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Internet Explorer Mozilla The Internet

MSIE 7 May Beat Longhorn Out The Gate 733

Posted by timothy
from the sincerest-form dept.
Quantum Jim writes "InternetNews.com reports that a major upgrade for Microsoft Internet Explorer may be imminent. Apparently in response to the recent mass migration away from MSIE, top Microsoft developers have been soliciting for improvements in the old browser at a web log and at Channel 9, an aggregate journal previously discussed by /.. InternetNews.com speculates that improvements could possibly include support for tabbed browsing, better security, more PNG and CSS compliance, and RSS integration (which Firefox and Opera Mail already support). Go competition!"
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MSIE 7 May Beat Longhorn Out The Gate

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:12PM (#9916384)
    It will be based on the Mozilla source!
    • Beating Longhorn is a fast release?

      Ok...

      -jcr
    • by rd_syringe (793064) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:33PM (#9917163) Journal
      All the submitter did was link to a blog entry that listed a couple of public advisories and mentioned Mozilla. Apparently, when put through the Slashbot filter, that becomes "recent mass migration away from MSIE?"

      According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com], IE 6 hasn't dropped at all and is still massively slaughtering the competition. In fact, Slashdot's own browser statistics show that IE is the majority browser for people accessing this website! Also note that every year is the year of "Linux on the desktop," yet Linux is still at 1% of usage on Zeitgeist.

      I don't like IE either, but come on. There is no "recent mass migration."
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:35PM (#9917173)
        The Zeitgeist is from June, before the major effect of the advisories was felt. On my site, IE has slipped a couple percentage points in the past couple months (and it's not a tech site).
        • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Informative)

          by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @01:20AM (#9917873) Homepage Journal
          Additionally, even in June, it should be noted that Mozilla has regained substantial marketshare, nearly reversing the losses that the Netscape codebase had suffered since 2002. Way to go.

          Mozilla is doing well in all its forms. The Google figures if you look closely, indicate a general increase of Internet Explorer 6 is mostly at the expense of other versions of IE. Mozilla and "Other" are actually slowly gaining.

          AND this was before the latest security advisories hit.

          AND Netcraft has issued an advisory indicating that banner ads could be used to spread malware.
      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @11:08PM (#9917347) Journal
        I don't like IE either, but come on. There is no "recent mass migration."

        I think the tiny grain of truth somewhere was that the current version of IE actually saw a market share decrease last month instead of an increase.

        Really, why do Slashdot story submitters have to have such completely and deliberately inaccurate stories? It *sucks*. I'd happily add a day or whatever on to the time until a story comes out if the eds would just read the linked to article on each story that they actually pass.

        On the other hand, the "year of the desktop" claims have a bit more meat to them. Linux has a small desktop market share, and so a doubling over the course of a year doesn't look like all that much.

        Also, most of the people talking about the "year of the desktop" are talking about whether the desktop is technically ready. They aren't factoring in transition time (which may well be up to five years -- nobody is going to throw out all their existing, reasonably well systems to install Linux -- they're just going to install Linux when they do their next upgrade).
      • I goofed! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Quantum Jim (610382)

        I agree, I submitted a bad link. I was referring to the recent loss of MSIE's market share [washingtontimes.com] to Firefox and other alternatives.

        Sorry!

      • IE 6 hasn't dropped at all and is still massively slaughtering the competition.

        It's not slaughtering the competition, it's slaughtering it's ancestors. IE 4/5 are dropping, netscape/mozilla are steadily rising.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2004 @01:48AM (#9917980)
        Most competitive browsers have the ability to hide their identity, making the stats essentially worthless.

        Both my mozilla and opera say they are IE6. Of course so does my IE6, which is never, ever opened. I don't even have a link to it visible on my desktop or start menu.

        What really gets me is that Opera and Mozilla have a Google search bar built into it, so they should be going there in very high numbers. What if it only registers hits to the main page?

        How many downloads of Opera and mozilla per day? of those...practically no one uses it? Hard to believe.
  • Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

    by stecoop (759508) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:12PM (#9916386) Journal
    MSIE 7 May Beat Longhorn Out The Gate... But I use Mozilla and the bell rang a long time ago.
    • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swordboy (472941) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:46PM (#9916922) Journal
      I'm not sure why some enterprising mozilla/firefox nut hasn't made an activex plug-in for IE that causes the browser to render all pages using a "gecko plug-in". For example, if I came to slashdot (using IE like I normally do) and the page prompted me to install the "Gecko HTML rendering engine", I'd do it. Just like all those the masses that install spyware because they don't know any better.

      As a side note, the only reason that I don't use Firefox is that it locks up when I access slashdot (on both home and work PCs, unfortunately). I'd use Mozilla but it just doesn't look/feel like a Windows app. I guess that I'll keep waiting.
      • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

        by Rasta Prefect (250915) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:04PM (#9916999)
        I'm not sure why some enterprising mozilla/firefox nut hasn't made an activex plug-in for IE that causes the browser to render all pages using a "gecko plug-in". For example, if I came to slashdot (using IE like I normally do) and the page prompted me to install the "Gecko HTML rendering engine", I'd do it. Just like all those the masses that install spyware because they don't know any better.

        I'm amazed I never thought of this. This would be _far_ less work than messing with CSS2 until it works in IE.

      • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Informative)

        by chregu (70525) on Monday August 09, 2004 @12:52AM (#9917779) Homepage
        Do you mean something like the Mozilla ActiveX control [www.iol.ie]?

        And it works in IE like any other ActiveX (the webpage is not that clear as you can use the control in any Windows application), we did some tests for a project some months ago.
  • FireFox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Laivincolmo (778355) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:14PM (#9916398)
    Well, firefox was able to grab my interest before IE. Even with the new features, I will stick with firefox because of the community that maintains it.
    • by eidolons (708050) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:42PM (#9916906) Homepage
      As a web developer / designer, I've been using Mozilla and the like for a long time. But what interests me is what the majority of people use - I need to design stuff that works for everything. Since Explorer has ALWAYS been a pain when it comes to CSS compliance, myself and every designer out there have had to bend over backward to write code that has all these little IE fixes built in. I'm sick of having to play with code and then check both Netscape and Explorer for consistency. Please, oh please, give IE 7 some decent fricken CSS compliance!! That way, I will KNOW that it will all look the bloody same, just like it should for pete's sakes.
  • by multiplexo (27356) * on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:15PM (#9916405) Journal
    Consumers benefit from competition, in this case superior browsers from groups such as Opera and Mozilla and integrated browsers such as Konquerer or Safari offer features and security that Microsoft doesn't provide.

    On the other hand it's depressing that MIcrosoft is a big enough monopolist to let the status and security of what they maintain is an integral part of the operating system, namely the browser, to go almost completely to shit before they bestir themselves to even think about fixing it.

  • A quote: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sebby (238625) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:16PM (#9916409)
    "The truth is that consumers aren't going to worry about things like CSS and PNG support," said Robert Iliad, a developer who is participating in the feedback process. "There are still millions of consumers using IE 5.5, so how are you going to get them to use IE 7.0 just because of some obscure thing called CSS?"

    Now this is what I call truely clueless. Typical MS thinking that is the cause of IE's sercurity vulnerabilities and lack of established standards.

    • Corporations Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nurgled (63197) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:26PM (#9916469)

      This is the attitude throughout Microsoft. It's the same reason why the Windows API still sucks after 20 years. The vast majority of customers don't give a damn about any of this stuff because they don't care: no sites will use alpha-transparent PNG unless IE does, so why bother implementing it?

      This is the problem with relying on commercial entities for "innovation": they'll only bother when it actually benefits them. Mozilla, on the other hand, implement things purely for the sake of completeness and interest.

      • People don't care what's under the hood ... if they did, we wouldn't be using hideously inefficient Carnot Cycle engines to run our vehicles and most of our power plants after all this time. It's good enough that the car starts every morning and gets them to work on time.

        HOW automobiles (or any other piece of sophisticated technology) actually work will forever remain a mystery to the bulk of the population. However, a manufacturer whose cars had a reputation of being to be easy to break into might hav
        • by spectecjr (31235) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:05PM (#9916722) Homepage
          People don't care what's under the hood ... if they did, we wouldn't be using hideously inefficient Carnot Cycle engines to run our vehicles and most of our power plants after all this time. It's good enough that the car starts every morning and gets them to work on time.

          How did this get modded up? Carnot Cycle engines are the most efficient heat-cycle engine there are. Until you come up with something to replace it (ie. a process that generates electricity from fuel directly, that is more efficient than a Carnot Cycle engine), it is the pinnacle. There is and cannot be anything better.

          More info here [gsu.edu]

          Quote:
          As Schroeder puts it "So don't bother installing a Carnot engine in your car; while it would increase your gas mileage, you would be passed on the highway by pedestrians."
    • Re:A quote: (Score:5, Informative)

      by six11 (579) * <<ude.umc> <ta> <ggosnhoj>> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:48PM (#9916619) Homepage

      (MS guy) "The truth is that consumers aren't going to worry about things like CSS and PNG support," said Robert Iliad, a developer who is participating in the feedback process. "There are still millions of consumers using IE 5.5, so how are you going to get them to use IE 7.0 just because of some obscure thing called CSS?"

      (Sebby) Now this is what I call truely clueless. Typical MS thinking that is the cause of IE's sercurity vulnerabilities and lack of established standards.


      I think what Iliad is saying here is that consumers really don't care if their browser supports de facto fringe standards. I wish CSS and PNG support (as well as some stable ECMAScript, etc.) were supported, but that's not the name of the game. As long as MSN and Google and ESPN and Craigslist and Slashdot (insert longer list of highly traffiked web sites here) work in IE as-is, there is no reason for IE to change. And there is no reason for those sites to change unless IE changes. (Here I open myself up to charges that increased usage of other browsers like FireFox and Safari could force those sites to change... that's another discussion)

      Until recently, security really wasn't an issue for typical web users. I've had people send me credit card information and passwords over standard email. I've pointed out to other people that the web form with which they're submitting their personal or financial information is not secure. I've always tried to get my friends and family to use other browsers because using IE just isn't safe. In all these cases, I generally get a vacant stare, because unless their credit card number is stolen, or somebody assumes their identity, they don't care. Those millions of users Iliad mentions are part of that vacant-stare category. Sure, if Microsoft had a corporate culture more like Google's, they would have internal pressure to fix these problems and be standards-compliant. But MS only feels the pressure when there are financial reasons for doing so.

      Web developers would prefer to code web pages in one cross-platform, cross-browser syntax, but thanks to Microsoft's indifference in the matter, web developers have to endlessly tweak things so it looks OK in IE as well as whatever browsers their target audience may be using. Given that the target audience for most web sites are IE users, and given that proprietors of those commercial web sites are more interested in making money than some philosophical desire to be standards compliant, whatever MSIE supports becomes the standard.

      Slashdotters know that universal support for CSS would be good. We also know that PNG is a legally pure image format. But in the world of PHB-controlled e-commerce sites and the typical demographic that visit their sites, PNG and universal CSS come second (or third, or forth, ...) to a host of other concerns. Those concerns are what Iliad are talking about.

      In any event, it seems that the reason Microsoft is going to release 7.0 before Longhorn is because of security concerns. CSS and PNG aren't necessarily related to that.
      • Re:A quote: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:02PM (#9916699)
        My problem is that there is not IE stanard. There is no such thing as making a site MSIE compatible. You can make it work with the exact version on your desktop and test on others but if you are outside the w3c specs and a FEW very limited things that ms says it supports then you are dealing with quirks and the quirks tend to be very specific in too many circumstances.

        So far I have found the best way to actually get a page to render acoss a large various of MSIE 5.x and 6.x systems is to write the pages to xhtml 1.0 strict and css 1 and just use the subset of css that IE actually supports. The reason for the xhtml 1.0 strict is that then you can run a simple checker on the document and make sure every tag is properly closed. I know with html soup that IE renders a document as that it should not matter but it does in practice. Well formed html just renders more consistently across the range of IE browsers.

        It is stuff like this that web designers want everyone to follow the standards. It is a pain in the neck to program for each browser quirk especially when it changes so much between even minor bug fix versions. At least for opera, konqueror, mozilla, safarri, firefox etc I can write xhtml 1.0 strict and CSS2 and have it render nearly identically in all of them with only a few things that can't be used due to bugs. MS not adhering to standards makes sites cost more to write, more to maintain, more to test etc.
        • Re:A quote: (Score:3, Informative)

          by superyooser (100462)
          Do not use XHTML [hixie.ch]

          FYI, Hixie is one of the main Mozilla developers.

          • Re:A quote: (Score:4, Informative)

            by mindfucker (778407) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @11:26PM (#9917421)
            No, he works for Opera. He used to be involved with Mozilla.

            And notice that he doesn't say to not use XHTML in that document, he does say that, in his opinion a) it's not worth the trouble at the moment because of the bad support for it in browsers b) don't do it unless you're going to do it correctly (and it's not as easy as many people think it is).

            But how do we ever expect to get the browser makers on board if we don't use it? I'm currently using apache's content negotiation to serve out strict XHTML1 as text/html (for IE) or application/xhtml+xml (for non-IE) as described here [w3.org], and it works nicely on both gecko based browsers as well as IE6.

      • by jesterzog (189797) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:32PM (#9917152) Homepage Journal

        But in the world of PHB-controlled e-commerce sites and the typical demographic that visit their sites, PNG and universal CSS come second (or third, or forth, ...) to a host of other concerns. Those concerns are what Iliad are talking about.

        There's an analogy here to do with Xerox and the photocopier, which I think is quite relevant:

        When the photocopier was first developed and Xerox began marketing it to businesses, it took a lot of effort because the bosses couldn't see the point. From a PHB's perspective, there's not a lot of point in having a machine to duplicate documents. After all, whenever a boss wanted a copy of a document they would hand it to the secretary who would re-type it, perhaps with a few sheets of carbon paper.

        Xerox eventually sold it to businesses by proposing to simply install the photocopier for free, and only charge for the copies that were made using it. Many more PHB's then accepted it, and it immediately became a fantastic tool for the secretaries who no longer had to struggle through typing and re-typing entire documents just to make identical copies. It was only at this point that its usefulness really became apparent to a lot of bosses, who realised that the availability of a photocopier was letting their staff spend time on other things. Really the end customer (PHB) wasn't interested in the photocopier, but by providing it they made someone else's job much easier which resulted in a better service.

        I guess if Microsoft wants to market standards compliant CSS and PNG support, they should be marketing it at the people to whom it'll mean the most. ie. The developers. Those are the people whom it's going to benefit most immediately, after all: not the end customer. If there are enough websites and web applications out there that require IE7 and assuming Microsoft makes it easy to get, it really shouldn't be much of a problem.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:18PM (#9916416)
    It's somewhat ironic that the competitor Microsoft thought they had killed, Netscape, is now again, in the form of the now open source Mozilla and it's variants, the biggest threat to IE.

    And, also, the re-rise of that competitor is bringing out the first major feature additions to IE in years...
    • by mechsoph (716782) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:20PM (#9916431)
      That's why they wanted to call it Phoenix....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:32PM (#9916517)
      And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror.

      from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15
    • Strike me down... ah fuck it, you all know the quote.
    • by dubiousmike (558126) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:46PM (#9916612) Homepage Journal
      it strikes me that we, as the slashdot crowd, tend to be the types where our jobs are highly dependant upon computers and thus as we progress in our careers, we care more and more about security of our blessed boxes. The health of these boxes are as important as the specific tasks whos sucess pay our bills. We care about our computers and the health of our friend's, family's and even stranger's computers.

      In the mean time, the rest of the population care about learning, communication and entertainment.

      I guess what I am getting at is most of us bash Microsoft because they choose usability (not the disability flavor, just that it works) over security. Slashdotters generally have a distaste for Flash even if it is because it is used gratuitously for entertainment. We choose to block ads and popups and some of us IMAGES because we feel it is useless and fluffy even though it is the main source of revenue for many businesses' web endevours. But the thing is, most folks ont he internet care that when their kid goes to PBS Kids [pbskids.org], it works. When they go to their favorite mainstream band's website, it just works. When they go to their bank's website, it just works. When they want to play Yahoo games or take part in fantasy sports, it all just works.

      Where Microsoft suceeds is giving the consumer what they WANT. For stuff to work, even if it means that their computer is riddled with spyware and viruses. As long as their credit card number doesn't get swiped or find kiddee pr0n on their computer and everything else works, they are satisfied.

      I saw that someone wrote that Opera is a superior browser. While they are correct when using their guidelines, most end users would feel quite the opposite. Opera, at least with older incarnations, has not been a mainstream friendly browser. As an advanced user, I think its great. My mom, my kid and most folks int he public school system I work in think otherwise.

      We all know that a lot of user's problems with a computer gone "bad" would disappear without IE 5.5. But of course, many folks wouldn't want to use the web as much without the end user usability IE 5.5 has provided. Quite the double edged sword and frankly, we here at Slashdot are the minority in the internet using world.
      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:22PM (#9916823)
        Lets not just turn everyone who isn't a techie into mindless consumers.

        My brother sure as hell cares if some virus wipes out his drive full of baby pictures. My technophobe friend sure as hell cares that she has to be careful with every single attachment she gets because of spam, spyware, and viruses. Or every site she visits. "Give us security" isn't just geeks anymore, its everyone, thus MS's actions. Spyware, spam, and viruses have hit such an all time high that the dinosaur that is MS is forced to do something about it. Especially, when its their browser which enables some pretty silly things like ActiveX, vbs scripting, etc.

        I don't know much are safety engineering, but as a car owner I expect my airbag and anti-lock brakes to kick in when needed. Or the locks of the doors to work. If these things don't work then I'm pissed. You don't need to be a mechanic to understand why. Sure, a gear head is better informed than me, but that doesn't mean I don't care about such issues and when these issues become a real problem I demand something be done about them. The gearhead may have thought of it first, but he's really no superior to me as we're both consumers of a product from a company neither of us controls. Be it autos or software.
      • by jesterzog (189797) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:14PM (#9917052) Homepage Journal

        Where Microsoft suceeds is giving the consumer what they WANT. For stuff to work, even if it means that their computer is riddled with spyware and viruses. As long as their credit card number doesn't get swiped or find kiddee pr0n on their computer and everything else works, they are satisfied.

        I'm not sure I agree with this. With few exceptions, I rarely meet anyone who is happy with their Windows PC. They are certainly not satisfied, but merely have no alternative. At least in my experience, most people use Windows and its software because they have to, not because they want to, and they're no afraid to express it if asked. The problem, however, is that you can't complain to Microsoft and expect to get any meaningful reaction. You simply have to accept what Microsoft provides you and then deal with it.

        The reasons I've encountered frequently involve not knowing about any alternative. If they're aware of something like Linux, they have no idea of how to switch, or have the perception that they're too locked into Windows already to even seriously consider it. Most people have no way to reliably back up their data and simply zap windows without the fear of not being able to get it back. There are some great open source ideas such as Knoppix that may work towards this, but right now at least there's still not a lot of interest or publicity out there.

        My own conclusion is that Microsoft isn't successful today because it offers satisfaction or just working. In many cases there are superior alternatives to Microsoft products, even within Windows. It's successful because it's engineered a world of ignorance and despair, in which people aren't confident that they're expert enough to understand anything different from The Microsoft Experience (tm), and don't want to take the risk of falling off.

    • Nothing is created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another. Never more true, especially with Free software.
  • by jjh37997 (456473) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:18PM (#9916419) Homepage
    I thought IE and the Window OS were so tightly integrated that they were virtually the same thing? Do you mean IE was actually a separate program all along?
  • Call Me Clueless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:20PM (#9916429)
    But I don't understand the point of "The Browser Wars".

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Microsoft is finally making some long over due improvements.

    But........

    If everyone stops using IE and moves to Mozilla/Opera/whatever, Microsoft's loss in revenue is exactly zero.

    If everyone abandons other browsers and uses IE exclusively, Microsoft's increase in revenue is exactly zero.

    So what's the point of all this?

    • by PeteQC (680043) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:27PM (#9916479)
      As more and more application start to use HTML browser as their "interface", the war is for the future of computing. Event SAP created web interface to its popular Enterprise System. So, as the time go, more and more applications (specially business applications) will use HTML as a way to create remotely-accessible interface. So, the OS could become less and less important and the browser would become more and more important. So, if people lose interest in IE, they won't be tied to Windows anymore and then Microsoft will lose revenues.
    • by Sebby (238625)
      You can only get IE on Windows (unless you're geek and play around with Wine).

      Having the biggest browser marketshare means you can get more sales of Windowz, and you can spit on standards. The more users of it, the more developers write for it, the more users need Windowz to run it.

      So while it doesn't directly translate to direct revenue, it does translate into indirect revenue.

    • by Nurgled (63197) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:28PM (#9916485)

      Anyone who uses Internet Explorer is using Windows. If Internet Explorer has the highest market share, they control the de facto standards and can keep customers locked into Internet Explorer and by extension Windows.

    • by The Vulture (248871) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:34PM (#9916529) Homepage
      If everyone stops using IE and moves to Mozilla/Opera/whatever, Microsoft's loss in revenue is exactly zero.
      Not true. A lot of companies are using the Microsoft server tools (like IIS, SQL Server, Windows Media Server) because they're designed to work with Internet Explorer (and vice-versa). If all of a sudden Mozilla/Opera/whatever had 97% of the browser market, then companies would have to stop serving up web pages that don't render properly in Mozilla/Opera/whatever. And if you're not serving up those pages, when it's time to upgrade your Windows server software, why upgrade? Why not just switch to other open source tools, like Apache?

      Additionally, once everything standardizes on a platform-independant browser, like Mozilla, who needs Windows anymore? Okay, granted, a lot of software is still available for Windows, etc., etc., but perhaps for a company that doesn't need Windows-specific applications, they might switch. This scares Microsoft more than anything else.

      If everyone abandons other browsers and uses IE exclusively, Microsoft's increase in revenue is exactly zero.
      Again, not true (in fact the opposite of what I state above). Since IE has a dominant portion of the browser market, companies are more willing to buy the Microsoft server tools, which brings in money for Microsoft. Also, this leads to client lock-in, since in order to view the Microsoft content, you need a Microsoft client.

      -- Joe
    • not _exactly_ (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ihatewinXP (638000)
      I would have to imagine that microsoft benefits in mindshare and monetarily by having IE as your default browser. Being that millions of users are still unaware that you can change your homepage (or just dont care to) MS gets to advertise their sites and services by default to many windows users. Also the search function (and the fact that if you incorrectly type and address you are presented with a 'search') links directly to the MS portal and advertisers on their engine.
      Now I admit that it is not much, b
    • Re:Call Me Clueless (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harikiri (211017) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:04PM (#9916719)
      If 90%+ of the market is using Internet Explorer, developers will design websites with IE in mind.

      Then microsoft decides to incorporate some non-RFC "features" into IE. Developers know that 90% of the people coming to their websites will have support for this feature, and will use it on the sites they design.

      Unfortunately, the particular feature that IE supports is directly tied into Windows, and has no counterpart in Firefox/Opera/etc. Users with browsers different to IE will be unable to view sites using this non-RFC feature, or will have a less than optimal browsing experience on those sites. In order to view these sites correctly, you will need to use IE, which in turn locks you into Windows.

      I'm using a hypothetical scenario here, but I believe in some instances this has occured in the past - today I have problems viewing websites designed for IE when I use Firefox, and for quite some time internet banking for unusable except for IE.

      Because the browser locks you into the operating system, that is the point of this.
  • What... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RLiegh (247921) * on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:27PM (#9916475) Homepage Journal
    no popup-blockers? no flash-click-to-view? Other than the fact I'm on XP, is there any compelling reason to switch over?
  • The problem is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krahd (106540) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:32PM (#9916519) Homepage Journal
    That, until now, each major IE upgrade has a new, non standard and non-supported-by-other feature, that was immediately and widely adopted by web designers (perhaps because it gets immediately added to Dreamweaver et al).

    So, here we go again, new pages that look like crap in non-IE... :(

    The advantages of monopolys are endless.

    --krahd
    • by cujo_1111 (627504) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:05PM (#9916725) Homepage Journal
      I don't understand all this complaining about MS adding their own little non-supported-by-other feature and web designers using it. If the feature is a handy little feature and it gets used, can't the Mozilla team add in support for the same thing, thereby eliminating your complaint?

      I may get flamed for this but I don't care, why complain about MS giving web designers a new tool to use and it gets used in a big way. If the feature is so useful, why can't the standards bodies and the Open Source world take a look at it and adopt it?

      It would also act as a way for Mozilla to move into new areas by touting that Mozilla supports all MSIE extensions, plus runs on multiple platforms.

      Limiting Mozilla to just the standards could be hurting it's acceptance in the business world...

  • by yagu (721525) <yayagu.gmail@com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:47PM (#9916613) Journal
    One of my favorites about IE is its notion of "favorites". Another example of how MS really just doesn't "get it".

    I mean, exactly what is it about marking a site that makes it "favorite"?!? Consider for example doing research on euthanasia (sp?)... would that someone sits down to use your browser and sees that you have five references to sites describing or providing "howto's" for euthansia. Are these really semantically "favorites"? I don't think so. It's really an example of how cute MS gets, but doesn't get the semantics. Netscape, Mozilla, and all of the other browsers got it right when they provided "bookmarks". The metaphor is apt, and not overreaching.

    Just my $.02, and probably offtopic.

  • by ekhben (628371) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:48PM (#9916622)

    And no, IE7 won't be a Transformer.

    Microsoft does not sell IE. They gain no direct profit from people's use of it, so you have to wonder what their motive is here. Let's assume that "good" and "evil" are subjective and emotive words that have no relevance to this discussion, ok?

    If you read Joel Spolsky's API war [joelonsoftware.com] article, some perspective may be gained. Microsoft wishes only to discourage Web developers from moving away from the IE platform. If developers move away, Microsoft no longer has control over web development, and can no longer keep new [w3c.org] technologies [whatwg.org] on the fringe.

    This is bad news for a company with plans to move to network applications. If a platform for network applications exists outside of Microsoft's control, it will be much harder to profit from. Thus, Microsoft's interest is served here by retaining that 90%+ browser market share, to prevent the adoption of new technologies not under MS control.

    • Microsoft doesn't care all that much about Internet Explorer. They don't want to improve it, because then they can keep back web APIs. Face it, XUL isn't exactly going anywhere.

      Microsoft doesn't really care, as they have their sights set on .NET, which is truly Internet-able. Even OSS has gotten into the trap with Mono. Longhorn will be entirely based on .NET, with mere Win32 compatibility DLLs thrown in for older apps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:51PM (#9916641)
    "Apparently in response to the recent mass migration away from MSIE..."

    Like it or not, IE has only lost 1% of market share. See:

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/07/12/HNielo se sshare_1.html

    Hardly a mass migration!!!
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:57PM (#9916673)
    Since they integrated it, upgrades to IE become upgrades to the OS. I'm sure marketing would much rather hold out till longhorn hits. It'd make thier job of selling a bloated, complex upgrade that much easier. I tell you, I wouldn't want to be the guy who had to come up with reasons why you should upgrade to Windows ME.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:59PM (#9916683) Homepage Journal
    I remember Microsoft making the statement that IE6 would be the last standalone version..

    Guess control of the market is more important then sticking with your promises...
  • In a C|Net article [com.com] from May 31, 2003, a Microsoft rep said, "Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS."

    Cut to a year and change later, Longhorn is taking too long to arrive and people are getting sick/scared enough of all the security deficiencies in IE to actually look for a better browser. Because informed consumers are their worst enemy, Microsoft gets a little nervous that their lock on the browser market might be in jeopardy, and POW! Miracle of miracles, it is suddenly possible to further improve standalone versions of IE on non-Longhorn versions of Windows! Whoda thunk it?

    Technically such an improved beast should be called IE 6.5. If they actually do call it 7, it's purely for marketing reasons-- they'll launch some flashy commercials to try to snow people into thinking this is some totally reworked wonder that fixes everything they didn't like about IE 6, when in reality it will just be IE 6 with some bugs fixed and some extra shit grafted on. Too bad their campaign will probably work on the uninformed.

    Don't roll over and take this, people! Keep informing your friends/family/clients that there are better browsers out there, and install your alternative browser of choice wherever possible. Don't let them listen to whatever sunshine Microsoft will be blowing up their asses about the "new, improved" IE.

    ~Philly
  • by BCW2 (168187) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:05PM (#9916728) Journal
    In this world, the same thing will happen to M$ that happened to Netscape. Once you get used to a browser there is no compelling reason to change back. If people shift to Mozilla or Firefox now they probably won't want IE in the future due to the bad reputation, no matter if they really fix it or not.
  • by Internet Ninja (20767) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:09PM (#9916741) Homepage
    So there's a mass migration [netcraft.com] away from IE.
    From the stats gathering we do on our site, I have yet to see that. Oh sure there's a slight rise but that's not enough to convince marketing etc. Mind you, the 3rd party we use is crap for browser analysis but we're stuck using it because everyone in the industry does.

    Are there some reliable browser metrics out there? Your own site stats don't count...
  • Now is the time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r.jimenezz (737542) <rjimenezh@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:09PM (#9916744)
    ...for the F/OSS community to leap forward. If people really want to be able to say that F/OSS is where the innovation is, this is the time to start thinking hard of the features to be included in FireFox 1.0/1.1/1.2 (not 2.0... That's too far!) that will make evident that MS is playing catch-up here.

    Otherwise, as another poster stated, people will simply wait for MS to level the field with the rest of the browsers and keep using what they have.

    Interesting questions, interesting challenges... Are there enough resources? Is there enough people/creativity/motivation/discipline (no bickering, forking and what not) to keep MS at bay? Can the F/OSS community focus on the users and develop widely accepted, non-controversial(*) extensions?

    Exciting times - I can hardly wait to see what happens!!

    (*) The reason I mention this is because FireFox has this ad blocker... Which is good and all, but at some point someone will point that out as something bad. Even if it still hits the advertiser's servers... Joe Consumer will be under the impression that this is not a "good" browser, developed by "good" people. Remember, chances are Joe Consumer does not care about adverts. And companies may find an excuse to indulge in more yummy FUD :( Fear the media, people...

    • by violet16 (700870)

      FireFox has this ad blocker... Which is good and all, but at some point someone will point that out as something bad. Even if it still hits the advertiser's servers... Joe Consumer will be under the impression that this is not a "good" browser, developed by "good" people. Remember, chances are Joe Consumer does not care about adverts.

      No way, you've got that backwards. Joe Consumer does not care about the business model of ad-supported web sites. He does care about being able to easily block ads. (When I t

  • by $exyNerdie (683214) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:11PM (#9916762) Homepage Journal
    .....support for tabbed browsing.....

    Well, MSDN front page has an article with code to build your own custom web browser [microsoft.com]with tabs and an integrated link to a search engine.
    You don't need to buy anything for this. Visual C# express is a free download [microsoft.com]

  • by guard952 (768434) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:13PM (#9916769)
    Notice there's not even a date mentioned in this article. It barely even suggests that ie7 will be released before longhorn (2008 last I heard).
    Is it any wonder that people are switching away from a browser (and operating system) that can't even release system patches (XPSP2 [zdnet.com.au]?) on time.
  • What for? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dustmite (667870) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:20PM (#9916808)

    So if we wait until Microsoft develops and releases these features in Internet Explorer, then we get to do everything that we .. uh .. already can do today in browsers like Firefox. Thanks, but no thanks, we can get now what they're offering next year.

    Microsoft are truly amazing: Can any other IT company consistently generate excitement and buzz amongst their customer base by announcing that they are going to add features that everyone else has had for years already???

  • Quick... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by awful (227543) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:26PM (#9916840) Homepage
    ...somebody patent tabbed browsing, mouse gestures and standards compliant browsing...
  • by Da VinMan (7669) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:46PM (#9916921)
    Just use HTML tables!!!!

    *duck*

    (No flames please, yes I'm kidding. Sort of.)
  • by Fastleaf (165027) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:47PM (#9916923)
    Now that their marketshare is decling, that is when Microsoft starts working on improving IE.

    That's funny, seeing as it could very well be argued that the primary reason Mozilla has been gaining marketshare is because of it's increased security, while IE has clearly needed such security measures for some years and yet has not even had an established team to work on it for that duration of time.

  • by kennycoder (788223) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:52PM (#9916944) Homepage
    Imagine you are a webdesigner... and you really NEED to use transparent PNGs. So you have this options:
    Mozilla: <img src="filname.png">
    IE: <img src="files/spacer.gif" border="0" style="filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader (src='filename.png')"> where spacer.gif is 1x1 blank gif file.

    Make your choice...
  • by lone_knight (771218) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:55PM (#9916958) Homepage Journal
    As a web developer, it is annoying beyond belief to have to test all of your design code in a growing number of different browsers and versions.

    Hey, I think improvements are great, as long as Microsoft focuses on becoming more compliant with CSS standards, etc. rather than trying to reinvent the wheel for a competitive edge.

    Because "new and different" doesn't always mean "better".
  • Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lou2112 (265869) <.slashdot. .at. .louisbennett.com.> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:07PM (#9917018) Homepage
    The cited article itself says that it's based on speculation. Channel 9 attracts developers, not "consumers"; so, the "consumers" the article mentions who "are demanding that IE be fitted with tabbed browsing", etc., are actually just developers. Indeed, the majority of IE's consumers couldn't give a damn about tabbed browsing, or CSS, or PNG.

    Sadly, this whole article (i.e., Slashdot's article) has become a collection of threads promoting FireFox, Opera, etc., and generally IE-bashing instead of actually discussing the issue at hand. Sure, perhaps the majority of geeks don't use IE, but we're also the people who would use OpenOffice instead of MS Office, Linux instead of Windows, etc. I.e., we're not Microsoft's intended audience.

    So, take a moment and think about the article's premise. Will there be a new version of IE before Longhorn? I'd venture to say no. Why? Mainly, a better IE would be a major selling point for Windows (as Safari has become for Mac OS X, e.g., Tiger's Safari RSS [apple.com]). Also, it's probably moved all new development of IE to Longhorn APIs, and doing double-development of new features is a nuisance (as it was for Apple).

    In general, developing new features for IE 6 just doesn't make sense from a business, marketing, or technical perspective. Saying a new release of IE "may be imminent" just adds more vapor to the breeze, seemingly endorsing speculation, and creates even more opportunities for MS-bashing. Whereas MS-bashing can be justified, ripping apart products that exist only in your mind is ludicrous.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:30PM (#9917143)

    It will happen, but everything that the article implies won't be included.

    IE7 will be the same caliber of upgrade as IE6, but with much more user value (who cares about the stupid image toolbar?). Little to no rendering engine improvments will happen, but most if not all of the UI features (tabs, popup blocker, etc) will. Remember that IE is essentially a very hacked up version of Mosaic, a codebase that is nearly a decade old. I've heard rumors of a Windows XP2 full release (in about a year)... likely any IE7 would accompany it.

    But I do suspect that any possible IE upgrade will not be solely driven by user migration. MS has finally realized that they made a mistake in letting IE lag behind in the marketplace... the users are forcing them to admit it.

    The people who run Channel9 post vehemently that they can't promise any improved support for anything. Remember that IE is still the sam bowl of spaghetti that it was 3 years ago (plus being stale and moldy). Do we really expect MS to make major rendering changes (so they claim) to IE and support it while developing the Longhorn UI (a rehash of Mozilla's display architecture)? I don't think so. I'm not sure how likely IE7 for Win98 will be.

    And of course, don't hold your breath for IE including useful developer tools (DOM inspector, etc)... it never was for developers, and it never will be.

    • by earache (110979) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @11:34PM (#9917464) Homepage
      IE hasn't been based on mosaic since 3.0. 4.0 was a complete rewrite.

      Also, as a developer, you have complete access to the DOM via COM. There are a variety of third party tools that give you this capability. IE was a more developer centric than Netscape was, until the advent of mozilla. The script debugger alone was a thing of beauty. Not to mention some niceties if you were stuck developing an IE only intranet solution (behaviors, etc.).

      And XUL isn't so novel as to be claimed as an original thought on behalf of the developers of mozilla. It's a fairly natural advancement of HTML, although, arguably, it could be designed a little more simply. But to say Avalon is a rehash of XUL is pretty dumb.
  • What I've done... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:38PM (#9917186)
    At the library where I'm tech-support, I've installed Mozilla and it auto-launches to the library's homepage on reboot.

    I've also posted an explanation on the desktop entitled Read Me.

    I have left IE on the desktop for the diehards, mostly to keep the complaint level down.

    What I've found: Some people love it (there are one or two who want Opera) . Others just use what's in front of them. Still others re-arrange and delete the Mozilla icon (which re-appears on reboot).

    *Shrug*. We've got some people who do online banking and ebay and whatnot and insist on IE. It's not like the IE fans haven't been warned.

    These computers also have OpenOffice. There have been *O* complaints, just questions whether it will open and save Word files. Yes...yes, you can!

    Shameless plug: Deep Freeze. Let them screw with the computers to their hearts' content. Power-cycle or soft reboot and it goes back to normal.

    --
    BMO
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:41PM (#9917195)
    1. Printing. They've never fixed the problem of text overflowing the right margin and getting cut off, leaving a worthless print.

    2. While it's a minor thing, how is it that IE can eventually forget every site icon? I mean, really...come on guys....
  • Yeah, well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThisIsFred (705426) on Monday August 09, 2004 @12:23AM (#9917685) Journal
    If it isn't separated from the shell, and doesn't have it's own filetype registry, for starters, then Microsoft hasn't learned a damn thing from their mistakes, and there'd be no reason to believe it would be any more secure that version 3, 4, 5, 5.5, or 6... As all of those releases were supposedly more secure than their predecessor. The extra features can wait, let's see some real solid core code in IE first.

    If Microsoft can't even do this, then I hope version 8 is an IE uninstaller.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @12:46AM (#9917765) Homepage Journal
    Whoa, fasten your seatbelts, folks! A product that may beat Longhorn to market sure must be coming out soon. ;-)

  • by Chromodromic (668389) on Monday August 09, 2004 @02:02AM (#9918029)
    Every opportunity I get I tell people about Firefox, and since the Internet is my living I get asked a lot, as do many of the people here on Slashdot.

    The fact is, Firefox is giving the best features to both consumers and developers before they're asking for them, not after the fact. This, I think, is an important distinction. Microsoft is only picking up the ball because, after they announced they would no longer be playing the game, they've realized that the browser isn't going away after all and, oh by the way, Firefox is kicking ass all over IE on a number of fronts.

    This is not only self-serving and a way of marginalizing mainstream consumer demands -- all while convincing them that they don't really want what they want after all, no, what they really want is what Microsoft happens to be pushing -- but it's cynical, pure and simple.

    The great thing about Microsoft, though, is that they make it so easy for you to hate them. They don't apologize, and they never deliver without being asked, but they are constantly telling you what you really want, even though you didn't realize you needed it, whatever "it" happens to be, like their new touted shell that passes around .Net objects. I'm sure we'll all be "needing" that, too.

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