Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Internet Explorer Programming Software The Almighty Buck The Internet Windows

IE6 Addiction Inhibits Windows 7 Migrations 470

Posted by Soulskill
from the second-verse-same-as-the-first dept.
eldavojohn writes "As anyone in the industry will tell you, a lot of money went into developing web applications specific to IE6. And corporations can't leave Windows XP for Windows 7 until IE6 runs (in some way) on Windows 7. Microsoft wants to leave that non-standard browser mess behind them, but as the article notes, 'Organizations running IE6 have told Gartner that 40% of their custom-built browser-dependent applications won't run on IE8, the version packaged with Windows 7. Thus, many companies face a tough decision: Either spend time and money to upgrade those applications so that they work in newer browsers, or stick with Windows XP.' Support for XP is going to end in April 2014. In order to deal with this, companies are looking at virtualizing IE6 only (instead of a full operating system) so that it can run on Windows 7 — even though Microsoft says this violates licensing agreements. IE6 is estimated to have roughly 16% of browser market share, and due to mistakes in the past it may never truly die."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IE6 Addiction Inhibits Windows 7 Migrations

Comments Filter:
  • Encapsulating IE6 (Score:4, Informative)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Friday October 29, 2010 @10:56AM (#34062576)

    A while back, I remember thindownload.com offering IE6 in a Thinstall (Now VMWare ThinApp) package. It was taken down, but something like that would be the best thing for places that need IE6, but don't have the hardware to virtualize an ACE VM just for this program. Even better would be running the IE6 package under sandboxie so when (not if) it gets compromised, the damage is very limited what malware could attempt.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Friday October 29, 2010 @10:57AM (#34062596)
    The problem was that IE had a 95% share of the market, so developers thought they could get away with developing web applications that would work only on IE 6 for Windows. And, of course, they did. The companies that bought these applications because they didn't realize this would mean that the applications would not work in other operating systems, other browsers, or even other versions of IE are now stuck with IE 6, which means they're stuck with Windows XP. It's worse than vendor lock-in. It's vendor/version lock-in.
  • IE6 on WIndows 7 (Score:2, Informative)

    by greap (1925302) on Friday October 29, 2010 @10:58AM (#34062598)
    I use http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE [tredosoft.com] for cross browser testing and IE6 runs fine on Win7. Also you can install IE6 for XP mode with a couple of hacks.
  • Re:Encapsulating IE6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Friday October 29, 2010 @10:59AM (#34062622)
    Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate come with a solution at no extra cost..... its called Windows XP Mode.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:12AM (#34062812) Homepage

    Just goes to show you that no matter how annoying you can claim Microsoft to be, their user base can be equally so with their instance that decade-old software be their ONLY solution.

    I don't think you understand the scope of the problem. Not even a little.

    Companies and governments have massive amounts of custom code which runs only on IE6. The time, money, and effort to rewrite this would be absolutely huge.

    Are you seriously suggesting that organizations just toss out a mission-critical bit of software either because it's old or proprietary? If so, then I think you have absolutely no understanding of what IT works like on a corporate scale.

    I believe the entire Government of Canada has to use IE6 because they have apps that tie them to it. I suspect many really large organizations have this issue as well. It's not like these organizations can just stop using that software that they have.

    If Microsoft didn't make stuff that was incompatible with everything else by design, companies wouldn't have this problem. But, as long as Microsoft continues to decide that their way is the best way, companies who have had to work around this are the ones who bear the burden.

  • Re:Quirksmode (Score:4, Informative)

    by ifrag (984323) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#34062886)

    This should be a one-line fix to their existing systems to enable IE8 legacy/quirks mode.

    One line... really? Perhaps you have not noticed how fail the "compatibility mode" in IE8 actually is. If that component actually worked as advertised then maybe it would be simple to get it working but it doesn't. What they have today is far from having a quick fix option.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:26AM (#34063030) Homepage

    If a prepackaged, working solution currently existed to virtualize IE6 and solve all these problems with just the receipt of a licensing fee, this would not be a story.

    Even better, virtualize the entire OS it runs on since IE6 is such a security hole.

    We could call the feature Windows XP Mode [microsoft.com] and include it with the Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows.

    Oh wait, Microsoft already did that.

  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:27AM (#34063050)
    So long as IE6 apps require ActiveX (some do, some don't), this will prevent Firefox from ever working with those apps. Firefox made the decision long ago (a very good decision IMHO) to exclude ActiveX.
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:36AM (#34063184)

    lolwat? Netscape was free as in beer long before IE 6 was released, and Netscape had started the free-as-in-speech Mozilla project years before IE6 was released (though it didn't have a browser until Netscape 6, released the year before IE6).

    Sure, there was a Netscape in those days. Just like there was a Matrix Revolutions and a Highlander 2 and a Star Wars Episode 1.

    You know, things that were so bad, we pretend they don't exist because they soured your memory of enjoying the previous versions. Except latter-day Netscape wasn't as good as any of those movies.

    Developing for Netscape in those days was like fucking a pickle slicer, except painful. Anyone who was in the trenches of web development in that era can tell you, assuming they didn't get PTSD or block out the bad touch entirely.

  • Re:Encapsulating IE6 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:38AM (#34063208)

    You can still do this with ThinApp and it's fully supported on Win 7 (by VMware)

  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevinmenzel (1403457) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `leznemnivek'> on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#34063234)
    Run IE6 in "XP mode", available in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Come on, is this really that hard? You can put the icon on the desktop and everything!
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Friday October 29, 2010 @11:45AM (#34063308)

    Companies and governments have massive amounts of custom code which runs only on IE6. The time, money, and effort to rewrite this would be absolutely huge.

    Are you seriously suggesting that organizations just toss out a mission-critical bit of software either because it's old or proprietary? If so, then I think you have absolutely no understanding of what IT works like on a corporate scale.

    I believe the entire Government of Canada has to use IE6 because they have apps that tie them to it. I suspect many really large organizations have this issue as well. It's not like these organizations can just stop using that software that they have.

    If Microsoft didn't make stuff that was incompatible with everything else by design, companies wouldn't have this problem. But, as long as Microsoft continues to decide that their way is the best way, companies who have had to work around this are the ones who bear the burden.

    It's also why Microsoft spends billions of dollars on backwards compatibility. Microsoft would love to just chuck out the crap on Windows and start afresh. Apple does this - if you don't use published APIs, you'll often find your app breaks in the next OS release. Microsoft would love to do this, but it's too hard.

    The vast majority for the backwards compatibility is business - where Microsoft makes their money. Fixing bugs that can break an API is something they have to do carefully because it only has to break one critical application that can keep a company from upgrading, and that can easily be 10,000+ licenses we're talking about.

    Some examples
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2006/11/06/999999.aspx [msdn.com] - 9000 install scripts to install various products for various employees. Now imagine the need to test, verify and fix. And they have source code.

    And it's usually the developer's fault (most developers are stupid and do stupid things). In fact, you can count on a lot of developers (for all OSes) to do crap - pass wrong parameters in (that'll break should the function actually check), do horrendous coding practices (polling loops in your battery powered device), etc. And companies have it worse - between contractors and inhouse developers under pressure to "make it work" and "let's make it flexible and overdesign it".

    There's a reason thedailywtf.com exists.

    Here's another link showing how Microsoft has to patch against developers:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2007/07/23/4003873.aspx [msdn.com]
    Sometimes developers lie to the OS:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2004/02/11/71307.aspx [msdn.com]

    Ideally, Microsoft would do something and start fresh. Oh wait, they did. It was called Vista and panned by everyone because things broke.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:01PM (#34063566)

    Well, we now have the best excuse why you don't write applications on the microsoft platform. When Microsoft want's to obsolete it, your apps are history.

    Let me bring up one major vendor who I know is likely still running this:
    AT&T, And Seibel systems (now owned by Oracle).

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday October 29, 2010 @12:26PM (#34063940)
    You seem to be conveniently forgetting that leading up to IE's dominance, that Netscape was just as broken as Internet Explorer was in regards to "standards", and that furthermore when Netscape 6 was finally released in 2000, it was HORRIBLE and by just about any measure because it was rushed out the door (even though it was many years late to the game.)

    In short, IE6 was the ONLY browser that mattered, and the only real competition was a steaming pile of crap that was even worse.

    Take a look at my signature. Thats a direct quote from the Apple God, made at their MacWorld Expo, and this quote was immediately prior to introducing BILL MOTHER-FUCKING GATES LIVE ON VIDEO FEED.

    You wonder why IE became the standard? It had everything to do with being objectively better than Netscape.
  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday October 29, 2010 @01:05PM (#34064484) Homepage

    Windows XP mode on older hardware sucks royally. Windows 7 can run fine in a 1 GB machine, but try running XP Mode on top of that and see what you get. Now try it again on a 512 MB machine (and a lot of companies still have them - we have at least a dozen 2.4 GHz P4's with 512 MB of RAM).

    I was under the impression that they would upgrade to Win7 during a hardware refresh.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Friday October 29, 2010 @01:50PM (#34065174) Homepage Journal

    Corporations had to settle on something.

    No, they didn't. Any manager with even minimal competence understands that the computer industry has always been in a state of rapid change. Nobody with a grain of sense will "standardize" on something that's controlled by another corporation and likely to change in unpredictable ways in the near future. Standardizing on IE was a sign of incompetence; standardizing on one version of IE was (and still is) a sign of utter, hopeless incompetence.

    Sensible managers (and I've known a few of them) knew all along that the sane approach has always been to treat the browser arena as highly unstable. Sensible business practice is to plan for the changes that you know will come, and demand that your own web stuff be as generic as possible. It's easy enough to collect a set of browsers and test against all of them. I've done this since the Web became the hot new thing, and so have lots of other people. Not doing this may be common business practice, but it's still a sign of incompetence.

    It was just less hassle all around to go with IE at the time.

    Indeed. And it's a good example of the short-sighted "don't look beyond the current fiscal year" attitude of much of the corporate world. We've known for a couple of centuries that this leads to economic disasters. The people who make corporate decisions like this should be exposed and ridiculed in public. They shouldn't be held up as example of "how things are done".

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 29, 2010 @02:41PM (#34065854) Journal

    I would add that what everyone seems to be forgetting about that time is.../does Darth Vader voice...The power of ActiveX! /voice end. Folks you have to remember that when IE6 came out it gave the developer a HELL of a lot of power which made writing some pretty powerful "apps" using nothing but some code fed to IE. Hell that was the problem, in that whomever was in charge of security at MSFT wasn't there the week ActiveX came out and nobody seemed to realize having THAT much power over the OS might be a bad idea.

    You could find out exactly what hardware they had through ActiveX, what programs they had installed, you could call just about any app that came with windows like WMP, hell even the lower level system apps like CMD, ActiveX just gave you crazy amounts of power. At the time I tried to warn some of the SMBs I was dealing with but I had to be honest and there simply wasn't anything that gave that amount of power using only the browser. Of course we know NOW that having that level of power is a supersized Bad Idea(TM) and that if you need that level of power it is better to write a native app that can take advantage of OS level security, but at the time we were still in the "On the Internet!" phase for the most part and companies wanted everything run through the browser. But part of the reason corps are not wanting to give it up is if you see what they have their "apps" doing frankly it would be a nightmare to recode that for any other browser, simply because you're not allowed those deep hooks.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

Working...