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Internet Explorer Turns 15 271

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-the-internet-has-never-been-the-same dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Software giant Microsoft's Internet Explorer turned 15 years old on Monday. The company recently said it would launch the Internet Explorer 9 public beta version on September 15, 2010. The software giant launched the first version of the browser, Internet Explorer 1, on August 16, 1995. It was a revised version of Spyglass Mosaic, which Microsoft had licensed from Spyglass Inc."
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Internet Explorer Turns 15

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  • by eexaa (1252378)

    ...kindof post-mortem...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aradnik (1831756)
      don't be so fast to kill it, it's improved quite a bit recently... it's not like there's that much software around used in it's original form from 15 years ago...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Haedrian (1676506)

        The upcoming version won't work on Windows XP - which is still very very popular.

        Its like they're not even trying...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Windows XP is coming up to a decade old itself - its been replaced twice over, there is no commercial reason why Microsoft should continue to support it with new features.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by dangitman (862676)

            Windows XP is coming up to a decade old itself - its been replaced twice over, there is no commercial reason why Microsoft should continue to support it with new features.

            Perhaps not, but most people are still using XP, hardly anybody has moved to Vista or Windows 7. Not having new versions of IE isn't going to stop people from using XP, they'll just use FIrefox or IE6 instead.

            • Re:IE turns 15... (Score:4, Informative)

              by jgagnon (1663075) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:48AM (#33262902)

              Perhaps not, but most people are still using XP, hardly anybody has moved to Vista or Windows 7.

              I would agree that "hardly anyone" might apply to Vista, but it most certainly does not apply to Windows 7.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by nschubach (922175)

                The only reason I bought Windows 7 Pro 64-bit was to feed my gaming addiction with support over 4GB of RAM and presumably being the next majorly supported platform. It was the least amount I could give to Microsoft to legally continue my habit (the XBox is over twice as much, and they get licensing fees, etc.) I only use it for a game PC and all the rest of my life is in Debian. I wish they'd sell a Windows, Gamer Edition that doesn't have the movie maker and all the other crap I'll never use. I'm still

                • Didn't Windows 7 remove all the extra junk (DVD maker, moviemaker, etc.) and make them download only?
                  • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                    by nschubach (922175)

                    It was included in my Professional edition... either via the disk or a covert update (because I didn't see anything about the DVD maker in the update summaries.)

                    Which brings me to another issue I have with Win7... I removed the Libraries and Favorites links from Explorer and they keep pushing them back in during updates. I wish there was a layer of user settings that even Microsoft has to abide by.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by dangitman (862676)

                I would agree that "hardly anyone" might apply to Vista, but it most certainly does not apply to Windows 7.

                Why not? Windows 7 users are still a definite minority.

                • They are a significnatly bigger minority than either Mac OSX or desktop Linux users. Thats some 'minority'...
            • IE8 works fine on XP. Why would people continue to use IE6? In fact, the last time I used Windows, I had to admit that IE8 was almost a decent browser. It has tabs, and all sorts of things that all the other browsers have had forever. In fact, IE7 isn't terrible.

              To be perfectly honest, I HATE IE, but I don't let my personal preferences blind me to the fact that IE has been improving for about - oh - is it three years now?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Chris Mattern (191822)

                Why would people continue to use IE6?

                In a large number of cases, because its a corporate machine where the corporation has a critical webapp that breaks when you try to run it on anything other than IE6. There's a LOT corporations out there like that.

                • In a large number of cases, because its a corporate machine where the corporation has a critical webapp that breaks when you try to run it on anything other than IE6. There's a LOT corporations out there like that.

                  Yup; however, IE8 gives you "compatibility mode" for that. So basically you can run the IE6 web apps that no one wants to replace in what amounts to IE6 and use something more modern for everything else.

                  Of course, I've already worked at one company since where their web devs were using that as a

            • by berwiki (989827)
              I don't know where you get your statistics from, but a quick google search of 'OS Statistics' yields this page: clicky [w3schools.com]
              Please explain what you consider 'hardly anybody'. Because I consider 31.5% (win7 + vista) of all computers on the web a significant portion.
          • by Haedrian (1676506)

            The problem is that with the advent of netbooks (and now tablets?) its less about having a lot of power, and a lot about portability. So for many people its more worth it to use the 'more lightweight' XP instead of Windows 7. Speaking about myself, I dual boot XP with Ubuntu - I have a copy of Windows 7 but I am not even considering installing it.

            So I think by moving off XP and attempting to extinguish it - microsoft is losing on the 'netbook' market.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by jgagnon (1663075)

              On an Atom 330 with nVidia's ION, Windows 7 is more than usable.

              • by oakgrove (845019)

                On an Atom 330 with nVidia's ION, Windows 7 is more than usable.

                Sure, if you keep upping the specs of what a "netbook" is, anything will run on it. Point is, the major OEMs stopped making netbooks a long time ago.

                • by jgagnon (1663075)

                  So is a smartphone no longer a smartphone because they up the specs? Personal computers are several orders of magnitude faster than they were in 1981, have they stopped being personal computers?

                  • by oakgrove (845019)
                    Really big smartphone==tablet that can make calls over the cellular network.

                    Really big netbook==laptop.

                    Oh, and you are talking about two different things and trying to draw a direct parallel. It usually doesn't work that way.

                    • by jgagnon (1663075)

                      Is this a netbook by your "standards"?

                      http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=sZ0sI6WqjnCHGFta [asus.com]

                    • by oakgrove (845019)

                      Here's my take on the whole netbook spec creep question. The original vision of what a netbook was was a miniature laptop that had just enough capability to get you on the web and do a few other basic things. They were small, light and very portable compared to regular laptops. Continuing that vision today would involve not adding bulk, size, and consequently price but by actually reducing those things. Instead of an "an Atom 330 with nVidia's ION", how about a Snapdragon and a PowerVR? No active cooli

                • by mdm-adph (1030332)

                  I think you'll find that most people's definition of what a "netbook" is revolves around price/size, not specs.

          • Re:IE turns 15... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by characterZer0 (138196) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:49AM (#33262918)

            It does not matter when the first copy of XP was sold, it matters when the last copy was sold. You cannot drop support for something that you sold a few months ago just because it has been on sale for 8 years and there are two newer versions.

            • But they aren't dropping support - they aren't releasing new apps for it, but that is *not* the same as dropping support. If you buy a new car today that was first released as a model 5 years ago, are you entitled to have access to the features Ford has on newer models? No, you have the option of buying a new model and not the dated model.
          • Yes there is (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zogger (617870)

            It's called listening to your customers and not dictating to them what they want. Now I don't use it, but XP is still widely used, because it got "good enough" for companies and individuals to use and rely on. Same with upgrading hardware. If what you have is good enough, not broken, and does the job, there is no overwhelming need to upgrade, even if the hardware guys want you to.

            Comes a time that corporations and stockholders, etc should put the fork down, push back from the table, and realize they have ea

          • Windows XP is coming up to a decade old itself - its been replaced twice over

            'Replaced' implies that Windows XP was removed. It wasn't. Vista and Windows 7 just bolted on new horrors to an already terrible OS.

            The good thing about the 'terrible OS' that is XP is that it's been out for 10 years--so all the geeks know the 'ins' and 'outs' and all the quirks.

        • And, did you notice that ext4 wont work with old Linux kernels either? It's like Linus isn't even trying either. [/sarcasm]

          Get over yourself. XP was a great system, and it ran a long long race. It's time to lay it aside now. Upgrade to Ubuntu or something. If you're still in love with Bill Gate's version of bling, upgrade to Win7. It's a decent operating system, after all.

          • I don't have any major problems with Windows 7, well other than the UI changes from XP, but I also see no point in formatting a drive with a working OS on it that is still good enough for me and installing a different OS, and then reinstalling all of my programs, some of which may not work with the new OS. And all of that for what? Pretty graphics (Aero) that will be turned off right after Autorun?

            • Fair enough - if your OS works, don't upgrade. But, I'm a masochist, I guess. I upgrade and downgrade all the time. Or, maybe I'm just 'tarded, and I enjoy watching the progress counters telling me how soon my new (or old) OS will be ready to run. ;^)

              • I used to be like that some time ago. Then I started reinstalling Windows only if I absolutely could not get the old installation to work, because reinstalling all of the programs takes a long time and makes the PC semi-unusable (oh, I know, I'll just use program X here, wait, last time I used it was a year ago, before the reinstall, now where is that setup file...).

                I can play with different OSs on virtual machines and an unused PC that I have (now it has Windows 98 installed, because I wanted to play Syste

      • it's improved quite a bit recently..

        It may have improved quite a bit, but it's still one big steaming pile.

        IE8 still lacks in so many ways as its older siblings did and adds new problems to the mix. I do not want it and especially do not want to develop for it.

      • by pyser (262789) *

        I wonder if this version will get past 12/100 on the Acid3 test [acidtests.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by VGPowerlord (621254)

      ...kindof post-mortem...

      "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." -- Internet Explorer... er... Mark Twain

    • by bondsbw (888959) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:13AM (#33262686)
      History of IE:
      • Cool... we can go to web pages!
      • Eh, I like Netscape better.
      • But wait... we can theme IE!
      • Microsoft sucks! Down with IE!
      • Oooh... so yeah, I hate to say this since I hate Microsoft, but Netscape really sucks... they haven't upgraded it in like 5 years. And it's owned by AOL, the other enemy. Guess I have to go with IE...
      • IE hasn't been upgraded in like 5 years... we need something new.
      • *From heaven* "BEHOLD, FIREFOX!"
      • Microsoft: Oh crap, you mean we have to put out a new version of IE? Do we still have developers around?
      • Apple: Let's take a Safari...
      • Google: Hey, me too!
      • Opera: Ok guys, we'll make it free... we get it.
      • Opera: HELLO!!?!? Anybody there?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ledow (319597)

        Pretty accurate - and that's from a long-term Opera user.

        Shame that Opera sees such little take-up. It has 99% of the functionality of the common addons for Firefox already built-in (and has for years), it is a damn sight faster on low-end machines than Firefox, it's cross-platform, it's got a built-in mail client that is more than good enough for the average joe (with super-fast searching for EVERYTHING), and it's normally first with any innovation (WebM, Acid-compliance, HTML5, etc.) - hell, for the last

        • Actually, my freind, I read an article today that suggests Opera should NOT be used on low-end machines. It's a memory hog, without decent memory management. Lemme find that link - - - - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/opera-chrome-firefox,2689.html [tomshardware.com]

          Opera has a lot of good things going for it, but compatibility with low end machines and low memory isn't one of them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ledow (319597)

            Er... yeah, if you leave the default memory cache enabled - Opera does its own in-memory caching where some other browsers rely on the underlying filesystem to cache for them, and Opera loads QT which counts as "memory used" on Windows but not under the vast amount of Linux distros that already have it in memory to be shared. There are a million and one ways to tweak Opera, which is another plus for it, including disabling quite a lot of functionality that you wouldn't want active on low-memory machines.

            Op

    • Elvis didn't die on this date either

  • Thailand! Look out boys, Microsoft will be out on the town soon!
  • Despite your countless security holes, bad implementations of web standards and all these bad browser-dependent HTML codes caused by you, you really gave all these laymen in the world a simple way to explore the Internet. And glad to see that you're improving.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      So many thanks for the billions of wasted man-hours that were spent on supporting your badly implemented standards and attempts at world dominance.
      Oh, how is silverlight doing, by the way ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Foofoobar (318279)

      Despite your countless security holes, bad implementations of web standards and all these bad browser-dependent HTML codes caused by you, you really gave all these laymen in the world a simple way to explore the Internet. And glad to see that you're improving...

      ... while still dragging your feet on standards, fixing security holes and implementing more browser dependent code. Um... Yay???

  • Whatever. We all know that Netscape Navigator was king back in the mid-90s.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      I'll have you young whippersnappers with your newfangled browsers know that I'm posting this with ... Netscape v3.04.

      Now get off my lawn!!

  • Memories (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:12AM (#33262680)
    I remember being a college student back in 1993 running Mosaic and Pine from our university's Unix architecture. Ah, those were the days!
    • by antdude (79039)

      Heh, I still use those text-based e-mail readers. I went to Mutt. I used to use Pine in the mid 1990s/90s. What about the rest of you?

  • Spyglass got pwned! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Henriok (6762) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:13AM (#33262684)
    Microsoft licensed Mosaic under the promise of paying Spyglass royalties based on revenue. But then MS released it for free and Spyglass got nothing. This must be one of Microsoft's finest deals.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:43AM (#33262876) Homepage

    that there was a time when people actually fled in droves to IE the way they are switching to Firefox and Chrome.

    Anyone who wonders why IE 6 became the de facto standard just needs to find a download of Netscape Communicator.

    • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:17AM (#33263178) Homepage
      Hehe, yup. Netscape 4 is FAR, FAR worse than IE 4 on its worst day. I still remember it and honestly I was more glad of its demise from the support list than I will be of IE 6's. IE 6 isn't a bad browser in and of itself, it just was allowed to stay around too long as Microsoft rested on their laurels. If IE 7 had come out in 2003 or 2004 no one would be complaining about IE in general or IE 6 in particular.
      • by characterZer0 (138196) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:21AM (#33263236)

        The problem with IE6 is not that it was bad but that people wrote ActiveX applications for it and those applications are still needed.

        The problem now is that many organizations have clueless IT departments that do not know how to deploy those old applications via Terminal Services and instead insist that desktop machines stick with IE6.

        • by colmore (56499) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:35AM (#33263424) Journal

          The problem with IE6 is that it doesn't render CSS properly, has ugly javascript quirks, and is STILL FUCKING USED BY 30% OF THE DAMN INTERNET.

          And yes, I am a web developer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by characterZer0 (138196)

            Your problem is not that it is bad. Netscape 4 was just as bad. Your problem is that it is still widely used.

          • What browser did in 2002? Answer: none.

            CSS btw was Microsoft's recommendation to the W3C in the first place.

            I stand by my original statement - the fly in the ointment is the browser's longevity (though Active X was a stupid idea I'll agree. Never used it myself)

      • by pizzach (1011925)
        Is it just me, or did Netscape crash much much more on Windows than the Mac back in the day? I also had the feeling it was the same on Unix systems. What happened on Windows?
    • by devent (1627873) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:43AM (#33263516) Homepage
      Anyone who wonders why IE 6 became the de facto standard just needs to find a download of Netscape Communicator.

      I don't get it. IE became the defacto standard because it was pre-installed on MS Windows. And MS Windows became the defactor standard because it comes with every computer pre-installed.

      If, back then, the Netscape Communicator were pre-installed, the Netscape Communicator would have been the defacto standard. But Netscape didn't own an operation system. Yes, it's nice to have an operation system which with you can bundle stuff. It's good that besides ActiveX MS didn't really done anything with the IE. At least we are not living like in South Korea where you need to have IE with ActiveX to do any online banking.

      What exactly did MS anyway with the 90% market share of IE? I can't remember any technology that was really needed back then. I think they were just happy to have the market share. Right now I can't see anything that the dominance of IE have left us.
      • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:03PM (#33264536)

        I don't get it. IE became the defacto standard because it was pre-installed on MS Windows. And MS Windows became the defactor standard because it comes with every computer pre-installed.

        Ah no:

        1) Netscape came pre-installed by some (most?) OEMs at that time. I don't have numbers on this but it was hard to find a computer that didn't have it.

        2) Netscape was out first; a lot of people were settled into using Netscape before there even really was an IE. Netscape started with the dominant market position.

        3) While Netscape for a while was superior, later versions of Netscape were terrible -- as in, not as good as the previous versions of Netscape. Eventually even people who hated IE of that era (including me) started using it just because they were so damn tired of how buggy Netscape had become.

        I don't deny that Microsoft had a big and unfairly used advantage in having the dominant operating system, but in the grand scheme of things, that amounts to Microsoft trying to slip Netscape roofies while Netscape was busy firing a shotgun at itself as fast as it could.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Blakey Rat (99501)

          I'm sure I'll get flamed for quoting him, but I've always loved Joel Spolsky's description of Netscape's "testing methodology" [joelonsoftware.com]:

          This poor company did an almost supernatural amount of damage to its reputation through their "testing" methodology:

          1) when the programmers are about halfway done, release the software on the web without any testing.
          2) when the programmers say they are done, release the software on the web without any testing.
          3) repeat six or seven times.
          4) call one of those versions the "final vers

    • Not just find a copy, not just install it, but run it.

      And try to get more than 5 minutes before "Netscape. This program performed an illegal operation and will be shut down"

      IE crashed maybe a tenth as much. And most of the time you could move the illegal operation error to the side and keep going. All browsers are rock solid today in comparison. Of course the fact that that was back in the Win9X days didn't help anything.

  • by q2k (67077) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:55AM (#33263680) Homepage

    I still have the 'I downloaded Internet Explorer" Tshirt that MS sent me for being one of the first 10,000 people to download IE 3, on Oct 31, 1996, IIRC.

  • 1990's called, they want IE's find dialog back.

  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:12AM (#33263900) Journal

    Does that mean we can charge it as an adult now?

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      No, but it probably explains why IE still acts like a smartassed teenager....

  • Is it just me, or does "software giant" sound like a monster that should be in Kingdom of Loathing [kingdomofloathing.com] ?

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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