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IE8 Released As Critical Update For XP 409

Posted by kdawson
from the standards-are-critical-you-betcha dept.
Binestar was one of several readers writing in to note that Microsoft is listing IE8 as a critical update to Windows XP. CNet reported a couple of weeks back that Microsoft would be rolling our IE8 to users in a gradual fashion, and requiring an opt-in before installing it. Opinion has been split as to whether IE8 is worth installing or not. Binestar notes delicately, "For those not interested in upgrading to IE8 at this time, the MSDN released information back in January on how to keep IE8 off your machine."
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IE8 Released As Critical Update For XP

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  • shouldn't they patch the version XP shipped with instead?

    • by prehistoricman5 (1539099) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:47PM (#27755125)
      Whenever I encounter a computer running ie6, I want to take a sledgehammer to the computer.
      • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:58PM (#27755191) Homepage

        No, that's not enough. The only way to be safe is to nuke it from orbit.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Trails (629752)

          We can't take your advice, you're just a grunt... no offense...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by miro f (944325)

        please don't work for any large company. I work for a large financial institution and we still only support ie6 =(

      • by rts008 (812749)

        Or toss the HDD into a smelter...Followed with 'high-explosives' and thermite. Then call in a 'air-strike'.
        Second best thing is 'nuking it from orbit...it's the only way to be sure' solution. 'If it does not glow, we have a go!'

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jared555 (874152)

      They don't want to maintain more than one operating system version.... You seriously expect them to maintain more than web browser, especially on multiple OS versions?

    • by initdeep (1073290) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:57PM (#27755189)

      How is microsoft abandoning patching IE6 any different than Mozilla abandoning patches for Firefox 2?

      Seriously.

      IE6 has some root code that is insecure and patching is merely chasing the tail of the dragon when it comes to security exploits.

      So abandoning it, and moving users to an inherently more secure browser that also happens to be more inline with modern browser standards is a good move, not a bad one.

      Software companies (all of them) abandon old code for new code all the time, and when they do, they stop issueing security updates and patches for the old code.

      It's common, and happens all the time.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by JWSmythe (446288) *

            > IE6 has some root code that is insecure and patching is merely chasing the tail of the dragon when it comes to security exploits.

            You haven't been paying attention to the way Microsoft works, have you? This has been typical for .... ummm .... as far as I can remember. Ship first, patch later and frequently.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Tumbleweed (3706) *

          You haven't been paying attention to the way Microsoft works, have you? This has been typical for .... ummm .... as far as I can remember. Ship first, patch later and frequently.

          Erm...'frequently'?

        • by benjymouse (756774) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:18AM (#27756847)

          You haven't been paying attention to the way Microsoft works, have you? This has been typical for .... ummm .... as far as I can remember. Ship first, patch later and frequently.

          Erm. Then you haven't been paying attention to the way Microsoft have worked for the past 5-6 years, have you? They have seriously pulled themselves together since the code red, nimda and initial IE6 days. I know that it's a popular myth that Microsoft software is swiss cheese, but security analysts are starting to point at Microsoft SDL (Secure Development Lifecycle) as an example on how to do it. Independent analysts, i.e. IBM, researching vulnerability reports, have for the past 3 years pointed out how Windows XP and Windows Vista are actually the operating systems hit with the fewest vulnerabilities (but still most exploits).

          Looking at vulnerability stats at secunia shows that Microsoft QC have improved drastically across their entire product portfolio:

          • IE7 was released at roughly the same time as FF2. IE7 has had half (77) of the vulnerabilities of FF2 (154). And those vulnerabilities stopped counting last year when FF2 was EOLed. And FF3 is already at 68 - about to overtake the 3 year old IE7. Of course there are still browsers out there with much fewer vulns than all of these.
          • The .NET Framework 2.0 is roughly as old as JRE 1.5, and although the former also has "enterprise" stacks such as ASP.NET etc, the .NET Framework 2.x has been hit by 10 vulns whereas JRE 1.5 has had 111 vulns in the same period.
          • IIS6 was released with Windows Server 2003. Since then it has had 4 (four) vulnerabilities. IIS7 was released with Vista/Server 2008. It has experienced 1 (one!) less critical vulnerability. In comparison Apache 2.x has experienced 23 vulnerabilities. Considering what they had to work with, I'd say that's pretty impressive.
          • Silverlight 1 and 2 both have clean sheets. Zero vulnerabilities so far. Compared to Flash Player 9&10 with 37 and 5 vulnerabilities respectively , Microsoft is certainly doing allright there as well. Especially considering that some of those Flash vulns were high-profile potent vulns which were featured in pwn2own.
          • On the database front, SQL Server 2005 has registered 10 vulnerabilities. Oracle Database 10.x comes in with a staggering 828 vulnerabilities.

          On the whole Microsoft seems to do pretty well and considerably better than their competitors in all of the above areas. And no, Microsoft does not hide vulnerabilities. They may delay publication in a responsible disclosure, but any MS admin will tell you that they are very specific about each vuln in their patch bulletins. Microsoft cannot slip a "fix" through, as they have to provide enough information for admins to take a decision whether to block or allow a given patch based on security against stability (like in fewer changes). And Microsoft does not patch "frequently". They patch 12 times a year + emergency patches. This schedule has in general been well received by admins and several other vendors are now following the same schedule.

          • by thsths (31372) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:29AM (#27756909)

            >Looking at vulnerability stats at secunia shows that Microsoft QC have improved drastically across their entire product portfolio:

            You have to read these with caution, though. Microsoft has been trying to get the vulnerability count down, and one way of doing this is merging several vulnerabilities into one. It looks good on paper, but it does not make the product any more secure.

            That being said, the recent product certainly show improvements. They absolutely beat Java and Acrobat, when it comes to security. I think the comparison with Firefox may be uneven, though, because the Firefox guys class just about anything as a potential security issue, just to be on the safe side.

            • by benjymouse (756774) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:42AM (#27756977)

              You have to read these with caution, though. Microsoft has been trying to get the vulnerability count down, and one way of doing this is merging several vulnerabilities into one. It looks good on paper, but it does not make the product any more secure.

              Perhaps you would look with caution, too? You are talking about advisories or bulletins. They are often aggregated. However, secunia lists a count for actual vulnerabilities. And those were the numbers I quoted.

              And even in Microsofts own bulletins (not the advance notices) the individual vulnerabilities are clearly listed and identified with CVE references. CVEs are not aggregated, not from Microsoft and not from anyone else.

              That being said, the recent product certainly show improvements. They absolutely beat Java and Acrobat, when it comes to security. I think the comparison with Firefox may be uneven, though, because the Firefox guys class just about anything as a potential security issue, just to be on the safe side.

              So does Microsoft. An uncontrolled browser crash is a potential vuln. But you're right, if the bug is handled in a controlled fashion (i.e. caught exception) it is probably not classified as a vuln but rather a bug. I am not aware that Mozilla would do it any other way.

              I haven't tallied by the the severities of the vulnerabilities. Theoretically all of the FF vulns could be "less critical" whereas all of the IE ones could be "highly critical". But I doubt it. Anyway, it's food for thought. I don't think we should give Microsoft nor Mozilla free passes.

              • by walt-sjc (145127) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @01:03PM (#27761173)

                With IE being closed source, we will never know how many "quiet" vulnerabilities there are, and "quietly fixed" too. Maybe none. Maybe lots.

                But you know what? None of that matters. What matters is how vulnerable you are just using your machine in a normal way.
                The fact is, Windows machines are compromised more frequently and by more vectors than any other OS. And that includes IE - using it is more risky. It's an undeniable fact.

          • You need to relearn [wikipedia.org] the difference between full disclosure [wikipedia.org] and responsible disclosure [wikipedia.org], know that MS doesn't even follow RD guidelines [zdnet.com], then go and rewrite your post. You can't compare numbers of vulns when one of the projects doesn't disclose them.

            "They may delay publication in a responsible disclosure ...." Yes. They delay it until a patch is available or a vulnerability is in the wild.

            • Since the parent got moderated as a troll because some moderator didn't understand the point, if you don't disclose and immediately start patching, you don't allow the public any ability to defend themselves against the vulnerability in question.

              So long as Microsoft holds their head in the sand about a reported vulnerability, you can go and work on a well-thought-out exploit that will take over the Internet, whereas a reported exploit in a full-disclosure or even responsible disclosure group will cause a patch or reasonable response within a much shorter time frame.

              To all those who don't get it, go look up "time unpatched" for each of IE's vulnerabilities. That is, time from when they were reported to time when they were patched. That's the time Microsoft left you swinging in the wind.

      • However, software companies don't commonly use their illegal monopoly to foist negligently insecure software on the entire world.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by symbolset (646467)

        IE6 has some root code that is insecure and patching is merely chasing the tail of the dragon when it comes to security exploits.

        This would have been a great post without the spurious "6" in there. Was that a miskey?

      • by subreality (157447) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:42AM (#27756103)

        How is microsoft abandoning patching IE6 any different than Mozilla abandoning patches for Firefox 2?

        Firefox 2 wasn't forced down our throats as a supposedly integral part of the operating system. If IE6 was a critical part of the operating system, shouldn't it get critical updates for the life of the operating system? Shouldn't corporate customers who bought in with the promise that they'd have a stable platform for however many years actually be able to use that platform, with all its knotholes, for that long?

        Not that I mind seeing it go, but it kind of acknowledges the emperor's lack of clothes.

        • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:20AM (#27756601)

          If IE6 was a critical part of the operating system, shouldn't it get critical updates for the life of the operating system?

          IE6 is getting critical updates for the life of the operating system, but the problem is that the operating system is at its end of life. Microsoft have put it into extended support, where XP (and therefor IE6) gets security updates for the next 5 years.

          Shouldn't corporate customers who bought in with the promise that they'd have a stable platform for however many years actually be able to use that platform, with all its knotholes, for that long?

          By the time MS stops security patches for XP, they will have supported the platform for 13 years. How much longer do you want a stable platform?

      • by rapiddescent (572442) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:17AM (#27756591)
        in terms of cost - it isn't a user problem in my view. The finance company I consult at has its entire sales platform built on VB6/IIS5 and (shock horror) VBScript so it only works on IE6. This was sold to them as an approach by MS back in the day - the platform will cost over $20m - $30m to replace... It hasn't helped that the weakness of the VB6/IIS platform for enterprise software has made it very hard to replace (no business effective tier separation, lack of rules engine, poor security approach etc) and MS did not provide an upgrade approach to .NET for large platforms.

        We're just waiting now for the sales to drop off (or the phone lines to be swamped) as our business to business customers get their browsers upgraded and don't buy online from us. We've got $m's worth of projects on the go to replace the platform but the business feels it has been strongarmed into replacing the platform with a like for like replacement with no business advantage.i.e. they are set back 2 years to get to the same place we are at now.

        In a way, this is a blessing in disguise because MS is never going to be selling enterprise solutions (beyond file & print) here again and now open source is certainly not frowned upon and is a real contender for big enterprise systems. It's certainly not fluff - This organisation deals with a quarter of the population of UK and employes 10's of thousands of people.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The finance company I consult at has its entire sales platform built on VB6/IIS5 and (shock horror) VBScript so it only works on IE6.

          There's no logic here. A site built using VB6/IIS5 doesn't have to be IE6-specific (why would browser care about the server platform used?). Using VBScript for client-side scripts is a stupid thing to do, but it's still supported in all later IE versions (including IE8).

          If the site works only in IE6, it's because the developers specifically did something that only works in IE6. None of the things you've listed fall into that category.

    • by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @12:01AM (#27755235)

      shouldn't they patch the version XP shipped with instead?

      They did. The patch is called "IE8".

    • I actually wish they would do this more often - like Debian and other linux distro.

      I would rather upgrade a package whole then download a patch that forces me to reboot and then needs a patch on top of that.

  • IE8 on XP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:41PM (#27755073)

    I didn't even know that IE8 would be available for XP. I wonder how well it renders MathML.

  • So what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:41PM (#27755075)

    I use Firefox as my default browser. Should I care what version of IE is on my (XP) system?

    • Re:So what (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anjilslaire (968692) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:44PM (#27755101) Homepage

      I use Firefox as my default browser. Should I care what version of IE is on my (XP) system?

      Seeing as how IE is integrated into the OS, having a vulnerable, outdated browser can be a problem. Like when you use windows update.

    • Re:So what (Score:5, Informative)

      by click2005 (921437) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:47PM (#27755127)

      Some software uses IE embedded. Valve's Steam & the HTML help system both do and I'm sure theres plenty more too.

    • Re:So what (Score:5, Informative)

      by rts008 (812749) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @12:14AM (#27755299) Journal

      Yes, and no.
      If you use XP and/or the 'view in IE tab' extension, then yes, you should be using at least IE7 for on-line security.(IE 5,6,7, or 8-whatever is installed, is just opened in a FF tab/window-vulnerabilities will still exist somewhat)
      If 'no to both', then don't worry about it.

      The 'bottom line' is: get rid of IE 6, or earlier at all costs. (as a 'Home' user-at work:YMMV)

    • If your watching Netflix Instant View, I'm sure you will care. Its the only thing I use IE7 for.

      I'll eat my tinfoil hat if they don't make IE8 a requirement for Netflix Instant View much like IE7 and Silverlight are right now.

      • by Yold (473518)

        umm... you can watch movies in firefox now. You must have missed the memo...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ilgaz (86384)

      Well, you can keep up with IE 6/7 updates (security, as long as they ship) but you can't simply ignore System's default browser for updates. Some Mac users doing the same mistake too, they pass the Safari security/performance updates because they use something else. "Safari" update means update of Webkit and several OS core frameworks (even including libxml) update. Just like even if you use VLC, you gotta keep up with Quicktime (Framework) updates.

      So you better run Windows Update, pick all except "IE 8", a

  • by click2005 (921437) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:41PM (#27755081)

    "For those not interested in upgrading to IE8 at this time, the MSDN released information back in January on how to keep IE8 off your machine."

    Install Linux

  • by darpo (5213) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:43PM (#27755097) Homepage
    ...the better!
    • by risk one (1013529) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @03:01AM (#27756237)

      My thoughts too, initially. But the people that use automatic updates will already have been forced to install IE7. Whether or not IE8 is forced will do very little about IE6.

      The 20-30% of computers that still use IE6 either have updates turned off, or they are in some company that won't switch to IE7 yet, because of outdated intranet software, or just an incompetent IT staff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jason Levine (196982)

        My company falls in the "outdated intranet software" category. Some software that is critical for us to run won't work with IE7 or IE8. So our users are stuck with IE6. Since they're using IE6, I'm forced to remain on IE6 to test out our Intranet (different intranet site, this one I designed with IE6/7/8 & FF compatibility) on IE6. However, my problem is that I still need to test out our public website on IE7 and IE8 (which outside users use). Thank goodness for http://www.xenocode.com/browsers/ [xenocode.com] .

  • by Verdagon (1532631) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:44PM (#27755103)
    So this means that more of the browser market will be standards compliant?
    • by Yold (473518)

      Unfortunately... no. There are way to many ignorant users running outdated hardware. Believe me, it pisses me off to no end as a web developer, to still have to test IE6, although Prototype has cleared up most of the problems. Its been like 3 years, upgrade your damn browser!

      Currently, our webserver is set up to display messages to IE 5 users that they cannot browse our site, and it blocks all the content. I really hope that IE6 makes that list soon.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:46PM (#27755117) Homepage

    What exactly? I don't know. I am a bit confused though.

    So MSIE8 is more standards compliant in a significant way. Is this still the case? Is the "default" mode standards mode or compatible mode? I ask this because I want to understand what Microsoft's expectations are going to be.

    If the default mode will be standards mode, then I have to say that this is a courageous move on Microsoft's part.

    If the compatible mode will be default, then I still have to applaud Microsoft for taking some initiative on this. Even if it doesn't break everything or anything, it's still a gutsy move and is clearly a step in moving in the direction of standards compliance. While this move might potentially slow the growth in use of alternative browsers, Microsoft will potentially lose their edge when it comes to maintaining their lock-in status in IT. And potentially losing some of that edge is a really gutsy move.

    Microsoft can lose me and I am sure quite a few others here as Microsoft-haters if they were to just straighten up and fly right. I am hopeful that they will. I once loved Microsoft and all they did when it was still an exciting time... I know... but I speak the truth.

    • by Randle_Revar (229304) <kelly.clowers@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:58PM (#27755199) Homepage Journal

      Yes, Standards mode is default, although it is easy to override, either from the user side or the web author side: <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7" />

      http://blogs.msdn.com/askie/archive/2009/03/23/understanding-compatibility-modes-in-internet-explorer-8.aspx [msdn.com]

    • by shird (566377)

      The default is standards mode - but you get to choose at install time.

      You can choose to create a website that requires your visitors to select 'compliant mode' when visiting your site and inconvenience them.. or you can add a header to your html which says 'standards mode' and IE8 will render it in standards mode, or add a header that states 'compliant mode' and IE8 will use compliant mode.

      It is in the hands of website creators to state which mode they want their site rendered - so it gives both website cre

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by perryizgr8 (1370173)
      critical means update is automatically downloaded and installed if you have auto updates turned on. optional updates get installed only after asking you.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Even more interesting: I recall from other stories on /. (sorry, too lazy to look up links) that even in "compatible mode" it breaks many IE6-specific web sites. Which I'd say is a good thing.

      And these regular updates of IE will break even more web sites that still check for specific versions of a browser, and require one to use IE5.5 or IE6, but refuse IE7. I'm quite sure there are still some of those around.

      All in all more versions of web browsers is good. All may have different quirks, but I can unders

    • by GF678 (1453005) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @12:19AM (#27755337)

      I once loved Microsoft and all they did when it was still an exciting time... I know... but I speak the truth.

      Offtopic: The funny thing is, you say this as if people used to be excited with what Microsoft had done but are tired of them now, but I believe this level of excitement with MS is cyclic. Go to a place like Neowin.net to see this in action. You might be tired of MS now, but the next generation of geeks seem to be excited with their products like Windows Live/Mesh, Windows 7, Office, etc. Maybe the golden years for Microsoft are back?

      Heck I can't explain why they're so excited, but they are. As a side note, it does mean that if you hate Microsoft for valid reasons you can't bring them up at a place like Neowin though, cos people will immedaitely consider you a basher for popularity sake and a Linux lover who can't run Photoshop (not like they would be running legit copies either, but that's another topic). The inverse is true for this place of course. God I hate all tech sites these days. What am I doing here anyway? :)

    • IE8 is defiantly a step forwards, i think the problem is that update policies like this are the reason Microsoft boxes are left unpatched. Critical would be to upgrade insecure ie6 to ie7 but to issue a "critical" update to ie8, just devalues the meaning of critical!

  • by shird (566377) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:58PM (#27755193) Homepage Journal

    I was hoping they would fix the issue where WMP11 Media Sharing stops working after installing IE8 on Vista before rolling it out like this.

    I've reported it myself, and so have many others. I guess they will wait until the masses have it via automatic updates and they get a significant number of complaints the next day before they do anything about it.

    • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:11AM (#27755977)

      Your post is the first I've ever heard of the Media Sharing feature. I think MS will be able to handle the vast number of complaints you and the other four users of the feature will have.

      In the meanwhile, the rest of us will enjoy a more secure, standards-compliant Internet. Yes, IE8 is not perfect, but it's still an improvement over IE7 and IE6.

  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:58PM (#27755197)
    It's good news because it will help kill IE6, which has serious CSS rendering problems and doesn't support PNG24 graphics.

    As of today, IE6 still has significant market penetration. My guess is that corporate users keep that number high.
    • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @12:13AM (#27755295)

      Corporate users wont be switching away from IE6 anytime soon. Not whilst PHBs continue to be worried about some tiny little funky feature that no-one uses on some corporate intranet site breaks as a result of the switch.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      The big corps that really need IE6 for their broken internal sites are maybe 30% of the total Internet users. And 10-15% of the consumer web sites such as ebay and youtube (assuming employees are doing most of their surfing from home - not sure if that's a safe assumption though). Thus IE6 may soon slip under 30% market share with such an aggressive update policy, and it becomes too small of a market share to specifically build sites for. IE7-8 and FF become the standard, more modern features will be used,

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      As of today, IE6 still has significant market penetration. My guess is that corporate users keep that number high.

      Also realize that there are still significant numbers of people on older Windows machines using such classics as Windows 95/98/ME, and Windows 2000, all of which cannot be upgraded beyond IE6. For them, they have to switch to a non-IE browser.

      If your old Windows box can't handle IE8 OR the latest Firefox due to resource issues, I suggest trying K-Meleon or Opera. (You know, aside from upgrading

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        As someone who has a lot of customers that have older hardware (and I myself keep a 9 year old 1.1GHz Win2K box around as a low power netbox) I have found Kmeleon CCF ME [blogspot.com] to be a great replacement on older hardware. Not only does it use less resources than FF3, but it has built in Adblock Plus and by following this guide here [sourceforge.net] and downloading a couple of free files it will run on anything from Win95 up.

        So please, be kind to yourself as well as the Internet and stop using IE6 if you are on older hardware. Bo

    • IE6 isn't going anywhere - here in China EVERYONE uses pirated Windows, so no update. There are tons of websites that simply assume IE6 and go from there. I've seen genuine astonishment on the face of a web dev I tracked down, when the idea came that someone might use a different browser. The only legit Windows is when someone buys a new, fancy laptop that comes with a license. Otherwise, much cheaper and better service to get a whitebox PC than something like a Dell.
  • Perhaps a bit OT, but it seems apropos to me.

    I have no problem upgrading to IE8, as I use FireFox as my primary browser, but I do use it to test web applications and design. Even as a critical update, IE8 won't take out the huge number using IE7 and IE6 for some time; and there are still a small number using IE5.5 (horror of horrors). Since IE is tied into the OS, it's my understanding that you can only have one version installed at a time.

    Is there some way to use older versions of IE on the same PC? I've

    • by zonky (1153039)
      Install linux!

      No, Seriously. [tatanka.com.br]

    • by enoz (1181117)

      MultipleIE allows standalone installs of MSIE3-6 by utilising DLLHELL technologies
      http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE [tredosoft.com]

      You can choose which versions of IE it installs (I only test in IE6). Perhaps IE7 will be included in the pack in the near future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      IE8 has the ability to render using IE7's engine (either with a meta tag in the site, or via the "Comaptibility Mode" button, or - with greater granularity - through the development tools). For testing stuff older than 7, I really can't say. Incidentally, for web dev, the develpment tools are pretty sweet. A couple things in there Firebug could learn from.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MemoryDragon (544441)

      Perhaps a bit OT, but it seems apropos to me.

      I have no problem upgrading to IE8, as I use FireFox as my primary browser, but I do use it to test web applications and design. Even as a critical update, IE8 won't take out the huge number using IE7 and IE6 for some time; and there are still a small number using IE5.5 (horror of horrors). Since IE is tied into the OS, it's my understanding that you can only have one version installed at a time.

      Is there some way to use older versions of IE on the same PC? I've seen an "IE Pack" of sorts, but it got a lot of bad reviews and haven't tried.

      Microsoft has freely downloadable VMs on their site, even if you dont use virtual pc (which you also can get free) which most non windows users dont (and most windows users dont either due to speed reasons) you can crossconvert those images by third party tools!
      The VM images expire usually at a certain date but Microsoft then adds a new one on their site!
      This is probably currently the cleanest way to test it.

  • Not only XP... (Score:2, Informative)

    The same is true for Windows 2003 and Server 2008. But isn't it still in beta? It does not have a real uninstaller as some people at work have found and it breaks tons of web apps.
  • Hooray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by genner (694963) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @12:42AM (#27755491)
    I'm currently unemployed and don't have to deal with the fallout from this!
  • Netbooks also? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @01:29AM (#27755747)

    Does this include the XP version shipped on netbooks? I have enough space problems without worrying about how much IE8 will consume - especially since I will never actively use it. ...A Firefox using Anonymous Coward

  • A Good Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralish (775196) <ralish&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @01:55AM (#27755891)
    Normally I'm opposed to Microsoft pushing out feature updates as compulsory (versus security fixes and bug patches), however, in this particular case I'd have to say this is a good move. The benefits are many and the negatives few.

    IE might have a bad reputation, and not at all unfairly much of the time, but no matter how much you hate IE, IE8 brings a lot to the table; even if what it brings is long overdue. Improved security, much better standards support, and even some genuine innovative features.

    The debate can rage on about the ethics and legality of bundling the browser with and integrating it into the OS, but the reality is this is the case, and the security benefits alone make the upgrade sensible in my view.

    However, the upgrade should be done in the background and in no way alter any preferences. Provided no configuration settings the user has set are changed (in particular, default browser), then the background benefits are gained, and the user can check out IE8 at their leisure if they wish, or ignore it completely.

    Oh, and finally, this helps to kill off IE6, which really does need to FOAD [urbandictionary.com].
  • Microsoft's definition of "critical" is not "critical for YOU" it's "critical for THEM". WGA? Now IE8? One to supposedly give you some advantage and some peace of mind for the "millions of users who have been begging Microsoft to tell them they are not theives" and one to hopefully get some market share before more users switch to better browsers. Both ARE critical.....to Microsoft, as far as the user is concerned, their job is to STFU and open their wallets when required. Remember, Microsoft own the OS, yo
  • by Onymous Coward (97719) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:22AM (#27756607) Homepage

    Does anyone know if this is still in effect?

    1. When a user has a problem with a website in IE8, they can click the "Compatibility View" button to revert to IE7 rendering.
    2. The URL is sent to Microsoft who compile a list of IE8-incompatible websites.
    3. This list is sent to IE8 users so the site can automatically switch to IE7-mode for everyone.
    4. If your website is fixed or is accidentally added to the list, you can add a meta tag to disable compatibility mode!

    http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/02/19/ie8-standards-mode-opt-in/ [sitepoint.com]
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/12/03/compatibility-view-improvements-to-come-in-ie8.aspx [msdn.com]

    Does this seem like a way for Microsoft to require people to mark their pages as "standards compliant" in a Microsoft-specified syntax?

    It seems like IE8 users would click the compatibility mode button not because they think the site should render better in IE7, but because it doesn't look right. Won't this populate Microsoft's "render as IE7" list with sites that are just poorly rendered in IE8? Surely this can't be what's going on. It'd be a train wreck in progress. Any good, standards-compliant pages IE8 can't render very well get rendered even more poorly unless you put MS markup in them?

    Can't be.

    My guess is that MS are engaged in some kind of gambit to pollute the existing DOCTYPE standard somehow, by requiring browser-specifying markup, but it's not clear to me exactly how. Well, IE8 is here. We'll see what happens.

  • It's Called Lying (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:42AM (#27756697) Journal

    It is not critical.

    It is not an OS update. It claims to be an integral part of the OS, but as the result of lawsuits, as well as the many available "stand alone" versions of previous "integral parts of the operating system", it has been proven that IE was written to make it appear to be so but in fact was not.

    It's release via automatic update is not, as they claim, more convenient. It is more convenient to initiate your own download when you choose to that to have to start to download this fairly "required" software when abd because you're told to, then cancel or delay that download.

    That process is the normal one for refusing an automatic update download. It is not, as the headline states (with an exclamation mark no less) an IE8 Blocker Toolkit.

    Simply put, Microsoft is lying about these things. If they're lying about these, what else are they lying about? Anything?

    Well, for one, they're faking the popularity of related searches/links on IEBlog. The "Tags" box lists related items with different sizes of fonts. Elsewhere these are usually generated by user searches, the larger the font, the more often requested. However, the links from these are hard coded to constant items which frequently have nothing to do with IE. Some of them contain a single line blurb such as a statement from an IE development team member saying they're going to tell you something, but haven't posted that promised nugget in months since their first statement.

    Let's say I'm your car's mechanic. I've been been charging you for your car's muffler bearing. I keep telling you it's a necessary part of the motor, even though there are plenty of people driving around with no muffler bearing, but rather an entirely different and optional piece of equipment, like a Kentucky Gofaster (that's a raccoon tail on the radio antenna) that does the same thing better. But I'm also insisting that it's my muffler bearing, not yours, and you're only paying for my permission for you to use it. Now I tell you that for your convenience I'm going to put your car up on the rack, start to replace your muffler bearing with a new, chrome plated muffler bearing, which you can then choose not to have installed. What would you do? Nod your head and say "uuuuuuuh, yep, uh huh, put her on up there bub", or find a mechanic who doesn't lie to you and try to sell you a "required" piece of equipment that's not required?

    But wait! There's more! With this new chrome plated muffler bearing you will only be able to have certain things done at my garage, unlike your old muffler bearing which allowed you to have anything done at my garage. Last I checked, there were parts of msn.com that wouldn't work with IE8.

    NOW how much would you pay? Call in the next 15 minutes and we won't charge you anything, except you'll have to have our Genuine Advantage mechanic take a look at it monthly to make sure you haven't fiddled with it to make it look like you own it rather than it still being our property installed on your car. And if you don't call in the next 15 minutes, we'll call you and make the same offer again, because it's for your own good. We promise.

  • yawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by smash (1351) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:58AM (#27756749) Homepage Journal
    If you're a home user, figure it out yourself.
    If you're on a corporate LAN, you should be using WSUS to control updates yourself anyway. its a free download with minimal updates, all you need is a domain controller or copy of regedit to push your workstations to the WSUS server's IP instead of microsoft directly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @09:27AM (#27758395)
    While all the Two Minute Hate attenders are busy bashing MS for this move it seems that none of them, even those who were vocal in their support of Firefox, care to point out that Firefox is set to automatically update out of the box.

    At least with Windows you're forced into making a decision on the hows and whens of your updating process on set up. No such luck with Firefox. Infact, I'm having a hard time thinking of any other software package that handles updating as poorly as Firefox does. Even Java is nice enough to ask permission first.

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