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MS — Dropping IE6 Support "Not an Option" 374

Posted by kdawson
from the die-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft wants to see IE6 gone as much as anyone else, but the company isn't going to make the decision for its users anytime soon. The software giant has been pushing IE6 and IE7 users to move to IE8 ever since it arrived in March 2009, but it's still up to the user to make the final decision to upgrade: 'The engineering point of view on IE6 starts as an operating systems supplier. Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product. We keep our commitments. Many people expect what they originally got with their operating system to keep working whatever release cadence particular subsystems have. As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Ultimately, the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC.'" Of course some big Web sites aren't waiting for Microsoft. Reader Yamir writes, "Google's Orkut, a social networking service popular in Brazil and India, has started warning IE6 users that the browser will no longer be supported. Just last month, YouTube started showing a similar message."
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MS — Dropping IE6 Support "Not an Option"

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:34PM (#29028169)

    I don't want to upgrade from IE6 for one very simple reason: I think the interfaces of the later IE versions suck donkey balls.

  • what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:36PM (#29028207) Homepage

    The first link is about MSFT's logo, not about IE6. What am I missing here?

  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:37PM (#29028219)
    Come on, Microsoft, if you're trying to end-of-life an operating system that's actively being deployed on Netbooks, what's the problem with turning off support for IE6?
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:41PM (#29028299) Journal

    I'm pretty sure that Microsoft are *happy* that these websites are dropping support and guiding their users in the right direction. That'll make things easier for Microsoft to move forward too. They put their focus behind Internet Explorer 8 now, and of course want to do that. But I can understand their stance -- their customers would raise hell if they just plain made an exception from their product lifecycle policy for the web browser, that just happens to be among the most used products in Windows there is.

    So all in all, this feels like a non-story to me.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrLang21 (900992) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:47PM (#29028433)
    I don't understand why dropping support would mean that IE 6 stops working. IE 6 will continue to work just as it always has unless Microsoft intentionally cripples it. Just because the Internet no longer supports IE 6 does not mean that IE 6 does not work.
  • by dhavleak (912889) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:53PM (#29028571)
    I wouldn't call that a simple reason. More like a simplistic one..
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:54PM (#29028599) Journal

    But they aren't trying to KILL IT, they just want it to DIE.

    Like you're rich Uncle.

  • Re: 95/Me/2000 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:59PM (#29028689)

    Something tells me that anyone running any of those OSs is not real concerned with whether or not their software is up to date.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:01PM (#29028743) Homepage

    Not exactly. IE6 is part of Windows XP. If XP is supported, so is IE6. That's basically what TFA says.

    And yeah, i really wish XP will have dignified death, not like NT4 - which is still around :(

  • Re:The real source (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:03PM (#29028807)

    TMI man, TMI.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrLang21 (900992) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:03PM (#29028817)
    That's the point. IE 6 was designed to work with a specific set of web interfaces that Microsoft has limited control over. If websites stop using those interfaces, then all bets are off. IE 6 still works. It just doesn't work with modern standards that it was never designed to work with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:06PM (#29028871)

    You may have luck with gnucash [gnucash.org], but honestly, if you're looking to import a Money file, you may be SOL. Microsoft is well known for its cryptic file formats and total lack of interoperability.

    If Money can export your file into something like QIF or OFX, you'll have more options.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:07PM (#29028877)
    As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade.

    .
    Quite to the contrary. Microsoft makes it very difficult for users to upgrade to the latest version. FireFox and Opera both still support the current versions of their browsers on Windows 2000. Yet Microsoft had dropped Windows 2000 from their list of OS's supported by their newer browsers long ago, even when Windows 2000 was supported by Microsoft.

    Have you ever wondered why all the other browser developers can support Windows 2000 while Microsoft is completely unable to? I mean, if the Microsoft engineers say they want to make it easy for people to upgrade, then I'm sure there must be some fundamental technical issue with IE that stymies the engineers, and prevents them from doing what they say they want to do. What is the problem that prevents Microsoft from bringing newer versions of IE to Windows 2000?

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ngarrang (1023425) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:09PM (#29028925) Journal

    Not exactly. IE6 is part of Windows XP. If XP is supported, so is IE6. That's basically what TFA says.

    And yeah, i really wish XP will have dignified death, not like NT4 - which is still around :(

    What's wrong with NT4? By the time of SP6a, it was a mature, stable OS. The only reason my former company moved away from NT was due to lack of drivers for newer PCs. The OS was stable and the number of system crashes per month for 250 system was less than 5. We kept track to remind people of how bad the Macs were that we replaced, which was a MUCH higher number. This was back in the late 1990's.

    And now, XP is a mature, stable OS worth keeping around. It will run on tiny video cards, relatively slow processors and enjoys a level of driver support that surpasses NT4 by a wide margin.

    Vista is heralded as the next great OS, and turned out to be ME with an new interface.

    Windows 7 is just a redress of the Vista kernal and with a few new tricks added.

    I will stick with XP for another few years, thank you very much. I prefer stable and predictable over cutting-edge. Call it an economically-wise business decision...uptime = people working.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:14PM (#29029013) Journal

    I am pretty sure someone's made a IE6 theme for Firefox

    Yeah, but if they did it was probably functional for 2 whole weeks. from Firefox version 3.0.3 to 3.0.4, and is now unusable. Try to find a Netscape 3 theme for Firefox, and you'll find the same thing

    HINT: I use the Firefox default theme (it's not bad) but not by choice.

  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:16PM (#29029055) Homepage Journal

    "ithey would simply stop accepting the browser at ALL OF THEIR SITES."

    Except for that one site that lets you upgrade to IE 7 or 8. That would be an important one.

  • by sam0737 (648914) <samNO@SPAMchowchi.com> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:16PM (#29029059)

    Think about that...

    Ubuntu LTS is to be supported for 5 years, but only with limited backported software, not even the most important software package like major upgrade of gnome, firefox, open office are always available in the backport repro.

    while Every release of Windows is LTS, and as long as 10 years! Also, new core software upgrade are usually offered even after a long time. (IE8, Live Messenger 9, Office 2007 on XP, a 6 years old product!)

    On Linux? Even if you get the source, the chance of compiling the latest software bits on a 6 years old box is unlikely...Either kernel updates are needed, or glibc, or missing libraries, or the dependent libraries needs new GCC...usually end up upgrading GCC+Glibc+Kernel+whatsoever to get some new software. Or to put it simply, either spend a few days to figure that out, compile and install the dependencies else where, or to upgrade the distro.
    Hey but I just want that new software, but keeping all my old software and configure...they didn't break and I don't want to touch them.

    Besides unstable hardware support, I have been using Linux for 10+ years and this is the single thing that I hate most...when will debian package support libraries of different version installed side by side...?

    Think about it...I think Microsoft is really doing an excellent job here. Although DLL Hell induced problem sometimes do happen (but a lot less since XP...), but still when they are still adding new features for a 6 years old OS. What else can you expect?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:18PM (#29029095)

    Windows update hasn't been an activeX app since... around IE7? Are you running a fresh version of SP2 or something?

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:15PM (#29030017) Journal
    That is a good point. You know, it is almost a shame that somebody does not develop a virus that installs MSIE 8 and deletes MSIE 6. It seems like it would be a great use for a virus.
  • by tukang (1209392) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:26PM (#29030129)

    What is the problem that prevents Microsoft from bringing newer versions of IE to Windows 2000?

    The problem is that they want people to upgrade to the latest version ... of Windows :)

  • Gentoo does it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelkerNO@SPAMgnu.org> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:47PM (#29030411) Homepage

    when will debian package support libraries of different version installed side by side...?

    I haven't used Gentoo, so I can't tell you much about it, but I hear that this is one of its features. I think they call it "slots", fwiw.

    What else can you expect [of Microsoft]?

    Catching up with the 80's user interface goodies? Alt-drag to move windows, virtual desktops, sloppy focus, clicking on a window doesn't raise it (probably in order of usefulness).

    Also, including basic tools in the OS, such as loopback mounting, sha1.exe, file(1)/magic, a shell with tab completion that doesn't suck donkey balls (meaning the one I'm used to), an editor that's worth using, netcat or something else which lets me transfer a file over the network without wanting to gouge my eyes out, and a bunch of things I'm forgetting.

    I'd rather have that than 3d virtual hyper super-duper space pinball.

    (On the other hand, what with the antitrust lawsuits and all, maybe they shouldn't...)

  • by ragefan (267937) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:52PM (#29030491)

    Have you ever wondered why all the other browser developers can support Windows 2000 while Microsoft is completely unable to?

    Its not that Microsoft is "completely unable" to support W2K, its that they choose to not spend resources supporting it. In doing so, they are attempting to force customers to pay to upgrade to a newer (supported) version.

    Meanwhile, Mozilla and Opera are choosing to support W2K in order to gain market share for their browsers from customers that are choosing not to pay Microsoft to upgrade their OS. This provides them with the benefit that if the user likes it, if and when they decide to upgrade, then they will likely install the browser again.

    What is the problem that prevents Microsoft from bringing newer versions of IE to Windows 2000?

    Again, nothing prevents them from doing it, they just do not want to. They do not want to support NT4 or W9x either. If they did, then could argue, "Well, why doesn't MS back port to NT 3.5?" Then where does it stop? W98 SE? 3.11? Just let W2K die.

  • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @06:23PM (#29030879)

    I don't use IE6; I just refuse to upgrade it. It's part of that whole "integrated into the OS" thing -- I'd burn it in cleansing fire if I could. I have been using Firefox for years, and have IETab installed for those few websites that stubbornly insist on using ActiveX controls (like Windows Update).

    Then why did you say that you won't upgrade because of the user interface? If you never use it, why does the interface matter? Your two statements are mutually exclusive.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mad Merlin (837387) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @06:57PM (#29031299) Homepage

    I know that pages that validates on W3C can get some quirks to show in IE6, but nothing serious.

    You are obviously not a web developer.

  • A few ideas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by renegadesx (977007) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @07:12PM (#29031477)
    Ive never seen a fresh XP SP3 so I honestly dont know. Was IE7 part of SP3? If not cant IE8 be part of SP4? That way IE6 support dies when XP SP3 (or 2 if they did include IE7 in SP3) support dies.

    That is a way of doing it. Until then web designers should get tough, just because Microsoft cant drop 'support' for IE6 doesn't mean that websites are tied to that support contract at all. They can easily do a browser check and anything that reports IE6 (or earlier, there are 98 and 2000 machines out there) the server can simply redirect them to a page that links to browsers web sites (Firefox, IE8, Chrome, Safari etc).

    Google seems to be the biggest supporter of this move and they can make a major contribution as Google search engine, Gmail and YouTube are all very popular products. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can also have that sort of influence.
  • by Rennt (582550) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @09:54PM (#29032675)

    How was this modded insightful? For starters, the main reason to use a LTS release is BECAUSE they do not upgrade core components. This is meant to appeal corporate customers. If you want the latest software, you can set automatic upgrades of the WHOLE OS every 6 months - for free no less. So take your pick.

    Secondly, installers from third party vendors (with the exception of hard-core database stuff) don't care which distro you are using at all, much less which version.

    Finally, debian DOES support different libraries installed side by side. Even for different core architectures (32 + 64bit).

    Comparing 6 year-old Windows to 6 year-old Linux is disingenuous at best. The development model is completely different. Windows has only had 1 upgrade in that time (sorry, but IE8, LM9, Office '07 are applications dude). Linux has had countless small ones.

  • by rnturn (11092) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @11:40PM (#29033271)

    Upgrade the browser to be more standards compliant and keep IE6 compatibility and the browser winds up being huge. And probably a pain in the rear to use. And probably a security nightmare as well.

    Or drop IE6 compatability and break untold numbers of corporate intranet web pages that were written to and depend on the broken IE6 model. And the corporations whose internal applications that just broke because IE6-mode was removed are the same corporations that you want to upgrade to Vista and/or Windows 7.

    Not a great choice.

    Tick off those corporations and after they re-engineer their internal web sites to be usable with something other than IE6 and they've done a good chunk of the work necessary to think about changing the corporate standard desktop OS as well. I imagine there will be some companies that will wonder "Why the hell are we sticking with this software, anyway? Look what it just cost us to clean up the internal web sites!" Or... companies will keep things as they are when the new IE retains the IE6 behaviour. But I'm betting that they can count on there being an increasing amount of grumbling from the employees who have to use external web sites and cannot render web pages properly with Microsoft's bloated browser. The corporate IT folks will have to standardize on a desktop that includes a non-MS browser that one can use for the external sites that are written according to accepted standards and IE that they need to use for the broken^Wnon-standard pages that were developed internally.

    I wonder how many newly trained web programmers will want to continue writing around IE6 quirks and for how long.

    It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @12:16AM (#29033453) Homepage Journal

    ``Ubuntu LTS is to be supported for 5 years, but only with limited backported software, not even the most important software package like major upgrade of gnome, firefox, open office are always available in the backport repro.

    while Every release of Windows is LTS, and as long as 10 years! Also, new core software upgrade are usually offered even after a long time. (IE8, Live Messenger 9, Office 2007 on XP, a 6 years old product!)''

    On the other hand, you can upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu free of charge.

    As for having the latest software on an old version of Ubuntu, I believe it is actually a feature that they don't do that. Keeping the software versions the same throughout the lifetime is the best way to ensure that what works today will work tomorrow. If you want newer software ... you can get the free upgrade.

    So, all in all, comparing Windows and Ubuntu, both have their advantages.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @01:37AM (#29033945)

    "Let this be a lesson to companies that build their infrastructure on Microsoft technologies."

    Sure, look at Google. They got suckered into using MS technologies like XMLHttpRequest and ended up with that terrible Google Maps web app.

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