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Businesses Google Internet Explorer The Internet Technology

Google To End Support For IE6 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the enough-is-enough dept.
itwbennett writes "Google announced Friday that it will be phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6, more than two weeks after the attacks on Google's servers that targeted a vulnerability in IE6. In a blog post, Rajen Sheth, Google Apps senior product manager, said that support for IE6 in Google Docs and Google Sites will end March 1. At that point, IE6 users who try to access Docs or Sites may find that 'key functionality' won't work properly. Sheth suggested that customers upgrade their browsers to pretty much anything else."
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Google To End Support For IE6

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  • Good riddance! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:12AM (#30961882) Homepage

    It's time to see IE6 go. Unfortunately, Microsoft will support IE6 until support for XP runs out - this model needs to change, badly.

    SP3 for XP should've made IE7 mandatory. Unfortunately, the right decisions are not always good for business.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:35AM (#30962050) Homepage Journal

    It's time to see IE6 go. Unfortunately, Microsoft will support IE6 until support for XP runs out - this model needs to change, badly.

    The problem is that many large companies have internal systems that were written back when Microsoft pushed ActiveX as the solution to all the world's problems. They can't upgrade their users' browsers until and unless the in-house software they rely on has been upgraded. And sometimes that's difficult, because of the dot-com-bubble bursting, taking with it the companies that made the badware.

    I know one Very Large company that just upgraded its internal users from IE4 to IE6. IE7 isn't feasible, and IE8 even less so.

    Personally, if I have to use an IE browser, I prefer IE7. IE8 has too many problems, like Z ordering (just try using it without click-to-raise) or incompatibility with non-default high DPI settings.

    But better yet is Seamonkey, the true inheritor to the Netscape Communicator legacy. Same rendering engine as Firefox, but a much smaller memory footprint, and configuration menus that haven't been dumbed down for the masses. Plus the built-in HTML composer comes in handy every now and then.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:54AM (#30962186) Homepage

    Yeah, because forced upgrades also go over so well with this crowd.

    This isn't DRM-style remote content removal, it's about support. Microsoft has decided that they will support IE6 until support for XP runs out, which is in 2014 - plenty of time to go. The same will happen with IE7, which will be supported until support for Vista runs out, which IMO is also unnecessary.

    I can understand why Microsoft does it and i also understand why large corporations don't like to do upgrades (because they mostly use crappy, unmaintained software written for a single use case by idiot developers that got rich by delivering a shitty product).

    IE8 is usuable. It works. It's much more secure than IE6. The only people that haven't upgraded yet need a hard incentive to justify an upgrade to their management - "support runs out" is about the hardest incentive you can get.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:57AM (#30962202) Homepage

    The problem is that many large companies have internal systems that were written back when Microsoft pushed ActiveX as the solution to all the world's problems.

    And there's a very simple solution to this, that i've seen in a large corporation here. Upgrade all the clients to IE7/8, and publish links to those legacy applications using Citrix, which runs IE6 ontop of Windows Server 2003. Make sure that IE6 in Citrix can only reach the legacy apps, and not the Internet in general. Problem solved.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dissy (172727) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @10:00AM (#30962220)

    There's a lot you can blame Microsoft for, but it's the companies that don't want to upgrade which is the problem here.

    Exactly!

    These companies are faced with a choice.

    A) They keep IE6 so their internal "webapps" (IE6 apps really) and such don't need upgraded, but since only IE6 is installed they have no web browser.
    or B) They install a web browser app, and need to spend money to fix/update those IE6-apps to work with a web browser instead.

    If the company chooses 'A', they willingly and knowingly have chosen not to have web browsing capabilities on those computers.

    Sure, Microsoft has made some choices that make life harder for people needing to make that choice. But lack of forced upgrades is not one of those poor decisions.
    Designing IE in such a way that multiple versions can't be installed along side would be a valid complaint, but it should be clear by now it is a complaint they will never address.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @10:03AM (#30962248) Homepage Journal

    The problem comes from two not-so-problematical things working together;

    1. That IE can only exist as one version on the machine.

    2. That corporate users are so fucking afraid of using a real browser. (I am looking at you, you pathetic corporate dick sucking IT guys that can't seem to handle an easy to install free Browser.)

    Put these two together, and you get a large crowd of self-righteous "I am working so I must get to use my shitty equipment on any web site I want" people that subject IE6 on the rest of the Internet that has have moved on. They use IE6 because someone made a bad decision and won't own up to it. And really, what exactly ARE these mysterious and absolutely critical ActiveX apps? Are you fucking serious? If they are that critical, maybe write some VB to do the same thing. Wouldn't that be fancy? Or is this just another lame job protection thing that you are afraid your rickety shitty ass app being replaced by a 16 line batch file will put you out on the street.

    It is this attitude that truly makes these corporate idiots deserve a baseball bat to the back of the head.

    IE6 doesn't even render DIV tags properly. Which pretty much means two versions of every web site. (It renders them like tables, with all of their limitations. Why even support it at all if you can't layer your DIVs?)

    We don't let horse and buggy on the interstate anymore, no matter HOW rich the idiot is. There's no reason to put up with IE6's shit anymore either. The fucking thing is NINE GODDAMN YEARS OLD, and is FOUR FULL OPERATING SYSTEMS BEHIND.

    Kill it. Kill IE6. Kill anybody that still uses it, their fault or not.

  • Re:Ding Dong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @10:14AM (#30962340)

    You say it is a bad thing...

    Microsoft goal for winning the browser war back in the late 90's was so they could have control of the standards and make the web their own so it would be useless to use the web without windows and Internet Explorer.

    Yes they won the war but they failed in their objective. Why...

    1. ActiveX security issues and the rise of internet skum...
          When ActiveX was competing against Java Applets they made some things that made the users at the time happy but was short sited... ActiveX while faster also allowed writing to the system and its only security measure was a warning. Thinking their user base will say no when they go to that porn site and it asked to install this app so they can watch the movie... Then this spread and went across thew the advertisers channels so even legit sites with shady advertising companies found ways to install crap on your computer without you knowing. In essence limiting ActiveX to intranet applications. And shortly after that flash took over the spot as it did cooler graphics.

    2. Linux and Apache web server.
          IIS had a few big security problems at the wrong time of internet development where a lot of companies went with apache and linux for its server. Now that doesn't really mean that it will directly stop microsoft plans however the Developers who worked on those system initally did their testing with Netscape, Mozilla firefox and others to make sure they got the stuff to work then they finally tested and did cleanup work in IE. So the new post 2001 developers wanted to be more platform independent.

    3. Mac Popularity + Linux desktop too... IE5 was the last Mac Browser Microsoft made. Then during last decade there was a surge in the popularity in macs. They were popular enough for developers and companies to take notice. As well Linux users who added to the problems so developers learned there is a lot of pain leaving out 5% market share.

    4. Firefox and Webkit browseers... At the time it was the small light and fast browser that gave IE a run for its money on speed. (Today IE is one of the slowest) Back then IE loaded and rendered so much more quickly that using others will feel painful. Then they also had better CSS standard support allowing developers a reason to get rid of IE6.

    5. Mobile devices... Microsoft floundered in mobile devices there were doing Ok until the blackberry with opera and the iPhone. And now with android webkit chome based. Developers who want to get that market need to make sure other browers get use too.

    6. IE6 Bugs and Security... A big set security problems targeted at IE6 really got a lot of people to switch to firefox and demand that their new browser works for the app

    7. High Speed Internet... Back when IE6 was new most people were still on dialup download Netscape, Mozilla or Opera was a big task that took a long time. Today it is easy to get the browser and be up rather quickly.

    8. Flash... Micromeda then Adobe made flash and they made it for Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris... and for all the major browsers. What it did was make a lot of browers made the web look cool.

    9. Integrated web browser wasn't used very well. After all that legal battles and anti-trust fines microsoft paid... No one really used the inegrated browser the was it was meant to be. They still downloaded normal apps or clicked on the e to get to the internet the integration didn't add to the experience.

    10.The Vista/IE 7 Flop... I dont know what was going on with microsoft back 4 years ago. But they were not putting on their A-Game competing against the wrong competitors making lofty goals and not meeting them what ever was the problem Vista/IE 7 made people want to stay with IE6/XP for a bit longer until they can get a good version. Making IE Get even more out of date.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @10:17AM (#30962368) Journal
    I think you are underestimating ActiveX. An ActiveX control is basically a Windows shared library. These are not really web apps, they're windows apps that use the browser for deployment (which, for Intranet use, isn't a completely terrible idea). Making them not use ActiveX basically means completely rewriting the client.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @11:00AM (#30962676)

    During 2009, I asked my web dev team to track, in our bug tracker, how long they spend fixing issues for each browser. Most of our web development is for internal users, and we have to support some old systems running IE6.

    The total amount of time varied between the different developers, as expected. The average for the web developers was just under 60 hours.

    One developer put in 325 hours fixing bugs relating to IE6 alone. I don't think that number is due to a lack of skill on his part. He's actually one of the better developers, and so he often took the more difficult bugs.

    That doesn't look like a lot of time at a quick glance, but do the math. For our typical 40 hour workweek, that one developer spent over two full months last year alone fixing problems due to IE6. That's many thousands of dollars that were basically wasted, and that doesn't include the time and money the other devs also wasted supporting IE6.

    So now that we had some real data that we could use to show the financial cost of IE6, management was willing to listen. We took our data nearly to the top, and successfully got our company to drop IE6. Not only that, but we talked them into dropping support for IE completely, including IE7 and IE8. We got them to standardize on Chrome, and we're currently in the process of deploying it company-wide. Our lives will be much more enjoyable from this point onwards, I think.

  • Re:Good riddance! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:28PM (#30963540) Homepage

    Look at it from the company's perspective.

    You sell widgets. Somebody offers you a new widget processing application for $3M. It runs on IE6 - great, that's the corporate standard (in 2005)! Sure, the price seems high, but then again if we save $500k per year for 10 years even with time-value-of-money it works out as a great deal.

    Now we're in year 5, and just starting to make money back on the deal, and a bunch of IT geeks tell us that we can't use IE6, but we don't have an upgrade path. Oh, the company that sold us the original software is still around, and for another $2M we can upgrade and fix the browser problem. But, the whole basis for selling the original project to management was the 10-year investment, and now it looks like a 5-year investment. Plus, the original product still "works fine," so how exactly are we supposed to sell them on an upgrade?

    Now, consider that in addition to the widget processing app you have a general ledger app, an HR app, a bunch of sales CRM apps, some widget R&D apps, and 47 other things like that which all cost a fortune to deploy and are now obsolete - but only technically.

    At our company they had a similar mess with win2k and NT. Company buys a dozen $500k machines whose controllers run on NT (slightly stale, but still pretty common back then). Those machines have 15-year depreciation schedules. 5-7 years later the company that makes the machines doesn't offer new controller software - so you're stuck on NT. IT points out, hey - we checked and you can just buy their newer $500k machines and those work great with XP. Only problem is that the machines were financed based on a 15-year investment and the ONLY reason for getting rid of them is the controller OS. So, we firewall the network they are on and cross our fingers. What are we going to do - get into the machine business?

    Before you ask - of course we try to avoid this stuff when we make buying decisions! However, when you get into serious amounts of capital you'll find you have 2-3 serious vendors at best, and it is in their interest to build in technical obsolescence. Then you add in the fact that the buying decision usually rests with the people using the machines, which is almost never IT. They'll listen to you, but given a choice between having more features now, or not leaving their successor's successor a big problem, they'll pick the former.

  • Re:Ding Dong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by uassholes (1179143) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:36PM (#30963606)

    Of course, with their resources, they could be 100% compliant if they wanted to be so.

    If they wanted to be so; if it was in their financial best interest. If it fit their business model; which it does not.

    Apparently it is difficult to be standards compliant, and yet provide a different experience from the other browsers when the user is accessing Outlook Web Access, or other M$ web applications.

  • by 6Yankee (597075) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:24PM (#30964142)

    Like the developer mentioned in the parent post, I tend to get the horrible stuff. I'm the "UI guy" on the project, and most experienced in HTML/CSS/JavaScript.

    I knew IE6 was bad news and was sucking up far too much of my time, and kept saying this to those above me. But we "had to" support it. So I started keeping track of just how much time it was costing me. It did vary but, for a given issue or work package, I would spend anywhere between 30 and 70 percent of my time on IE6 work-arounds, kludges, hacks. Then you factor in that someone has usually struggled with the problem before bringing it to me...

    Those numbers, writ large in PowerPoint and projected in front of the people who pay my wages, finally convinced them to drop IE6 support. I'd said it was a problem for two years, but it took actual numbers to convince them of the cost.

  • Re:Ding Dong (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mystikkman (1487801) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:29PM (#30964182)

    The bigger question which I think everyone's missing is, why was Google using IE6 inhouse when it hacked???

  • by ElVee (208723) <elvee61&gmail,com> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:52PM (#30964348)

    I swear, we must work for the same faceless corporate overlords.

    The huge, supposedly tech-savvy corporation I slave away for has reacted to the mass abandonment of IE6 with outright fear and panic. The upper management of our Data Security division came straight out of the mainframe era, and act like the word 'Firefox' is a horribly offensive expletive. It's just not an option.

    As could be expected, we have some rather important corporate systems that were developed back in the big-budget heyday of the prior decade and, of course, only work on IE6. There's no money to pay for a rework, and the original vendor has long since gone bust. We have Citrix in-house, but, again, there's mass fear and panic going on there about having a mass influx of users for these outdated corporate systems, when there's no money for new servers.

    We're testing IE8 for 'select' users (i.e. upper management, sales and marketing), but most of those users are poor choices for testing, as most of the important work they do seems to involve ESPN, Facebook and Craigslist.

  • Better Yet! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by esmrg (869061) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @04:00PM (#30965426)

    A drive by remote code execution for IE that replaces mshtml.dll with a compatible wrapper for the gecko engine. Problem solved! Now all those IE6 users are using firefox without even knowing it.

  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @01:17PM (#30971826) Journal

    My company has zero support for IE. We support FireFox and Chrome on our desktops only. And our web site is guaranteed to work in Firefox and Chrome, only. Outside vendors that bring in products that require IE are simply not purchased.

    Since we instituted this policy, I've had fewer occurences of malware to contend with.

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