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Microsoft's IE 5.5 Flouts Industry Standards 528

Eric Harlow writes: "Microsoft's newly released Internet Explorer 5.5 is trying to do something Microsoft was worried that Netscape might do -- make the browser a platform. Of course, now that IE has 86% of the market, it can lure developers into using flashy new tools that leave Netscape users out of the dust since the new IE has all kinds of 'IE only' features -- and they haven't managed to fix standard items as CSS." Here's the CNET story; a snippet reads: "Together, the proprietary innovation and the purported faults in standards compliance mean that Web pages created to work for IE--widely considered to be the dominant browser--won't work with browsers from Netscape, Opera Software and other providers."

Similarly, jchristopher writes: "The Web Standards project has come out against Microsoft again, this time blasting them for the proprietary "enhancements" found in their recently released IE 5.5 Web browser. Microsoft is up to their tricks again. Meanwhile, the browser still does not fully support CSS1. Here is the press release from the Web Standards Project."

I wish companies would stop touting incompatibility with others as a desirable feature rather than a liability. Would you buy a wrench that said "Works only on Ford"?

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Microsoft's IE 5.5 Ignores Industry Standards

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  • Right now I'm in the process of creating a site for a business that wants all of the latest gizmos on their site (and since their targeting businesses with T1 connections, bandwidth isn't a problem). So I've been playing with JavaScript over the pass couple weeks, keeping the every-handy book "JavaScript: The Definitive Guide" (from O'Reilly) by my side. Now, it's a well known fact that O'Reilly is not in bed with MS (quite the opposite, in fact). But in the 3rd edition (copyright June 1998) IE's support for modifying styles thru JavaScript beat Netscape's, hands down. CSS is an open standard, and JavaScript was originally a _proprietary_ Netscape innovation.
    My point is simple, both companies/browsers have their faults. Personally, I hate both of them, but I (regretfully) use IE. All I really want in a browser is the following:

    * HTML 4.0 _full_ compliancy
    * CSS1 _full_ compliancy
    * a good effort towards CSS2 compliancy (enough that they will be compliant within the somewhat near future)
    * JavaScript 1.1 _full_ compliancy
    * a good effort towards JavaScript 1.2 compliancy (similar to CSS2)
    * Java support
    * _stability_ (Netscape crashes way too much, which I understand is because of bugs in the MS code they use, maybe that'll all change)
    * a price of less than $50

    Notice I did not mention the following things:
    * free (beer or speech) - honestly, I wouldn't mind paying for a decent browser, and while the source is very nice, I'd rather have something that worked w/out the source, then broken source. If you personally believe that the only way the above objectives can be reached is through a open/close (circle one) source project, I don't care.
    * bookmarks - I can cut and paste from a text file
    * skins - I don't care wtf the browser looks like, I want the webpage to look right!

    Note: I have tried Opera on two occasions, and it's definitely getting better, but it wasn't quite good enough the last time I checked. I'll probably download the latest release after finishing this post, but I don't have my hopes too high.

    If anyone knows of a browser that meets these requirements, please, please let me know. I don't want to beta test or write my own code (which is why I haven't tried Mozilla, and why I don't mind paying for the finished product).

    I'm also in the process of switching my daily computer use from Windows to Linux, and I'm _extremely_ frustrated with Netscape under Linux. So I'm looking for a browser that works under Linux or Windows or both.
  • What sort of impact does it have if and when businesses get flame mail about their propriety-based websites?

    It has a big impact. More than one company I've done work for has repeatedly ordered major website changes on account of just one or two angry emails -- and these were sites that, while not as large as Slashdot :), nonetheless did a few million hits a month.

    Management types are indeed clueless, but this can be to your advantage. Most websites get so little feedback that your cranky email about standards compliance might change some minds -- if you remember to avoid "standards compliance" and instead say that you'd like to buy their products, but their site isn't fully compatible with your non-M$ browser.
  • Further, it would actually show that there's a demand for that functionality, and that W3C is moving too slow to be useful.

    That's putting it mildly. No browser today has the layout engine functionality that MS Word or Pagemaker had in 1993. People talk about web technology moving fast, but I have no idea where that comes from -- it's certainly not at the client end. There have been a bunch of plugins for inline media boxes, but beyond that, all that has happened is that browsers have crawled along nearly a decade behind the state of the art in word processors. And W3C? Heck, my third-grader was still in preschool when they started mumbling about CSS.

    I don't guess I'll win any friends by saying this, but the closest thing we have to a fully-documented, practical markup language is Postscript. At this point, I'd just as soon see someone graft an HTTP client onto gv as continue mucking around with Microsoft and AOL/Netscape.
  • ...in the gun that M$ has steadily amed at its own foot? Not many.

    I think the general public will realize that ignoring standards is not innovation. Why? Because when Netscape PR1 came out, a small bit of news quietly crept past the media: AOL will implement Netscape 6 across its product line. The 86% IE usage numbers will plummet within 30 days of AOL 6.0 being released.

    I don't advocate AOL in any way except in this decision.

    This is a tremendous opportunity for OSS developers to prove that we can do things better than the corporate behemoths. With the right spin, IE's market share could be destroyed right now. Most end users associate browsers with HTML first and foremost. Playing up he fact that IE 5.5 still has HTML compliency problems inherited from 4.0 might make the public think a little more about what they use.

    My predictions:

    • M$ will continue to produce "innovations" (read: glitter) for their products.
    • The anti-trust trial will hit them like a brick due to their arrogance.
    • IIS, IE, and other M$ web technologies will lose ground on the internet, while maintaining a high intranet market share.
    • Linux, Netscape, OSS will continue to grow. MacOSX will grab Apple a big chunk. IE on a BSD variant? Vaporware.
    • Over the next 10 years, the balance of power will gradually change. M$ will be reduced to a floundering shell of itself, too busy supporting old products to develop new ones, or in a position similar to Apple before Steve Jobs came back.
    These times are full of opportunities. Stop whining about them and start turning them to an advantage.

    "Integer: a number that represents any valid floating-point value"
  • If the internet was totally inaccessable for you, would you change OSes?

    This was why I switched from OS/2 to Win98 back in 1998. Microsoft's monopoly powers do extend much further than other companies, but I wanted to ensure I presented a balanced view since the power of having market share tends to corrupt.
  • It's quite simple. AOL currently uses IE. In other words the 40% of all Internet customers that they control use IE. Oh, and they are also probably the fastest growing Internet Service Provider out there. With AOL version 6.0 they are supposedly switching to Mozilla. That would put Mozilla right back in the running.

    Throw in all the upcoming Internet Devices that will almost certainly be running Mozilla (IE only runs on Windows), and it's a horse race again.

  • Of course <body> isn't inside <head> !

    It goes:

    <!doctype ... >


    <!doctype ... >

    That's just silly :)
  • Well, it's good to know that M$ can keep using anti-competitive practices and severely mess things up even more.

    On a side note, if I tried to explain what happened to most people I know, they would probably say something along the lines of "MicroSoft sets all of the standards anyways, right?"

    It would be innovation if they:
    A) Worked with regular HTML
    B) Released the specs to implement these features publicly.

    I'll be over here using all of these "obsolete" websites in Mozilla.
  • I don't understand what right we all have to be blasting Microsoft over this. They're well within their rights to do whatever they damn well please with Internet Explorer. If it means making incompatible with Netscape, that's fine, but nobody has any right to complain with anything but their dollars (or downloads) -- the market has spoken and said that IE is good. You can't even come up with the "leveraging a monopoly" excuse here -- if you don't want them to exploit this, don't develop to the proprietary features. It's really very simple: Microsoft isn't forcing you to do anything, and I wish everyone would stop whining like Microsoft was making them download IE at gunpoint.
  • I realise that CNET only just noticed this but it's hardly news. The Web Standards Project made their statements on the 10th of April - 4 months ago. I think /. even covered it before.
  • But then again, most web developers with some matter in between their ears will stay clear of FrontPage in the first place. Let's just keep our fingers crossed and hope that Macromedia doesn't continue to implement these "features" in future versions of Dreamweaver and Flash, as these are generally well regarded programs among web developers.

    "Innovate": To embrace, extend and extinguish
  • From your Geocities homepage, with huge table borders and a black background:
    "i am 15 years, and a freshman in my school. i have many interests. my newest interests are computers. i just got into computers, and i am learning how to program them. i am learning to program in python and in c. when i am done with these, i am going to learn assembly and c++. i am also learning to use unix. "

    Yeesh. Okay...um....and you think you have some right to tell those of us who have been working in the web industry for five years that we don't know what we're talking about? I suggest you spend a few more years learning about computers, kid, before you go shooting off your mouth when you don't know what you're talking about.


  • Yep. Check out the "Dashslot" theme (if you're using IE5, that is....Netscape appears not to like the on-the-fly scheme changes)...


  • and so do you!
  • I have no love for Microsoft or IE, but I really don't see this as being an issue of anti-competitiveness

    Well... maybe it's not anti-competitive... but it means that essentially MS owns and controls HTML. It means that the W3C can pound salt because they will be ignored anyways.

    Don't get me wrong, this isn't the end of the world and I firmly believe that the folks at Netscape would so the same thing had they not imploded... but it is a little sad to see the once wide open internet (open as in standards... whatever happened to a well written well thought out RFC...) slowly become the property of Microsoft.

    Microsoft also countered the W3C, as it has in the past, by saying that it innovates by shipping products first and works to define standards that will be established later.

    Yep... in other words.. if it ships with an MS logo on it then it is the "standard" and the rest of the industry can either follow suit or die.
  • by EMN13 ( 11493 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:07AM (#934435) Homepage
    I'm currently doing a stage in the french arm of w3c. CSS1 is not that hard to implement... it's ridiculous that MS, which has so much more resources that the w3c does, is unable to get a working version of CSS1 out. And CSS2... oh boy. Also, one of the strengths of XML is that it's very easy to extend. However, any xml extension will be correctly parsed by any xml-parser, meaning that the obvious choice for an extension mechanism would be to base it on XML, at least ensuring that the extensions don't interfere with existing software.

    So why is microsoft's "DHTML" not XML compliant? I truly hope this goes the way ActiveX did... the "no go" way.

    Furthermore, I would make sure that the extensions can easily be transformed to existing tags using XSLT. XSLT (frequently referred to as XSL) is a language that essentially allows one XML document to be transformed into another. Simplistically put, you make you're own markup (extensions) and "map" them onto different xml elements (tags).

    Meaning if a browser wanted to, it could load a compatibility XSL transformation from, say, it's website so it could at least make something from the new tags, even if some functionality is missing.

    Notice that this only works when those extensions are xml... guess why microsoft didn't want that...

    BTW, I have no clue about official w3c opinions...

  • It's hell because, like at my work study job, my boss will expect me to pull off a website that is compatible for IE and Netscape, which can sometimes lead to long term insanity.

    There must be a way Mozilla can conform to some of these standards so that Microsoft can stop trying to pull this crap. (No, I don't want Mozilla to be a clone, but what else are you going to do, you got to adapt [slashdot.org] to survive at this business. I disagree in advance that the percentage of developers, whose jobs depend on creating compatible products, will suffer a lot. No, I'm not saying Mozilla should give up, but they should consider somehow implementing these standards (do they conform to CSS1?).

    Nuff Respec'

    7D3 CPE
  • Oops I forgot to included the reference gif but not the actual standards test. click here [verso.com] to test which browser conforms more to the CSS1 standards. If it looks like a Picasso (as in Netscape) then the browser is not conforming to standards, while if it looks like a bunch of boxes (like in MSIE) then it is standards compliant.
  • "That's still going on, right? And wasn't it already decided that Microsoft should cease such activities within 90 days."

    You need to get out and read the news sometime. Microsoft filed an appeal and Judge Jackson issued a stay on that order until the appeal is heard, which is likely many months off (probably not until 2001).
  • Would you buy a wrench that said "Works only on Ford"? br>
    Yes, actually, if 86% of all cars were Ford.

    Just a few thoughts...
  • Those of us developing sites/browser applications sort of welcome browsers that meet standards. Unfortunately, it sounds like IE 5.5 will represent yet another collection of special tests and considerations.

    Of course, we could just code sites for just IE 5.5 and ignore millions of customers. Yeh, that will help the bottom line. :)
  • This article couldn't be more flamebait if JonKatz wrote it all from stolen quotes of slashdot posters while uploading Cuckoo files through Napster.
  • The best way to deal with this is to send a polite email to the web master of any site that uses these (or any other M$ only extensions). Tell them that you would really like to view/use/support their site but unfortunately you are unable to see it. People creating web sites generally want them to be visible to the largest audience possible.
  • by edibleplastic ( 98111 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:15AM (#934465)
    As a web developer, I feel very torn about this issue. As anyone who has ever tried to make a web page knows, one of the biggest issues facing a developer is trying to ensure compatibility between the browsers. It's fairly easy for software developers because you can write it for a specific operating system, but because the web is viewed through two (somtimes more) browsers, each with their own specific quirks, writing good html pages becomes somewhat of a chore.

    I used to be a Netscape user for several years up until this year, when I switched over to IE. I was amazed at the difference I saw. IE is much more tolerant of mistakes, handles tables a whole lot better (actual size and background images being two of the biggest factors) and has support for the hover style, a feature that can sublty but importantly enhance a page.

    Now I don't mean this to be a post just in support of IE. The reason I bring this up is because it really is an issue of innovation. It sounds cliche to talk about Microsoft and its innovation, but I think that perhaps this is most apparent on the web, with browsers. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt held back by Netscape's lack of functionality, and even compliance with standards. Things have taken twice as much effort and in some cases rquired a "dumbing down" in order to get them to work well and look good in NS. I know that NS is working on the Mozilla project, and I've heard pretty good reviews of v6, but the fact that no major upgrade (and I'm primarily looking at adding functionailty) has been made for several years has really hurt the web in my opinion. In my experience, the pages for IE are much more flexible and technically advanced than those that run on NS. So my point here is, advancement is a seriously important aspect of the web.

    On the other hand, however, a lot of the problems with the design has also been browser compatibilty. This requires constant checking, constant updating (have to keep on top what who has what) and in general it makes things very difficult. Usually the problem is more that one browser doesn't meet the w3c's standards rather than there being a specific proprietary advancement that the other does not ahve. Unfortunately, what Microsoft is proposing will be a proprietary advancement, and this one NS is sure to not follow.

    I don't know what to do about this. The web has developed so well in the recent past because of the balance between innovation and standards. There has been a pretty good balance between pushing ahead and joining the others. I have to say though, that the web cannot continue to be where its at for very much longer. Static web pages, limited funcitonality and unwieldy design languages I hope will soon be a thing of the past. I guess when it comes down to it, I am very happy that MS is doing this.... we obviously can't look to Netscape/Mozilla for innovation since it seems like they're more concerned about integrating AIM into the browser than really advancing the technology. I am also somewhat apprehensive about how this will shape how people view the web but frankly, after years of struggling with mediocre and limited design space, I'm ready for something new.

  • What it comes down to is that MS has 85 percent of the browser market cornered. I don't care that there's idiots saying how they /like/ the browser; these people are a tiny minority compared to people who use it because they have no other choice but to comply with poor trade practices.

    The US justice system is in no shape to deal with this - three-year trials worked in the old days, but in today's Internet system, a year is almost too long. By the time the appeals are over, Microsoft will make more billions and achieve greater market power.

    There should be a separate system for administering digital justice. I don't think there's room for 3 month delays between hearings and hundred-thousand page briefs typed over a period of twelve weeks. They should've put MS and Janet Reno on Judge Judy :)

    Oh, and to all you smarasses who think you can get rid of IE on your computer and use a browser of your choice under Windows: you can't. If you want to use the M$ site for Windows bugfixes, you'd better be using IE. So you can't remove it for that reason. And if you don't care and try to uninstall, it leaves behind more registry keys than most programs have total.
  • The company where I work, which once had vowed to always remain with Netscape has now officially made the switch (30,000 users) to MSIE.

    At this point in time, no matter how strong your ideals or principles are, the very sad fact is that if you aren't compatible with the 86% (as quoted here at least) of people using MSIE, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

    Though our company policy is still to create web content which will remain compatible with established standards, I personally doubt that will hold true, as so many users crank up Front Page and whip out an incompatible page with no idea of what the term "standards" even means.

    I think this whole MSIE 5.5 thing bothers me a lot more than it probably should. To me it seems like quite a blow to my hope for the opensource and standards-based future, at least as I had envisioned it.


  • I've spent literally whole days of my life "dumbing down" web sites so that they will work with MSIE. Also, being "tolerant of mistakes" is a HORRIBLE thing, as it encourages what this whole issue is about -- not following standards. Behaviour is barely defined well for correct HTML, and we should not have to define how incorrect HTML should be handled just so it will look the same in all browsers.
  • by jacobm ( 68967 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:16AM (#934474) Homepage
    While everybody knows that Microsoft likes to take standards an mess with them, I find it kind of funny that people around here are claiming that it's this sort of action that isolates Netscape users. I use Netscape myself, but I'm also a web developer, and the more I hear about Microsoft's browser dominance, the less I want to continue to support Netscape.

    That's because supporting Netscape and IE doesn't mean maintaining strict standards compliance- all of my pages adhere to strict standards- but working around a list of bugs and horrid design decisions the size of your arm just so that Netscape won't mangle your page while IE users can see it just fine. Even though Netscape invented Javascript (as a way to lock out IE users? I don't know), IE does it better- I'm not talking about the incompatible DOMs, I'm talking about simple things like the fact that Netscape won't let you dynamically change the size of form widgets without a PAGE REFRESH, something that I'm sure my users would love.

    It's quickly becoming an IE-only world, but it's not because Microsoft uses proprietary tags- honestly, why would Microsoft care about squashing Netscape 4.7 at this point? The only people who use it are die-hards and people without any IE option anyway. It's because as bad as IE's compliance is, Netscape's is ten times worse. Netscape is just suffering from the fact that it used to be the big dog and so it thought it could get away with anything, and it was right, but now it's not the big dog anymore, and developers are tired of putting up with it.

    Sorry, it had to be said.
  • guess it's time to change my sig. :(


  • It'd be funny if each appeal made the judgement worse on Microsoft. So if the Supreme Court refused to hear the case and it went to the standard appeals court, they could take one look at Microsoft's behavior since the judgement and decide to break them up AND make them release the source to IE.

    Then when they finally go to the Supreme Court, they could decide to break them up into 18 different companies, all of which would have to publish all of their APIs for the foreseeable future.

    Yeah... that'd be cool...

  • I posted this ealier but was a bit vociferous, here's a calmer version of my earlier post:

    The article is belaboring something that has been a fact of web development for at least the past year or two. Both browsers have had things that only work on only their platform for years. Anyone remember BLINK and MARQUEE? How about javascript? They use different DOMs so different code has to be used to do the same thing. Sites like Dynamic Drive [dynamicdrive.com] have been seperating their scripts into IE-only and Netscape only for as long as I've been going there.

    Netscape has been flouting standards for as long than MSFT with their proprietary LAYER tag and inventing Javascript. Frankly as at now (but not for long with Mozilla in the works) MSIE supports more of CSS1 than Netscape for proof of this check out this page [verso.com] and use this image as a reference [verso.com]. In MSIE it renders with few flaws while in Netscape it looks like a Picasso. The problem is therefore not with MSIE's support of CSS1 standards at least not now.

    The problem is that MSFT's proprietary additions to their browser such as the XML parser built into the browser which is available for scripting [refsnesdata.no] and others are so tempting to developers that they ignore the fact that these things work only on IE and rationalize (if you can call it that) this away with "Most people use IE." The fact that W3C takes a long time to ratify standards has not helped this either. PS: For all those who do not realize how long both browsers have been incompatible and flouting standards read Dynamic Html : The Definitive Reference by Danny Goodman [amazon.com] for an informative read.

    PS: The above post is very correct, MSFT doesn't force websites to use it's proprietary additions or to script only for IE, bad web developers do this. If people didn't use the IE specific things in the browser for websites on the world wide web (as opposed to a local intranet were such things can be mandated) then this would not be an issue. Web developers are more to blame for the browser segregation than MSFT.
  • When a webpage author dosn't have access to IE he can only test against Netscape.

    It is the norm to test a website against Netscape OR IE to see if it works. However with websites usually running Linux or BSD and MSCE saying that diffrent operating systems can't co-exist (BS*) managers are being forced to pick between NT and *nix systems. With people successfully premoting Linux while NTs flaws become painfully clear NT quickly becomes a NON-answer. Macs user friendly legend (Not BS but heavy on the myth side **) putting it out of the running *nix systems become the solution.

    What this boils down to is. If the website is develuped on-site chances are good Windows is banned by management becouse "Operating systems can not co-exist". This means no testing for compatability on IE. If the feature dosn't exist on IE then it dosn't work.
    "IE supports more standards than Netscape"
    Well apparently even this too is a load of BS. But as long as website authors believe this one and can't access IE then they might as well test against Netscape becouse if it works on Netscape it works on IE right?

    Microsoft may yet fud themselvs out of the market.

    * Mac, Unix, OS/2 and Dos co-existed before NT existed.
    There was a time when a LAN could contain Macs, and Dos machines with the network server being a Sun i386 or an OS/2 box.
    LANs being the WORST setting for standards and compatability. Internet servers being the in the "IDEAL" catagory.

    ** Mac is know as "The computer for the rest of us" as yes it is very easy.
    But people came to believe Mac wasn't for "Power users". Quite the opposate. Macs strongest userbase is in the power user segment.
    Just as "Linux can't be user friendly" Mac "Can't be powerful". We have seen recently user friendly Linux distrobutions comming out. Simmilerly Mac has been a power tool sence day one and more so over time.

    To prove the point....
    I discovered my webcam dosn't work on IE...
    Well it works becouse I made a workaround but it works as well as the KDE browser.
    I use a perl script (I didn't write it) that lets Netscape load the new image as soon as it's uploaded. I didn't know it didn't work on IE at first. Later I read the source code. Whops...

    The workaround displays the image.. sans update...
    hit refresh...
  • How about this? Some e-commerce site decides to use some MS proprietry software. The locked out customers complain loudly. The site (if it was smart enough) decides that it can't ignore this market, and thus weans itself off the proprietry MS crap.

    So the solution is to complain loudly to the sites that use it. Tell them that their developers are lousy. Point them to other sites which do equally cool things using non-MS crap, and they will understand!

  • The real question, then, is did the tools serve some real purpose, or were they there just to obfuscate things, be a nuisance or have otherwise ulterior motives? If the former, fine, if the latter, it's a problem. I know which I suspect Microsoft of.

    Two examples spring to mind. I take the steering wheel off my 1967 Valiant VE using a specialist tool, consisting of a bar and two bolts which when screwed into the steering wheel center will prise it away from the column. It's homemade, out of necessity, but the sockets in the steering wheel it screws into indicate that that's the intended way of taking it off, and that Chrysler probably sold them once upon a time. That's fine because it's basically the only way to get the steering wheel off; I'd have no problem paying for one if I needed it and one was available.

    The other is those triangular and hex-star screws they use on Gameboys and heaps of other consumer electronics when they don't want you to get inside. It's merely obnoxious, because the screwdrivers are still available, just harder to get.

    I also think I remember seeing photocopier and other technicians having vast arrays of specialist bizarre looking tools to open and prise things open. Dunno if they had to pay for them or not, but still reminds me of the "car hood welded shut" analogy.
  • ... of browsers like Opera, a new version of which was released... yesterday. Download it now. You know it makes sense.

    It'll make sense when they lose the god-awful MDI design. Or at least allow me to tear off windows. I hate Excel for this, I hate Word for this, I hate Access for this, I hate mIRC for this and I hate my ICE software for this.

    Lose MDI. You know it makes sense.

  • by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:19AM (#934513)

    Really, this is not that difficult to combat, considering how good Mozilla really is -- and therefore Netscape 6 will be.

    Anyone who cares a whit about the issue: start designing your own sites now to use only standard technologies (XML/CSS/DOM) as far as Mozilla will let you. Mozilla itself has a few things that are non-standard -- don't be tempted!

    Worried that this will lock you out of MS's 86%? Never fear. Sniff the browser in your configuration file and return the exact same code, except with the tag stripped out, when IE-anything or Mozilla tag was new. Both people can still use your site without problems, of course.

    It sure beats maintaining two separate versions of your site -- which is what you'll have to do when AOL merges Gecko into their next major rev. The reason it's worth waiting for standards is because CSS, when properly used, is nice like that.

    This is my plan for the next version of my site.

  • by rmpotter ( 177221 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:19AM (#934515) Homepage

    "Together, the proprietary innovation and the purported faults in standards compliance mean that Web pages created to work for IE--widely considered to be the dominant browser--won't work with browsers from Netscape, Opera Software and other providers."

    Really? Seems to me that since IE 4, _most_ of the web has been equally accessible to Netscape and IE. Even the latest version of Opera works well with DHTML pages I've made. With 5.5, you would have to go out of your way to use the new Flash integration features so they would not work with Netscape. Some may use it in Intranet environments, some may continue to offer multiple views of their site. Some may decide that 86% of the potential audience is enough.

    No matter how you slice your GIFs, it seems to me that most of the extra work web developers have had to cope with since IE 4 is because of Netscape 4's proprietary almost-a-real-DOM.

    And after all that work, I wonder how many Netscape 4-compatible pages will break when Mozilla finally ships?

    As for CSS1 support: while MS is far from perfect, IE 5 is wayyyyy more stable then any version of Netscape I've ever seen. I keep downloading Mozilla builds. It's getting better, but, we have been waiting a looooooong time!

    Forgive me if I don't think of the W3C members as Olympian gods dispensing truth from the mountain-top. These people also have their own corporate, political and personal biases. Headbutting is what it is! So calm down! If MS follows through on their "software rental" plans, the entire Windows platform will probably self-destruct: MS Software Rental plans [cnet.com]

    Hey, what's that sound? 500-million CDs spinning up to install Linux! (they would have downloaded it but Mozilla kept crashing ;)

  • And considering that Microsoft makes $0.00 from their browser

    I'm not so sure about that. Now that they pretty much own the browser market they have a lot of leverage, which they are starting to use, and that leverage translates into $$$$.

    For instance, one of the best uses for Linux is to surf the web and do email etc. It's free, stable and your mom could use it once it's setup. But... does your mom want to surf the web with this old netscape browser that randomly dies and fails to render pages on all these neat web sites? No way...adios Linux and hello MS Windows for Mom! And it will just get worse from here my friend...this could kill Linux (on the desktop) more than anything and MS knows it.
  • by panopticon ( 147224 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:53AM (#934518)
    Hold on a sec. When AOL 6.0 is released, it won't include IE, it'll include Mozilla based. Assuming that most of their 23 million users will upgrade (who doesn't like shiny things?), it'll be a whole new situation. 80% will quickly drop to 40%. I'm sure when you install AOL 6.0 you won't even have the option of using IE, it'll just disable it. IE only specs will mean anti-AOL, and thus definitely anti-consumer.
  • The Internet Explorer vs Netscape issue is a good example of where we'd be in operating systems if MSFT wasn't dominant. I develop web pages, and the incompatibilities between browsers is what gives me the most headaches. And, I have to say, most of the genuine problems I have come from NS. I can have a page that conforms to standards and renders exquisitely in IE, and NS will turn it into pooch poop. If NS vanished from the face of the earth, I'd praise the day. I have no love for Gill Bates, but if MSFT wants to use its market share to carjack the standards, based on the superiority of their product it's ok with me.
  • Exactly. Same here. After being badly burned by their crap, I am never going to use MS for wordprocessing again.

    We should hold up LaTeX and others to demostrate the difference between well-engineered software, compared to the MS crap. That way the MS users can pressure MS to make a better product. IMHO, nobody deserves that kind of treatment by a software company, MS luser or not.

  • After all, a standard is what everyone uses. A standard is not something cast in stone that's handed down for everyone to follow. Well, it is, but it becomes irrelevant when the majority of users don't need it.

    It's a bit like Open [pick your standard] vs. Windows. Even if Sun, IBM, DEC, HP, etc. band together and their committees agree on an "open" standard, it doesn't really matter, because by that time everyone is using .EXE files, .DOC files, and so on. Windows is the standard on PC operating systems. If 90% of users use it, that's a standard. It doesn't really matter what the pedantic arguments are. you can split hairs all you want, but if you want to live in the real world, a standard is what everyone uses.

    real video is a standard. pdf is a standard. flash is a standard. mp3 is a standard. Maybe these aren't rubber stamped by standards committees, but they are standards, because they are what people use.

    Increasingly, w3c seems in danger of becoming another irrelevant body. If the majority of users end up using software that bypasses the W3C, then the W3c is a standard no more.

  • like webdesigners are the people who still try to support level 3 browsers, still use the font tag instead of CSS beacuse there is better browser support, and somtimes avoid frames beacuse of support.
    I think that as long as *someone* uses a non-IE browser, people will still stive for compatibility

    *Not a Sermon, Just a Thought
  • This, of course, shouldn't suprise anyone, and I'm not sure at what point it stops being news.

    Without federal intervention, Microsoft will surely stamp out all other software.

    If I need to use MSIE to view even as little as 20% of websites, chances are I'll use it, and forsake Linux as a result since much of my computing time is web browsing, and without a browser that can show me the sites I need to see, linux becomes much less useful for my home computing needs.

    I've already been forced to give up netscape completely on my windoze box because it crashes constantly, due to what I'm assuming is some unknown spyware which was installed without my consent. I hate M$ and MSIE, but not enough to cripple myself in a world controlled by them.


  • If you implement a web site which 85% of the population can access, the other 15% will simply not use your site. They will use some other site.

    Your sales (on a sales oriented web site) will only be 85% of what they what they would be if 100% of the population could access the site.

    Now, how many companies can afford to throw away 15% of sales just because a site designer is incompetent?

    BTW. I dispute the 85% figure. My stats are closer to 70/30.
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:26AM (#934545) Homepage
    I recently complained to a webmaster that the primary function of his site did not work on IE 5 for the Mac. He told me to buzz off, they only support the "dominant platform". I fear this will become a common attitude, write for the 80% using IE on Windows and screw everyone else.
  • Blockquoth the poster:
    I think they might even have gone to court about this recently... guess they didn't learn anything from it.
    Hmmm... When they break MS into OpCo and AppCo, who gets IE? From MS' arguments, I guess OpCo. But wait -- the browser is taking on some application roles, too, like calendaring. So shouldn't it be AppCo?

    This is why I hope the breakup goes through ... the logic puzzles alone will entertain for a thousand years.

  • by The Iconoclast ( 24795 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:58AM (#934548)
    The reason MSIE is the embedded browser in AOL (and Compuserve) is because AOL wanted to be included in the default Windows install (and on the Desktop) Therefore, M$ told AOL you will use MSIE for your browser or you will not be in Windows. Kind of a nasty trick, eh?

    A wealthy eccentric who marches to the beat of a different drum. But you may call me "Noodle Noggin."
  • I keep hearing more and more from web developers that Microsoft isn't supporting all of the standards and pushing forward with their own (proprietary, at least at the moment) technologies. But folks, you need to start to see the big picture.

    First, Microsoft owns the browser market. Owns it. 86% proves that. So they're taking the arrogant position of not working hard enough to implement the standards (although I hear the Mac version of IE does it stunningly well). But guess what, they don't HAVE to (as ugly as that is).

    But the point is, there's more to a browser than browsing web pages. In the next versions of Windows (yeah, it's not Linux/BSD/whatever; I hope you're still reading :-), the browser is going to be where you run *all* of your applications. ALL of them. No more Win32 APIs (in the client application, that is; you'll still need them to create Web Services), no fat installations, nothing. Just go to a URL ( anything you need will be set up for you) and voila, you're up and running. That's what part of the .NET strategy is about. MS is leveraging all of the existing code out there (thru XML-compliant SOAP calls) to push themselves towards the end game (where all applications run in the browser; namely their browser). Why do you all think you keep hearing about renting your applications thru ASPs? Because you'll access your applications through your web browser.

    That said, MS is innovating in ways that are currently irrelevant to the "web developer" (read: the guys who develop web SITES not web APPLICATIONS). They're bringing along their standards compliance at a slow pace so they CANNOT be accused of doing NOTHING, but (even I admit) they're support is coming along too slowly. Those "colored scroll bars"? Applications, not sites.

    In their grand scheme, the standards aren't what's critical to their future. It's the _applications_. Not some clunky little web site. Think "rich, immersive applications." Not anything like we have today and you'll begin to see what's going on in Redmond.

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:31AM (#934556) Homepage
    Browsers are just horrible. Why? No one implements the standards properly. And once a company manages to get a lead in their market share, they ignore the fact that their browsers are broken by design, and add features that the marketting department orders.

    The Day the Browser Died [alistapart.com] by Jeffery Zeldman illustrates quite nicely how this happened with Netscape v4, which fails to support CSS very well at all (IIRC, it turns CSS into some sort of Javascript style page stuff).

    People have never had much choice when it came to web browsers. In the early days, it was Netscape or Mosaic, and Netscape was the clear leader. Because of this, people didn't care that Netscape was horribly broken, and wrote HTML which was broken by design (such as elements without terminating semicolons). Then Netscape would release an updated version which fixed the behaviour, and a lot of the web would just "not work" ..

    Enter IE. IE came along as a half-baked licencing of the Spyglass Mosaic source. Think Mosaic v1, but in 1996 when it had to compete against Netscape v2. It didn't get any better until IE v4 in 1998. But IE 4 (and 5, and 5.5) also have gaping holes in their support for common, well known standards.

    So what's a web designer to do? Because the two main choices (ignore Opera, 99.99% of people will not use shareware when all other browsers are freeware) are both so poor, the web designer is stuck using the lowest common denominator standards, using horrible kludges to work around the broken feature sets of the browsers used to render their work. Worse, once one of the two browsers gains more than a certain percentage of market share, a lot of web designers will go ahead and write broken HTML using the features of the most common browser out of exasperation (not to mention all the "web programming" programs targetted at absolute newbies, such as Front Page, which produce highly non-portable HTML).

    Microsoft (and some other FUDsters that remain) like to talk about Linux and fragmentation of standards in the Unix camp, yet they go ahead and do EXACTLY the same thing in their own little places. The balkanization of the web is well on its way to happening, thanks to the standards-incompliant browsers out there.

    You think it's bad having to spend 799$ on MS Word to be able to read the macro viruses that most companies use for documentation systems? Wait until one company (in this case, Microsoft, but Netscape was just as bad when it had its large percentage of market share) has control of web standards. How much will a good browser which supports the latest MS-HTML feature cost in 2003?

    Dr. Jakob Nielsen [useit.com] did some research [useit.com] into browser usage patterns that could present a way to avoid the problems of incompatible HTML. It's simple: get a browser with standards support available before Jan. 2001. If you can get it into that window, people will start using your browser.

    Mozilla looks like it can make it, if they get some help from people in making sure that they have good standards compliance out of the gate. Right now, Mozilla has some notable problems with CSS 1 (such as conflicts between CSS margining, paragraph indentation, and HTML 4.0 tables) and other parts of its rendering engine interacting badly.

    Web designers want to use standards in their daily business. It lets them be free to write sites that work the best possible way. If you give them clients using standards compliance browsers, they will make standards compliant websites.

    If the free software programmers help get the gecko engine working properly, and provide a nice wrapper to it (such as the Galeon [sourceforge.net] Gnome wrapper for Gecko), people will switch to it. Provide stability, provide standards compliance, and give it away free. People will download it (especially since gecko+wrapper should be a lot smaller than Mozilla itself, which has so many other things people might not need, like YetAnotherMailClient). The only catch is that you also need to have a Windows version, or you can bank on MS being able to force people into using IE 6.0.

    We have a headstart on MS because Gecko is here today with the source open to people who can help fix it and get it out the door. Don't let this opprotunity go to waste. We can beat the marketters at their own game.

  • IE does deal with webpages better.. even look at netscapes tables, terrable!

    Actually, IMHO netscape handles tables better then IE. IE has a technique that displays as it renders while netscape renders everything then displays it. So it's a lot easier to catch html problems with netscape. So if you made a mistake in your html in netscape it won't display anything whereas IE will display crap. Making it a little easier for the developer (most of the time) because you may not know that you made a mistake in IE until something bad happens (like a form that didn't submit a variable etc.).

    Anyway, the reason netscape won't follow IE is because the ultimate goal with Mozilla was to create a 100% standards compliant web browser. MS is instead (as we all know) trying to set it's own standards. Something that the netscape generation dispises. The other problem with trying to "match" IE is that MS tends to "reserve the right" to their "innovations". In other words: you can use it but you can not implement it. It really is a monopolistic strategy.

    My $0.02

  • I have no problems with them "innovating" if they are building upon what is already there.

    That's what they did with Kerberos, isn't it? Taking what was there and adding to it? What what we around here refer to "embrace and extend"

    Also, if everyone only innovated based on what was already created, we wouldn't have made it as far as we have, society wise... Sometimes people need to take larger than baby steps to set us on a new course. Unfortunately, though, Microsofts steps lead only to more money for Microsoft and not a more altruistic cause.

    Unfortunatley, again, it seems the only real hope to stop this is for AOL to get around to integrating Mozilla with their client software rather than sticking with IE... At least that'll move the web back to a 50-50 split between to the two and site developers will stick to the lowest common denominator of the two browsers in order to reach the widest audience. WIth the web tilted at 85-15, sites don't stand to lose TOO many people by targetting one audience...

    The web doesn't reallyneed any more fragmentation.

    Unless everyone moves at the speed of the standards committee, that's what's bound to happen. Not that I'm endorsing Microsoft's actions, because Netscape did the same thing years ago: introducing new features and basically pushing the HTML standard as they saw it should go.
  • by Paul Johnson ( 33553 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:39AM (#934572) Homepage
    Well, MS have just hammered yet another nail into their own coffin with this sidegrade.

    Has BillG really forgotten that either the appeal court or the Supremes are going to be asked to judge his actions? That one of the main reasons for the original breakup order is that MS has shown a long-term incorrigiable pattern of behaviour? Doesn't he realise that more of the same is not going to help his case?


  • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason.nash@gmaiP ... minus physicist> on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:40AM (#934573)
    Look at Netscape release schedule. You can't expect everyone to sit around and wait on them. If MS uses "features" that aren't standard and people don't like them, don't use them. If everyone decides to use them then they become the new standard.
  • Why is it that slashdot can work on both Netscape and IE? Why is it that my online bank, Citi f/i, can work on both IE and Netscape?

    Are you in business to cater to your customer needs, or are you in it to play catchup with MS?

    Figure it out yourself. Software is flexible. It is the developers which are not.

  • Newsflash:

    "We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you news that Microsoft, in a surprise move, has flouted industry standards in the new version of the Internet Explorer browser. Analysis and commentary at six."

  • by grarg ( 94486 )

    I personally don't know what CSS is, but...


    CSS = Cascading Style Sheets; a way of defining the look of a HTML document either in the head or in a separate .css file. One file can be referred to by as many pages as you want which makes uniform formatting, especially for a big site, beautifully simple. Even leaving aside all the tricks you can do with them when you throw JavaScript into the equation they are VERY useful to the point of being indispensible.

    As long as there is more than one browser in the market there has to be a uniform standard and if one group is going to set that standard down it might as well be the W3C - impotent in the face of the MS capitalist pigs though they may be.

    No standards would mean that gradually the Web would begin to fragment into different areas, each viewable only by specific browsers. A standard set by one company means that all the other competition will be squeezed out; said company gains full control over the direction of the Web - and then they start charging for browsers, server-side technology and ultimately their own Web language.

    I have no desire to learn MSML which is why I'll be boycotting MSIE 5.5

  • "Together, the proprietary innovation and the purported faults in standards compliance mean that Web pages created to work for IE--widely considered to be the dominant browser--won't work with browsers from Netscape, Opera Software and other providers."

    Does that mean that those pages also won't work with the Macintosh version of Internet Explorer, frequently praised as being the most standards-compliant browser available?


  • by RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:41AM (#934590)
    We have a perfect right to blast Microsoft over this. They promised time and time again to comply to the standards and they haven't. They can't even claim it's not possible because IE5 for the Mac does comply. It's a fairly obvious case where because they no longer have to compete fairly on the Windows platform they are able to apply embrace and extend to lock in the monopoly.
  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:36AM (#934591)
    It's really a catch-22 here -- as a developer, I can't use something that isn't supported on all platforms I develop for...that means if IE and Netscape (current versions and 1 major version behind) don't support something, I can't fully use it. It's my job to make sure that the browsing experience is the same, regardless of whether you're using a PC or a Mac, running Win9x, WinNT, MacOS, *nix, or BeOS, etc... IE or Netscape or something else. (Although as long as it renders under "something else" it's generally OK - graphics heavy sites don't render well under Lynx - and we can't expect them to.)

    So, while the W3C would like us to all use CSS2 all the time - we can't. The browsing audience can't handle it yet, thanks to MS and Netscape/AOL.

    Now, there are some developers who will inevitably jump on the bandwagon and use all of IE's little tricks. We won't. Not because they're MS tricks, but because they won't work on all the browsers out there (IE: Netscape, Opera, etc...)

    All crap like this does is waste time. Had MS/Netscape spent their time working towards the common standards, we'd all win. Instead, each wants to "own the web" and they throw this proprietary crap in there -- which we can't use.

  • As a mater of fact I have bought wrenchs that only worked on Fords. And others that only worked on GM, and others... Which means I now own some tools that are useless, I don't own the car they work with, and the newer cars need a different tool.

    That doesn't mean I like it. I always waste a couple hours trying alternatives before I break down and spending $10-$50 on the right tool for the job.

  • by dingbat_hp ( 98241 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:42AM (#934598) Homepage

    I love IE. It's stable (usually), powerful, and is the only useful XML client out there. Where the features it provides are generally helpful and likely to be (or become) mainstream, then I'll happily use them. I write SMIL [w3.org] that only works on IE 5.5, because it's my only option for SMIL, and in my particular context that's enough reason to change browsers. As SMIL is standards-based, then I have no guilt about doing it (Mozilla can play catch up as soon as they feel like it).

    I'd love for there to be more good browsers. I'd love Mozilla to do XML (Yes, I know what it does, and that isn't useful enough). I'd love Amaya to be more friendly than a rottweiler with toothache. I'd like Opera to understand Unicode (big Doh! on that one, guys). These are business issues though, and as a web-geek, I'm not in a position to fix them. Hey, I'm just a red-shirt, and I know what happens when they go up against the Borg.

    OTOH, M$oft "innovations" are evil, not part of the standards process, and should be shunned by all right thinking web developers. If M$oft want to use them on their own site, then that's their privilege and their problem if it goes wrong. No-one else should touch them with the proverbial bargepole.

    PLEASE, browser makers - give us working, reliable CSS and a standard DOM before you fool around with anything else.

  • It has nothing to do with Netscape's release schedule. Microsoft sends representatives to the W3C. They agree with representatives of other companies on what standards to make. They write the standards. Everyone else goes home to work on their implementations, expecting the standard to arise in the browsers eventually. Microsoft releases something totally unrelated instead. Everyone who participated in the process got shafted and so did the people who have to create web pages that work with multiple user agents.
  • by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:37AM (#934603)
    I think this is a case of a double standard.

    Netscape did this quite a lot years ago: the introduction of cookies, numerous tags like and all the stuff.

    Nobody seemed to cry "you're not standards compliant" then; instead, they hailed Netscape for their "innovation" (now a tainted word after Microsoft abused it so.)

    The thing is, both companies have always shirked the standards bodies, if for no other reason than they are slow. The Web moves fast, especially web technology. In just the past year I've learned or been exposed to at least 7 new web-development technologies/frameworks. I can't think of another industry that even comes close in terms of speed.

    I believe it is wrong to shrug off the standards bodies until you have already implemeneted/forced your standard on the world. But we aren't going to change that corporate mindset (at least, not until we get rid of the single-vendor dominance of web browsers.)

    I don't support Microsoft's actions (in fact, I am ideologically opposed to using IE because I detest their behavior surrounding it so much) but I do think we should remember that Netscape did this too; they aren't the innocent here. And sadly enough, they will have to continue to do it in order to win market share back. A pure standards compliant browser just isn't enough to make it these days, I'm afraid.
  • First off, IE's standards support isn't nearly as bad as some other browsers we all use (*cough* Netscape *cough*). As far as supporting the DOM and various CSS attributes, IE does a pretty good job. I can write pages that render perfectly in both Mozilla and IE with very little hassle by abiding to standards. That same code won't even show up in Netscape, much less render properly.

    When Netscape had the browser market share, they did the exact same thing. Do we remember the tag? Do we remember the tag? Those were proprietary additions that took off and made pages completely unrenderable to browsers that didn't support them. IE's additions, on the other hand, are mainly aesthetic (e.g. alpha filters on CSS objects) or direct object tie-ins to the operating system. Face it, if you're writing web sites that strictly target one browser on one platform, you're not gonna give a damn about industry standards or what other people think.

    The fact is, MSIE doesn't make it any harder nor does it make it impossible to write compliant web pages. Personally, I'm happy that someone is pushing the stodgy W3C forward with ideas, cause without moves like that, we wouldn't have the graphic oriented web pages that we have today (I know, some of you think that's a bad thing).
  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:38AM (#934609) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:
    Nobody seemed to cry "you're not standards compliant" then; instead, they hailed Netscape for their "innovation" (now a tainted word after Microsoft abused it so.)
    Well, I (and I suspect a lot of others) dislike being called "nobody". Even back in the dim, dark days, people were upset with Netscape for forking HTML and making their own extensions. Sure, some of them were useful and a few have ended up in later versions of HTML. Others were stupid, unusuable, or crash-prone. The world is not a better place for the HTML schism.

    My only consolation is picturing the guys in Redmond saying, "Hey, we own the browser market. How could anyone overcome our 86% market share?" and then Jacob Marley rattles his chains and moans, "It happened to Netscape..."

  • NOTE: This is not flame bait

    It's funny to watch everybody blast IE for incompatabilities with standards when Netscape is the biggest offender of them all.. Anybody every try to write cross-platform browser DHTML before? That's when you see how in a rush to beat Microsoft to the first 4.0 browser (Whatever the hell that is worth), Netscape tried to create their own DOM and not wait for the w3c's specifications to be ironed out. What happened from this? Netscape has THE WORST AND MOST INCOMPATIBLE DOM!!! I mean, jesus christ, you SUBMIT BUTTONS AND HYPERLINKS don't work in relatively or absoulutely positioned div elements! How could you not see that being a problem?

    This is where it's funny though -- after 10 more releases, did netscape fix this horrible DOM? Nope.. But they gave you a real cool shopping button, AOL AIM, What's related, etc, etc..

    Untill someone creates a better browser than IE, that's what I'm using.

  • by jeroenb ( 125404 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:44AM (#934620) Homepage
    What's a standard? A HTML4 feature not supported by IE5, so less than 20% of all people browsing the web have a chance at viewing it correctly or an MS-only feature that can be viewed by over 85% of everybody surfing on the web?

    It sucks, but I guess the only way to combat this is to not use those features, but then again - it won't do your company any good not to exploit features that by far the majority would be capable of using and that would enhance your site. So all we can do is hope that a good competitor emerges that can take some of that marketshare back from MS, making their proprietary features less widespread (and with that less of a standard.)

  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:44AM (#934622)
    This can only put the Mozilla guys under more pressure. The longer they take to release their browser, the more people will develop their pages for IE. It will happen because people don't have inifinte patience. Mozilla may be standards compliant, but if by the time its released those standards don't mean anything it doesn't help much. If I could help them I would but it's way out of my league unfortunately. I wish them luck, and hope they release it before its too late.
  • by krystal_blade ( 188089 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:05AM (#934623)
    Microsoft also countered the W3C, as it has in the past, by saying that it innovates by shipping products first and works to define standards that will be established later.

    THAT is a most excellent idea!!! Let us just see what the headlines would look like if other people did the same thing...

    The Army today finally released it's 2674 page causualty list from it's recent exercise training in South Carolina. Unfortunately for the Army, the think tank "innovating" new techniques forgot about the importance of digging in your troops AFTER advancing friendly tanks have stopped. They also failed to recognize the elusive threat of sending Airborne troops up without parachutes.

    And here's another one from another Corporation

    GM today announced the recall of over 36,000 light trucks that were built and sold as 2001 models, before the DOT established it's safety standards. GM's stock plummeted today as well, as a class action lawsuit against the company was filed in a circuit court. Seeing as how many of the deaths in GM light trucks were caused by either hypothermia, due to a lack of windows, or caused by carbon monoxide emissions in the cab of the truck. The exhaust was routed through the cab through a new GM innovation called exhaust heating. The lawsuit is expected to cripple GM.

    And here's one from a utility company...

    The entire National Power grid was taken down today unexpectedly as both the Detroit Edison, and Consumers Power switched over to a 500 hertz, 260 volt power system, innovated last week by the US Government. Although the system wasn't due to come online until 2015, Both Detroit Edison, and Consumers Power thought to get a jump on the market by converting their system early. Trillions of dollars are thought to be lost, and it is not known how long our batteries will....

    krystal_blade, shooting first, then asking what sized bullet he should have used for that gun later.

  • The problem is that, as I'm sure Microsoft intends, people not using IE will be increasingly isolated and find more and more web pages inaccessible to them, as web sites use IE-specific features. Try visiting the Disney Blast site with Netscape and see what happens. MS has in the past done things to encourage people to use IE-only features in their web pages, and I'm sure they'll continue to do so. This is "embrace and extend" once again.
  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:44AM (#934629)

    HTML 3.2 is to blame. Most of the deprecated tags date from that version. You know who had the biggest say in 3.2? The browser vendors trying to push their crap "innovations" on us.

    Once the non-corporate members of W3C took the reins back, HTML came back under control in version 4.

    Don't blame W3C. Blame Netscape and Micros~1.

  • Trial? That was a sham.
    So they were guilty and now they are going to get nailed....

    What was their punishment? Break up into two (maybe three) companies that each will have a monopoly in their field. So much for "the worst offender since Standard Oil". Judge Jackson/Dept of inJustice are all a bunch of wankers with no guts.

    As much as I hate M$ products, I've started buying their best product (their stock) again since they aren't going to be hurting anymore.
  • The vast majority of web "designers" are bound by what their "clients" want.

    Fact: Most "clients" know jack shyt about design.

    Fact: Most "clients" want "gee-whiz-did-that-move?" features that most "designers" would NEVER use.

    Fact: More than one outstanding design has been replaced with a crappy one because a "client" thought they knew more than the "designer"

    Don't blame the "designers" entirely - they have their hands tied by the "client" 99% of the time.
  • Actually I remember a massive amount of people complaining about how Netscape was destroying the web with it's proprietary changes. 'NetRape' was a fairly common moniker in the circle of people who were strong standards advocates.

    Unfortunately Microsoft is in a much better position of power than Netscape ever could be. They have millions and millions of users who don't know what they're doing, and don't realize that their calendar is only visible with IE and why that's not a good thing.

    Sometimes I wonder when Bill Gates will finally say 'okay, now I've shown those kids who used to beat me up that I'm better than them.'
  • Firstly, I thing MS have a lot more people working on IE alone than there are on Mozilla. The problem is the Mozilla folk are also trying to create XPToolkit, XPCOM and a few other things which make Mozilla more than a browser. Hell, somebody even made a Mozilla-based IRC client.

    Now, you really don't seem to understand Mozilla's history or position do you? Come on, admit it. I tell you what, I'll explained what happened:

    1) Netscape began work on Netscape 5 around mid 1997 IIRC
    2) Netscape release what they had done so far as Mozilla.
    3) In October 1998, after more than a year of developing their version 5.0 product, they scrap the old code and start from scratch using NGLayout (Gecko). This is the real killer, along with the development effort that went into Netscape 4.5.
    4) After a lot of discussion, the Mozilla developers decided that to remain portable, they'd have to reinvent the wheel in the form of XPToolkit and XPCOM and XPFE
    5) After what is now around 1 and a half years of development *from scratch*, Mozilla is finally maturing into a usable product.
    6) There will be a Netscape 6PR2 and probably PR3 before Netscape 6 final. After Netscape 6 final, Mozilla 1.0 will be released, and will not have the same feature set of Netscape 6.
  • Nobody seemed to cry "you're not standards compliant" then; instead, they hailed Netscape for their "innovation" (now a tainted word after Microsoft abused it so.)

    Not everybody. There just weren't nearly as many somebodies on the net back then. I distinctly remember typing in a long rant about <CENTER> on usenet shortly after Netscape 0.9 was released.

    And of course people are still making fun of <BLINK>; that started on the day the new browser hit the net.

  • And considering that Microsoft makes $0.00 from their browser, I'm suprised they haven't open sourced it (under a sun-like restrictive license) just to jump on the bandwagon and try to appease the US Gov.

  • As every slashdot reader knows, everything M$ develops is commercial in the first place and according to standards in the second.

    Why are we still bothering with IE while they will fail sooner or later? There is not such thing as stopping a big company in making their own standards.

    They will step themselves on the tail as soon as they realise that the road they've laid themselves is not accessible by other cars.

    I wonder how much of these new features are to be seen in their website [t.type.it]. Just as much i wonder how long this road is.

    I've always thought that distribution of information is the most important thing on the Internet, of 2nd demand is frames, stylesheets and whatever the big companies invented for us.

  • MS is so confident in their effective monopoly in the browser market that their efforts to leverage this monopoly is only going to increase. Here's the scary part: what happens when, slowly but surely, they begin to "demonstrate" how much superior their server software is through secret modifications to IE.

    Imagine this: IE 6.0 with a 90% market share is coded to include a hidden API that allows MS server software to identify itself. Any server that does not identify itself has a few milliseconds of latency added to each packet. In subsequent pseudo real world tests, MS server software proves to be by far the fastest.

    This isn't as inconceivable as some might think. Remember how early versions of Windows could identify the DOS version it was running on (MS-DOS vs DR-DOS) and give the user a false warning that any DOS other than MS-DOS would cause problems.

  • The statements by the Web Standards Project (WaSP) on the 10th of April were about the IE 5.5 preview release, not the final release.

    At the time of the 4/10 statements, the WaSP asked Microsoft to complete their implementation of several standards including CSS1. Microsoft has claimed to support CSS1 in IE5.5, but the WaSP has evidently found the support to be incomplete.

    Personally, it frustrates me that Big Bad Billy has decided to fracture the web space even more with this version of IE. As a web developer I can appreciate the new toys that were added to IE, but I also despise how IE won't render normal HTML the same way that every other browser will.
  • by jackmama ( 34455 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:47AM (#934656)
    Actually, MS can introduce all the tags they want, and it's up to web developers to NOT USE THEM. If these new tags become heavily utilized on the web, then we have web designers to blame, and not Microsoft. Further, it would actually show that there's a demand for that functionality, and that W3C is moving too slow to be useful.

    Standards are good when they help people to accomplish their tasks. If the standards body can't provide workable standards is a reasonable timeframe, then it's difficult to blame Microsoft of Netscape for introducing them on their own.

    I have no love for Microsoft or IE, but I really don't see this as being an issue of anti-competitiveness.

  • IE has a technique that displays as it renders while netscape renders everything then displays it. So it's a lot easier to catch html problems with netscape.

    Browsers are for users, not for developers. The fact that Netscape has to render the whole thing before displaying is a misfeature. Some sites structure themselves as huge tables and I'd much rather see the top of the table immediately then sit and wait until Netscape gets to the bottom, renders it all, and only then will show me something.

    Something that the netscape generation dispises.

    Netscape generation?? Netscape may have been the first decent browser, but that earns it a place in history books and nothing else. The current Netscape loses to IE very badly.

  • PLEASE, browser makers - give us working, reliable CSS and a standard DOM before you fool around with anything else.


    If you have those things in place, you hardly need all the extra fancy crap -- you can probably accomplish it with smart application of DOM code.

    In fact, if you were being hard core, you could probably drop browser CSS support and implement a working CSS parser with DOM and enough code. :)

  • I was doing some research on natural language recognition for a course and I turned up a few hits from M$'s personna project. The funny part is that going to microsofts reseach department homepage crashed netscape every time. I know they did it on purpose... I finally had to use lynx to get the document I wanted.
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:13AM (#934667)
    Exactly. For example, slashdot itself is an extremely well-designed web forum. Whenever I see a badly done forum, I simply point them to slashdot. This does two things - it shows people that it is possible to do many things without those .asp stuff. Next it show them who are the reallly savvy people out there. Even if they are devout MS devotees, they ask MS for those things that hey cannot do. At least MS would more likely listen to these guys, compared Joe Unix which just surfed to the site and complained.
  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @05:58AM (#934679)
    Everybody uses M$ Word because they don't have a choice.

    As a business you can't say "You can't send those Word documents to me - I can't read them" - you HAVE to be able to read them. Unfortunate, but that's the reality.

    Now, you have 2 choices here - use a competing product (StarOffice, WordPerfect, AbiWord, etc...) that has SOME support for Word files - but won't read them perfectly, or give in to the peer pressure (which is really what it is) and use Word.

    From a corporate standpoint, using Word is the optimal choice here. Corporations aren't moral entities. They don't look at what the company does, or how it treats it's customers. They look at what everyone else uses, and go with the herd mentality.

    Due to this, and the fact that so many places "standardized" on Word, everyone else has to, lest they be incompatible with their peers. In business, this is a life or death thing (or at least it is perceived to be.)

    So there really is NO choice for most companies.

    This is the world M$ wants. It's the world they've gotten. Unfortunately, it's not going to change anytime soon - splitting Office from MS/OS, as Judge J is proposing, isn't going to do a damn thing about this. The only thing I could think of that WOULD help would be forcing them to open their file formats for other companies to become compatible -- this of course will never happen.


    - Bush will (unfortunately) get the presidency

    - Due to pressure from Bush (direct or indirect through appointments to various positions) M$ will get off easy, with little more than a little wrist slapping

    - Nothing will change with regard to M$'s business practices or it's strangle hold on the business world

    - Linux will gain popularity amongst people who disagree with M$, but their corporate bosses will tow the M$ line because they have to.

    Of couse, I could be talking out my @$$ ;P
  • by tachyon ( 5311 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:50AM (#934720) Homepage
    You seem to be missing the point. It is not whether M$ should wait for Netscape, nor that Netscape is a standard itself, it is not. It is the fact that M$ is ignoring industry standards while adding proprietary "features"
  • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:53AM (#934747) Homepage Journal

    I don't know if there's much anyone can really do about how Microsoft designs their browser except let the justice system do whatever it does.

    On the other hand though, what happens if people go after the businesses who make everything Microsoft only? Corporations are Microsoft's main customer base after all, and personally I see them as (stereotypically) at least as dumb and irritating as Microsoft itself in this area.

    Unlike internally used applications, websites are where businesses have to interact externally with their customers, so the choice of how they do it should be an important decision for most of them. What sort of impact does it have if and when businesses get flame mail about their propriety-based websites?

    Are there any IT people out there who can comment on this? Maybe getting enough negative (but constructive) correspondence could help convince some management people that cross-platform standards design is a good thing - irrespective of Microsoft's market share.

    Call me crazy but I trust W3 [w3.org] standards development more than Microsoft standards development, and the last thing I'd want to see right now is Mozilla to have to implement a "Microsoft mode", because then there would be no going back.

  • by King Babar ( 19862 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @06:18AM (#934748) Homepage
    I'm currently doing a stage in the french arm of w3c. CSS1 is not that hard to implement... it's ridiculous that MS, which has so much more resources that the w3c does, is unable to get a working version of CSS1 out. And CSS2... oh boy.

    OK, I think I have to take some exception with the statement that CSS1 is "not that hard to implement". When you look at the full scope of the standard, and at some of the stuff in the W3C's own CSS1 Test Suite, [w3.org] I think it's clear there is some very tricky stuff in here, especially if you want to render things as quickly as possible. But, yes, I agree that everybody has had enough time to get this much right by now.

    Then the big problem is that there are some notable holes in CSS1 that have been attempted to be filled in CSS2, but then now there's also CSS3 coming down the pike...and it's not the case that stuff in CSS2 and CSS3 is very advanced or special interest stuff. I'm afraid that I must say, however much I might like the W3C, that they have not always done a great job of providing standards that "step up" nicely.

    But there is a bright side; I think the idea of style sheets has now, finally, really begun to take hold to the point where everybody will have to support at least the most popular subset of CSS1 and CSS2 in order to be taken seriously. I mean it; if you look at the W3C's CSS web page in IE 5 for the Mac, (and then with Netscape Navigator) you'll immediately understand what I mean here.

    Furthermore, I would make sure that the extensions can easily be transformed to existing tags using XSLT. XSLT (frequently referred to as XSL) is a language that essentially allows one XML document to be transformed into another. Simplistically put, you make you're own markup (extensions) and "map" them onto different xml elements (tags).

    Unfortunately, this is another side of the Catch 22 that is W3C standards compliance. The XML people on W3C panels are wildly enthusiastic about XSL, which, however, was so ungainly a project, and took so long to get anywhere that they had to split it up into pieces. There is XSLT, as you point out, and there's the part of XSL that actually styles the text into formatting objects. Now, the problem is that while everybody has been going gaga over XSLT, whose widespread use is still well into the future use of CSS via the DOM has slid into a weird twilight zone, even though the CSS/DOM approach actually handles many (if not all) of the problems that XSL* will handle. Meanwhile, of course, Microsoft does have an almost-compliant XSLT to go with their almost-compliant XML parser, and...I think you see where this is going.

    For today's web pages, insist on standards-following CSS/DOM (even with your XML), because that is now finally available right now. Yes, XSL* will be cool, whenever it gets here. But don't hold your breath.

  • by JatTDB ( 29747 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:56AM (#934781)
    If only companies actually used new features to make their sites better. As things stand currently, this is extremely rare. Too many sites these days make you wander through 300 clicks of gee-whiz-wowie-did-that-just-move bullshit in order to get through to any content whatsoever. The vast majority of web "designers" should be shot.

  • As IE becomes more dominate and web developers begin to more and more develop for IE only (especially for intranets where one can dictate the use of a browsers), MS will undoubtable tie the enhanced features to IIS. I think when that happens Apache market share will drop like a rock. This is the scenerio that concerns me and it is the obvious busness plan.

    But what to do about it ? But MS stock ? Cheer Mozilla ?

  • by Spudley ( 171066 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:03AM (#934845) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's a problem for Microsoft (or anyone else) to release software which has new features and can do new things. This isn't the issue. I mean, we all want innovation, right? The issue is that they are creating these innovations at the expense of existing standards.

    The problem here is that crucial phrase: sites designed for Explorer will be unviewable in other browsers.
    A good site designer will ensure that any newer features he incorporates into his site have a fall-back alternative for older browsers to use. This applies from <NOSCRIPT> tags, right down to simply using ALT text in your images.
    The only way Microsoft can really cause a problem in this regard is to make it impossible (or difficult) to offer a fall-back option.

    The real problem is all the lazy site designers out there who simply don't bother to code fall-backs, or maybe don't even realise that they should be coding them. The more popular "site design" tools are also to blame for not making it clear, and those of us who use 'other' browsers are also to blame for not complaining enough when we come across a site which does this (not buying from them simply isn't good enough - they won't even notice).

    Having said all that, I do believe that Microsoft could and should have submitted their enhancements to the standards authority. I mean, come on MS - how many times to you have to shoot yourself in same foot before it hurts??
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:03AM (#934849)
    Why couldn't the W3C act more like Sun instead of like the UN?

    I'd love it if they had some actual *teeth*, and control over the market. Even if they had to rigidly define both the standards (HTML, XML, different versions, etc.) and maybe even some browser behavior, I'd love it if they could sue Microsoft for claiming that IE5 was a compliant web browser instead of sitting idly by and letting them uglify the web.

    I mean, how can you claim that your browser supports CSS when you can't pass the tests for it? That's exactly like claiming that "Microsoft Java" is Java. How can you claim that your products generate HTML when in actuality they use Windows-only, Microsoft-only character sets, and often can't display a quote to save their lives in any sort of cross-platform manner?

    Standards are good, and I wish that companies would stick to them. Not break them; certainly not patent them. They can be involved in the standards process, but if they add anything non-compliant, there should be an option to turn that *off*, like -ansi mode on a good C compiler; and there should be rigorous compliance tests.

    Of course, I also wish I were rich, and we had world peace, but...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:03AM (#934850)
    I see, and nowhere in that process is peer review or robustness evaluation right?

    Look: standards come in two flavors: de jure standards and de facto standards. De facto standards are established by markets. While ideally, this means that customers flocked to this standard becuase of the superiority of the code, MS has demostrated time and time again that it is their market and anticompetitive behaviour that establishes this de facto standards. This means that engineering specifications are ignored.

    The famed stupidity of the .doc format is exactly like that: it contains gotchas like a history, where people can reverse changes to the a document to see the changes made, the formatting specifications are nebulous enough that formats on one computer would differ in others.

    De jure standards are better in this regard, because by submitting it to s standards review process, peer review ensures that the worst engineering aspects are thrown out, and a good compromise between competing goals can be ironed out openly. As an example of this, notice how MS word is totally unsuited for physics and mathematical publishing. Do you think MS deliberately ignored this market? Or do you think it is a result of them catering to their business clientele, and making them blind towards other perfectly good uses of their general purpose wordprocessor?

    Speed of software development is never itself the issue. Compare the two branches of the Linux kernel. One caters to those who need stability, and the speed of upgrades is thus slower. The other is very fast, but make break between releases. Different styles to meet different demands - that is what software should be. And quite a few general users are starting to demand better engineered products - something which nobody really cared about before.

  • by 11223 ( 201561 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:04AM (#934855)
    Hasn't anyone else figured out really why Microsoft keeps extending IE? It's because they need more features in it for it to do what they're trying to do with it - make it the be-all and end-all application deployment and integration widget. Notice how IE is integrated into Office and Visual Studio, not just Windows - Microsoft made a bad decision by choosing to integrate IE (they know it wasn't right for the task, but they had to do it to force Netscape out of the market) and now has to keep extending IE for it to be useful as an integrated product.
  • by cowboy junkie ( 35926 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @04:05AM (#934859) Homepage
    What's truly sad here is that MS is completely capable of creating a standards-compatible browser - their Mac group demonstrated it with IE 5 for the Mac. Instead, they choose to perpetuate the browser hell that web developers have had to live with for years because that validates their whole business model.

    Microsoft's whole spin is that their products are better because of how easily they interoperate, and adhering to standards would only make it easier for competitors to offer this feature.

    Until Mozilla, Netscape was no better, though, and I'm sure they wouldn't have embraced standards and open source had they not been driven to it by MS's monopoly.
  • by Life Blood ( 100124 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @08:28AM (#934874) Homepage

    Alright my big question is this: How is this different from what Mozilla is doing?

    Microsoft is turning IE into a programming platform which is (unfortunately) proprietary. The Mozilla Group is turning their browser in a similar programming platform and they announced that they were doing it months ago. I find it interesting that when Mozilla says this the reaction on Slashdot is "great what a wonderful ambitious idea." When Microsoft does it, the reaction is "Its a monopoly. This is horrible."

    The only difference I can see between the two of these is that mozilla is using open specs to do what they want. They basically have to since they are Open Source. Microsoft used Closed Source development because they always do.

    Just something to think about...

Put no trust in cryptic comments.