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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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  • 95/Me/2000 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by f1vlad (1253784) * Works for Slashdot on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:38PM (#29028239) Homepage Journal
    Of course not, what about Windows 95/Me/2000 users? One of those systems cannot run IE7 if I recall correctly.
  • Re:Hardly (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:42PM (#29028315)
    actually they did "support" it...they dumped it and released IE7 hehehe. Was there really any other option? I usually consider "not supporting" like a product line that was completely discontinued like...umm...is Netscape still around? IE7 is sort of an update to IE6 in the same way that XP was an update to ME. You can literally buy an upgrade version of XP for windows ME that will alter it into XP so you could consider that the final fix-all support for ME. So saying they "discontinued support" for ME isn't exactly true. If they just made ME and then stopped and had no upgraded version of the product line, then it'd be discontinued support.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:46PM (#29028405) Journal
    they would simply stop accepting the browser at ALL OF THEIR SITES. If they did that, nearly all of the rest of the world would follow suite. NOBODY in the development world wants this demoniacal abortion. BUT, while MS continues to accept, then everybody else is forced to accept it.
  • Re:Hardly (Score:1, Interesting)

    by JonShuler (106808) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @03:59PM (#29028699)

    Maybe if it was not part of the "OS", they would not have this problem...

  • Small, flaming rings (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NeverTheMachine (1612583) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:02PM (#29028781)

    I find it sad that a decision by a single company can create small, flaming hoops for the Internet to jump through. I'm happy that the browser (r)evolution we're experiencing is helping this, though. With all this sudden competition, it's not only forcing the browsers to whip up into Interwebs standards but also get rid of the monopoly that Microsoft has over the browser market. Hopefully, we'll never be at this strange crossroads again. Gogo capitalism!

    Hell, I'm amazed Microsoft doesn't just annoy the IE6'ers into submission. That doesn't seem out of their league.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @04:17PM (#29029079) Journal

    Fortunately, at my current company, it's "only" the Intranet. Most of the important stuff happens on mainframe and midrange machines, and the greenscreen telnet apps really don't care what OS they run on. (grin)

    But I did work for a large multinational when they were implementing Siebel, and the Siebel guys all had to get their brand-new laptops reloaded with Windows 2000 because Siebel "broke" in XP, even on XP running IE6. This was 4 years ago, in 2005.

    I don't know if Siebel got their issues with XP and/or more current browsers worked out, but a lot of businesses probably don't want to pay for an upgrade on that scale even if it is an in-place upgrade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:22PM (#29030081)

    How To Make Internet Explorer 7 (and 8) Look Exactly Like IE6

            Navigate to Internet Explorer's installation directory. If you have selected the default installation, it would be at C:\windows\ie7. (or ie8)

            Locate the "iexplore.exe" file then right-click on it then select send to desktop (create shortcut).

            By now, you'll have a iexplore.exe shortcut icon on your desktop. Rename it to anything you want.

            Delete the original Internet Explorer desktop icon (This step is optional. You can retain the original IE7 icon just in case you need it).

            Double-click on the new IE7 shortcut to launch Internet Explorer.

    http://www.byteburn.com/2006/10/30/how-to-make-ie7-look-exactly-like-ie6/

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Creepy (93888) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:33PM (#29030239) Journal

    Yep - corporate requirements often force IE6 - for instance, my company uses features of Adobe SVG viewer that are still not supported by ANY browser even though many claim SVG support. We know Adobe doesn't support their own SVG viewer, but we have no choice but to continue to force it down the throats of our customers with IE6 until Firefox, Webkit (Safari, Chrome) and Microsoft (IE7 and 8) add the features we need. Webkit is closest if I remember correctly - I believe only one or two outstanding issues now, and IE 7/8 is last (by a long shot) with Firefox in the middle.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @05:33PM (#29030245) Homepage Journal

    A number is just a number, unless it is demonstrably tied to something. 6000, 7000, and 7600 are almost certainly the same freaking kernel, with a few tweaks. MS didn't completely rewrite the whole kernel. Add this, subtract that, tweak a behaviour there, recompile, and assign a build number. Do a file difference on them all - then do NT5.1

  • Legacy Software (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ratsalbnoiro>> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @06:19PM (#29030819) Homepage Journal

    For the same reason companies don't want to upgrade to Windows Vista is the same reason why they don't want to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6.0, legacy software.

    I can tell you as a programmer analyst for the past 17 years that when developing a web application for Internet Explorer that each new version change will wreck legacy software written for an earlier version of Internet Explorer. Not only does the VBScript and Javascript engines change, put also the ActiveX files you used for controls will change as well and stop your client code from working.

    Since the Dotcom bust of 1998, companies have been trying to save costs by sticking to legacy software and only fixing bugs and making the code more secure rather than upgrade to newer versions. They learned that by being cutting edge, it tends to bleed a lot of money out of the company for lost productivity waiting for a fix, paying high priced developers the money to upgrade the code or rewrite it for the newer platforms, sometimes even contracting out the work to the lowest bidder (usually meaning offshoring the work to another company with cheaper labor) in an effort to try to save on costs.

    Windows 2000 and lower won't run IE7 and up, so companies are forced to upgrade hardware as well as software to get to Windows XP and beyond. Soon XP support will be gone and then it will be Windows Vista or Windows 7 and whatever comes after Windows 7 (Windows 8 we assume?) and IE9, IE10, etc.

    Microsoft makes money by changing how things work and then charging for training and certification on that new technology as well as selling books, etc to explain how to upgrade to the newer technology. Any company that does this ends up spelling millions of dollars every three years just to upgrade, and by the time they do upgrade a new technology was released that stops the upgraded code from working and they have to start all over again to rewrite the code yet again.

    For example, many companies just updated web code to use IE7, and then IE8 comes out and wrecks everything. Now they have to rewrite it again, and in three years when IE9 comes out, they start all over and do it again.

    It would be cheaper to just use non-Microsoft standards like Java, Python, C++, etc on Linux or a Non-MS operating system that doesn't change how things work every three years or so. But companies are locked into Microsoft solutions that are ever changing.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zuperduperman (1206922) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @07:30PM (#29031673)

    > If your company is not already looking at what needs fixed to upgrade from IE6 and at least defining a plan of action complete with cost estimates, they are going to get screwed

    You're right about Win2k, but (as mentioned in TFA) IE6 also shipped with Windows XP and thus it is my understanding that MS is committed to support it right through until 2014 when XP starts to become unsupported (and god knows what kind of 'extended support' options MS may still have for the die hards that are willing to be raped financially rather than fix their own software).

    So there is really no light at the end of tunnel yet - we're still staring at 5 - 6 years more of at least some not-insignificant fraction of users using IE6.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @07:53PM (#29031893)

    You're reading a whole lot into this.

    Microsoft made a *business decision* not to release IE7 for Windows 2000. That doesn't imply anything about Microsoft's engineering capabilities; it possibly (but not likely) implies something about their management ability.

    Look at it this way: Flash can open older .fla files, but only one version older. That is, Flash CS3 can open Flash 8 files, and Flash 8 can open Flash 7 files, etc. But Flash 8 can't open Flash 6, and Flash CS3 can't open Flash 7. Wow! That sure proves how incompetent Macromedia/Adobe's developers are, huh! Can you believe what morons they are?!

  • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @09:51PM (#29032659) Homepage

    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?

    Microsoft actively tries to make it difficult to maintain compatibility with older versions of Windows by forcing developers to use incompatible APIs if they don't want their apps to look dated (*). Cynically, I'd say the Windows SDK team are trying to drive Windows upgrades by making sure the latest apps only work with the latest version of their OS. Thankfully, third party application developers, and even other divisions within Microsoft, are market driven, and will make the extra effort to ensure their apps continue to run on older versions of Windows. In many cases, developers are saved by the fact that they use a GUI toolkit that hides these incompatibilities from them. But it seems the IE division is part of the same camp in Microsoft that wants to try to force Windows upgrades through incompatibility.

    (*) Probably the best example of this is going from the old dull grey scrollbars to blue gradient shaded ones in Windows XP. There is absolutely no technical reason why the scrollbar widget could not just be replaced with the new look, since it provides identical functionality and takes up the same space on the display, but MS required developers to link against a new version of the common control library, only available with Windows XP, to get the new look in their applications.

  • by rdebath (884132) on Wednesday August 12, 2009 @02:23AM (#29034191)

    That is "won't address" not "can't address".

    With 32bit XP SP1 you could access 4GB of RAM (4.5GB or more of address space)

    With 32bit Vista SP1 you can only access at most 3.5GB of RAM (a 10..20% loss!)

    To go above 4GB of RAM you need a 64bit version of XP (Yes XP!) or a later desktop variant.
    OR The 32 bit Windows 2000 SERVER variants will go up to 32Gb (64Gb if you asked nicely). Windows 2003 goes up to 128Gb. Intel did a good job of stretching 32bit, though in truth 64bit is now better.

    Sorry, Vista/Win7 still doesn't "give" you anything. The only reason to "upgrade" the OS is still the ticking bomb of the support clock.

    Of course IE6 isn't part of the OS ... hmmmm ... except in Bizarro World.

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