I made a brief attempt to combat this paranoia in this thread. Some of the responses puzzled me. It's as if people couldn't come to grips with the fact that Internet Explorer, in a controlled environment without an idiot behind the wheel is actually a viable choice for web browsing needs. My disdain for the stupidity that runs rampant on IE articles has grown so large that I no longer allow myself to post on those articles. However, today's article on Opera's dwindling marketshare birthed even more tin-foil gems. Since it is Sunday night and I write impending RPG projects best at 5 AM, allow me the privilege to give you a tour of the typical Slashdot anti-Microsoft/IE posts -
Article : Opera Facing Losses While Firefox Usage Grows
Highlight posts -
IE? Free? Since when? Just because it comes with the OS (which, might I add, you pay $$$ for) doesn't mean it's free. Furthermore, what about all the adware, spyware (and for some, viruses) that people have to clear off their harddrive? That takes time, and, "Time is money." And with all the time I've spent doing that with IE..., let's just say with IE, you won't have any "Free time"
More brain fecal -
Sorry, "included in the package" still does not mean "free" as long as the package costs money, no matter how much the Microsoft monopoly wants you to believe otherwise.
Leaping lounge lizards, Batman! It's Microsoft again! They want you to think that the browser that already comes bundled with the operating system you already paid for is free, in an effort to subvert your use of a free oper... oh, wait.
Seriously, folks. Do we now have to dispute the fact that IE is free by most anyone's standard definition of free? IE is available for Mac and UNIX, free of end-user cost. It does not come bundled with the operating system. Ok, nevermind that. We don't want to get our hands dirty with things like "fact" when we can let ignorance and tin-foil theorizing reign supreme! Say I have Windows 95 or NT 4. They don't come bundled with IE, and I may download them free of charge. I really fail to see what this guy's underlying point is. Because it happens to be bundled with versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system does not magically undo the free-ness of it's availability on other platforms. Or perhaps he's saying that by virtue of paying for the platform that IE will run on, you've vicariously paid for it.
Deathanatos takes a more arguable approach. He argues that it's his TIME that has been hit hard. While I don't understand how anyone could ever spend more than 15 minutes locking down a vanilla install to a reasonable security level, you could certainly argue that IE does cost time. The problem with this argument is that, since we're no longer arguing monetary amounts, you could just as easily argue that FireFox or Mozilla or Opera costs time as well. It's up for debate. FireFox requires time to download (or compile), install and tweak.
Article : IE Shines On Broken Code
judmarc (649183) -
It encourages web authors to make pages that don't work in other (standards-compliant) browsers. But even MS is getting a bit tired of this, because (1) there are now plenty of pages that don't work even with IE (I encounter them all the time at work), and (2) all the error correction code helps to keep IE bloated and slow.
This is what is amazing to me - the inconsistency. Do we hate IE because it's insecure, or do we hate IE because they make an effort to not crash on malformed HTML? Which is it?
My overall point is this - people need to get over the fact that Microsoft Internet Explorer is not the highly-concentrated evil beacon of baby-killing that most Slashdot users paint it out to be. Most of Slashdot can't even string together an argument that works on any level. Sadly, these attempted arguments get modded up as "Insightful" or "Informative" by ignorant mods who would rather spread more FUD than question the legitimacy of the assertion. Internet Explorer is a mediocre browser. It's slow, it's bland and it's very difficult to tweak and customize. Developing for it has many unfavorable aspects. It is not, however, a cleverly disguised evil.exe waiting merely for your clicking to recruit you for the army of Microsoft.