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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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  • Browser detection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:22PM (#6085178) Homepage
    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.

    Browser detection has always been about identifying what capabilities the browser supports, or what bugs need to be worked around. Otherwise you wind up with sites that don't work in some browsers, and everybody bitches at you for not supporting them. The key is to not redirect to a page recommending that the user download IE or Netscape, since that really pisses people off.

    I don't plan on producing DRM-protected content, so I don't plan on detecting browser support for it.
  • by Thomas Wendell (98443) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:25PM (#6085194)
    > IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation.

    That's a pretty funny statement. The service packs are bug releases, hence they contain required changes that were not originally planned. How can Microsoft claim this is the last one that will be needed? Does this mean Microsoft will just abandon all of their users still running older versions of Windows?

    I suggest this is just laying the groundwork for FUD to force users to pay Microsoft to "upgrade" their OS in order to replace the latest IE security vulnerability with a whole new set of problems, vulnerabilities, incompatibilities and restrictions.
  • My favorite question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:26PM (#6085209)
    Host: Rob (Microsoft)

    Q: when will IE get transparent PNG support?


    A: Ian, I'm sorry, I can't answer that question for you
    What? It's only been how many years since they promised? This is why IE having a strangehold is a bad thing. It holds back implementation of "new" technology like PNG.
  • Mozilla beware!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pardasaniman (585320) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:26PM (#6085215) Journal
    Tying a browser to hardware can be really bad for us mozilla men. Online Banking will jump on it real fast. Secure communication will later require IE for authentication. This would put us at a huge disadvantage. I had a thought: Would it be possible to run a "Virtual Palladium" (software driven)? It'd involve running parts of the software in a virtualization machine like bochs. Microsoft patented the hardware not any software.
  • No Real Loss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SkArcher (676201) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:27PM (#6085222) Journal
    What I am expecting will happen is that IE will be absorbed into the integrated office environment, in the same way the Word/Excel et al are being drawn into just one package.

    By bundling everything in together (probably with a mail client), M$ no longer have to worry about the opposition packages. It also would no surprise me to see integrated OS and Office package bundles/licenses, to keep out the competition.

    As for the lack of support for DRM in Win98 being a motivation for no longer producing a standalone version, remember that M$ officially no longer supports Win98 installations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:28PM (#6085226)
    They just want to avoid the use of MSIE + Wine...

    The fact that many web sites rely on MSIE in the client side is a lock-up mechanism.
  • ahem? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Neophytus (642863) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:29PM (#6085240)
    Is this the same microsoft that was told it couldnt bundle the browser with its OS?
  • *blinks* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:32PM (#6085258)
    And AOL just gave how much away for the rights to use this for the next 7 years???
  • by OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:36PM (#6085286)
    How many minutes has it been since Microsoft spent 3/4ths of a billion dollars putting that Netscape stuff to rest? It was a strange set of arguments they had, simultaneously attempting to prove that IE was "an inextricable part of the OS" and yet entirely optional with no unfair advantage over any other browser option the user might attempt to use.

    Now that that case is put to rest it's about time they made sure that the next generation of DRM technology can't be run under WINE or on the MAC. The best approach I can imagine for this is to have is use an entirely proprietary API for IE and to update it with WindowsUpdate. It's not hard to imagine the newbie surfing along who gets this webpage.

    Our web servers have observed that your computer needs several security updates available for free from Microsoft [here]. For the safety of our customers we cannot allow you to continue surfing our site until these updates are in place. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    At that point the user is using the latest IE with DRM enabled with no idea how many or few sites need it. All your content can then be DRM protected by default with FrontPage, and the user's take is that everything "just works" when they use IE, and has intermittant and annoying problems with every other browswer. This strategy is getting old.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:39PM (#6085316)
    That's a pretty funny statement. The service packs are bug releases, hence they contain required changes that were not originally planned. How can Microsoft claim this is the last one that will be needed? Does this mean Microsoft will just abandon all of their users still running older versions of Windows?

    Not exactly. Service packs for IE have always been full blown standalone installations. When Microsoft wants to release a SP like bundle of patches they call it a security rollup. I'm sure these will still be released when needed.

    I suggest this is just laying the groundwork for FUD to force users to pay Microsoft to "upgrade" their OS in order to replace the latest IE security vulnerability with a whole new set of problems, vulnerabilities, incompatibilities and restrictions.

    I suggest you haven't been paying attention very well since it has been known for a while that IE6 would be the last version. Microsoft has been shifting the focus of its browser development to the MSN product. Whether or not you think that's a good idea is an entirely different argument.

  • Its standalone now? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pixelgeek (676892) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:41PM (#6085331)
    The only real difference I see is that there will no longer be a separate IE installer.

    As it currently stands the browser is effectively integrated into the OS and for all intents and purposes most people who use Windows don't view it as a separate component.

    Try updating an older version of IE and see what it does to the OS. Try getting your aunt or grandfather to use Mozilla or Opera.

    This is just a shipping simplification on their part not a change of policy.
  • Browser testing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vitaflo (20507) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:43PM (#6085339) Homepage
    As a web designer, this worries me. How am I supposed to test my sites from here on out? Before it was as easy as loading up said site into IE 6 or IE 5 or what have you and seeing if the layout was as it should be. What now?

    Not that I need a version number, but I would like to know how they're going to dole out any updates to Javascript, CSS, and the like. I sure hope it doesn't become small updates like "CSS Update 12-2-04". The goood thing about browsers up until this point, new features were released all at once in slow updgrade cycles, which meant you were testing at a stationary, not a moving, target. I'm curious to know how this will be handled from now on.

    And yes, yes I know, "code to standards", which is the way it *should* be, but in practice, there's the reality that not all browsers output the way you need them to (especially IE).
  • How about in Europe? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zonix (592337) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:46PM (#6085359) Homepage Journal

    On a similar note, wouldn't this make things even worse for Microsoft's with regards to the antitrust case in the EU? If I'm not mistaken, the Media Player bundling is a big deal already?

    z
  • by pVoid (607584) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:48PM (#6085372)
    No it's definitely not a troll... I'm dead serious.

    I don't know why you would think Microsoft would introduce a new security measure if it didn't think people wanted it. It would much rather invest money in making cool gimmicks.

    Microsoft quite consistently responds to what people bitch about - whether these are legitimate things or not. You really have to distinguish between the crazy people at Moft (ie lawyers, execs etc) who only want to make money (by making stuff like webservives), and the actually skilled technicians who are asked to come up with a way to shut the crowds up.

    Why on earth would anyone stop and think, let's add a new security policy to the HTML renderer if it wasn't a PR problem? it's not flashy, it's not useful, nobody cares about it... no exec would grant the time and money spent on it.

  • by andy1307 (656570) * on Saturday May 31, 2003 @12:49PM (#6085377)
    If consumers see a web site that says, "Sorry, you need Windows 2005 to view this site,"

    If this is a website for a paid online service like online banking, customers will call customer service to complain. This mean HUGE costs for the bank offering the service. I don't think companies offering online services would like that.

    This is something mozilla/opera users should know. If they are paying for an online service and the service requires you to use IE, just call customer service to complain. The cost of the customer service calls will force the service to support all browsers.

  • Mozilla's evolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yppiz (574466) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:09PM (#6085508) Homepage
    You should look at MozDev [mozdev.org] - there's a furious amount of development going on for extensions and plugins to the basic browser. It's amazing, and something I haven't seen in the IE community since the dot-com money went away.

    --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu
  • by dan_the_heretic (260226) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:17PM (#6085549)
    oh and I'm sure you will.
    I don't understand what all the whining is about. Didn't personal computing basically start in a garage? It separated itself from the "big boys" and became a hobby, then a business, then an industry. Are you saying that you geeky geeks can't do it again? Are you saying it would be to inconvienent? If you have to take another path, do you take it?

    Hey bubba! Red or Blue
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:22PM (#6085577) Homepage
    I've seen the inevitable 'online banking' scenario thrown up here a few times. What's going to happen is this...

    At some point, bank X will say "we're now going to require IE8 to secure online banking".

    People will complain and say "hey, but I only have WinXP, and I can't get Win2006" (or whatever it becomes).

    Microsot will have contacted banks and negotiated a way for banks to giveaway (or sell) copies of the latest Windows version, locking in users who may have considered switching at that point.

    Bank replies with (or promotes in branches)
    "Hey - to give you the ultimate in security, we're going to require Windows 2006 - the best in security. If you don't have a copy, we can sell you an copy for only $29.95, which can be applied to your checking account over a 3 month period - that's less than $10 month for modern security!" or something like that.

    People will just use it because it's going to be pushed by most major banks. MS is the only company that can afford to do this (buy mindshare from large companies) and they're about the only company can can't afford NOT to do it as well.

    Perhaps banking with MS software will be 'free' and using something else (linux/mac) will cost a 'security fee' because you're using something that can't be 'trusted'. There are teller fees, why not 'browser fees' for 'untrusted' browsers?

    Microsoft may have already bought a bank (or started their own) in the next few years anyway. Banking fees are certainly a stream of steady income. If WalMart can sell used cars (probably real estate at some point too!) does MS banking sound all that far-fetched? Perhaps everyone writing M$ will give the idea even more credibility! :)
  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:44PM (#6085702)
    I've been doing that for years. a lot of times when I hit a webpage that didn't display adequately, I would shoot off a polite email to whatever webmaster email addy I could find with the site, outlining the OS and browser I was using. They were polite, short, to the point. Funny, just trying to help, maybe give them a clue that people were trying to access their site, make use of their data there, perhaps even-gasp- purchase something. I don't recall ever even getting back a reply. It's like they don't care, use the borg or F*U is the impression I get.. I quit doing that, it's a waste of time.

    The borg vampire needs a stake through it. It's a disgusting example of over arrogance, bad business ethics, and using economic clubs to keep "their internet" in line. Such sheer arrogance. I have no use for their OS, and it's gotten to the point, their users/businesses that use them. Fascists and monopolists can bite me as far as I am concerned, from the lowliest goosesteppers to their fearless leader, screw 'em all. The sooner some mega worm takes them down the better, as far as I am concerned now. I used to have sympathy for them,saw them as just another company trying to sell products, and even used their products occassionally, but no longer,not after watching what they are REALLY about over the years, and I have NO sympathy for the users any longer when they get nailed with the exploit du juor. Businesses or single users, it doesn't matter. If hundreds of examples aren't enough to show those people it's just a mistake to keep supporting them or using their products, that it just costs and costs and costs and no matter what it's a bug filled expensive piece of consumer fraud and monopolistic extravagance and expense, well, too bad then. And if they DARE manipulate the official laws with their economic bullying and lobbying and bribing clout that mandates everyone using their crap, I'll be cheering on the blackhats then. Screw them and the rabid horse they rode in on.
  • Re:Browser detection (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:50PM (#6085735)
    "The key is to not redirect to a page recommending that the user download IE or Netscape, since that really pisses people off."

    People still do that? Jesus Christ. The last time I got one of those messages, I went to some piss-ant website that had little-to-no actual content(and nothing that wouldn't work in Netscape/Mozilla), but it refused to load outside of Internet Explorer, because Netscape "fucked up" his layout.

    Christ, I was irritated. (I wasn't even *IN* Netscape at the time.) I mean, God damn, if you're going to put up a page, you can at the least let a browser try to bungle through your shitty code.

    I still get a little irritated when I see "best in IE" messages. Ugh, and I used to be one of those people.
  • Re:Browser detection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:54PM (#6085762) Homepage Journal
    Browser detection has always been about identifying what capabilities the browser supports, or what bugs need to be worked around. Otherwise you wind up with sites that don't work in some browsers, and everybody bitches at you for not supporting them.

    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. {sarcasm} All this open source stuff and other browsers will just get in the way. {/sarcasm}

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2003 @01:57PM (#6085777)
    Posting as an AC for obvious reasons.

    1. IE's layout & rendering codebase is a big, huge, monolitic piece of junk. It was no longer fruitful to maintain.
    2. The time is ripe for significant advancements in the browser space, and for integrating the notable advantages of a DOM-like model with the notable advantages of more traditional programming APIs
    3. Win32 is getting old. So is GDI. Unmanaged code is out. WinForms is crusty.
    4. Unless Microsoft introduces interesting and significant new technologies in the next version of Windows, it is going to see diminishing sales.
    I'll let you do the guessing.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:00PM (#6085790)
    Honestly, what Slashdot is these days, rather than the great tech news site it used to be, is generating page hits. This means posting Microsoft articles at least once a day with some flippant remark or editorial in the summary so as to cause "controversial" discussion. The company likes that.

    SCO is a big thing as well which gets hits, so even when there is no real news about it, we get "today's SCO news" posts.

    It's getting harder and harder to believe the editors are genuine in their mantra that they simply post what interests them. Being corporate-owned, there are other motives at play in the selection of articles, the headline used, and the summary chosen or written.
  • Re:Browser detection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrLint (519792) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:07PM (#6085830) Journal
    Here is the ironic part, i wonder how long its goign to take a whiz kid to lockout IE byt its its own DRM agaisnt it.

    But think about the larger consequences here. Think about sitesyouwont be able to print.. or copy text out of or look at the source for.
  • Re:AOL and MS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wiresquire (457486) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:12PM (#6085853) Journal
    That's interesting. If AOL is caught on an older version of the standalone browser, then doesn't MSN have a big advantage ? Start building in lots of new features and AOL's browser would start to look jaded.

    Would probably be tough to call it anti-competitive too. "Look, we went to AOL and they did this contract with us!"
  • by bstadil (7110) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @02:23PM (#6085903) Homepage
    You are right in a general sense, but the beauty of the capitalist system is that every market niche will be filled.

    If there is enough people that wants or do not want something it will be provided.

    Case in point, Internet Banking. There is not much value Added that a Bank can do. Remember Gates' much maligned comment a few years ago (pre interenet if I remember) that banking will be reduces to a few lines of code. He was close to being right, except Banks didn't want that and rebelled.

    If there is a market for a Bank to fully support a FOOS solution, it will be provided. We could even do it ourselves thru a non profit organization, that bought the needed "Connection" services, like Credit card clearance, money transfer etc.

  • by Glasswire (302197) <glasswire@ g m ail.com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:28PM (#6086231) Homepage
    For that matter, do the Mac vers go away too?
  • Re:Browser detection (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x AT snkmail DOT com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @03:55PM (#6086359) Homepage Journal
    "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. {sarcasm} All this open source stuff and other browsers will just get in the way. {/sarcasm}"

    This is an excellent description of typical Microsoft thinking in general.

    Microsoft believes that everyone else should believe that your life will be perfect with no computer or internet related hassles as long as you run the latest version of Microsoft everything. This way, Microsoft owns you, they can make all their rules and charge you heavily for the next revolutionary update that breaks all compatibility with all other products so you'll have to pay for the revolutionary updates of all of those things too.

    Basically they want to have you ensnared into a viscious and expensive upgrade cycle of proprietary formats that nothing else can read. Tell THAT to your manager when you are trying to talk them out of a Windows XP rollout.

    This is why I have shifted into an 'open standards' type of mindset, where I try to make decisions that do not lock me into windows. That means using openoffice instead of MS Office so I can easily access all docs on Linux or Mac OS X. It means not building anything dependent on MS Access. It means not using .wma. This way, when I am ready to ditch windows for all of my production-level work, the transition will be easy.

  • by dalangalma (514344) <dalangalmaNO@SPAMnumbera.com> on Saturday May 31, 2003 @05:23PM (#6086791) Homepage
    Given information on the net I've seen, and conversations with MS employees, the new thing that "requires ties to the OS" is crazy 3D visual effects, not DRM. Longhorn (the next windows) introduces all these dumb effects in the windowing system. I was talking to one guy about the next IE, and I said "I can't wait until standards support and PNG support are in there", and he said "Wouldn't you rather those developers be putting cool 3D page transitions like in PowerPoint and eye-candy effects like that?" So it seems it's stupid proprietary eye candy, not DRM. A good thing in that we won't be getting DRM, a bad thing in that we get stupid features instead of the things we want out of a modern browser.
  • Re:Browser detection (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jonathanbearak (451601) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:02PM (#6086933)
    "But think about the larger consequences here. Think about sitesyouwont be able to print.. or copy text out of or look at the source for."

    before changing the browser identification?

    DRM is stupid. My dad was listening to archives of a radio show, provided online in windoze media audio, which he could not skip through - it had to be played from beginning to end. Long story short: save target as, opened file in notepad, saw "no skip" ahead of an actual reference to the real audio; opened ms media player, file->open url, copy-paste, and voila! the drm is gone.

    What it boils down to is that at some point they have to show you the data. If you want to get really crazy, 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.
  • That's It (Score:0, Interesting)

    by dan_the_heretic (260226) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:19PM (#6087001)
    I read thru the comments. All I hear is whine whine whine. You are addicts! Hell, as long as you can see Natalie pour hot grits into Carrie-Ann's pants, you won't care what browser you're using.
    Think about this.
    IBM had the computer world in the '70s. A couple of guys in a garage changed that. They had far less resources than anyone does now. David vs Goliath.
    Try starting from ZERO. Like they did. Can you?
    Nerds and geeks? No, sadly enough. Just users with an over rated sense of self importance.

    I am pulling the plug on Slashdot. Good bye (l)users. That sound you hear behind you is the next PC revolution, and I'm going to be on that truck.
  • Re:Thanks michael (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cmagnani (677829) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @06:22PM (#6087012) Homepage
    Excuse me, but BULLSHIT this isn't a "real" news source! I trust this source of news more than all the cable & local news programs COMBINED. (Fox News just puts it over the top...) I've found out more about what's really going on in the world in the past couple of months on Slashdot, than "mainstream" news sources have even DARED to cover in the past couple of years. As for "Linking to other networks and sites (not making) you a legitimate news site", I guess that leaves supposedly "legit" newspapers, television (broadcast & cable), and most of the internet up shit creek without even a canoe... Mod up or down as you wish, but there it is...
  • by RyatNrrd (662756) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:07PM (#6087178) Homepage Journal
    Surely all this is going to do is make users who have any OS other than WinXP switch to other browsers.

    If you want to hear my crazy theory (yes I realise you didn't ask), it's that they want all XP users to download WinXP SP1. - by bundling all IE patches in with WinXP, then XP users have to keep up to date with Windows patches in order to keep up with IE. Thus everyone who has installed XP using the cheaty crack serial number (FCKGW-RHQQ2-YXRKT-8TG6W-2B7Q8) upgrades to WinXP SP1 - which forces them to register WinXP.
  • Two Words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scotch Game (442068) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @07:37PM (#6087311)
    Mozilla.
    Firebird.
  • by therufus (677843) on Saturday May 31, 2003 @08:12PM (#6087421)
    No, really, does MS know there are other operating systems out there or are they completely blind to their competition?

    I swear they just assume that people fall over themselves to grab the latest $300(AU) or so upgrade for windows so they can keep up to date. The day is not far off when people will actively be looking for alternatives to replace their restrictive proprietary windows OS at home and in business. Linux may be the answer, but then again, maybe something else will come along.

    Tying the internet browser to the OS is just plain dumb on MS part. People want choice. What if we all had to drive Ford cars on the road. There were no models, just a Ford95, Ford98, FordXP. People would look at alternatives like GM or Toyota. Problem is the fuel and roads are all designed for Fords. Toyota may be easier to drive and faster but because everything is Ford only it would be hard to do.

    Take this into consideration too. Now that IE6.whatever is the last IE for 98 and ME, what if a security flaw was discovered and all the hackers in the world found out. There would be no updates. "Either you upgrade to WindowsXP or just die" says MS. What about your poor family who are trying to put son/daugher through school and they need a computer. They can't afford a good one so they just buy a second hand PC with windows98. Some hacker finds a vulnerability with the browser and while surfing the net for an assignment, the son/daugher's data is erased. The cruel thing is they have no option but to start again. They can't update their explorer to fix the problem...

    And one more thing, now that the OS and Browser are one, what happens to the dumb people who install Hotbar, Kazaa, BonziBuddy, Gator, NewDotNet, Xupiter and other spyware that smashes IE to bits? Now that the browser is even more tightly integrated, we will find that the computer won't boot at all. Even to back up data we need.

    RATM!

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