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Mozilla The Internet Internet Explorer Microsoft

MSN's Slate Recommends Firefox over IE 493

brightertimes writes "That's right folks, Slate (Microsoft's on-line magazine) recently printed an article enitled "Are the Browser Wars Back? How Mozilla's Firefox trumps Internet Explorer.""
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MSN's Slate Recommends Firefox over IE

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  • by titaniam ( 635291 ) * <slashdot@drpa.us> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:39AM (#9613272) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft released a security advisory that recommends temporarilly installing and using Linux as the simplest way to prevent the latest nasty internet worm. The windowsupdate.com website now redirects to debian.org, a sure sign that the two-year-long "Security Initiative" at Microsoft is finally being taken seriously. Company insiders say a patch will likely be out "in a few weeks tops" so that customers will be able to return to using Microsofts' superior product. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the fact that you will be able to seamlessly continue your work using OpenOffice, Firefox and WINE is proof of the company's committment to standards conformance and interopability.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And now the weather.

      Snowday in Hell!
    • IE sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by essreenim ( 647659 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:52AM (#9613390)
      I want to iterate the above..
      If you read the article (wolf in sheeps clothing) it knocks Firefox because it has fewer users and therefore hacks for IE are far more lucrative than for Firefox - True.
      Does this mean there are as many potential hacks for Firefoxs - No, False, in my opinion. Why?
      Because the types of hacks found in Ie are fundamental mistakes in design that would be universal to ANY browser if they were on the same par. They are not. These fundamental mistakes have not been made by the othere -especially the OSS browsers. This is because, as I have always said - OSS software is open to the world and gets more scrutiny. Major problems a re found earlier.
      However, the makers of Firefox should not rest on their laurels...

      • Re:IE sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:11PM (#9613549)
        I don't think that being closed source is the sole reason why IE is insecure, there are relatively secure closed source browsers(Safari being one), I think that IE's main problem is that Microsoft never showed any interest in making it a mature browser. It is a product of the browser wars of the 90s, where MS tried to get as many features as possible into the browser, security be damned(and others participated in this mentality too during that time). The problem is, after Microsoft won the battle(in terms of install base), they pretty much lost all interest in keeping IE up to date, as there have been almost no new features introduced into IE for a long, long while. Meanwhile, other browsers fixed their problems and moved on. This is what we have today.
        I think that products can be secure without being open-source. Peer review is great, but let's not forget that Microsoft has some brilliant minds working for it, the problem is that MS management decides that they want to add some type of random, pointless feature and assigns these people to do it, and do it FAST, instead of allowing them to work on increasing security, maturing the browser etc.
        Probably the feature of FOSS that makes it more secure is that it removes all PHBs(Pointy haired bosses for those who aren't dilbert fans)
        • Re:IE sucks (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bertie ( 87778 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:55PM (#9613937)
          Erm, Safari's based on the same open-source KHTML engine as Konqueror, is it not?
        • Re:IE sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nmos ( 25822 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:00PM (#9613989)
          The problem is, after Microsoft won the battle(in terms of install base), they pretty much lost all interest in keeping IE up to date, as there have been almost no new features introduced into IE for a long, long while.

          I don't think so. Even their newer products demonstrate that MS views security as something to be tacked on later rather than something to be designed in from the start. Right now if MS had the choice to include some cool new feature that they KNEW would get broken and damage their customers later they would do it in a heartbeat. Just look at Passport, even if they had the best security in the world it'd still get broken eventually simply because it's such a huge target. MS must know it's goint to happen and yet they keep encouraging people to dump their personal information into it. They just don't care.
          • Re:IE sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @03:46PM (#9615298)
            Ah, but they DO CARE. It's all about selling another version. One better than the last. After all, isn't THAT their one consistant pitch, "It's better or more secure, or more feature rich, or more X than the previous version"?

            They design their OS so well, they can't( won't really ) add USB support to it. Thinking Windows 95 and Windows NT here.

            If you remember ANYTHING about Microsoft, remember that they are a marketing company first. The black magic they deliver is secondary and only important to the fact that it solves SOME of the customers needs. Now this isn't a bad thing if your only interest is $$$$. But, if you are a company or person attempting to use Microsoft products to solve a problem or simplify your live, it won't. It'll just change your current problem domain for the time being and you'll be back with bills in hand to get out of another mess they led you into( or you followed them into.. ;-)

            Microsofts security game is just that, their game and only yours when you follow them. I really think that's why GNU/Linux is really picking up steam now. Companies are starting to figure out that they have no control on the Microsoft threadmill. GNU/Linux gives them some control back. But, with some different issues though still without the lack of control Microsoft solutions/problems bring with it. IMHO.

            LoB
        • by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:59PM (#9614467) Homepage
          The reason IE is so insecure is the fact that Microsoft was levraging it's monopoly. IE, is so inscure because of the way Microsoft leveraged their monopoly to try an take over the internet. The PC industry was growing fast enough, that if only some users of Netscape switched, AND all new PC's were sold with IE on them, they would be able to win the browser war. That was a given for Microsoft. They would win. So the question was, what to do with the win? Perpetuate the monopoly and hijack the internet. ActiveX will only run on windows. Let's make a world where all websites that matter, use ActiveX. Let's break standards so that websites that work in IE, won't work well in other browsers. We have enough programmers, that we cna hijack the standards and everone else will play catchup. So by adding ActiveX, making the user experience easy and good looking, with security as a side note, Mircosoft created IE, which by the way had to be intergrated into the OS as a pretence so that the Department of Justice could not ask them to remove it for a default windows install. The browser is really a few dll's that anyone can use to manipulate html. So it's strenghts are your strenghts, and it's weaknesses are your weaknesses. The file explorer, Internet Explorer, Outlook Epxress, are all built on an intregrated together via these DLL's. You can use a secuirty weakness in any one component aganist the others. Time has proven that ActiveX and breaking web standards was a bad idea that is only now starting not to pay off for Microsoft.
          • by essreenim ( 647659 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:37PM (#9614702)
            Thats fair enough but its beside the point.
            Konquerer, Opera, Firebird (now Firefox), Mozilla, and many other Mozilla based browsers suffer the burden you speak of yet really are better than IE. All I was trying to say was that the website link referred to in the master blog is deceptive. It tries to make you 'click here to see how Firefox is better than IE' and actually turns out to be a refute of IE's security problem on the basis that hacking IE is a more lucrative business. I was merely trying point this out. I do all this just to try and make people aware of the shortcommings of IE. We are on the same side here. You may remember the laughable security bug a few months back where web hosts could use a simple button to redirect clients a bogie site masquerading as a legitimate one. This was the begininning of the end for me. I demonstratedthis to our Admin using a little php server in work. I showed how with one click it could be possible to gather credit cards with the bug. But more than that I was surprised that such a fundamental bud existed, and is no doubt already responsible for mass credit card fraud.. I really dont know how Ms are getting away with this. Almost Everyone (all though it is changing slowly) still uses IE. We use it in work, against my wishes...

            I guess thats where your ActiveX controls comes in. I actually got forced to use Active X control today too, as it was required to participate in closed beta testing..ActiveX has its uses, but it could EASILY be substituted with something better...

            • ActiveX (Score:5, Funny)

              by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @03:23PM (#9615059) Homepage
              Microsoft said from the start that ActiveX was secure. It took 8 years for the first big hole to come and bite them in the butt. Microsoft has an ActiveX control that turns out to have a security exploit in it. They have released an updated control that has been patched. The problem is, if you have "Always Trust Microsoft" checked, a webiste can force you to download the old, insecure ActiveX control, and then take advantage of the exploit. Microsoft's solution, never check "Always Trust MicroSoft". So my gut instinct was correct 8 years ago......
        • Re:IE sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <jeffw AT chebucto DOT ns DOT ca> on Monday July 05, 2004 @04:49PM (#9615788) Homepage
          The problem is the level of maturity of MS programmers. (both inside MS, and app programers) The assumption is that potential attackers are mearly curious or otherwise easily thwarted. You only need to keep honest people out because everyone is honest.

          To be fair, UNIX, and the rest of the Internet world, also went through this phase. SMTP being the prime example (still unsolved. Grr..). Everyone online are friends, so you only need enough security to keep out curious friends. The Morris Worm was the kick in the balls to get people thinking about security. The assumption changed from "everyone is friends who play nice" to "attacks will happen by determened (and smart) people." The "bug of the month club" that Sendmail admins were members of is quite similar to todays with MS.

          This is no excuse for Microsoft programmers, or 3rd party app for Windows programmers. The evolution of internet security is well documented. And even if no MS programmer ever was at a university in around 1985-1995 durring this transition on the Internet (computer nerds at a Uni assumably having (some, limited) 'net access) there is enough foklore floating around that they should know better.

          So what are they to do? Well, taking Sendmail as an example, many users gave up and wrote better mailers. And the Sendmail folks did fix many of its problems. Writing a mailer from scratch was probabaly less effort then "fixing" Sendmail, esp given the stupid design of Sendmail. (compared to modern mailer designs, anyway). I dont realy know enough about the internals of Windows (NT), but I do know that it was desigined by more-or-less the same team as that that desigined VMS. VMS is paticularly anal about security. So lets say that WNT is at its core, "secure". It is all the user level OS apps, add on packages, and 3rd party packages that suck. So it should be, line for line, easier to "fix" the windows problems then it was to "fix" Sendmail. (Because at its core Windows should be OK).

    • Laugh it Up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mfh ( 56 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:56AM (#9613436) Homepage Journal
      You're laughing, but someone at Slate is going to lose their job over this article. It's reminiscent of nothing in my short term memory, related to Microsoft.
      • Re:Laugh it Up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:17PM (#9613579) Journal
        You're laughing, but someone at Slate is going to lose their job over this article. It's reminiscent of nothing in my short term memory, related to Microsoft.

        You are probably right. I base this on the fact that Microsoft would look bad if they pushed this guy (Paul Boutin) to be fired, and somehow they will manage to not only look bad, but release 2 conflicting press releases regarding this, making themselves looking worse. Well, if history is any indicator, anyway.
      • by Mad Bad Rabbit ( 539142 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:21PM (#9613609)
        It's not like IE is a profit-center for Microsoft anyway;
        they make all their money from Office and the O/S itself.
        What's to stop them from scrapping IE6, and replacing it
        with a Firefox derivative labelled "IE7" ?

        (no doubt accompanied with lots of unconvincing spin
        about how they're cool now with open-sizzource, 'yo)
        • by Walkiry ( 698192 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:31PM (#9613706) Homepage
          >What's to stop them from scrapping IE6, and replacing it
          >with a Firefox derivative labelled "IE7" ?

          The fact that they spent three years integrating anything from "explorer.exe" to the kernel with IE?
          • Big deal. This is easy to get around. First, there has been a mozilla-embed project for just about forever on the mozilla timescale and I've used it to patch applications that open IE inside themselves to open Mozilla instead. It works great. Microsoft could split the two parts of IE out into separate functions, as they are essentially already split in every way but packaging, and when you ran iexplore it would pull up firefox. I'm not saying they're going to, but it would be trivial. They would have to do a tiny bit more work to make explorer.exe flop back and forth between list boxes and firefox, but really on the scale of what Microsoft did in the last week or two, and this project, this project would be easier.

            There are no technical reasons, nor even financial ones (I.E. loss of development costs spent on IE) but only political ones (they would look like the horses' asses we all know they are.)

          • by Erik Hensema ( 12898 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:11PM (#9614534) Homepage
            The fact that they spent three years integrating anything from "explorer.exe" to the kernel with IE?

            It's not intergrated with the kernel. It's intergrated with the OS. MSIE is basically a set of libraries used by lots of applications, including msie.exe-the-browser.

            You can compare msie intergration into the Windows OS with khtml intergration into KDE. You simply cannot rip khtml out of KDE without breaking a bunch of (critical) applications. Same goes with MSIE.

        • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:36PM (#9613749)
          But Microsoft has stopped developing IE on non-Windows platforms, and has also stopped developing new versions for its existing operating systems. The only way to get IE7 will be to buy Longhorn, the next Windows version.

          I'm sure Microsoft will suddenly start supporting the standards that Mozilla and Opera have supported for years in IE7, meaning that developers will start using those standards. Because IE6 won't recognize those standards, newly designed sites will look like sh*t in that old browser, and users will be forced to upgrade to IE7.

          It looks like Microsoft found how to make its IE monopoly pay off for them after all!

          • Good idea, with one flaw. Standards compliance will mean that you can grab firefox instead of IE7, and sites will look decent.
            It seems more likely that IE7, included only in longhorn, will include new features (ActiveY?) that nothing else supports, making developers use them and cutting off Windows Longhorn regardless of browser choice.
            • Most users don't even know what a browser is, much less how to find, download, and install Firefox. Most users will think only "the Internet is broken on my computer", and notice that the Internet works fine on computers that have the new Windows. Microsoft needs only 5% of users to buy the new OS for this reason, and they make many millions of dollars in profit.

              Besides, many IE users refuse to switch to Firefox because many sites use proprietary extensions in IE, such as document.all. That means those si

        • I wouldn't be surprised if they at least a few developers working on this as a backup plan. The problem is that MS has been a master at leveraging product X to force/encourage users to use product Y. I don't think they'd want to give up the control that IE gives them. Also anything that makes it easier or more transparent for users to switch to another OS is almost guaranteed to lose them some Windows market share. That's really the only problem with being a monopoly, you really don't have anywhere to g
        • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:50PM (#9613886)
          Microsoft didn't care about browsers until Netscape and Java. Then they saw that the future might be a commodity OS running a browser as the interface to the apps (running on a server).

          If Microsoft doesn't control the browser, it doesn't control that interface. Windows becomes very easy to replace.

          And there goes Microsoft's monopoly.
      • by eltoyoboyo ( 750015 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:22PM (#9613621) Journal
        Not likely, more like a raise. They managed to slip this in and get it posted as an article on /.

        "You've probably been told to dump Internet Explorer for a Mozilla browser before, by the same propeller-head geek who wants you to delete Windows from your hard drive and install Linux. You've ignored him, and good for you. "

        Microsoft 0wnz Slate and uses it as one of their information outlets.

      • Re:Laugh it Up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dont_think_twice ( 731805 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:50PM (#9613889) Homepage
        You're laughing, but someone at Slate is going to lose their job over this article. It's reminiscent of nothing in my short term memory, related to Microsoft.

        To be honest, Slate (and MSNBC) typically provide some of the most critical press Microsoft gets. I am guessing that the news sites are run entirely independent from Microsoft, and the sites feel obligated to criticize Microsoft to prove their independence.
  • Oops (Score:5, Funny)

    by chrisgeleven ( 514645 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:39AM (#9613276) Homepage
    Someone didn't get the memo from old Billy boy to not diss company products.
    • Re:Oops (Score:5, Funny)

      by |<amikaze ( 155975 ) * on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:49AM (#9613359)

      I hope they didn't use Frontpage to make this article. I'd hate to see them violate their license agreement :)
    • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:58PM (#9613966)
      It's not like his eZine was dissing Windows XP or MS Office. The article still derides Free Software advocates by calling them "propeller headed geeks" and so on, and does suggest Firefox is somewhat less capable than IE because the fancy menus on Slate do not work (even though there are definitely platform-agnostic methods to achieve the exact same effect). Despite that, the article is very favourable to Mozilla's stable of products which is nice.

      Anyways I don't think anyone will lose their jobs over this:

      * IE doesn't make MS any money--it has been bundled into Windows XP so there is no lost revenue (at least for the short and medium term) if users switch en masse to another browser.

      * MS has integrated IE into Windows so tightly that you cannot avoid it. You need IE to run Windows update, and a lot of software uses IE DLLs to function (even a lot of third party Windows-based software). Using Firefox to browse web pages doesn't completely obsolete IE

      * Microsoft is doing enough on its own to obsolete IE--in fact they seem to encourage anything that will obsolete it. IE development has basically been abandoned since Windows XP was released (and even before 2002 there was little improvement). The Slate article just helps things along a bit.

      * Anything that makes a Microsoft property look like it isn't part of a big machine bent on world domination is welcome--especially if it doesn't have a meaningful impact on the bottome line.

      So that leaves one thought: Why does MS seem to be abandoning IE?

      I think it has already been touched on by some here. Web browsing and other internet-related tasks are being integrated even further into future versions of Windows. Longhorn is supposed to be re-worked top to bottom to incorporate XML-based protocols, better support distributed computing technology (web services and so on). What is your machine and what is the internet is supposed to become almost seamless.

      In achieving that goal IE has to disappear in BillG's eyes. Not only that, (X)HTML has to recede into the background as well--it is a document markup language at its roots and is poorly suited to development of highly interactive applications. Never mind that there are vendor-neutral/open standards emerging (XForms, XUL, SVG, etc)--they are not yet as established as HTML. MS sees this as a new opportunity to use Longhorn to establish an MS-controlled platform again using XAML and Avalon.

      I think that BillG himself actually despises IE. The design is antiquated and insecure at its heart. The code probably gets more and more unmanageable with time judging by how often one patch sometimes creates other bugs. First and formost, however, by throwing resources as IE microsoft would prolong what it sees as "yesterday's Internet". Ideally, Longhorn would be released without any visible indication of a separate browser and enough HTML support to make existing sites function. As Longhorn grows in market share, MS hopes that sites start incorporating MS-specific protocols like XAML to transform websites into really interactive, whiz-bang internet applications that break completely in IE or Mozilla or any other mere browser on a competing or obsolete platform.

      No, there will be no firings at Slate over this editorial stance. Far from it--it is probably quite compatible with the Chief Architect's long-term vision.
  • yawn (Score:5, Funny)

    by YetAnotherDave ( 159442 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:39AM (#9613278)
    another one joins the bandwagon...
  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:40AM (#9613287)
    The article is very well written and the author took some care to impart the features of Firefox. I am still surprised though to see Microsoft so thorougly criticized in a publication wholly owned by Microsoft. Either they are very open-minded or this particular writer will not be invited back....

    Cheers!

    Erick

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:44AM (#9613324)
      If a publication is willing to criticize their owner, it can sometimes gain them more readers as they'll appear more independent. The next time they write a pro-MS piece, someone may take it more seriously.
      • by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:46PM (#9613854)

        Or, this is very intelligently-done propoganda. It is always hard to tell how efforts like Slate fit into the broader interests of their parent companies.

        How would you feel if you hired a lawyer for a lawsuit in a software-related case and later found out that this lawyer also does a lot of work for Microsoft? Should I believe that a computer consultant is objective, when his company has "Microsoft Certified" in bold letters on their website? Should I trust Slate, whose financial standing is undeniably rooted in MSN?

        While there is nothing wrong with a person reading news and articles on MSN or Slate, that person should always keep an eye on other news sources, especially ones with different owners or public funding.
    • by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:44AM (#9613329) Homepage
      MSNBC has articles that put Microsoft in a bad light all the time. And they do the standard disclaimer at the end that they are owned by MS as well.

      They understand that it's a bad idea to mess with the "ethics" of journalism (though that's questionable these days), and that it can all be countered with advertising anyway.

      The average consumer won't go looking for that article, and they know it.
    • by AliasTheRoot ( 171859 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:16PM (#9613576)
      Why? Do you really think Slate or MSNBC would have any credibility whatsoever if MS decided to excercise editorial content on them? I'd imagine Redmond gives them free reign to write what they want, if MS bashing comes up then thats the Zeitgeist and probably something they already know, care and are doing something about.
  • Hell here (Score:5, Funny)

    by bathmatt ( 638217 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:41AM (#9613294)
    Where did all this snow come from??
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:43AM (#9613316) Homepage Journal
    Consider these point:
    1. Even though Slate is financed by Microsoft, its journalists can be independent and willing to criticize their bosses boss. Good for them.
    2. Microsoft security is such a joke that it is starting to percolate to the general public. Good for the alternatives.
    3. An application (IE) that hasn't been updated for a long time, and which is present on 95% of all computers, is bound to contain more security problems than one with an active developer community (Firefox). Good for Mozilla and Firefox.


    All in all, this is not really surprising, although it is certainly not good news for Microsoft.
    • and consider this... if microsoft is TRULY interested in improving the security of their OS (as they say they are), then they will infact look into other options... personally, im no microsoft fan, but I'll say this - if you're a big computer, and you do something extremely well (which they would say about themselves), you've still got to admit you aren't perfect.. you cant be the "all around guy", and sometimes you've got to fall back on something... firefox is a way to ensure people will continue using mi
      • if microsoft is TRULY interested in improving the security of their OS (as they say they are), then they will infact look into other options...

        Well, yes, they could do that.

        In fact, it would be a great idea for Microsoft: actively supporting The Mozilla Foundation would give them some fantastic leverage in their different legal problems.

        Something like: "Your honor, Microsoft has donated X thousand dollars to the Mozilla Foundation! How can we be accused of anti-competitive behaviour after such a generou
  • My Dear God (Score:5, Funny)

    by KJE ( 640748 ) <ken@kje.ca> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:43AM (#9613317) Homepage
    Firefox eschews ActiveX and other well-known infection paths. You can configure it to automatically download most files when you click on them, but not .exe files, which are runnable programs. I thought this was a bug before I realized Firefox was saving me from myself, since .exe files could be viruses or stealth installers.

    Talk about saving users from themselves.

    • Re:My Dear God (Score:5, Interesting)

      by VertigoAce ( 257771 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:01PM (#9613472)
      I hate to say this, but if you try downloading exe's with both IE and Firefox, IE does a better job of telling you that it may be dangerous to open it. In addition, Firefox lets you automatically save the file to disk, so in the future no dialog box will show up. It doesn't let you run it without first saving it, though, and the author saw that as a security feature. IE, on the other hand, pops up a window warning that you are downloading an application, shows you the file name, and shows you the server that is hosting the application. Then it tells you the file might be harmful to your computer if it comes from an untrusted source. You can't stop this dialog box from popping up with any option on the box.
  • by harks ( 534599 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:43AM (#9613320)
    //cynicism

    Microsoft is just looking for a way to convince courts they're not a monopoply.

  • integrity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:45AM (#9613336) Homepage
    There are more than a dozen posts since this article was posted, but none so far have mentioned the obvious comment. For all Microsoft's sleazy business practices, this article is evidence that they are exercising great integrity when it comes to publishing Slate. That article completely (and justifiably) ripped Internet Explorder a new one. After reading that article, I view Slate far more favorably than I used to.

    I've always thought Microsoft made the best keyboards and mice, but second-rate everything else. Turns out that they also deserve credit for making content sites.

    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:41PM (#9613806) Homepage Journal
      For all Microsoft's sleazy business practices, this article is evidence that they are exercising great integrity when it comes to publishing Slate. That article completely (and justifiably) ripped Internet Explorder a new one.

      I'm not as impressed as you are. Paul Boutin is still dismissive, insulting and pulling the party line. He gives the wrong reasons for using Firebird and stops short of placing blame where it belongs. It's not just the browser, it's the OS that's got problems.

      Here's a flamebait quote:

      You've probably been told to dump Internet Explorer for a Mozilla browser before, by the same propeller-head geek who wants you to delete Windows from your hard drive and install Linux. You've ignored him, and good for you.

      Paul does not go on to tell us why anyone who did not dump Windows after Melissa should be happy. Instead he gives us the now usual FUD equating M$ and Linux security and the M$'s lame excuse for poor security:

      Even Mozilla's spokespeople stress that no software can be guaranteed to be safe, and that Firefox's XPInstall system could conceivably be tricked into installing a keystroke logger instead of Sun's Java engine. But for now, there's safety in numbersâ"the lack of them, that is. Internet Explorer is used by 95 percent of the world. Firefox's fan base adds up to 2 or 3 percent at most. Which browser do you think the Russian hackers are busily trying to break into again?

      Sorry Paul, this normal user is very happy to have dumped Windoze 98 in favor of Red Hat and Debian years ago. I've had perfectly usable browsers, email clients, digital music, and everything else I've ever wanted with far less hastle and trouble than my Windoze suffering peers and relatives. The browser is just the tip of the iceburg. I've enjoyed stable systems that stay up longer than my utility company's electricity, and a plethora of superior programs and features without having to drive to a store and periodically "rebuild" my computers. Learning Linux has been easy, fun and never required me to wear a propeller on my head.

  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:45AM (#9613337)
    When your own people give in and recommend a rival browser, it seems they are admitting the security issues in IE are basically unfixable. This does raise an interesting query - does this mean MS will be less likely to attempt repairing the flaws, ceding some interim revenue to a free competitor that right now is no threat at all, and devote more resources to Longhorn's IE version/replacement?
  • by eamacnaghten ( 695001 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:48AM (#9613350) Homepage Journal
    I think MS's plan was to try and replace HTML with XAML and Avalon - it probably still is - so they were not going to invest in technology that they were(are) going to try and kill and which they thought(think) will die.

    However - I think they are making a mistake in that philosophy (if it IS there philosophy), in so far as much if they try and forceably tie people down to their platform then corporates and government departments will rebel against microsoft. Some already are - there will be more. Also if FireFox/Mozilla becomes the standard browser it could lead the way to a migration away from the Windows OS.

    Microsoft have made mistakes concerning the global village paradigm before - I think they are doing it again now.

  • by Phil John ( 576633 ) <phil@nOspam.webstarsltd.com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:48AM (#9613353)
    ...he says that on Firefox the fancy popup menus don't appear, and after loading up explorer I see what's missing...the exact same functionality that countless free cross browser AND cross platform javascript/dhtml popup scripts provide (for example, young pups ypSlideoutMenu which is used on the Blender foundations' homepage).

    I think it's another case of Microsoft making stuff look crap in other browsers for no good reason.

    Haven't tried it on a mac yet, but I'm betting it looks like ass in safari too.
  • IE Maintenance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:48AM (#9613354) Homepage Journal
    MSIE is incredibly far behind, in standards compliance, features, usability, and security. Basically, MSIE hasn't improved much since 4.0, which I think is more than 7 years old. Continuing to use MSIE means a serious degradation of the user experience. Apparently, it's so bad that even Microsoft's subsidiaries are jumping ship. I wonder why Microsoft has let it come this far.
  • Broken Sites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maxwell'sSilverLART ( 596756 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:49AM (#9613368) Homepage

    From the article: Whether or not you do, US-CERT advises increasing your Internet Explorer security settings, per Microsoft's instructions. (Alas, the higher setting disables parts of Slate's interface.)

    Sorry, you seem to have misspelled "Alas, the higher setting highlights Slate's use of insecure and nonstandard features." You might want to have that keyboard checked.

  • by hoferbr ( 707935 ) <fabiomNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#9613375)
    "But for now, there's safety in numbers--the lack of them, that is. Internet Explorer is used by 95 percent of the world. Firefox's fan base adds up to 2 or 3 percent at most. Which browser do you think the Russian hackers are busily trying to break into again?"
    That is an interesting way to see it. Blame IE's popularity!
  • The hardest part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrO ( 209915 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#9613378)
    You know what the hardest part of this is? Getting those computer-illiterate people who you support to use Firefox.

    I've been trying to get my dad to use it (with threats like, "when the russian mafia gets your credit card because you were using IE, don't complain to me"...) but it doesn't work. And he's not terribly illiterate. I can't imagine trying to explain to my girlfriend's grandparents, "Ok, Don't click on the blue E anymore... click on the icon that looks like an orange fox"... they would never do it.

    As nice as Firefox is, it's going to be an uphill battle to get those illiterate folks to switch.
    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )
      So make them a link to Firefox with the IE icon.
    • Re:The hardest part (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chord.wav ( 599850 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:04PM (#9613504) Journal
      I've installed Firefox as the main browser for all my clients and I've set up a shotcut to it with the IE Logo icon and deleted the originals, I renamed iexplorer.exe so they have 2 shortcuts but wherever they click, they use Firefox. It's not that I'm not giving my client "the right to choose" but I'm tired of calls because of spyware, worms and when-I-open-the-broswer-millon-pop-ups calls.
    • Re:The hardest part (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:32PM (#9614262) Homepage Journal
      The "average user" who can't be made to understand that "no dammit, the blue e is not the Internet!" is a favorite Slashdot bugaboo. Like everyone else here, I've run into a few of them. I used to try to educate those people, but you know what? Fuck 'em. I will happily give anyone who asks for it advice on what browser to use, and will help them set it up -- but that's it. I don't go around preaching, and after I answer questions in a way that any reasonably intelligent, literate (not necessarily computer-literate, just literate) person should be able to understand, I'm done.

      In a strange way, this is an expression of my faith that the "average user" actually isn't a moron. I don't believe that people who simply cannot understand the concepts of hardware, software, applications, operating systems, and networks, and the distinctions between them -- no matter how carefully and reasonably you explain them -- are "average users." I believe they're the bottom of the user barrel. They're hopeless cases. They have mental blocks which ensure that they will never, ever, ever learn how to use a computer with a modicum of sense, and the only thing the rest of us can do is tune out their complaints when their systems are buggy and virus-ridden and crash ten times a day.

      There are people who will never be able to learn to drive a car without crashing it ten feet down the road, too, and it's not worth your time to keep trying ... and trying ... and trying to teach those people how to drive. But most people, with a certain amount of patience and a genuine desire to learn, can be made to understand what the accelerator and brake pedal and steering wheel are for, and why road signs exist and why paying attention to them is a good idea. The hopeless cases? Let 'em walk.
      • by dmaxwell ( 43234 )
        Mega dittos but I'll add one thing to it. It almost always isn't stupidity or the inability to learn the basics. They simply aren't motivated to learn basic computer hygiene. A major reason they aren't motivated is because someone like us is giving them free tech support and bailing them out everytime they mess the damn thing up.

        I help motivate them by not giving more than one tech support freebie. If I give advice on avoiding worms, malware, and general stupidity and it is ignored then they can pay me
  • I half expected that MS would dump IE, but I think this article somewhat validates my thoughts.

    The very fact that this was published on MSN must hit at deep rumbling in the MS camp. IE users are, quite frankly, sick of IE. The recent warning from the US government must have been the last nail in IE's PR coffin. People now know other browsers are out there, and have begun to download them. MS issued a hasty patch after Homelland security recommendations for another browser, but it seems they won't upgrade IE functionality until Longhorn, 3 years away! That will mean IE will have spent 6 years in development limbo.
    Or then again this could be a lone cowboy at MSN, eager to leave for the fresh pastures of The Register.

    I reckon MS will soon dump IE in favour of a new browsers, or maybe a new 'kind' of browser(.NEt based, XAML interface anyone?). Maybe MSN client?
    Tellingly IE still runs off version numbers IE5, IE6, whereas most MS apps run off the 98,2000,XP versioning scheme. These are my crackpot prediction for a rumour hungry world.
  • by spacerodent ( 790183 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:53AM (#9613403)
    I switched both my parents over to firefox and it took them over a month to notice. They wanted to know why IE had a funny embryoish logo in the top left heh. I had switched the firefox icon over to the IE one and set up an IE theme on it. Really I havn't seen a single example of somthing IE does better than fire fox. The only limitations I've noticed are on web sites designed ONLY to work with IE like the mcafee web site.
  • by c0ldfusi0n ( 736058 ) <`admin' `at' `c0ldfusi0n.org'> on Monday July 05, 2004 @11:55AM (#9613426) Homepage
    I found this really nifty application called Comparator [vasanthdharmaraj.com] made by Vansath Dharmaraj [vasanthdharmaraj.com] -- it's basically a test browser with a split view: the top one is the page rendered in IE, the bottom one is the page rendered using Mozilla (which comes back to say Mozilla-powered browsers such as Firefox).

    That, along with Firefox extensions IE View [mozilla.org] and Web Developer [mozilla.org] makes coding websites compatible in both IE and Mozilla browsers a hell of a lot easier.
  • by nikster ( 462799 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:00PM (#9613466) Homepage
    I have been using FireFox for a long while. It's great.

    But then, i don't think it has been designed with security in mind as much as convenience, exactly the same predicament that made IE such a huge security hole. There is auto-install of plug-ins, there is auto-install of skins - i kind of have a hard time believing that all of these were written by people wrecking their brains about possible exploits. [if you know different, let me know]

    With IE, we know it's broken beyond fixing. With FireFox, we don't know. It has not been tested, as it has not been the target of serious malware writers.

    Imagine - unlikely as it may be - FireFox wins the new browser war. Will it still be safe? IMHO, only a real security model like the one built into Java can really protect users.
    And from working with that, i know that it places lots of seemingly unnecessary and annoying constraints on development and web apps.
    • by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:20PM (#9613607)

      Yes, Firefox is safe. Or, rather, as safe as it can be reasonably expected to get. Plugins and skins can only be installed by whitelisted servers, and must prompt the user before installation.

    • by asa ( 33102 ) <asa@mozilla.com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:26PM (#9614634) Homepage
      There is auto-install of plug-ins, there is auto-install of skins - i kind of have a hard time believing that all of these were written by people wrecking their brains about possible exploits. [if you know different, let me know]

      I know better. I've been involved with the Mozilla and Firefox development process for years and I can tell you with great confidence that we've considered security at every step of the way, from design, to implementation, to testing. We've got some of the top minds in the business constantly trying to find holes in our security story. They find 'em and we fix 'em.

      If you don't believe me, then ask Bugzilla about it, or take a look at the code. Maybe then you won't have such a hard time believing it.

      With IE, we know it's broken beyond fixing. With FireFox, we don't know. It has not been tested

      Um, hasn't been tested? We've got tens of thousands of people who have tested and reported bugs (including security bugs) on Firefox and the rest of the Mozilla code base. We've got millions of users using it. We've been the target of malware writers and we are beating them with a strong security ethos that defines almost everything we do.

      Imagine - unlikely as it may be - FireFox wins the new browser war. Will it still be safe? IMHO, only a real security model like the one built into Java can really protect users.

      You're suggesting that Firefox and the Mozilla codebase don't have "a real security model"? I'm guessing you really haven't even looked.

      Do yourself a bit of a favor and actually look at the code, the bugs, the process, etc. before you start talking about security.

      --Asa
  • News (Score:3, Funny)

    by eSavior ( 767078 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:01PM (#9613471)
    In related news, the editor for slate magazine was fired: Wednesday, June 30, 2004, at 11:04 AM
  • by Carcass666 ( 539381 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:03PM (#9613490)
    What would be really great is if the Firefox team could build ActiveX wrappers mapping the integration of IE into third-party apps (like QuickBooks and FranklinCovey). This would allow companies to obliterate IE from their organizations.
    • by stormcoder ( 564750 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:42PM (#9613822) Homepage Journal
      This has already been done. The html renderer is available as a dropin replacement for MSHTML. Infact it is possible to make Outlook use gecko instead of MSHTML which I think is pretty funny.
  • ActiveX (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tchernobog ( 752560 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:06PM (#9613513)
    Even here, a note is made about ActiveX:

    ActiveX was meant to make it easy to add the latest interactive multimedia and other features to sites, but instead it's become a tool for sneaking spyware onto unsuspecting PCs.

    Now, we all know that ActiveX, a technology that has been around for years and years, is perfectly insecure. Moreover, now there are other ways to do most things that ActiveX achieves: Java apps, server side scripting (with, let's say, PHP) and many more. Secure ones.
    So what? We have better alternatives. Microsoft obviously won't drop ActiveX support from IE until someone still asks for it. Then, the problem is with companies and sites that make use of them.
    It's strange that someone would still be using something that's not portable, and an increasing audience won't be able to benefit from (if they follow CERT raccomandations, at least :).
    At last, I think that sooner or later ActiveX will disappear (given Microsoft doesn't try some horrible marketing move), because no-one wise will use it. Many users have been educated to click "NO" to those popups requiring you to install a BHO... so new site will have an hard battle against users' suspicion. The problem here is: will Microsoft let this happen, or has it some interest in keeping a buggy technology alive?

    I remember it were just for one reason I switched to Mozilla Suite (no, Firefox just doesn't suits me ;): they don't have the possibility to use ActiveX.
    PS: also the pop-up blocking thingie has been useful, but I am a Mozilla user since before it was introduced.
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:07PM (#9613521)
    At this point Microsoft needs FireFox. Without a browser alternative the ONLY safe recomendation would be to remove Windows. At least with FireFox as an alternative to IE (and ThunderBird for Outlook) Microsoft can remain as the desktop operating system.

    Without FireFox the safe solution is to get rid of Windows and that is Microsofts worst nightmare. So for now Microsoft will be happy that FireFox exists and that Windows remains as the desktop platform.
  • Comment removed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:10PM (#9613546)
    Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • My own stats (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigberk ( 547360 ) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:14PM (#9613568)
    My web site gets about 1200 visitors/day and I track the stats on browsers used... although it's only 4 days of data, my stats are showing that 25.5% of my visitors use Mozilla. This is a huge increase over the norm, which is around 16% Mozilla.
  • by Titusdot Groan ( 468949 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:19PM (#9613590) Journal
    MS is acknowledging that they have been leap frogged only so they can announce that they are back in the lead with SP2!

    Their reputation is so bad right now that without a clear admission of how bad it is nobody will believe them when they announce SP2 "fixes everything".

    I notice the timing is really close to SP2 coming out ...

    Or, maybe I've been reading /. too long ...

  • by XeRXeS-TCN ( 788834 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:33PM (#9613731)

    Well it's interesting to see that an MSN run website has slammed Internet Explorer, and spent some time extolling the virtues of Firefox, which is indeed surprising at first glance. But in many ways, there is one other important factor to consider.

    Even Microsoft *knows* that Internet Explorer is antiquated. They pulled developers off it years ago, and afaik have only recently started some work on it. It displays none of the features that all the modern competitive browsers have, and has FAR more security issues than possibly any other browser.

    But at the end of the day, they don't care. It doesn't provide them any revenue, so they don't really give a damn about what features you want. It comes free with every OS they distribute, and it doesn't have advertising panels or anything like that, so it doesn't really matter to them what browser you decide to use with their OS, you're still using their OS.

    And that's another thing to consider. Until they bother undertaking a vast overhaul of Internet Explorer (which they may not even do), they know that users will be vulnerable to all sorts of these problems that keep reoccuring. So in some ways it can be construed as a good idea for them to move you to other browsers, especially free ones like Mozilla where they do not provide another company with revenue. This will keep their users much safer, and at the end of the day, I think that's what this is about. Their users. You can use any browser you want on their OS, but again, you're still using Windows.

    Consider the two scenarios. You get extremely frustrated with all the viruses and bugs that Internet Explorer throws up, and you decide that you've had enough. What are your options?

    1. Install FireFox, or Opera, or any other browser on Windows, and thus be protected from most (all?) of the issues that tend to crop up on IE,
    2. Switch to Linux or a BSD variant, which are not affected by all these issues.

    With those choices in mind, which would you expect Microsoft to prefer? ;)

  • by Roguelazer ( 606927 ) <Roguelazer&gmail,com> on Monday July 05, 2004 @12:39PM (#9613794) Homepage Journal
    I was looking at my website's logs today. Here's what I found for June:

    MSIE: 52.0%
    Mozilla: 27.4%

    Now for this month, July: MSIE: 48.1%
    Mozilla: 32.9%


    Yes, it's only the first five days of July. But still, it looks like a pattern to me. (btw: OS stats are 68% Windows, 18.5% Linux)
  • If you think... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rie Beam ( 632299 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:00PM (#9613994) Journal
    The problem is, Internet Explorer is a freely-available application, and Windows is not. Microsoft isn't stupid - they really have nothing to lose by letting this little upstart get some breathing room - it'll make their massive changes in Longhorn seem more "revolutionary" for those who have been away for awhile, such as "basic features which IE should have had 7 years ago" and "latest extension which prevents a horrible security risk". You know, fun stuff.
  • The Reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kwil ( 53679 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:07PM (#9614056)
    A bunch of other slashdot folk have pointed out bits and pieces of this puzzle, but let's see what happens when we put it all together:

    1. The new standards, XML, etc, are going to be controlled as much outside the browser, by the productivity suite, as they will be within it. The standards for basic browsers have more or less solidified at this point. There's no more control to be taken here.

    2. The browser market has been driven into the ground. There's no money to be made here anymore, as decent free alternatives are available, and the market has gotten used to not paying for their browser. There won't be another Netscape threat.

    3. The whole "browser as your desktop" idea has faded away. MS is no longer in danger of losing its OS or productivity-suite sales to a browser company.

    Put all of this together and you've got the reason why MS doesn't really give a crap if people use IE or not anymore. But why go the extra step of taking it down?

    1. Even in its recommendation, the article is a backhanded compliment at best. Very much in the league of "If you have to switch, this one will work." Which leads to a setup for the future version of IE.. "All the features of Firefox, plus..." which of course will only be able to run properly on the new Longhorn system.

    2. IE's security problems have really started to hit the mainstream. The article isn't telling folks anything that wasn't known already, but lets MSN Slate look like a wonderfully independant publication while doing so.

    Most importantly:

    3. IE doesn't make them money anyway. At this point, the various holes are costing them more than IE provides them both in actual dollars in support and programmer hours that have to be devoted to containing the mess, and in PR.

    So it's really to Microsoft's interest at this point to get people *off* of IE, especially to something simple that they'll be able to easily port settings from for the new version. The only thing that might keep them there is stubborn pride. If cooler heads have prevailed in the boardroom, expect to see more on these lines from Microsoft sources.
    • Re:The Reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by e6003 ( 552415 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:48PM (#9614779) Homepage
      I'm not sure I agree entirely with your points.

      1. The new standards, XML, etc, are going to be controlled as much outside the browser, by the productivity suite, as they will be within it. The standards for basic browsers have more or less solidified at this point. There's no more control to be taken here.

      I think this sort of control was always very much the "consolation prize" for MSFT. (One of) the original point(s) of bundling IE in with Windows was probably to try and force people, via "embrace and extend", over to using Windows NT servers and IIS to serve content. Unfortunately this was the first example of them underestimating The Power of Open Source(TM) as Apache emerged at round about the same time, and could scale far better than NT4/IIS could, on proprietary Unices before the true rise of Linux.

      2. The browser market has been driven into the ground. There's no money to be made here anymore, as decent free alternatives are available, and the market has gotten used to not paying for their browser. There won't be another Netscape threat.

      If you're implying that MS perceived Netscape as a threat in a revenue sense, then I think you're a bit off base. Remember, the anti-trust trial witnesses explained at great length about the "applications barrier to entry" (namely, the positive feedback circle that Windows is popular because it has loads of applications written for it, which in turn feeds its popularity so more applications are written for it). Netscape, and especially Java (remember the still-born WordPerfect for Java?) threatened to undermine that barrier if the browser could become the platform for applications. With Mozilla and technologies like XUL, this threat is more alive than ever.

      3. The whole "browser as your desktop" idea has faded away. MS is no longer in danger of losing its OS or productivity-suite sales to a browser company.

      Possibly, but even KDE and GNOME perpetuate the "tradition" of using the same application for browsing the local file system and the web. I kind of agree about the threat to MSFT's OS business not coming from a browser company, but I think that's partly an artefact of history - MSFT's continued anti-competitive behaviour made it pretty clear that ANY serious threat to them would have to come from a decentralised organisation (e.g. FOSS) simply because MSFT would crush, by fair means or foul, any other company that tried to compete with them.

      3. IE doesn't make them money anyway. At this point, the various holes are costing them more than IE provides them both in actual dollars in support and programmer hours that have to be devoted to containing the mess, and in PR.

      Did IE EVER make them any money? OK, we never knew what the cost of Win95b and Win98 would have been if MSFT had been forced to unbundle IE, but it didn't directly make them money IMO. I think your last sentence is closer to the truth than you realise - MSFT has limited programming resources and I read a statistic (can't remember the source alas) that 80% of the Longhorn developers have had to be pulled off Longhorn work, to patch 2000/XP/2003 (and by implication, IE since the codebases are so inter-twined). It's worth reviewing ESR's discussion of Moore's Law [opensource.org] as part of Halloween IX - basically, the easily-overlooked consequence of computer power roughly doubling every 18 months is that the software to make use of that power must also double in complexity concurrently with this. IMO, MSFT is becoming a classic victim of this, just as [old and new] SCO did. Of course, MSFT has far more programming resources than SCO does/did, but it will only buy them time and the continued delays and feature shedding of Longhorn are precisely the sort of symptoms to look for.

  • Not Suprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jozer99 ( 693146 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:15PM (#9614106)
    Why the big deal? Just because a publication is owned by a company does not mean that it has to be a propaganda peddler. The New York Times and Slashdot are/were owned by media companies. Did they become solely dedicated to shoving that company down people's throats? No. Does Microsoft's ownership of MSN change anything?
  • by MoeMoe ( 659154 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:18PM (#9614138)
    I have to give Microsoft credit on this move... They know that no smart person listens to what they say so they advertise Firefox in order to push people away from it and move back to what they "don't" recommend... IE

    It's like when your mom decides she likes rap too and you have to burn every 50 Cent CD in your collection because of it...
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:39PM (#9614313) Homepage Journal
    .... realize this is a tactic of competition by MS.

    Realizing they are gaining an ever increasing degree of mistrust by the consumerk, they simply figure that if they attach themselves and there perception of mistrust to Firefox.... then they can create enough confusion in the minds of the consumer, as to what the consumer mind trusts...... then it becomes a crap shoot (playing the odds of chance) to maintain at least a part of the market.

    And of course maybe everyone was already leaving IE anyway and MS just decided to make it look like it was their idea and of course creating/maintaining the illusion that people follow what MS says...

    Or maybe MS just had some "Black-Scholes Formula" in marketing that has turned bad all around (like the trillion dollar bet -- search google)....and they have yet to realize their marketing mouth has gingivitis...
  • Hmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:58PM (#9614463) Homepage
    If I didn't know any better I would say that somebody is trying to hype the next version of Internet Explorer.
    "It's better than ever! You need the new Internet Explorer now!"

    "But I already have it. It works just fine for me. I haven't had any problems yet."

    "That's not true! You have problems you don't even know about it! It's awful, it's crap, it has to go away right now! Don't you see how serious we are about this? I'm going to spread coffee grounds all over Internet Explorer and then grind them in, just to show you how bad it is!"

    "So, um, you mean IE isn't any good? It's really so bad that you would recommend using a competing product instead of it?"

    "That's just version you have! The new version fixes everything! It will solve ALL of your problems!"

    "But I --"

    "Even the ones you don't know you have! In fact, it fixes so many problems that you need three CDs just to install it! There's a bonus CD which only contains exclaimation marks, for people like me! Really!"

  • Heh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bl1st3r ( 464353 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:04PM (#9614494) Homepage Journal
    The fact of the matter is: IE is free. Just as free as mozilla. MS won't come straight out and say, "Use Mozilla" because that would be retarded. But they don't care if everyone goes to Mozilla. MS was interested in winning the original browser wars because they were afraid it would destroy their desktop market. Now that losing is no longer a fear, they can safely move away from free application development and focus on their core competancy: OS development. They can let Mozilla develop all they want, and integrate Mozilla at a later date.
    • Re:Heh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:21PM (#9616686) Homepage Journal
      MS was interested in winning the original browser wars because they were afraid it would destroy their desktop market. Now that losing is no longer a fear, they can safely move away from free application development and focus on their core competancy: OS development. They can let Mozilla develop all they want, and integrate Mozilla at a later date.

      Nope, MS can't let mozilla come in and dominate the browser market. That's potential death right there. If mozilla has 90% market share when Longhorn finally comes out then MS is going to have a very hard time selling XAML - what with a massive install base of XUL capable browsers already out there. If MS fails to sell XAML and XUL takes off, then all of a sudden you don't need MS APIs, or OSs to use all those XUL apps. That's a huge kick in the balls for maintaining a desktop OS monopoly. Lose that, and they lose REAL leverage.

      There's a long line of dominoes, and as long as MS is relying on having a desktop monopoly to leverage their products they need to guard every point of entry into that line. They can't afford to give up the browser just yet.

      Jedidiah
  • K-Meleon for Win32 (Score:4, Informative)

    by d-Orb ( 551682 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:57PM (#9614855) Homepage
    No one seems to realise that a very fast and nice concoction of Gecko (Mozilla/Firefox's rendering engine) with a simplistic Win32 UI called K-Meleon [sourceforge.net] is available and provides a very fast and snappy browser in Windows. Since it uses quicklaunch, you don't need to wait for ages to start it, as oppossed to FireFox. I like it anyway :)

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