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IE7 Bugs and Reviews 851

An anonymous reader wrote to mention a Register article in which the possibility is raised of the current build dumping Yahoo and Google toolbars. At the same time, GWBasic writes "I've posted a review on IE 7 Beta 1. It is very clear that, unlike when Microsoft targeted Netscape, they are using their classic method of producing superior software by catering to the needs of the user. This is not IE 6 with a few features borrowed from the competition, but rather a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design." Flexbeta and ZDNet have looks at the new browser as well.
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IE7 Bugs and Reviews

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  • by jolande ( 852630 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:51AM (#13193833)
    When it was called Firefox.
  • Looks like firefox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurhussein ( 864532 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:52AM (#13193849) Homepage
    Yup, Microsoft looks like it made a poor imitation of Firefox. But hey, according to Microsoft apologists, nothing exists until Microsoft (re)invents it. So there you go.

    But the next time someone says "OSS only copies from Microsoft", remind them of IE7.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:59AM (#13193894)
      After glancing over the screenshots and reading some of the comments the author had, the appearance to firefox is remarkable.

      Tabbed browsing has been added, dropdown search, add-on manager. Now where have I seen those all before?

      Seems like a good effort by Microsoft to play catch up, but that's it. Aside from the anti-phising feature, I've yet to see one new feature of any importance.

      • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:04AM (#13193945) Homepage
        But if it is a solid browser, that addresses the shortcomings of IE 6, then it will do what it needs to do...

        All it NEEDS to do is catch-up. Microsoft is in the position of dominance, and all they need to do is produce something 'good enough.' It is the upstarts that need to aspire to 'great.'

        Because, being good enough, and coming installed on 90% of the computers sold is a very powerful combination.

        Not to mention the fact that it still has the IE specific features that people use. It is the only browser that runs a good percentage of the WYSIWYG editors out there. And people will keep using it because of things like that.

        • by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:25AM (#13194108)
          You're absolutely right. In the absence of any real functional difference people will simply use the browser already installed (ie. IE).

          The only real disadvantage IE 7 has is that it will only be available for XP SP2. And IE 7 is not a big enough carrot to get people to upgrade when they can get the same functionality with Firefox/Mozilla/Netscape for free.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:37AM (#13194204)
          Microsoft's problem is that they're caught between two conflicting objectives under a common goal: They need to make sure that the operating system is the defining element of the PC. In order to do that, they try to a) keep the browser competition at bay and b) reduce the appeal of the (standards based) web. These are mutually exclusive objectives. They can't offer an excellent browser, because that would shift the focus from the OS to the web. They can't offer a lousy browser, because that would drive their customers to the competition and consequently loosen Microsoft's grip on the accepted web technologies.

          Mediocrity is the design goal for IE7.
        • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:38AM (#13194215) Homepage
          1. Profit!
          2. Profit!
          3. Profit!
          4. Profit!
          5. ... ?
          6. Catch Up
        • Granted that MSIEv7 only needs to catch up with contemporary browsers. However it fails to do that.

          Since as I understand it MSIEv7 only works with WinXP, it is not a solution for enterprizes who are standardized on legacy Windows versions and cannot justify the costs of upgrading until the end of the service life of their present machines. This is a big market, and MSIEv7 as it is currently designed is only going to drive these IT departments toward Opera or Firefox.

          On a personal level, I wouldn't even tr

          • I agree with your first two paragraphs, but holy crap, you must hate your aunt and uncle to let them continue to suffer with WinME.

            You can't make a recommendation out of "when one program crashes, it doesn't make you have to reboot your whole system"? Or "you can now go weeks (months!) without ever seeing a BSOD"?

            At least let them use W2K if you're not going to give them XP. No one deserves the kind of pain you're continuing to inflict on these poor people.
        • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:26AM (#13194600) Homepage Journal
          Other posters have noted that IE7 will only run on XP SP2 and Vista. I think this will ultimately benefit firefox.

          I think the general computer-using public have soured on 'the latest and greatest' from Microsoft. The UI is basically unchanged since Windows 95 -- all that the consumer sees is less crashing. So I don't think that a ton of people will rush out to buy Vista or even try to get to XP SP2. They're happy with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, XP SP1, etc.

          Now, when IE 7 comes along, and those people start asking "How can I get that?" the answer will be "Spend money and upgrade, or get Firefox."

      • by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:32AM (#13194169)
        After glancing over the screenshots and reading some of the comments the author had, the appearance to firefox is remarkable.

        Well, sure, but can your great big so-called fire-thingy install spyware for you, automatically, without you even noticing, huh?

        Beat that, you Open Source geeks - only IE7 is fully compatible with spyware straight out of the box!
      • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:12AM (#13194488)
        Tabbed browsing has been added, dropdown search, add-on manager. Now where have I seen those all before?

        In the big picture, those are just tweaks. Microsoft engineers spent tens of thousands of hours working on IE, so adding tabbed browsing was likely relatively easy.

        Firefox advocates/users who have been acting as if things like tabbed browsing, ad blocking, and so on, are huge, difficult, quantum leaps...they've been deluding themselves. Firefox has always come across as IE + some extra niceties. That's why I use it.
    • You claim it's a poor imitation... but could it be a good imitation? I am curios to what other /.ers think.

      I don't like the evil empire as much as the next guy, but sometimes they do something not to shabby.
      • The Reason It's Poor (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:06AM (#13193966) Homepage
        is that Microsoft is Rich. And therefore: 1. Could've afforded to invest in thinking up new concepts for the new browser, rather than having reading an article on why people like firefox, and putting that stuff in IE7. 2. Will now parade around with a colossal advertising campaign about how IE7 takes you to the Next Generation of the Internet, or Enables the Future of Web Interaction to Integrate You Ass Off, or whatever.
    • "View Selection Source" is one of the best things in firefox. is it in there?
  • by matt_king ( 19018 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:52AM (#13193851)
    Almost all the new features in that review (minus the "anti-phishing" functionality) are duplicates of things already done by firefox (tabs, customizable search box in the top right, etc).
    • by antek9 ( 305362 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:03AM (#13193930)
      Yes, and what's worse: MS' anti-phishing technique involves sending each link you click to Microsoft for verification against a blacklist. Scary, if you ask me.
      'We advise you not to click on that link to cracks.am, which is a well known phishing site.' Oops, or is it?

      • Since when do phishers set up dedicated domains?

        All URLs in the fake-bank-notices that are sent to me have the bare IP addresses of other site hosts, or even workstations, that have been compromised.

        Within a week, those machines will probably have been cleaned, but will they stay on MS's phishing blacklist forever? How do you identify where the phishers are when they're constantly moving? Heisenberg had something to say about this...
        • Phishing (Score:3, Insightful)

          wish I had some mod points...

          The key to anti-phishing is user education and keeping users informed of new cunning tricks spotted.

          This will just make people feel that the technology will protect them and disengage their grey matter.

  • Oh come on. There was not a single revolutionary thing in that entire review. Safari shares its stop and refresh buttons, a feature which is extremely annoying. Half the time you want stop you end up hitting it right when it changes to refresh and now you're reloading the page you were trying to stop.

    The only thing that could be called truly new is the combined dropdown box for Back and Forward. Interesting idea, but it's certainly not "a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design."

    • Try Hitting Escape ...
    • by diegocgteleline.es ( 653730 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:21AM (#13194077)
      it's just me who finds the new layout horrible?

      Really, look at this: http://www.clothedandy.com/Writings/IE%207%20Beta% 201/screenshot.png [clothedandy.com]. Why on earth did they put the "file edit view etc." menu between the tabs and the final page?

      I mean, it's stupid. It "disassociates" tabs from the page, and it puts that menu in the middle. Why put in such relevant place a menu that it's so rarely used?

      It's clearly a huge usability mistake IMO. It looks like IE developers though: "saving screen space == good usability". It's not. Good usability is good usability, and seeing that "file edit" menu there hurts my eyes.
      • Why on earth did they put the "file edit view etc." menu between the tabs and the final page?

        Duuuuh.... Innovation!

      • I've installed a "longhorn theme-pack" on my windows xp and now my windows explorer has the menu and toolbars layout exactly like that.

        Of course, I couldn't stand the new colors and had to change the appearance to windows clasic. I'm not sure if I'll be able to use longhorn if it doesn't come with sane color themes or a "clasic" mode.
    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:25AM (#13194105) Homepage Journal
      There was not a single revolutionary thing in that entire review

      Not to mention that only in the most perverted of senses was it a "review". Fawning overview is more like it. We get a good sense of the so-called reviewer's credentials when he says the following:

      "I stopped using non-Microsoft browsers over two years ago because I found them to be unpolished. "

      Of course tastes vary, but even amongst the most fanatical Microsoft apologists (including myself) it is pretty much universal that Firefox, or even Opera, is the primary daily browser. No one needs to suck on the Microsoft choad and pretend that everything they make must be the best in the market, especially when their flagship browser is going on half a decade old.

      Of course every now and then you come across the real dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft apologist, very seldomly a developer but more likely a "somewhat involved in the tech industry" kind of person (e.g. an @Home Computer virus removal technician) who'll swear that IE is the greatest thing now and forever. I suspect that's what we have here.

      The only feature of IE 7 that strikes me as a nice piece of user interface is the clear and graphical method of creating a new tab. Everything else is just a minor polishing of IE 6.
    • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <{ge.ten.atadet} {ta} {reteps}> on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:28AM (#13194131) Journal
      The only thing that could be called truly new is the combined dropdown box for Back and Forward. Interesting idea, but it's certainly not "a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design."

      Boy, aren't we trollish today.

      1) IE finally got with it and threw in tabbed browsing. Not revolutionary, since Opera and Mozilla came up with it before, but evolutionary for sure.

      2) IE finally came up with a simpler navigational system. Until now IE needed two toolbars on the top of my screen compared to Firefox's one (not including the tab bar or the menu bar). They simplified their back and forward buttons, as well as combining the stop and refresh button, and combined two toolbars into one. Certainly evolutionary.

      And the best part...

      3) Microsoft included an Add-on manger with this version of IE 7. It allows BHOs to be turned on and off.

      What can I say? IT'S ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME!

      For those who don't know the acronym, BHO stands for "Browser Helper Objects," or as they've been described to me by other users, "Toolbars from hell." They're the adware-included toolbars littered with casino links and junk, as well as redirecting all your 404 and search inquiries to their sponsored pages. Finally, rather than having to dig through the registry to HKLM(and HKCU)/Software/Microsoft/CurrentVersion/Explorer/B rowser Helper Objects/ to delete them (try to help people with that over the phone), IE finally has a way to disable the stupid toolbars. Also evolutionary.

      However, I do still have one complaint. Microsoft can piss off for making this XP-only. 50% of businesses are still using 2K. That's a lot of people to piss off.
    • Safari already does the dropdown box thing for back/forward.
  • by hedleyroos ( 817147 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:55AM (#13193868)
    they are using their classic method of producing superior software by catering to the needs of the user

    What does this mean?
    • Re:Classic method? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:05AM (#13193961) Homepage Journal
      It means that the reviewer doesn't know what he's talking about. Sharnig Stop and Refresh is a *GOOD* idea? So if I want to stop a page, and it finishes just as I'm about to click it, the Stop button becomes THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what I want to do! That's screen-smashingly stupid!
      • Re:Classic method? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Darren Winsper ( 136155 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:20AM (#13194069)
        The amusing thing is that Netscape tried this with betas of Netscape 4. So many people had issues with it that they dropped it before the final release. So Microsoft are only 8 years behind the competition ;)
      • by MrPoopyPants ( 146504 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:06AM (#13194447) Homepage
        You're right. This is very stupid.

        MS should use some of their other UI ideas to augment this:

        The "STOP" button spins while loading the page. Then, when the page is loaded, the button is disabled for five seconds and a popup appears that says "Your page has loaded. The refresh button will be available in five seconds. Click here to refresh now" and there will be a button to click for refresh and a progress bar. This window automatically closes and the user is returned to the browser after five seconds. There could also be a "Are you sure you want to refresh?" dialog box where the "Yes" and "Cancel" buttons randomly change position each time the dialog box appears.
    • Re:Classic method? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jocknerd ( 29758 )
      In other words, copying from other software so that Microsoft can eliminate the competition. Used to work when the competition charged for their product.
  • Acid Test (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:55AM (#13193869)

    From TFA:
    Unfortunately, having tabs doesn't always mean you'll pass the acid test.
    OK...so IE7 fails the acid test...just like IE6. Are there any browsers out there (other than that patched-up Safari version) that have actually passed the Acid Test? Any of them available for use?
  • by goof21 ( 872039 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:55AM (#13193870)
    "This is not IE 6 with a few features borrowed from the competition, but rather a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design."

    IE Clippy: "It looks like you're trying to surf porn while avoiding spyware. Sorry, that just won't happen. Would you like to do it anyway?"

  • by dduardo ( 592868 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:58AM (#13193887)
    I think everyone is putting too much emphasis on the new IE7 GUI and not even considering if there are any major impovements in supporting W3C standards. This is our chance to push Microsoft to support the web features of 2005. I know people are already jumping on the IE7 bandwagon and leaving firefox/opera but this is not wise.

    Microsoft wins if people allow IE7 to be a crippled browser in terms of web development.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:58AM (#13193889)
    The only feature in IE7 that I need is the ability to download the lastest version of Firefox.
  • Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @08:58AM (#13193892)
    I'm so glad IE is supporting tabbed browsing. Now when you visit a malicious website, it will be able to open up multiple tabs and install 30 pieces of adware / spyware / malware simultaneously. Isn't progress wonderful?
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:01AM (#13193915)
    They completely broke the UI.

    First they violate their own guidelines by removing the menu from the top of the window. To boot, they made the UI a whacked around version of every other browser UI, with the back and forward buttons at the top next to the address and search bars, but the home button elsewhere and stop/reload mashed into one button at the other end of the address bar. They also don't have a dropdown menu on the back button, which is essential for getting away from sites that break that functionality.

    Suffice it to say, this is what we've got for "progress" thanks to microsoft's browser dominance. No true significant advancements in the technology because microsoft's held it stagnant for so long. Thankfully they've got competition now, so maybe things can improve.

    They've still got a long way to go.
    • The reason that the menu is below the tabs is simple. If it were above the tabs, then you'd be able to use the menu even when Javascript has annoyingly tried to disable it.

      To you or me, being able to use the menu at any time is a feature. To MS, however, it's a bug - it gives control to the user, which is basically anathema to the whole concept of a leveraged monopoly.

      My analysis may be a little paranoid, I'll admit.
  • by Darren Winsper ( 136155 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:04AM (#13193943)
    At least the author is pretty open about his bias. The writer goes on and on about the usability of IE, but proves he knows jack-shit about usability with three simple sentences:

    "When only one tab is open, the tab bar is visible. At the right of all tabs is a small tab that immediately opens a new tab. This would make more sense as a button immediately to the right of the X to close a tab."

    Yeah, that's sensible, put the "open new" button right next to the "close" button, that'll make sense for 99% of the population who don't have perfectly precise mastery of the mouse pointer. He also talks about dropping non-IE browsers years ago because they were "unpolished" but then mentions he switched to CrazyBrowser, which is a cluttered mess in its default configuration! The entire article screams of unprofessionalism.
    • by Synistar ( 8654 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:40AM (#13194236)

      Yes, it is obviously a fanboy generated screed. I would like to see a real review of the browser by real web content developers who know about real UI design and what areas current browsers need improvement on. Wait there are a few reactions:

      A reaction by Molly Holzschlag of thewebstandards.org [webstandards.org], a reviewby Dave Shea [mezzoblue.com] of (CSS Zen Garden fame), or a review/reaction list on well known designer Shaun Inmans blog [shauninman.com]. But leave it to slashdot to link to some MS fanboy just to get a rise out of the flamthrower league.

  • Weird Interface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bodero ( 136806 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:09AM (#13193987)
    I'm usually a fan of what Microsoft creates, and I follow it closely. I can't help but agree with some of the criticisms of IE7, which, so far looks like a turd.
    • "Phishing?" Do not use that word in the final version. It looks stupid, it sounds stupid, and worst of all, like the one review said, no one but Slashdot users will know what it means.
    • The menus. What the hell? I can understand the concept that by placing the menus next to the browser, the options apply to the tab, but honestly, most of them don't. This is totally inconsistent and just plain stupid.
    • The tabs look alright. Not great, just alright. I think the "blank" tab to create a new tab is also stupid. I mean, maybe it's a good concept, but it needs more. Maybe a different color, or a small label, but just blank, it looks dumb.
    • As usual, The Register is wrong. My Google Toolbar worked fine in IE7. Problem is, it looked like Firefox with the Google toolbar, simply redundant. I disabled it.
    However, there are large improvements, like the rendering engine, and the Feeds (which I didn't play around with too too much). It's a good start, Microsoft, but I hope they're not finished yet. There's a lot of work left to do.
  • by narrowhouse ( 1949 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:09AM (#13193988) Homepage
    I'm not sure I was aware of this method.I seem to remember a few times Microsoft "met the needs of the user" by supplying a "good enough" solution for less cost than the competition, but if I had to pick ONE time when they may have provided a better solution to take a market it would have been IE 4 (after ealier IE versions sucked) versus an aging and slow to develop Netscape, even then they had to bundle it, make illegal deals, and include ActiveX to screw up any chance at security. Mind you the author of this review would seem to think that was not a case of superior software winning out.

    I'm not saying MS has never made a good peice of software, but in the past to dominate the market, price and vendor pressure seem to have been the preferred weapons. After they GET the market they have sometimes made a product that is amoung the best of breed (Excel would be my example here)
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:10AM (#13193994) Homepage
    My university, which is one of the largest in Virginia, has already prominently placed Firefox or Mozilla on virtually all of its lab machines. We also have a general user lab that runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 4. More and more students are being conditioned to think "IE=bad for me" because if you live on campus or in an apt that uses the school network, then if you use an unpatched OS or browser, you can come back home if there's a major worm problem and find your access cut off until you upgrade. Firefox is the easiest way to get around that.
  • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:14AM (#13194017) Journal
    The Slashdot introduction says "This is not IE 6 with a few features borrowed from the competition, but rather a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design."

    I'm sorry but that is about as wrong as it can be. Every single "new" feature mentioned in the article is already present in every other browser that I know of as a built-in feature or an add-on. This refresh of IE is clearly borrowed from the competition. Unless IE7 includes more changes than what was mentioned in the article, it will still be behind the day it comes out in Vista/Longhorn.
  • Oh the mirth! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wodeh ( 899541 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:28AM (#13194128) Homepage
    "This is not IE 6 with a few features borrowed from the competition, but rather a clear step in the evolution of user-centric design."

    Wow, that's the funniest and most completely bullshit sentence I have read all year. Nobody cares about the "evolution of user-centric design" (what the fuck is that supposed to mean, anyway? It's just 100% PR waffle, straight from the arse of a dihorettic bull), the general public variety of users don't know what they want, don't really care and shouldn't be given any say in the matter anyway.

    It's us DEVELOPERS who have to put up with the "nuances" (and that's being polite) of Microsoft's sub standard browser offering. It's our employers who pay us a fortune in man hours so that we can work round these "nuances". And it's our future careers that depend on browse consistency and the full implementation of standards like SVG and CSS3. I am absolutely gutted that Microsoft failed on every level to implement worthwhile technologies and bring their browser up to scratch, they insult us developers by implementing long-overdue PNG transparency which we can't use until everyone has switched away from IE5/6 anyway, and claim to have "improved" their abysmal CSS support.

    Who gets the real benefit from the new IE? The people who matter most. The mindless drones who will lap up any offering from MS, or get it installed on their PC automatically whether they like it or not. The people too stupid to have switched to a better browser already. The brain-dead end users have their silly tabs and phishing scam (read: user stupidity) filter, and we get nothing.

    Even if this is "just a beta" it demonstrates not days, not months, but YEARS... yes YEARS of freaking work and does not include any significant changes. It doesn't even deserve a new version number. We all know it already, but Windows is a joke, IE is a joke, and Microsoft are a joke who can't be bothered to do anything properly because as long as idiot uneducated users lap up their crappy products they have an enduring monopoly and there is not a damned thing we can do about it.

    I say us developers should lobby our employers to sue over lost profits. Microsofts failure to implement standards means we are still unable to deliver cutting edge software to our users, and we still have to put up with IE's goddamned quirks. Microsoft should be sued by every company on earth with its hand in web development and FORCED to bring their crap-pile browser up to scratch and keep it that way instead of pissing away their time making sure the browser interface is just the right degree of "fucking confusing" to send any sane persons hatrid of IE into critical mass.

  • by rscrawford ( 311046 ) <rscrawford@@@undavis...edu> on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:30AM (#13194154) Homepage Journal
    How are other web developers planning on dealing with the issue of testing for multiple browsers? In my office, we do our best to make sure our site and software is compatible with the most current browser on a user's platform, but most of our users have Windows 98 or Windows 2000, not XP (which we have in our office). I've never been able to have multiple versions of IE on one computer; does anyone know if that will change with IE7?

    We already recommend Firefox to our customers as a superior alternative to IE. Our site is developed and tested primarily on Firefox, then IE for backwards compatibility. Even so, though, this issue has me concerned.
  • by Eloquence ( 144160 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:39AM (#13194217)
    Recently my girlfriend bought a new laptop with Windows XP installed. Before I could use it, I had to reboot about 10 times (no exaggeration) to get required security updates for Windows and the bundled Norton Antivirus package. At the same time, the operating system constantly asked me to set up a Microsoft Passport account and sign up for other MSN services and automatic updates. In fact, in the recommended settings, Windows Update will randomly interrupt you while you're working and force you to reboot. People who say that "Windows is easy to install" seem to never have gone through this process. And remember, I wans't even installing the computer - I booted a brand new machine and connected it to the Internet. This is not malignant, it's an utter disaster of software engineering, especially for average PC users. (Nothing of the sort, of course, happens with any modern Linux distribution. I can update my entire Debian system without rebooting once or reading a single EULA.)

    It also seems that Microsoft is using all its "security initiatives" to intrude evermore into consumers' lives, get more data about them, sign them up for Microsoft services, and lock out competitors. With IE7, apparently there will be yet another layer of intrusion: phishing protection by sending all visited URLs to Microsoft. Do you really think the average user will think about the privacy implications of this?

    And let's not kid ourselves: Microsoft is not the only company doing this. Today I installed a Logitech mouse under Windows, and guess what -- it wanted to install a "Logitech messenger" to automatically get updates and deliver "product information". Spyware and adware, it seems, is becoming the norm, rather than the exception, even for "respectable" applications. Microsoft's interest in spyware maker Claria confirms this trend.

    Now, IE7 will offer some features which competitors have had for years to average users who would never try Firefox. This is a good thing, and as some have pointed out, the gigantic feature advantage that Firefox will retain (particularly its extensibility, but also upcoming improvements such as SVG support and super-fast back/forward) will hopefully drive more users to it. I can't help but wonder, though, whether we are witnessing the development of a massively polarized information society, where some will work and play in a maximally commercialized environment full of spyware and ads, and others will have free software, built by regular people in their own enlightened self-interest. And it seems that Microsoft, rather than AOL as was predicted in the early days of the Net, is the driving force behind this.

    Perhaps it is time to rethink the PC concept -- from what is preinstalled to service and support -- on the basis of free software. An "open PC" that comes with thousands of free applications and games as well as an Internet-based support and update contract could be an excellent deal. Lindows seems to have tried something like this, but they don't seem to be clued up enough to me to pull it off.

  • by The Famous Brett Wat ( 12688 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @09:49AM (#13194308) Homepage Journal
    It is very clear that, unlike when Microsoft targeted Netscape, they are using their classic method of producing superior software by catering to the needs of the user.

    Classic method of producing superior software? As opposed to their classic method of spreading FUD, their classic method of "embrace, extend, extinguish", or their classic method of cutting off the competition's air supply?

    I'll grant that Microsoft did improve IE a great deal during the Netscape days, as one of the prongs in a multi-pronged attack on that company. Hell, history shows that the only motivation that Microsoft has for improving IE at all is competitive threat. The fact that they're starting to show some genuine improvement in IE again (after some years of stagnation) is testament to the fact that they're taking Firefox seriously.

    What distinguishes this from the Netscape days is that Microsoft already played their "integrate the browser into the OS" trump card, and their new competitor has no "air supply" revenue streams to constrict. On top of which, Google is demonstrating itself to be a damn clever producer of web-applications which are genuinely cross-platform, so the whole "embrace and extend" tactic is starting to show signs of fatigue.

    Microsoft might face a new challenge here: going feature-nuts on IE is one way to compete, but it's likely to open up new avenues of insecurity in a browser that already has the worst security track record. I don't think of Firefox as the be-all and end-all in secure browsing, but can Microsoft deliver the goods in security, even against a less-than-perfect competitor? I know they can bolt on features like there's no tomorrow, but it looks to me like security is the major root cause of Firefox migration at this point. Can Microsoft compete on security?

  • by prisoner-of-enigma ( 535770 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:19AM (#13194527) Homepage
    I just tried Firefox 1.06 on The Second Acid Test [webstandards.org] and it looks like it fails as well. I guess that now means Firefox is just as half-baked as IE7 if you go with the standard ranking system on Slashdot. Not that anyone will actually acknowledge that, of course.
  • Moving the menu bar breaks the Windows standard user interface. Meanwhile, Firefox has followed the Windows standard user interface as completely as they can... sometimes to the detriment of non-Windows ports.

    Also, moving the tab bar away from the window makes it harder to immediately identify which tab you're on.

    Merged stop-and-reload is just plain daft. The only current browser I know that does this is Safari, and it's the biggest reason I use Shiira instead of Safari on Mac OS X. Is Microsoft copyng Apple's bad ideas again, like when they released the first version of Windows with cooperative multitasking despite having concurrent multitasking working first?

    Both these problems can be avoided by using the HTML control from another application, as you can see by the screen-shot of Crazy Browser.

    Merging the drop-downs into a single button is visually confusing and doesn't save any space. Putting some of your navigation controls on the opposite side of the address bar is also confusing.

    All in all, I'd say the user interface is significantly less consistent and more confusing than IE5 or IE6. This is almost a step back to the early days of the web when browsers seemed to be in a contest to see which could be weirder.

    PS: The search bar is just a copy of the search bar on every other browser out there, except the "select search engine" button is on the other side.

    PPS: Microsoft can't avoid the reboot when it installs IE, because it's replacing a component that it's using all over the system... they need to kill and restart every GUI program on the system to move the old control out of the way.
  • by altp ( 108775 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:35AM (#13194705) Homepage
    Right now I have a ton of css hacks in place to handle MSIE 6 ... How will IE 7 affect those?

    Will I ahve to remove them, so that IE7 renders properly? (But IE6 no longer does)

    Will I have to keep using the same hacks to get my pages to work?

    Will it ignore the IE6 Hacks, and render properly?

    Option #3 is by far the best, ignore the hacks like Firefox and Safari (and opera and the rest), and just render the page as intended.
  • by OwlWhacker ( 758974 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @10:48AM (#13194837) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft doesn't seem to play catch-up too well anymore.

    Virtual Earth is nowhere near Google's offering, and IE7 really is just an attempt to prevent defections.

    It seems that Microsoft is trying to not look so bad, by offering something at least 'near' to what the competitors are offering.

    Also, if Microsoft finds an IT company that's doing very well for itself in a lucrative market, that's Microsoft's next venture. All of the good ideas don't come from Redmond.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @11:01AM (#13194957)
    Ok, I need to rant about something. This is way overdue.

    Please excuse my fixation on appearance and design as that is my line of work.

    This looks like garbage. Total fucking garbage.

    I realize it is a beta but I will assume Microsoft is using the standard def'n od 'beta' in that it is feature complete but with outstanding bugs.

    The entire interface is a bug. God, I don't even know where to start. The tabs are brutal, completely nonsensical placement between a menubar and the toolbar. Tiny, tiny refresh/stop button, one of the most used buttons in any browser and its about 10 pixels across. Tiny, tiny throbber - which is nothing new from old versions but again, is a vital part of the browser's user feedback. That sucker should be a lot more obvious (how much time have you spent staring at the stupid globe?). Also a second tiny icon toolbar, mixed with the menu... god damn, if they didn't set out to break every rule of good UI design, they have failed miserably in the interface department. I really can't believe how bad that is.

    And - where is the antialiased text? What year is it? My fuggin' PSP has antialiased browser text!

    I know it seems like I am freaking out a bit, but honestly, for one of the world's biggest software companies with more money than Satan to inflict this on such a huge proportion of the computing public is just kind of sick. This one app will deeply affect most computer users. And it sucks worse than practically anything else.

    Firefox devs, rejoice. You have handed the giant its own ass.

  • Morons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kelzer ( 83087 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @11:59AM (#13195532) Homepage

    From the review:

    The stop and refresh buttons are combined into a single button that is logically separate from back and forward. The button is "cancel" while a page is loading, and "refresh" when the page is done loading. There's no need to clutter the screen with more buttons.

    About the only feature of MSIE that I prefer over Mozilla/Firefox is the ability to click the stop button even after a page has fully loaded in order to stop those fscking animated GIFs.


  • by sriram_2001 ( 670877 ) on Friday July 29, 2005 @12:00PM (#13195557)
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/07/29/444957 .aspx [msdn.com] The IE team just responded here

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.