    Feel free to start your own site, to spread your objective opinion.

    At least here you have a forum to disagree with their point of view, that's more than you usually get from a newspaper.

  • by UberLord (631313) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:51PM (#6087118) Homepage
    You are missing the point. :-) If Microsoft has their way, there will only be one browser. Detection and customizing your web page for more than one browser will be moot.

    As opposed to developing a windows application where you have to work around windows versions, service packs and library versions installed? For example, a client requirement was to make an applications title bar flash when a query was completed. I had to write code to support Win9x,WinME+NT4 and Win2K+XP.

    It's one company with one product, but many versions you have to code against. So it's sure as hell not moot.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @09:10PM (#6087416) Journal
    ...Pepsi One...

    So every company trying to monopolize the market is evil now? Damn Edison!!!

    One Light Bulb, one Voltage, one Power Company!

    I'm sure Hitler said lots of things most people would agree with, and not find offensive until they are told that Hitler said it.
  • by pi_rules (123171) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @09:26PM (#6087469)
    I wonder some times why there are sites complain that you need IE6 to view them, yet they work fine in Mozilla if you hack the response to mimic IE6. Lazy people I guess.


    It's not really laziness, it's just backwards thinking due to lack of experience. A fair number of developers (read: 95% I've worked with) take the stance that every browser will do something different and that doing things differnet is horribly horribly wrong in the user's mind. So, they try and code defensively against this and only certify their sites with what they know works 100% the way they want it.

    When coding for security (as in filtering user input) it's a good practice to only allow known good values through. When you're building an open system, such as the web though, you should assume that all rednerings are valid. You should only point out broken browsers when they are known bad .

    I love asking people why the Gecko engine is just so darned hard to work with from a development point of view. Hardly ever do they have a good reason. To be honest, as a Gecko user/supporter I'm quite often the most knowledgable about it's downfalls. I'm also quite familiar with IE's oddities too becuase I know when IE is doing stuff it just plain shouldn't. I don't proclaim to known how kHTML works in detail, but I sure as heck wouldn't build a site that turned away somebody for using Konqueror or Safari (they do use kHTML, right?) just based on their User Agent header.

    If you work on a web development shop that actually cares about quality and somebody refuses to make X work with anything but IE please go ask them to lookup the official specs that define IE's way of doing it to be the true Right Way. If they don't, well, then go ask them to verify that all supported versions of IE actually do the same thing -- across all OSes, because we all know that IE comes in many many flavours. Oh, and make sure they test it on the Mac too -- 'cuz hey, it's IE also!

    IE's not even a standard when you look at many different versions.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @10:22PM (#6087649)
    I thought it was something in the SSL negotiation. If there's hard crypto involved in the browser identification step, you won't be able to fake it. That's where I'd be going if I were Microsoft, for sure.

    Then, even if you do have "clever people" circumventing your access controls, you can still keep industry from adopting the circumventions. (Individuals might not care about the legality of their actions, but nobody is going to write a business plan around an obvious DMCA violation).

    Repeal the DMCA (at the ballot box or at the point of a gun, I don't care how you do it), or live with its consequences.
  • by Alsee (515537) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:18AM (#6088873) Homepage
    What it boils down to is that at some point they have to show you the data.

    Nope. Micrsoft's DRM plans are truely midboggling. That's why you're going to have to buy new "palladium enhanced" hardware. With the new DRM the only way you ever "see the data" is on the screen. If you're lucky you can photograph it.

    load some future drm-enabled webpage in winbloze on home network with linux box running ethereal, follow tcp stream, cut/paste code into file and view in mozilla, an open source drm-free environment.

    Nope. You can copy the TCP stream, but it's all encrypted. Paste it into Mozilla or any other program and you have nothing but garbage.

    It's some read hard-core shit. You hack into the monitor cable to grab the video and you find that's encrypted too. The video gets decrypted inside the monitor itself.

    Hell, you hack into the keyboard cable and that's fucking encrypted too. Are you starting to get the picture? They have gone off the fucking deep end. The entire machine is one big fat lock.

    You load up a program to snoop the raw data in ram and you find the ram is divided up into seperate vaults. There's no such thing as flat memory.

    If you patch any of the system files all the DRM systems lock out. Considering that it's one big fat DRM machine I'm not even sure it'll even boot. If it does boot you won't be able to do much more than run Minesweeper, solitare, and notepad if you're lucky.

    The machine will also only fully function while you are actively conected to the internet. Some of the functions periodically ping a cryptographicly authenticated time server. If your net connection goes down, or it doesn't get an authenticated response for any reason any time-relevant DRM stuff immediately locks out. That lock up can include programs, audio/video files, application data, even freaking e-mail. But don't worry, you can still play minesweeper while you wait for your net connection to come back up.

    Microsft wants DRM to be invisible and ubiqutous throughout the system. People are suposed to take it for granted that everying is DRM'd. DRM content won't have an flashing DRM labels on it. You'll just find that all sorts of features like SAVE AS are missing. And it's not just that the feature is missing from the program. The machine is physically incapable of copying the file. How's that for nutz?

    -
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @09:11AM (#6089426) Homepage Journal
    What a lovely bait for Mother Of All Denial Of Service Attacks. Not using the machine as a tool to bring down other machines: I mean, using a judo approach, with the intent being to reduce the victim machine to a lump of expensive inert metal. All you have to do is convince it that something is wrong, or that a lot of things are wrong, and it will attack the user FOR you. Sweet! And apparently it will be absolutely intractable. You only have to trigger it, and the triggers are apparently real sensitive by design...

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