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Explorer Destroyer 417

slayer99 writes "I came across Explorer Destroyer yesterday, which is a project that aims to increase the market share of Firefox in a slightly more proactive way than is usual. They provide some code which you add to your front page which presents a banner to IE users urging them to switch to using Firefox. As a bonus, you can potentially make some money via Google's Firefox referral program."
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Explorer Destroyer

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  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @10:56AM (#15231893)
    Can you give an example of what you're referring to? When has Microsoft or its friends encouraged downloading software, and the idea was condemned by open source advocates?
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @10:58AM (#15231902)
    It's also similar to Google's latest Firefox campaign. Just visit Google [google.com] with IE to see what I mean.
  • by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @10:59AM (#15231903)
    There's no guarantee that this will cause another monoculture. AS Firefox becomes more popular, people will likely see that they have more choices for browsers (rather than the old IE = internet mentality). Over time, other browsers will be embraced based on how well they compete with Firefox. And unlike with IE, Firefox is actually competing fairly.
  • by kryten_nl ( 863119 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:00AM (#15231913)
    How many times have you come across a website which, in stead of giving you content, advised you to update your IE to 5.0 or higher?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:05AM (#15231932)
    That is just pathetic - soon there will be banners "Using Windows - switch to Linux, you will like it better, and maybe we will let you in our website". Doesn't firefox get enough promo already? So now they resort to spam. Say no to both and use Opera..
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:05AM (#15231934)
    Still need Firefox yourself?
    Grab it here: [GOOGLE BANNER PLUG]

    1. You need a Google AdSense account to make referral money for each user switched. If you don't already have an account, click this button to sign-up: [GOOGLE BANNER PLUG]

    Then he goes below down to wash his hands clean by explaining that Google won't go bankrupt from this campaign, so it's perfectly ok to be retarded and lock out 80% of your visitors.

    Oh and by the way this "script" shows the "you use IE" message on many builds of the original Mozilla Suite. Amateur.
  • The Browser Wars 2.0 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zaphod2016 ( 971897 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:09AM (#15231954) Homepage

    I for one expect that the competition between IE and the Google-backed FF is only going to increase in the months to come. I am torn. I can't help but approve of this, simply because it will diminish the market share of IE further. On the other hand, as others have mentioned, being harassed leads to resistance; the project might backfire.

    Note: my anti-IE bias is based soley on being a web developer. MS has been fighting the interweb from day one, and IE is all the proof you'll ever need of this.

    Related: a few days ago, my XP Home box started acting very strange: whenever I typed anything into a form in FF, it crashed. IE, Opera both remained fine. Malware? ID10T? ...or is Microsoft "fixing" things again?

  • Baad Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pardasaniman ( 585320 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:09AM (#15231957) Journal
    What happens when microsoft retaliates? That would be bad.

    All the websites made by frontpage, and whatever servers running IIS, suddenly boot firefox..

    seriously, this is a terrible idea. Let's not stoop to their level!

    Also, Is it possible some users would think it's some kind of spyware? Users that were advised not to install stuff just because a website asks them too?

    How about older opera users who identify as internet explorer?
  • by witchgirl ( 965487 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:10AM (#15231962)
    That's the kind of website you usually lose interest in fairly quickly due to their lack of consideration for non-IE internet users.... I, for one, never go further than that advice and look for information or business elsewhere.
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jgrahn ( 181062 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:18AM (#15231997)
    Isn't this the same kind of actions that open source advocates condemn, when Microsoft and friends use it ?

    You seem to assume that because it's on Slashdot, Slashdot and its readers think it's a good idea. I don't believe that's the case.

    It's a stupid idea, and it's against ideas that are more important than open source. It's against the idea that the network protocols should be client-neutral, and that graceful degradation should take place when you use a client that (like IE) sucks.

    It's stupid, and it won't work.

  • Re:That's retarded (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:55AM (#15232168)
    And that's exactly the reason why IE must die. If my site is W3C compliant I shouldn't have to use dirty hacks like that to make it render correctly in IE! I shouldn't have to spend 50% of my time developing workarounds for IE!
  • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @11:58AM (#15232180) Journal
    Don't actually detect IE. Use an IE "bug" to display the message. Make sure that no standards-compliant browser would show the message.
  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:00PM (#15232191)
    Define spyware. What is spyware? If it's "anything that collects any information" then all the visitor counters are also spyware. Heck, the whole web would be a huge network of spyware because at least your IP and request URL is collected in the web server log!

    Fact is, the script does not collect any personal information. All it does is collecting the host address of the site that has that script. It's entirely anymous. It does not breach privacy in any way. There is no rational reason to oppose it.
  • Re:Firefox Deterrent (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:03PM (#15232215)
    screw google! Goole's stupid gmail is also a "only this and this browser" site! This damn gmail works actually ok with konqueror etc...
    Fuck "IE only sites" and fuck "ie/mozilla only" sites too!

  • by linebackn ( 131821 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:10PM (#15232246)
    That is just pathetic - soon there will be banners "Using Windows - switch to Linux, you will like it better, and maybe we will let you in our website

    There are already plenty of web sites that say they only work on IE using Windows and won't let you in. The other day I even saw one that explicitly and snobbishly said the only way they would "support" using a Mac was with Windows and IE loaded in VirtualPC.

  • by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:16PM (#15232271) Homepage
    I just don't have the time to see if my page looks good on every browser, so I simply code to the standard and if IE can't display it properly, tough nuts. I include a small but helpful link to Firefox on the front page.
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:18PM (#15232279)
    1. Do most people really "choose", or do they just use it because they don't know better? I think it's the latter. Installing Firefox or any other browser only takes a few seconds.
    2. What about my ability to choose? As long as people continue to write IE-only websites, I cannot always use the browser I prefer. As long as IE has bad W3C support, I have to spend 50% of my time tweaking my sites. People force me to use IE, why is it not justified if I do the same to them?
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:54PM (#15232408)
    My dad is a real user. He has trouble remembering how to shut down the computer. He doesn't understand the concept of windows - when a dialog pops up, he asks how to get back to the previous page because he doesn't know he's supposed to click on the 'X'. He's a typical novice user with minimum computer skills. Yet he could smoothly switch back and forth between IE and Firefox. Heck, he can't even tell the difference. The back button still looks like a back button even when it's different. A window still looks like a window. But that's not all: he could switch between the Chinese Linux Firefox (which is what he usually uses) and the English IE (when I need Windows occasionally), even though he can't read English. So I have a hard time imagining that other people cannot recognize that a back button is a back button, when there's a text called "Back" written on it.

    I'm supporting this campaign because it's in my best interest to have as many people as possible use a non-IE browser. It would lower the required to make it render correctly for everybody. That results in a better website, which is good for my visitors. Look at all the productivity that is currently lost because webmasters have to tweak the site for IE.

    Using "users don't care" as an argument to not do something is not a good argument IMHO. Most people don't know or care about peak oil (Google it) and just want to live their lifes, but does that means that people shouldn't do something about it? If most people don't know or care what democracy is, does that mean that the people who do know shouldn't support it?
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doytch ( 950946 ) <markpd@gmailFORTRAN.com minus language> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @01:39PM (#15232554)
    I disagree with you on the browser-detection-scripts.

    Check Skype's site for an example of how such scripts can help computer newbies install things. It has a step by step set of screencaps that show how to install it using either Firefox or IE(maybe others, I didn't check). Think about the mother who got Firefox installed on her computer by her geek son and is trying to follow the installation steps given in an IE fashion. People who see a technology like this that can help adoption of Firefox etc. and throw it away are simply being short sighted.
  • by ziplux ( 261840 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @01:58PM (#15232630) Homepage
    The button they advocate putting on your site links to the Google Toolbar page. From there, it is not clear at all how to download Firefox, although they make it very clear how you can download the Google Toolbar.

    If I were going to direct people to download Firefox, I would send them directly to getfirefox.com.
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rdieter ( 112462 ) <rdieter@EEEmath. ... inus threevowels> on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:39PM (#15232818) Homepage Journal

    For example, IE doesn't support PNG alpha channels.

    Hate rain on your parade, but neither does firefox/mozilla (for printing anyway):
    http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=235097 [mozilla.org]

    -- Rex
  • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hankwang ( 413283 ) * on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:50PM (#15232867) Homepage
    As a result I'm forced to configure my web server to send text/html as MIME type, causing all the other browsers to interpret the document as HTML 4 instead of XHTML.

    That's not necessary, that's what the "Accept" HTTP header is for. Put this or something similar in your .htaccess:

    RewriteEngine on

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_ACCEPT} application/xhtml\+xml
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} \.xhtml$
    RewriteRule .* - [T=application/xhtml+xml,L]

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_ACCEPT} !application/xhtml\+xml
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} \.xhtml$
    RewriteRule .* - [T=text/html,L]
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:41PM (#15233111) Homepage Journal
    And tell you what: It works.

    My online game has 2 points where it tells people to switch. One is an occasional (once a week or so) friendly reminder to IE users that they should consider upgrading.
    The other is a page that simply doesn't work in IE. It's valid HTML 4, CSS 2 and IE breaks it horribly. So I catch IE users, tell them about the problem (i.e. IE doesn't properly support web standards) and then allow them to continue on and see the train wreck with their own eyes.

    For the past year or so, Firefox has been the #1 browser in my statistics (currently 51%, IE 37%). It works. It takes time, but it works.

    And before you cry - this isn't a personal "me and my dog" homepage, I have around 1500 players and 120,000 visits a month. And it's not a Linux site either, the OS statistics say 93% windows.
  • "...but by blocking IE users, you're frustrating them, making their lives that much more difficult, and making them that much more annoyed at Firefox. Plus, actively turning away users is not something *any* webmaster who cares about his/her readers would do, IMHO."

    Why is it that nobody can frustrate IE users, in your view, but its perfectly acceptable to frustrate non-IE users (which has already been going on for years)? IMHO, this is long overdue and it is about time the IE users get some of the treatment dished out on the rest of us who don't use IE.

  • by level_headed_midwest ( 888889 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:54PM (#15233414)
    I'd like to get one of those banners saying "Switch to Linux." All the banners I ever see are "This browser [KDE Konqueror] is not supported, download Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher." The WebCT online course system always tells me "You appear to be running Linux. Linux is not a supported operating system. Please select your operating system below: {Windows} {Macintosh.}" But the ironic thing is that Konqueror on Linux runs flawlessly on WebCT and IE 6.1 on Windows will often crash. Poetic justice, perhaps.
  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @05:54PM (#15233666)
    it is about time the IE users get some of the treatment dished out on the rest of us who don't use IE.

    I'd agree with you, if it was their fault; but it isn't. As it is, preventing access to IE is every bit as bad as preventing access to non-IE browsers.

    If you want to code to the standards as Opera and/or Firefox implement them and let IE fend for itself, fine. If you check the user agent and simply block IE, then that's just plain dumb.
  • Re:That's retarded (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @08:02PM (#15234147) Homepage Journal

    "IE extensions have proven to be a very good thing for the web overall. It has always been IE that has pushed the limits of dynamic web pages through the inclusion of similar extensions (primarily for the development of Outlook Web Access) which have given birth to the technologies that fuel AJAX and other modern web techniques."

    What an interesting viewpoint. I couldn't disagree more.

    The 'Embrace and Extend' strategy on which Microsoft has relied since about 1998 is designed to be divisive and ultimately to support Microsoft's one interest: by hook or by crook, to land everyone on the Microsoft platform. They worked with little or no support or cooperation from any other body[*] and more often than not used their position to subvert the activities of others. They published competing specifications and duplicated functionality that others had already implemented through their own proprietary implementations.

    Now before we go any further, it's important to remember that this strategy was dressed up nicely, spoken about politely in marketing euphemisms and was seldom openly disparaging of competing technologies. It is also important to note that very few of the people actually responsible for the creation and fostering of standards ever felt anything but frustration and animosity toward these efforts to subvert the process. I've seen such luminaries as Lawrence Lessig and Sir Tim Berners Lee stand up in public fora and state in absolutely unambiguous terms that 'this MS technology is the single biggest threat faced by the web today.' (WWW Conference, Amsterdam 2000, for those who care).

    It's true that there are some who have argued for accomodation, and while they've achieved short-term gains (RSS and SOAP, for example), the recent announcement of MS-only implementations and extensions of these standards offers further evidence that MS' intentions are anything but benevolent.

    Now, some may trot out the sorry old argument that a corporation's job is to profit and damn the ethical/legal torpoedoes, but the fact is that to most of the people working in standards, this is not the goal. Believe it or not, most of us actually care about the community, and feel that the way things are implemented is just as important as what gets done. So feel free to act as apologist for the soulless corporate machine if you must, but please, don't pretend that that's the only way things can be made to work.

    Microsoft (and Netscape in its time) are not only guilty of skewing standards in their favour. They're also guilty of something far more insidious: the infection of the application space with software designed to lock people into their proprietary approach to things. Often enough, the design is fatally compromised in the process. The example you cite above, Outlook Web Access, is a prime example of how to break things in the name of lock-in.

    Here's a quick summary of the ways in which Outlook Web Access, which encapsulates email access inside HTTP and passes it through port 80 by default, is technically broken:

    • Caching proxy servers might or might not do the right thing - behaviour here is undefined
    • Traffic/network analysis is subverted
    • Security is compounded, as activity patterns have to be checked on more, not fewer ports (think about it)
    • Likewise, security audits are far more difficult, as traffic has to be disambiguated
    • Security is subverted, users can simply tunnel high volume traffic through to (at least) the DMZ with no guarantee that it's being inspected (i.e. no one catches that the traffic is neither going to the web nor the Exchange server; each one assumes it's going to the other and that it's 'okay'. Same goes with large volumes of outgoing information.)
    • Deliberate bypassing of firewall policies, promoting insecure configurations (e.g. pushing things through ports 80 and 443 as a matter of informal policy, reducing the firewall to an ornament)
    • Buggier software due to additiona
  • Re:That's retarded (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @10:45PM (#15234630) Homepage Journal

    I wrote:

    "So feel free to act as apologist for the soulless corporate machine if you must[....]"

    To which you replied:

    "Real people work at Microsoft. I'm proud to say that I am one of them."

    Good for you. I'm glad you take pride in your work. But you've completely misconstrued the purpose of that statement. I'm not arguing that corporations are soulless or inhuman. I'm actually stating the opposite: that it is wrong to defend the image of a corporation as an impersonal and amoral entity. Many people do so, using the old 'business is business' cliche, which completely ignores an organisation's role in the larger community and refuses to weigh the impact of its decisions. I personally feel that both of these are part of the social contract which should extend to organisations as much as to individuals, in relation to the role of each in society.

    Then you said:

    "These are smart people that are doing their damnedest to produce world class software. The truth of the matter is that Microsoft routinely produces extensions that ADD VALUE to Microsoft products. I often use a variety of the MSXML extensions to the DOM because I am developing for Microsoft platforms and they SAVE ME TIME as a developer."

    Again, that's fine, as far as it goes. And if you agree that a corporation is indeed composed of people, many of whom genuinely try to make things better, then you should be willing to accept that one's actions have repercussions for which one must be held responsible, for better or for worse.

    The fact that certain tools save you time when working in a certain context is nice. I like time-saving tools. For me as an application developer who has specialised in managing large collections of amorphous, heterogeneous data, I've learned that standards are more important in the long run that the benefit of a quick non-standard hack. I've also learned that my convenience does not trump the common good. Just because it's more convenient for me to use port 80 for SOAP doesn't make it better. It does the opposite, in fact; it makes the security and management situation incalculably worse.

    If you accept the position that corporations are made of people working for a common cause in a free and fairly competitive manner, than you have to accept that there are certain times when a small individual sacrifice is necessary for the betterment of all. In short, whatever benefits may derive to you should never trump the common good. There are limits beyond which even profit motive should not allow one to venture.

    You either have to accept that, or argue for the soulless corporation - which, of course, we've already rejected, you and I.

    So if you accept that in some cases individual benefit can erode the common good, then surely you can accept that some people would rather that a company not follow a certain course when it's been demonstrated that that particular course is subversive to the health of the community.

    I'm not asking you to agree with me in the details, but you must, in good conscience, accept that it's reasonable for someone to view Microsoft's Embrace and Extend policy as subversive and ultimately countrary to the common good.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!