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MS writing Internet Explorer for Linux? 358

fremen writes "Spencer F. Katt has a few lines in his weekly column about Microsoft vs. Linux, including a comment about Microsoft forming a team to write a version of Internet Explorer for Linux. He indicates that Redmond is afraid, very afraid. "
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MS writing Internet Explorer for Linux?

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  • You should try vmware [vmware.com]! I've been running it since 1.0 came out a week and a half ago, and it works great so far. Havn't run any games in it yet, but Office works fine...
  • The main reason I don't use any Micro$oft products is because I never appreciated M$ trashing my data. I run Linux now and am proud to say I am M$-free. I would never take the chance of putting IE for Linux on my machine. Who knows what sort of nasty code will be in there. Such as code to steal your /etc/passwd, as one example. Would anybody actually trust this?
  • It's impossible because they are already horrible beyond comprehension. Their products are intolerably, insufferably broken.

    • Need a way to slow down great hardware? Install Windows NT. It's guaranteed to bog down even the fastest machine -- when it's not blue-screening.
    • Try running 3 or 4 reasonably-sized apps on NT in 64MB. Try switching between them, and then go make coffee while the disk grinds. Then try the same in less RAM in a Linux box. *Ping* it's up.
    • Once again it has happened to me: using a M$ app on a M$ OS, doing nothing but working completely within the bounds of said app's interface, not trying anything fancy -- and BOOM the app locks up tighter than a drum, taking an hour's worth of work with it. That's "quality"!

    I'm not so much bothered by the fact of bugs. I'm bothered by the lies surrounding those bugs. I'm incensed by the expectation that I HAVE TO PAY FOR M$ TO FIX THEIR ROTTEN SOFTWARE. It's intolerable.

    The average person settles for M$ trash because they simply don't know they have a choice. They simply don't realize that it doesn't have to be this way: they don't have to suffer crashes and data loss and bugginess. Linux is a deliverance from the filth and putrescence that oozes out of Redmond, spreading the disease of frustration with computers.

    If M$ ever produces IE for Linux, it will be as bloated (like all their products) as a tick on a dog. It will be as slow as a slug sliming its way through the filth and decay of compost pile. It will be as buggy as a malarial swamp, with none of the swamp's beauty.

    And it will go on MY Linux box over my dead body.

    Microsoft: it's not just a corporation; it's a pestilence.

  • Your passwd file.. No I dont see any use for MS to get that, but..
    How about a list of all the Apps you run, Marketing would love that..
    The Serial numbers of all your MS software, or any other SPA protected code on your machine... Yepp, I see Legal slavering over that..
    How about the top 10 websites you visit, mmmm good for market research and popup ads targetted at you via your GUID cookie.

    Remember that Linux has no GUID cookie. Linux has no Pentium III ID-cracking CraptiveX malicious applets.

    Don't want M$ to know what's on your Linux box? Cut off file permissions to all that's necessary. The reason why all the BackOrifice and M$ GUID/spy software works is because under Windows everything always runs as the Linux equivalent of "root" with 777 permissions on everything. Cut off its access to the files, and you're OK. Run Internet Explorer under a restricted user or even run it all under a chroot'ed environment if you're that paranoid about your files....
  • I would hold off on the anti-Linux conspiricy theories. (Try anti-Netscape.) Microsoft hasn't been using IE/Solaris and IE/HP-UX to secretly undermine those platforms.

    For some reason, they didn't want to get stuck with the "single platform" tag for IE, so they produced the unix versions. A version of IE out on Windows, Mac, and Linux/Solaris/HPUX probably covers about 99.9% of the web browsing machines out there. Once they have that they can start signing up content providers to produce IE-only sites.
  • The best way to do it though is to run Terminal Server.

    And Terminal Server comes built into which version of NT4? Oh.

    Funny how multiuser capabilities are built into nearly every major OS since 1970, disregarding the degenerate case of a few popular desktop products, and yet is an add-on product grafted on to NT over 10 years after its initial release.

    What's the NT equivalent of:
    $ sudo fredp -c "xterm" &
    $ sudo miked -c "xterm" &
    $ sudo billg -c "rm -fr /" &
    $ sudo luser -c "netscape http://www.microsoft.com/" &
    $ sudo yuser -c "netscape http://www.sun.com/" &
    gin: harrys
    $ top

    I'd imagine it would involve something arcane and poorly documented, involving manipulating SIDs by hand. And I strongly suspect it wouldn't be something the casual user could take advantage of.

    Yes, it's unfair to say NT isn't multiuser. With some various bolt-ons and heavy work with a saw, it is in fact multiuser by most standards. However, I think it's fair to say NT isn't as thoroughly or intuitively multiuser as UNIX.

    That seems to be by design as best I can tell.

  • Get a window manager that supports frameless windows, map the maximise key to F11, and set up your apps so they have no menus. Hey pretso! You can do that to all your windows.
    Whats so important about that extra centimeter, though, I don't know. Shiesh.
  • That *sounds* good, but have you been following the "shrinkwrap license" law proposal. (Sorry about the vague language. Check the recent Gripe Line in, I think, PC Week). Basically it seems to mean that the contracts are not only legally binding, but they can be changed AFTER you agree to them.
    Actually, this is the issue that finally caused me to decide to switch to Linux.
  • Just don't use Shift-Insert, and Netscape 4.07 (I think... 4.0-something, anyway) works fine for me (RedHat 5.2 with a 2.2.2 kernel). I've only had it crash once in the last 2 months or so.

    Unfortunately, shift-insert (to paste text) locks it up, and you have to kill -9 it, but I've managed to wean myself (after a number of very painful lock-ups) off that windows-ism, and use M-v instead.
    - Sean
  • One of the big attractions of Linux is that it is NOT Microsoft. I don't thing many people would really want Linux compatibility in NT.

    Consider that because of the Open Source, how many Linux apps are there that aren't already available for NT? All of the GNU tools are, also perl, and countless other apps and utilities. The advantage with Linux is that they all come with the OS, in the NT world you have to buy or download them.
  • HUH?? to you to dude!

    Did you think that DELL etc's Windows business vanished because they pre-installed Linux ?

    Perhaps you forget that the same vendors (DELL,...) are also MS customers for Windows.
    DELL refuses to put IE5 on Linux pre-installs,
    MS squeezes their Windows contract.
    Replace DELL with another vendor name.
    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Just because DELL etc install Linux doesn't overnight make them free of MS leverage. ALL Intel box vendors ( except Linux-only vendors )
    are subject to MS monopoly arm-twisting.

    Nitin Borwankar
  • by arielb ( 5604 )
    The whole point of getting IE on linux is get all the webpages in the world to conform to MS standards instead of cross-browser/w3c standards. That way you'd pay for MS servers running on NT or MS Office on Windows which is tuned for the new MS web. Demand a standards compliant browser from mozilla or Opera or kfm or whatever. Just don't think MS would work on a free browser for linux to strengthen linux
  • duh... try change user /?
    'It's kind of fun to do the impossible.'
  • I don't know if I'm mistaken or not, but wasn't MS spewing BS about IE being part of the operating system? Gee. kcin
  • It sure was meant to be taken seriously. With all the privacy invading tracking "features" already included in the most popular M$ products, I don't want any of that to affect me. Hence, I don't use Micro$oft crap, nor will I in the future. M$ has been tracking users for years, yet it was unraveled not too long ago, and of course, they lied about it by saying, "Oh, that was a feature that was supposed to have been turned off" and whatnot.
    It's hard enough trusting my machines at work that have M$ OSs on, but when I rely on my home PCs (not as replaceable), I'm not going to chance M$ copping a peek at my data.
  • "Unsupported" glibc2 version works much better. I have also found a strange problem with Dynamic Fonts with Netscape 4.6 on my system, so I had to remove that library, but that was the only thing that was broken.
  • Here is a link [vcnet.com] you might be looking for. It summarizes some, but not all I have heard, of the dirty tricks.
  • I don't use Netscrape or Internet Exploder.

    I use kfm from the KDE windowing system.

    It really works pretty well, and no extra overhead.
  • If history is any indication, this is a Bad Thing. M$ is now infamous for writing Trojan Horse Software:
    1. Clone a Good Thing to 'offer an alternative'.
    2. 'Innovate' via extend and embrace.
    3. Squelch the competition with rapid upgrade cycles and useless feature marathons.

    Yeah, MSIE for Linux will be a slick product, but it will only compile with the M$libc libs, and as root - so kiss your competitive alternative bye-bye. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if it required us to compile a 'special' driver right into the kernel.
  • Its not cool to joke about bombing a company that has problems with quality. Its not very nice and a good way to get in heaps'o'trouble.

    Put it in perspective by imagining one of your coworkers in the next cubicle laughing at great lengths about the company's new firearms policy. Would it make you uneasy?
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @06:45AM (#1880213) Journal
    Silly to think that someone could gain influence over the Internet by implementing special HTML tags?
    1. Head over to the Web Standards project [microsoft.com], and note the troubles special HTML tags are even now causing.
    2. Ponder how many browsers are available for the general public. And why aren't they around? Because they can't handle the "real web", which is populated with lots of special tags? (recall that many of the "special" tags have been standardized after the fact, like CENTER)
    3. Consider whether the browser wars were NOT overhyped, but are, in fact, mostly over now. And Microsoft and Netscape both have tremendous influence on the Internet, with, say, Mosiac nothing but a faint memory.
    It's not silly to think that... it's just that it already happened, and you no longer notice, because it's in the background.
  • Whatever happened to the Opera port that TrollTech was supposed to be doing? I looked at the apropriate web sites a couple of days ago and there has been no update.
  • I hadn't heard that problem before, but I did hear (admittedly second-hand) from someone who used IE for Solaris. He said that it was constantly polling, driving system load up to insane heights even when he wasn't doing anything with it. As a result, he dumped it almost immediately.

    I have an old Sun that isn't doing anything that could run Solaris 7 - perhaps I'll check it out one of these days.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft stuck with poor programming practices to make Solaris look bad, and if so, IE for Linux is likely to be terrible. They certainly wouldn't take much time optimizing it, when doing so would make Windows look bad.

    I don't think there's much doubt that current IE is a cleaner product than current Netscape, simply because they did a complete rewrite in 4.x, while Netscape tried switching around their bloated code base. In the end, though, the new Netscape should run rings around it. I sure hope they recreate the old Netscape 3 user interface, which was IMHO the best I've ever seen in a browser. Netscape 4's "pale imitation of IE" interface was a massive step backwards, as JWZ tacitly acknowledged on his web pages even before he quit.

    If IE for Linux would bring better fonts (such as Verdana) to the Linux platform, it might really help us. But I'm not betting on it.

    Incidentally, for political reasons I am unlikely to use any Microsoft browser for my regular web surving in the foreseeable future; it sends an unmistakably pro-MS message to the world, and I don't want that to be my message. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean NS is actually better than IE; it just means I don't want to publically support MS with every log entry I write on someone's server.


  • Who knows what sort of nasty code will be in there. Such as code to steal your /etc/passwd, as one example.

    I realize that this post wasn't meant to be taken seriously; however, I don't think this sort of comment is very wise. We get cross, and rightly so, when MS spin doctors spread FUD about Linux. Therefore, we really shouldn't be making unfounded allegations about MS, even in fun, lest we stoop to their level.

    I am aware that I might provoke "shut up, you've got no sense of humour" type reactions for saying this. I just think that we need to be careful about what we say.

  • I can't think of any announced ports that never occured...

    Vaporware does not imply that it won't be done, but it describes a product that does not exist for some time.

    For example, if evil company X promises product Y at Z date, you have 0 until Z. Not only that, W competitors will see that X in gearing up for Y and can steamroll their marketing projections for U. What this means is that U will get 0 and consumers get the shaft.
  • Since IE on Windows is so deeply into the OS itself (see last years case against DOJ). Will This mean Microsft will spend $ in engeneering to push the linux Kernel ? (Makes me wonder, will it be faster on linuw than on NT ?, How will it compete with mozilla and its "brothers" ?).
    Anyway having the right to choose between many options always leads to freedom - that a good thing for Computing ... NeXT they'll have to port XL and Word .... This might help push free Oses into coprorates space (since *BSD can run linux apps).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:11AM (#1880247)
    Does anyone actually _believe_ these announcements anymore? How many times have you heard "Microsoft is going to port product [x] to platform [y]." ? Now think about how many times it's actually happened.

    Yawn. I suppose we need to keep an eye on Redmond. But --dang!-- those vaporware announcements are getting boring.
  • You missed my point... I fail to see how the ability to run Linux programs will be a selling point of W2K. Remember W2K is NT, not consumer Windows. Name a program that runs on Linux, and I'll bet that you can find a native Windows port already, so why bother with emulation?

    Linux compatibility may appeal to PHBs, but I don't think it will to many others.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First off, stop with the insipid "M$" and "Micro$oft". Your attempt at rebellion goes unnoticed by Microsoft and only goes to make the rest of Linux users look like unthinking anti-Microsoft fanatics.

    Microsoft never started an anti-Linux group. They started an analysis group. Sorry, but as much as ESR and the fanatics would like to think so, the revenue lost to Linux is rounding error in Microsoft's budget.

    Thus, users have no reason to be wary. Remember, capitalism functions on competition, and keeping an eye on your market tends to pay off for a company.

    If anything, developing Microsoft Explorer for Linux would lend more credence to the operating system, validating to corporate managers (the people controlling the budget) that Linux is at least a blip strong enough that Microsoft can afford to turn a tiny fraction of its resources towards it.
  • all the Unix freeware of interest has been ported to NT as well.

    It's been ported, but it doesn't necessarily work. I tried a port of zsh (my preferred Unix shell) under NT. I tried ^Cing a process. NT bluescreened. This is not intended as a slur againt NT, I'm just pointing out that OS to OS ports are often a bit flaky (as the HP-UX port of IE also illustrated). It always seems best to run an app natively on the OS it was designed for, rather than relying on a port.

  • by Sensor ( 15246 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:06AM (#1880266)
    Reading a few of the other comments in this thread I just had a thought. Don't MS use IE as their active Desktop, and several people have suggested that IE would require a port of the Win32 interface.

    Well could a Linux version of IE be a MS built window manager?

    It is afterall the desktop users that MS is really concerned about... suppose you didn't need that /nasty/ X-Server/window manager combination but instead you could run a linux OS with IE5 sat directly on top (using something like an SVGA library) giving you your desktop.

    For people who understand X its wonderful and versatile as hell... but its also very complex and has plenty of security issues associated with it. Is that really what a simple end user wants?

    Just imagine for a moment a box which ran the Linux kernal and a most of a normal distro and thus was remote adminable - but provided an end user with a windows interface and the same apps as they currently use.

    I'd guess that each user would require their own registry or something - nasty as this might sound to some I can see the appeal.

    The end user gets a familure box and doesn't need to learn anything new and the admins get remote access and proper file permissions.

    like I said, just an idea

  • Rumors of vaporware, now that's even better! See how people all got worked up over this? Maybe it was leaked on purpose this way, or perhaps as you suggest, maybe someone just made it all up. I prefer to call it innovative marketing.
  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@@@bigfoot...com> on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:51AM (#1880274) Homepage
    The above, my fellow Slashdotters, is a troll. Please take a few minutes to study the warning signs of a troll, to see the dangers of trolls, and to learn the proper way of dealing with a troll.

    I am not the most expert of trollologists; I am sure that Slashdot has much better trollologists. I just got here first. Feel free to reply to this to add points I missed, or argue points you think I am wrong about.

    How to Recognize a Troll

    A troll is a form of luser that makes incindiary remarks in order to get others to lose their cool, thus making worse incindiary remarks and making complete fools out of themselves.

    Many trolls are made by anonymous cowards; people who do not want to be recognized. But not every AC is a troll, and not every troller is an AC. Some will troll from their named accounts; those are the brave trolls. What we have here is a specimin of the more cowardly troll.

    But more important than the username is the post. The "best" kind of troll post will make a remark specifically engineered to push the hot buttons of the group being trolled (here, Slashdot itself). Additionally, the perfect troll fails to give any useful or arguable information.

    Two perfect trolling sentences here are, "The current Linux file system sucks" and "With MS beginning to support the Linux community, Linux will be an improved product.". both hit hit a Slashdot hot button (there is a lot of "Microsoft-is-evil/Linux-is-good" running around here). Both are too vague to provide any useful information.

    The Dangers of a Troll

    The danger here is that, without any real information to argue, the tendency is to degenerate into a flame war. "The current Linux file system sucks" is not even an arguable fact; it is a broadbased opinion, posted to a group of people who believe the opposite.

    A properly placed troll can tempt otherwise rational people into portraying themselves as complete idiots. Especially with Microsoft, this is exceedingly dangerous.

    Microsoft would love to portray the Linux community (including Slashdot) as knee-jerk jack-booted weirdo geeks. They want to show us as untrustworthy people who can fly off the handle. This is where Astroturfing comes in.

    Microsoft performs "Astroturfing". This means starting up fake grassroots movements. They tried to do this to forestall the DOJ trial, and were exposed. I do not believe that they are above hiring people to troll Slashdot and similar things, in order to show us making complete fools out of ourselves.

    How to respond to Trolls

    The first thing is how not to respond to a troll. Don't let them sucker you in. Think before you post, and do not post a flaming ball of hatred. This will do you, and Slashdot as a whole, harm. That's why flames get moderated down. But they're still on the record, so you and we still get to look like idiots.

    Often, the best way to respond to a troll is to ignore it. This pisses a troll off worse than anything. Some trolls will respond by trolling more. At this point, you get to watch them making complete fools out of themselves. Remember: it is better to be silent and thought a fool, then to speak up and remove all doubt.

    The other thing one can do is to note the troll as such. Newbie users won't recognize trolls as well as old farts, so this helps keep the newbies from flaming the trolls. Here, moderation does this. The troll above was moderated up; I disagree with that, so I'm writing this to mark the troll as such.

    Again, please feel free to add to this or correct me. Just Say No To Trolls.

  • by Steelehead ( 14790 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @07:31AM (#1880276) Homepage
    Go to the netscape archive [netscape.com]. All versions back to 2.x for Win, Mac and *nix platforms.
    Opera is still not quite ready ( I check every week). Check out their Project Magic [operasoftware.com] page.
  • by Gary Franczyk ( 7387 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:40AM (#1880278)
    Whatever you do, dont install it... I installed IE for solaris once, and it completely hosed my Netscape installation... And anyone who does any UNIX programming knows that you have to purposely tell a program to write to disk and things dont happen by "accident" like it does with IE and netscape... I for one, will never install it on my computer if they do make it for linux.
  • Wow... seems like a minefield for Gates to traverse, whether he's using Minesweeper or Demineur. Seriously, though: how well would IE-Linux sell? I wouldn't pay for it, and I'm a Linux newbie; Netscrape is still a wee bit crufty, but it's on par with IE-Mac (which has had time to settle down).
    I would download it for free, but only if I backed up my data first, or had just done a clean install of a new Linux flavor.

    But how well it sells and how well it works right out of the box are both, in a way, irrelevant. Doesn't the whole Open Source mantra prevent M$ from selling it? Doesn't it also mean that J. Random Hacker can improve the version at home and clean out the cruft? Obviously, I'm a newbie... but I don't see the menace here.

    If it's useful or improvable, Linux users will use and improve it.

    If it supports the evil empire or has a tendency to make Linux less stable than NT (a neat trick if Bill can pull it off), then Linux users will abandon it, and it will die.

    My only fear is that they will release the Linux version before their DoJ verdicts are in, and massive (but still small vs. Netscape) download stats will allow them to claim that Netscape occupies a "MS-Like" position in the Linux universe. This will allow a flawed (but attractive) argument that "if they can do that to us, why can't we do that to them?" based on a claim that the Linux and Windows are basically equivalent battlefields.

    By the way... does anyone know why Netscape for Linux still basically sucks? I work in Windows using IE when I want to use the web because Netscape for Linux is so laggy--and it's the only choice besides Lynx.

    I hate to say it, but the competition might get Netscape off its ass to develop a fast, useful browser. Let's just hope that the benefit doesn't outweigh the cost.


    Orange marmalade makes everything taste better.
  • So Microsoft ports MSIE to Linux. Anyone care to guess which (if any) distribution would carry it? It seems to me that Microsoft has pretty much locked itself out of the Linux desktop. Of course, there's always "MS:L". Ugh.
  • by Paradox !-) ( 51314 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:40AM (#1880281) Homepage
    So is this the same as MS vs. Netscape or different?
    1. MS was afraid of Netscape
    2. MS writes Navigator clone, then 'embraces and extends' it, bundling it into the Windows OS, giving it away for free
    3. Navigator market share crumbles
    4. Netscape loses momentum and edge, stock decreases (perhaps causing some Netscape coders to rethink their options...literally?)
    5. IE 5.0 debuts to rave pundit reviews, Netscape is broken up and sold in pieces to two lesser industry evils...

    1. MS is afraid of Linux
    2. MS is NOW writing a Lunix clone (think I remember a /. article on this...but don't see it in the older section...could be simply delusional) as well as porting IE to Linux - embrace and extend from multiple fronts
    3. Unix market share, viz NT, is crumbling (Linux is cannibalizing the commercial Unix marketshare for its own marketshare, rather than converting NT shops to Unix, IMHO)

    But here is where I think it's different.

    4. Linux DEVELOPMENT is non-commercial. The psychic well-being of the coders is not dependent on the fate of a single company, or stock options. Linux should retain its momentum and edge for at LEAST another year
    5. Next year conflicts among Linux distributions become a much bigger issue as marketshare growth for Linux begins to flatten - most commercial Unices other than Solaris will probably be inconsequential by this time next year. (blatent, unfounded, bold, bull-ony prediction)
    6. MS folds Linux-like functionality into NT, making the OS even more unweildy, but allowing MS to claim to the biz market it has all the good parts of Linux, without that bad lack-of-single-vendor part. Glossy mags go wild for MS LiNTux (thereby MS co-opts both Tux and Linux while keeping the NT brand).

    7. Linux coders setup the "Free State of Silicon Valley and Finland," declare war on "The People's Republic of Redmond."

    8. President Ventura intervenes, sending in the 101st Airborn and SeALs. As the first victorious third-party candidate in US history, he asserts that precedent to legally mandate all computers to run a third-party OS...BEOS!!!

    Ahem...sorry...got out of hand there.
  • Would it be that hard for them to port it to Linux if they already have IE 4.01 and IE 5.0 for Solaris and HP-UX? (They do have it available for download.) I mean, would there be a lot of code to rewrite If they already got the thing working on other POSIX compliant OS's?

    Even though I LOVE Linux, I do welcome IE, even though it's from M$, It is the superior browser, that wasn't the case when they were both like 2.0, but the more they progress, the more bugs I see in netscape, and the the more I see IE handle browsing the web better and better. Even though navigator craps out for me a lot (I'm talking about the Win95 versions here), I tend to use it more, because If IE crashes, it pretty much screwed up the whole Windoze environment, seeing as how they make it part of the "operating system".

    The biggest reason I welcome IE to Linux is because I'd like to see a Linux browser that properly handles Cascading Style Sheets. I have yet to see that on Linux browsers.
  • Would this be a complete re-write of IE? If so It might give MS the oportunity to do something right. If MS has a group of Linux programmers working on this they just might do the right thing and make a light weight, modular and fast browser. They might also see the threat from the Linux/Mozilla combo and react with a decent product. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new browser war - one where MS tries to out-do Mozilla and take control of the browsing experience on Linux. Do you think Red Hat, Caldera, Suse and others would include MSIE on commercial distributions?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And your is an old mistake. IE is avaiable only for Solaris and HP-UX, it means: *commercial* UNIXes. There is no Linux version at this time. Althought I think that it should not be hard to compile a Linux version (there was a page on the Microsoft web site explaining how they did the Unix port, it's interesting), this will have a strong significance that it goes beyond the program itself: they're making a program for *Linux*, the so hated and FUDded OS.
    (Note that Microsoft needs a team just to... "port" the Solaris IE to Linux, that I think it's mainly a matter of recompiling and some testing...).
  • A lot of posters seem to miss the point of a browser from a commerical perspective.

    Why are Netscape and Microsoft fighting so hard to give away their browsers? The point is forming a portal for the average Joe's out there, being the first page they see. When you start up a new install of IE, it takes you to MSN, and when you start up communicator it takes you to NetCenter.

    This is why AOL is such a powerful force in eCommerce - they can shove their adverts in the face of 30 million naive users every time the poor things log on.

    It's a fact that most beginners will stick with the first browser they see, the one that's preloaded on their computer, rather than taking the trouble to download something else. They don't know how to change the default home page. They're not sufficiently interested in computers to care. It's just like the way people (in the USA) who don't care about driving will buy a Ford or a Toyota with an automatic gearbox instead of a sports car with a 5 speed.

    Even if MS have no plans of window manager domination, nor to offer Office (their one "killer" app) on Linux, there is no reason to deny themselves the chance to trya nd be the portal for 7m Linux users, as a potential source of revenue.

    I'm no Microsoft fan, but I must admit the Unix version of MSIE5 is actually pretty good - the Solaris implementation is a lot less buggy than Communicator, for instance. It would take them less than 3 man months of work to make it notably better than Netscape's offering. Netscape are stuck between a rock and a hard place here - Microsoft can pour money into their browser effort, and Netscape have to play catchup on what is still their most important platform - Windows. This is why the Windows version of Netscape has better features than the Linux one, though it is slower ;-)

    It's arguably high time that Netscape put a bit more effort into their Linux port - on this platform, it is *their* browser that ships with the OS install, and that arguably offers them more potential than chasing the Windows download market.

    Perhaps competition from the powers of darkness in Redmond on what has been up until now uncontested turf will cause Netscape to wake up. Competitive innovation is after all one of the things that keeps Linux healthy.

    Personally, I will be sticking with Netscape for the forseeable future, but watching with interest.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You people are SO naive.

    Of course Microsoft is going to write software for Linux. How better to dominate Linux then to first monopolize the popular software on an OS then cut of its air supply. Anyone here following Apple?

    Once IE is available on Linux you can be guaranteed it will NEVER be as good on Linux as it is on Windoze.

    The beauty of it is, Microsoft comes out looking like a rose, and all of you suckers fall for it hook, line and sinker!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Katt is like Matt Drudge: he's a rumor monger. Like Drudge, sometimes he gets it right, sometimes he gets it wrong. It's entirely possible that somebody's promoting disinformation here. I just can't beleive that Microsoft is going to "endorse" Linux by porting apps to it. Linux is the one product they can't just "embrace, extend, destroy".
  • Netscape 3 had a kiosk mode that did exactly that.

    Netscape 4 also has a kiosk mode, but it's a
    secured feature. You have to allow it via the
    privilegeManager object first.

    This is as it should be. It would be quite
    easy to create a Windows-like full-screen
    view in Netscape 4 that could fool the average
    luser. See rive.boxybutgood.com's WindowMaker
    simulation for a non-full-screen example.

    How come there's an "open source" entry in the
    Jargon File [tuxedo.org], when there isn't a "free software" one?
  • Um....Mozilla and its new rendering engine are faster than anything Netscape has put out so far and should be significantly faster than anything MS has out. Check it out at mozilla.org
  • by MikeTurk ( 18201 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @07:52AM (#1880303)

    The reason Lynx can't view it is that it is framed, and there is no way to break out of the frame. Here's a straight copy.

    Creating a UNIX Application Using the Win32 API

    Nancy Winnick Cluts

    Microsoft Corporation

    November 1998

    Summary: Details the cross-platform development of Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.0 for UNIX using the Microsoft Win32® API. (4 printed pages)

    Yes, you read that correctly. I said that you can create a UNIX application using the Win32 application programming interface (API). And I have proof. Internet Explorer 4.0 for UNIX was written using the Win32 API. I bet you'd like to know how the team pulled that one off. (I know I did!) If you are interested in the details, read on.

    At TechEd in New Orleans, LA, in June 1998, Digvijay Chauhan, Development Manager of the Internet Explorer UNIX team, outlined the cross-platform issues in Internet Explorer 4.0 (for a full list of cross-platform issues, search for my article "Internet Explorer Runs Cross-Platform" on the MSDN Online Web Workshop site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/) as well as how to use the Win32 API for cross-platform development. This article is based on the second part of his presentation: Win32 development on Unix. Another session, titled "Targeting Unix & Windows Platforms with a Single Code Base: A Case Study" (IOP05) was given at the Professional Developers Conference in Denver.

    Win32 API on UNIX--A Case Study
    Imagine that you are on a development team and you are told that you need to develop a browser using the Win32 API and deliver it on both the Win32 and Unix (Solaris) platforms. In order to do this, you need to take into consideration the user interface differences as well as how you are going to actually code the application. X-Windows has a different user interface than Windows. With the pace of the software industry, you do not have the luxury of spending a lot of time and resources on this project--you must get this browser to market rapidly. You also must be sure the Unix version has the same rendering fidelity as the Win32 version. Finally, you must incorporate the Unix look. That's the challenge that the Internet Explorer UNIX team faced and met.

    The targeted time frame was 2-3 months after the Win32 version shipped. The team consisted of approximately 50 people. There were about 600 Win32 functions that were used by Internet Explorer. There wasn't time to start from scratch and create their own Win32 layer for Unix, so they looked at vendors that already had such a layer, and tools available. They found two such vendors: Bristol and Mainsoft. Throughout this project, there were some issues the team had to solve, including differences in focus, the Component Object Model (COM), the registry, performance, fonts, UI issues, and portability.

    The biggest area of trouble (read: bugs) had to do with focus. On X-Windows, the user can configure the workstation for multiple Window Manager modes and each Window Manager supports multiple modes. This leads to some interesting differences in the use of focus on Unix versus Win32. On a Win32-based platform, when the user clicks the mouse once on a window, that window gains the focus. On X-Windows, you can configure your system such that the focus follows the mouse. That is, when you move the mouse to a window, the focus automatically moves to that window. The workstation can also be set up to support auto raise focus--when the window gets the focus it is automatically put in the foreground. X-Windows also supports the single-click to focus scheme that Win32 supports. The Internet Explorer Unix team had to make sure the browser they created also supported these different forms of focus.

    In Microsoft Windows®, it is common for developers to create modal windows. A modal window is a window that, when it has the focus, does not let any other window within the application get the focus until the window is dismissed. For example, if you click the View menu on Internet Explorer and choose Internet Options, you will bring up a window that stays in focus until it is dismissed--if you click the Internet Explorer main window, you will hear a ding and the window will not come into the foreground. Windows developers create modal windows through the use of the GetMessage, TranslateMessage, and DispatchMessage functions in a loop. X-Windows employs a Window Manager that must be told, via hints, whether a window is modal or not. Unfortunately, this information is only read once, when the window is shown. The solution to this difference was to use a new window style hint to tell the Window Manager the window modality prior to the window being shown.

    Internet Explorer relies heavily on the Component Object Model (COM) in order to function. In fact, any of the window items you see that are outside of the client area of the screen (for example, the rebar, the dialog boxes, and so on) are all COM objects. They use COM to communicate between the browser and the other COM objects. One important portability problem faced by the team involved using C code to access COM object methods directly via virtual table (known as a vtable) structure pointers. The vtable layout is compiler-specific. As a result, the layout of the pointers is different on Solaris. The solution was to replace the C code accessing COM objects with C++ code.

    On Windows, the registry is used to store and access information such as user preferences. Most Windows applications read these values from the registry in order to persist data from session to session. In Unix, a user can log on to his workstation and use his home directory from any machine with all of his settings preserved. Because the registry resides on only one machine, this is problematic. The team had to figure out how to share registry information across machines.

    Another registry-related issue is synchronization of registry settings across processes. Okay, that's a complex sentence. In real terms: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook® Express share registry settings. If you change a registry setting in Internet Explorer, Outlook Express immediately reflects the changes.

    The solution was to keep the registry in a location that is shared by all workstations, leveraging a single home directory. This way, different processes, regardless of machine, can be in synch.

    The Internet Explorer Unix team created some simple and effective in-house performance tools to analyze performance bottlenecks and solve them. One tool wrapped all of the Win32 APIs in order to log the calls to the APIs as well as determine which thread called the API. This information was used to identify frequently used APIs and determine which should be optimized (the ones that were used often) and which were taking the most time.

    Another tool was created to analyze heap space. This was done by mapping the memory allocation functions (malloc, realloc, and so on) along with thread identifiers. They were then able to identify resource hogs (image copy was a big one) and where they could group allocations in order to maximize performance.

    In order to help in the debugging process, they created a program that modified exception-handling code to determine (via a stack trace) what caused Internet Explorer to crash. This was particularly helpful in determining if the testers had found a new bug or one that already existed, albeit in a new user scenario.

    The final tool that was created was a quick and dirty profiler. This profiler would suspend all threads in a process, sample the program counter, and map the symbols to get a running count of where the application was spending most of its time. Here again, the team could go back and optimize that code.

    There are a few exceptions to font support using Internet Explorer 4.0 on UNIX. Some fonts are simply not available on Unix. In general, Windows fonts will be mapped to those available on a particular Unix server. The Verdana, Arial, and Sans Serif fonts are mapped to the Helvetica font. The Marlett font is not supported on UNIX at all. Internet Explorer 4.0 Unix maps fonts to an equal or smaller point size. In addition, X-based servers can have different configurations and different font installations. As a result, it was necessary to map fonts for specific font installations on the server. Internet Explorer 4.x shipped some prebuilt font caches for standard server configurations. For nonstandard configurations, a font cache is built the first time the browser starts; however, this proved to cause a slowdown in startup. As a result, Internet Explorer 5.0 has changed to an alternate design.

    Interface Issues
    The Windows interface is different from the look you get when you run X-Windows-based Motif or common desktop environment (CDE) applications. The Internet Explorer Unix team had to take into consideration the different appearance for their version of the browser. Some of the interface issues that the team had to address were:

    A person running Unix is accustomed to using the + and + key combinations to position the cursor at the beginning or end of a line respectively.

    Tab completion is also an expectation of the X-Windows user. Tab completion was implemented at the application level by the team.

    The middle mouse button is also supported under X-Windows for copy-and-paste functionality.

    Selected text is automatically copied to the Clipboard and available to be pasted into another application.

    Menus stay dropped down after they've been clicked, even after the mouse moves away from the menu.

    Common dialog boxes look different. For example, the CDE File Open common dialog box and scroll bar widgets are different from their Windows counterparts. Based on user feedback, the Internet Explorer team decided to stick with the Windows 3.1 File dialog boxes and the CDE widgets for scroll bars.

    Multiple workspaces are supported by the Window Manager.

    Additional system menus are supported under CDE.

    CDE integration--including CDE color changes dynamically reflected in the application--required additional work.

    Coding Issues--Portability Problems
    When it got down to coding, there were some interesting issues that the team had to solve, including:

    The WCHAR is 4 bytes in most UNIX compilers and 2 bytes in Microsoft Visual C++®. As a result, there were many coding bugs found that assumed the size of a WCHAR was 2 bytes.

    Global variables in Win32 dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) are visible across processes, so it is important that developers are careful that these globals do not conflict with any variables within the Unix shared libraries.

    Win32 developers have come to rely on Win32 Structured Exception Handling (SEH) in their applications. Unix does not inherently support this. With the help of the Internet Explorer team, Mainsoft now includes fairly complete support for SEH in their Win32 layer.

    Visual C++ makes use of keywords for alignment, such as unaligned. The Unix team had to write macros to do alignment.

    Compilers for Unix do not support nameless nested structures.

    All of this was a lot of work and the Internet Explorer Unix team learned a lot from it. In the future, they plan to use a common code base between their Win32 and Unix versions so that a change in one will automatically be reflected in the other. They are planning to use the Apoge compiler (http://www.apogee.com/) for this common code base. They also plan to incorporate the feedback they get on interface issues. In the meantime, you now know that you, too, can develop your Unix application on Win32. The Internet Explorer team did it and so can you.

    © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of use.


  • Nope, I've seen people run NT Server as their desktop OS.
  • by Suydam ( 881 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:20AM (#1880307) Homepage
    GNOME and KDE already HAVE the active-desktop-esqe thing going on though....so I dont' really see the point.

    You could use GNOME, w/E running it's win95 theme w/win95 widgets and you've pretty much got a win95-look-and-act-alike.

    Just this week, I switched my roommate, who was a Win95 user to the core over to GNOME w/E....to him (using the configuration mentioned above) it's pretty much the same box he always used (without the apps of course).

    So even if they DID port the Win32 APIs over to Linux (PLEASE NO!!!) they wouldn't need to write a window manager.....

    It would be nice to have a working and fast version of IE5 though...it's so much better than NS4.6 it makes me sick.

  • i think that you can go to Microsoft's site and you have the option of downloading IE for UNIX. when you click on it, it says it's still in development and to be on the lookout for it, soon.
  • by jaraxle ( 1707 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:22AM (#1880323)
    Just wondering, who would actually use it? Knowing how vehemently most Linux users despise Microsoft (myself included), it would be interesting to get figures of how many people would use it if Microsoft actually came out with MSIE for Linux. I think I personally would, but only for testing purposes to make sure my web sites look right in both IE and Netscape. I figure that would be the main reason why most people would use it as well. Hey, at least it would be useful, eh?

  • ya, you're right... all "moral" issues aside, it would be great to have some decent competition in the browser area for Linux. However, I would be surprised if it's not a huge piece of bloatware. Another poster (sorry, can't remember who) mentioned that the Solaris port of IE effectively had the "whole Win32 API" running on top of the OS. If this is going to be the case for Linux IE, then I can't see it as anything but bloat. Probably won't be any better than what we currently have...

    Please Mozilla, hurry...! :)

  • The students' union installed it at school, so I gave it a try. It was disorienting to see IE in afterstep...

    But you have to admit that pages look gorgeous in it, with antialiasing and all. Sure, it's a pig and it's unusably slow, but that's what you get for re-implementing the font subsystem.

    I was really annoyed, though, to find that it requires 800K in one's home directory. And the ondisk cache settings aren't changeable.

  • CNN has this article [cnn.com], a review of the newer Communicator. Supposedly more stable, and, according to this author, slightly faster than MSIE 5

    Too bad I only use the standalone...
  • This is a pretty common "error" among StarOffice installations. It's not a well-set-up install program, and this trick is buried in the README.

    rm -fr the installation you did, and re-install as root using this command:

    ./setup /net

    Install everything in some dir like /usr/local/soffice. Then log in as a normal user, and run


    and select the "local installation" (the one that's only 5 megs, not 115) option. You'll have the program files in /usr/local/soffice and your personal files in your home dir.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i have an NT box at work, which i code html (heh) and asp on, and it has netscape so i can test compatibility, but i have my linux box right next to me to check *that* compatibility as well - which informed me that a linux box / browser couldn't cope with the java on our homepage - it crashed netscape every single time.

    i use IE because i can fullscreen the window - there's only the smallest of possible buttons, address bar, and such in *one row* across the top of my screen, without any frame - only the scroll bar. i don't want to look at a window frame, i just want web page. hell - i can even autohide the bar at the top, so the *whole screen* is webpage, except for the scroll bar.

    i want netscape to support this, and i want an alternative browser that isn't a development browser for linux (because the unwashed masses aren't going be viewing my pages with them :)

    so - who makes a browser that under X can go into a fullscreen mode, so i don't have to look at buttons i know keyboard shortcuts to, an address bar i can hide, and no annoying greyspace ?
  • *coughs*
    *Points at GPL* Only way that that would happen (MS Linux w/merged kernel&browser) is if they adhere to the GPL. They try it as proprietary crap and Stallman will probably be all over them. Now, MS coming up withe a library or three and THEN porting the browser over would be a likely scenario...but of course, what they'll port is the APIs and not the acutal browser, leaving us with the bloated crap the we've all come to love to hate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:16AM (#1880364)
    I *did* register, honestly. Just haven't got time right now to wait for my pwd. Coward or not, here's my 10c worth.

    Microsoft ported IE to Linux using MainSoft's Win32 port (they already trashed Bristol Software, Mainsoft's only competitor, by abruptly withdrawing their source code license - there's a lawsuit ongoing over this).

    At any event, consider this. A port of IE requires a port of Win32. Which would let everyone else port their software to Linux, right. All you have to do is download IE and then you have the Win32 APIs, unless MS take a lot of time and trouble to remove all the entry points or something. Even if they do, cunning individuals will for sure figure out a way of calling into those routines.

    Of course, WINE continues to evolve - although very very slowly - and maybe we *will* have Win32 for Linux soon. I know this will offend the purists but being able to port something quickly to Linux can only help Linux's future, even if the resulting mess might not be very elegant.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:46AM (#1880365) Journal

    It took a bit of digging but here is the link to "Creating a UNIX Application Using the Win32 API" --

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/isapi/msdnlib.idc?theU RL=/library/techart/msdn_unixwin32.htm

    Beware Netscape users: This page will load a really slow Java applet designed to make you wish you had ActiveX.

  • by jamesm ( 31089 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:26AM (#1880373)
    Why would it ever be open source?? The idea that MS would give away its browser source is almost laughable, especially in any way that would even remotely resemble OS. Microsoft is scared of open source; embracing the model would legitimize the Linux development model they have, so far, gone to great lengths to downplay in front of the media.

    If they were ever to 'embrace' the open source model, they would do so in a half-assed way in the form of something that is not even open source, such as restrictive licensing of NT source code that has been mentioned. That way, they can say "we tried it, and people didn't want it, it's a bad idea and it sucks... back to business". That is the ultimate in FUD. They essentially did the same thing when they ported IE to solaris; they bastardized the port - it was bloated, slow, buggy and the most pathetic piece of software I've ever had the misfortune of running. But I'm sure it shut up all the solaris people who had asked for a port, and it sure looks good when they can go to the media and say "look how badly our wonderful software runs on this platform; we tried, but it's just not as good as windows".

    The question of whether ie would be open source honestly never even crossed my mind.
  • I hope and pray that Mozilla will force a browser revolution. I see a future with truely standardized browsers, a networkable format for bookmarks, and many other wonderfull features.

    What I don't see helping this come about is the law suit of MS will help bring it about. MS is now on the browser offensive again. They are now going for the jugular and Netscapes next Gen is not ready yet.

    Then we have browser like Opera and the browser in Star Office that are fighting for some market share. I don't think they will capture their intended market unless they fully support standards like Mozilla does.Hopefully Mozilla will force every browser to support the true W3 standards!

    "There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix
    "SPOOOOOOOOON!" - The Tick, The Tick
  • by ReinoutS ( 1919 ) <.reinout. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:16AM (#1880379) Homepage
    Of course, WINE continues to evolve - although very very slowly - and maybe we *will* have Win32 for Linux soon. I know this will offend the purists but being able to port something quickly to Linux can only help Linux's future, even if the resulting mess might not be very elegant.

    Don't be too sure. Back in the time of OS/2 v2.x, IBM was pushing ISVs to release OS/2 versions of their windows software. This resulted in incredibly crappy ports (for example, WordPerfect 5.2 for OS/2), and OS/2 got blamed for the bad applications. (When in fact, good and native OS/2 applications were available from other vendors - the Describe word processor for example - but never got the attention they deserved.)

  • by Stephen Williams ( 23750 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:49AM (#1880392) Journal
    I remember, not too long ago, MS ported IE 3(?) to Solaris (?) and was saying that they were porting it to the two remaining big unicies (which were HP-UX and SCO, as I recall)

    I tried IE for HP-UX last year. It stank: it was almost unbelievably slow; the GUI was a custom-designed job that looked like the illegitimate child of Windows and Motif; the Unix convention for config files (human-readable text files) was thrown out the window - the silly thing created a $HOME/.microsoft directory and wrote a registry into it.

    It strikes me that Microsoft's engineers have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a port to Unix should be. It should have the functionality of the Windows original, but behave in a way typical of the target platform. The HP-UX port felt like a botched job.

  • by Bob-K ( 29692 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:45AM (#1880396)
    It seems to me that browsers are really a pretty trivial application. That's not meant to downplay the fact that there are some complex things going on inside. But look at the interface. Forward, Back, choose a bookmark. From the users' perspective, they're all pretty much the same. Unlike word processors or spreadsheets or accounting or graphic packages, there really aren't many ways to make one browser dfferent from the next, especially from the end-users' perspective.

    It turns out the browser wars were insanely overhyped. It looked important three years ago, but in retrospect, it seems pretty silly to think that somebody could gain influence over the Internet by implemeting and promoting special HTML tags.
  • There should never be only one solution available for a component as important as a browser.

    I'm continually stunned at how little competition there is in the browser market, which was essentially ceded to Microsoft and Netscape/AOL in an amazingly short time.
  • Previously, Microsoft were in control of the market ; if you didn't install IE on a Windows PC, you wouldn't get windows.

    In the future : Microsoft will be in no position to demand that IE be installed upon Linux boxes, as they have nothing to threaten with.

    That's what it's all about : abuse of a monopoly (the monopoly of supplying Win32 operating systems). They don't and can't have a monopoly in Linux, therefore they can't abuse their it.

  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@@@bigfoot...com> on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:21AM (#1880403) Homepage
    The other question is: how deeply can one integrate something into the Linux kernel before open-sourcing it? For all their talk about deep OS integration, we of the Linux community might have a strong case to require them to copyleft IE for Linux.

    OTOH, I'm not exactly holding my breath on the port, with or without source code. This is less than vaporware; this is a rumor of vaporware.

  • by nbor ( 18666 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @08:12AM (#1880415) Homepage
    This seems to me to be a way to get back control of the straying PC makers.
    Now MS can demand that they install IE5 on Linux whenever the PC makers pre-install Linux.
    This is the thin edge of the wedgie, folks.


  • Actually, IE is quicker (and craftier).

    Everytime one changes the window dimentions or font size/face or even changes the toolbars under Netscape (any platform), it reloads the page from the network. IE does the sensible thing and just redraws it from cache.

  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:46AM (#1880419) Homepage
    I suspect that this version won't be the IE that people have come to know. On my Windows machines, I use IE5 and I love it. It integrates rather nicely with the operating system, takes advantage of many of Windows' features, and provides a very smooth, stable browsing platform. I've also used IE4.5 for the Mac, and the complete opposite is true. It was slow, bloated, tended to crash a lot, and extremely clunky to use. Without the operating system's built-in mechanisms to take advantage of, IE becomes just another application and it's not particularly an efficient one.

    I probably won't even touch IE for Linux if the rumor is true (I think it is; Microsoft legitimizes Linux as a competitor if they develop their software for it). Netscape, even the browser standalone is large enough as it is and I don't need another browser mussing up my system.
  • IE was ported to Unix with Software AG's porting toolkit, which has Linux as a target. It effectively runs the entire Win32 API on top of Unix, and is exactly the bloated monstrosity you think it is. Then to top it off they statically link it with Motif.
  • by segmentation fault ( 30564 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:27AM (#1880423)
    It is actually bad enough to make me wonder why they bothered.

    You don't have to be paranoid to realize that the reason they "ported" it and actually released that piece of crap was to demonstrate to the public that Solaris is not a useable OS for running desktop applications.

    It just isn't possible to write something that crappy and bloated by accident or incompetence.

    I guess the reason there's no IE for Linux yet is that they won't recognize it as an OS. When they do that, they will probably release IE for it, and it will be at least as crappy as the Solaris version.

  • I keep hearing that people are stuck with Netscape or Lynx. HotJava has a newer version out that's not a fraction of the speed-impaired pig that HJ1 was.

    I've been using HJ at work now to access a number of NS-crashing java applets - though I'm starting to believe that ALL applets will crash NS.

    HJ 3.0 is nice enough for those applets, and for general browsing. It's at http://java.sun.com/products/hotjava/ and runs with the blackdown 1.17 jre or jdk.

    Also stumbled across http://www.sun.com/software/linux/ while I was looking for the link above.

  • by eponymous cohort ( 8637 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @06:52AM (#1880426)
    If IE for Linux would bring better fonts (such as Verdana) to the Linux platform, it might really help us. But I'm not betting on it.

    You can install a truetype font server under Linux and use your Veranda font under Netscape now.

  • Microsoft seems to be up to their same old games. Historically speaking, they have in the past used their application arm to bring down competition.

    A case in point was the use of Word to bring down Mac sales. The Mac version of Word (5.0?) contained all of the source for the Windows version as well as the Mac code. This gave the Wintel platforms a decided performance advantage, in addition to the stability issues.

    This advantage was a factor in at least one large company's deciding to transition from Mac to Wintel platform.

    The same happened to a couple of companies who were running OS/2.

    I would not only advise users not to support IE and other Microsoft apps under Linux, but I would also make sure to advise any corporate entities that you deal with who are using or considering Linux as an alternative. With all of the OSS alternatives (like StarOffice, the Gimp, and other apps out there), it is entirely possible to run a Linux machine in a Microsoft network.
  • by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:25AM (#1880430) Homepage

    I basically agree, however, there is an increasing demand (at least in my company) for intranet web-based applications. Static content is fine, but having a web application is a great way to distribute functionality without the overhead of installing programs on client machines. Since most systems nowadays have web browsers, there is (usually) no additional work to be done. Just give them a URL. The problem as I see it is that the standard form elements provided are too simplistic. Simple text boxes, radio buttons, and drop down lists are fine but are limiting. Also, it was only recently that a standardized document object model was introduced by W3C. That, with a good scripting language, can lead to beautiful and functional applications that people can use in a familiar environment.

    IE5 provides a nice platform for web applications. A well designed object model (proprietary, but it is well done) with generally solid scripting has allowed us to develop some really cool web pages. Given the newer standards released by W3C, Mozilla and other non-IE browsers should give Microsoft a run for their (lots of) money.

  • A year or two ago, it seemed as though that the PHBs all over the place couldn't wait to dump their Unix systems in favor of NT. But I believe that reality has set in. I see many more cases of Unix and even Linux being chosen over NT. I see fewer people who truly believe in NT.

    As for the numbers, yes NT is selling a lot, but what is it being used for? Many companies are now using NT, even NT server on the desktop. File & Print, Mail, things like that.

    The really interesting thing is that NT systems tend to be deployed for single tasks, where Unix systems tend to do more. It's not uncommon to see 5-10 NT systems peform the task of one Unix system.
  • Geeks tend to forget that their perspective on Microsoft is unusual. 95% of the software-buying population thinks Microsoft is okay. (Semi-random number - but the point being nearly all.) You'll never convince most people to use Linux based on the virtue that it isn't Microsoft - they don't care about that. One of the big attractions to the current linux community is that it's not Microsoft, perhaps - but that's a dead end road, that's gotten all the people its going to get.

    The way, now, to make Linux attractive is to make it _better_ than Microsoft. Anything else is pointless - if Microsoft makes a better OS, where better is defined as possessing qualities that make people use it more often, then they deserve to win. Getting distracted by ideology will make the people who don't hate Microsoft not want to listen to the good parts, where Linux will help them do their jobs better.
  • by Tolchz ( 19162 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:47AM (#1880437) Homepage
    2. MS is NOW writing a Lunix clone (think I remember a /. article on this...but don't see it in the older section...could be simply delusional) as well as porting IE to Linux - embrace and extend from multiple fronts

    They might be also writing a Linux clone but in Windows 2000 there is going to be the capability to run Linux applications on top of Windows. They got together with Interix [interix.com] to achieve this.

  • Nah - IE for Macintosh is actually a native Mac application, with considerably less bloat than Netscape. (And you could argue, the Windows version.)

  • Coincidentally, I tried out IE5 for Solaris/Sparc this morning. Boy does it suck. It's horrendously slow and bloated. Though both of those apply to Netscape, too, they're worse in IE5. If the Linux version is similar, I, for one, won't be using it for anything other than verifying that my web pages look OK in both browsers.

    Roll on Mozilla...

  • Netscape for win32 has a full screen mode IIRC. It's called super kiosk mode (we used it for some library computers that were basically web browsing terminals). You have to start netscape with an argument of -sk I think, but I could be wrong... there's docs about this kind of stuff on the developer portion of netscape's massive web page.

    My car is orange, my sig is not.
  • Linux and Unix are not the same. It is not likely that the source will be available, so the Solaris verion of IE would be rather non-useful to a Linux user.

    Microsoft has admitted to supporting various forms of Unix, or at least recongnizing their existance. It has not publically admitted to the existance of Linux (except in the Halloween documents and a few PR documents. A Linux version of IE would be interesting change. It could even herald the arrival of Microsoft Linux-- the only kernal with a built-in browser.
  • It'll go something like this

    frob% cd /tmp/ie
    frob% tar -xzf msie5.0.666.tgz
    frob% ./ms-install
    Error: Internet explorer may only be installed by the superuser
    frob% su
    Password: *******
    frob# ./ms-install
    MSIE5.0 installer for Linux x86
    Checking for available disk space...
    Installing MSIE5.0...
    Installing system fonts...
    Installing JFC 1.x...
    Installing Plugins...
    Configuring IE5.0...
    Updating system settings...
    The installer will now restart your machine so the changes can take effect...


    Broadcast message from root (ttyp0) Tue May 25 04:29:06 1999...

    The system is going down for reboot NOW !!

    Stopping ftpd...
    Stopping inetd...
    Unmounting filesystems...
    Rebooting system...

    [system reboots, BIOS screen, etc.]

    Updating ESCD...Success.
    Verifying DMI Pool Data...Done

    Starting Windows 98...
  • by felicity ( 870 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @06:19AM (#1880454) Homepage
    M$ doesn't have much to worry about, most consumers assume that M$ makes the better (or best) application sets, so if they make a web browser for linux (charging a nominal fee for it of course), that's what the cattle population will use, even if there is a free alternative.

    But ... if you're one of the "cattle population", would you even be using Linux? Obviously Windows must be better, so you'd be running 98 or NT.

    I don't care what people say, I don't believe anyone runs Linux just because they hate M$ products -- those people would probably want to use a Mac in that case. People run Linux because of a billion other reasons -- more control over what the computer is doing; get to learn about the design of a "real" OS; they're used to UNIX or want to learn UNIX; they need a reliable solution to a problem; etc, etc, etc. Hating M$ isn't reason enough, there has to be something else.

  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @04:30AM (#1880456) Homepage
    > Would it be that hard for them to port it to
    > Linux if they already have IE 4.01 and IE 5.0
    > for Solaris and HP-UX? (They do have it
    > available for download.) I mean, would there be
    > a lot of code to rewrite If they already got the
    > thing working on other POSIX compliant OS's?

    It would really depend on how careful/competent the porting team had been. It's easy to write to the POSIX spec and expect the software to build and work on any POSIX-compliant OS, but it's another matter to write it to a specific POSIX-compliant OS (or any small set of them) and then expect it to build and work on any other POSIX-compliant OS.

    This is especially true when you throw architectural differences into the mix; SPARC and PA-RISC are both 64-bit big-endian architecures (well, PA-RISC might be little-endian; I can't remember). It may well be that their IE for Unix codebase (hopefully they didn't do two individual ports) contains a lot of 64-bitisms. I have learned not to expect good software engineering practices from them.

    > Even though I LOVE Linux, I do welcome IE, even
    > though it's from M$, It is the superior browser,
    > that wasn't the case when they were both like
    > 2.0, but the more they progress, the more bugs I
    > see in netscape, and the the more I see IE
    > handle browsing the web better and better.

    IMO, the existing (old) Netscape codebase is slowly collapsing under its own weight. It's high time a Mozilla-derived product got into Alpha...

    > The biggest reason I welcome IE to Linux is
    > because I'd like to see a Linux browser that
    > properly handles Cascading Style Sheets. I have
    > yet to see that on Linux browsers.

    I have yet to see that on Microsoft browsers. Try some of the CSS conformance tests in IE sometime.

    Personally, I'd rather wait for Mozilla on Linux than for IE. Yes... I know... Mozilla might not not be all there yet, but IE for Linux sure as hell isn't.
  • I've had IE and Netscape running simultaneously on Solaris with no trouble.

    The funny thing about Solaris IE though is that it won't install on Solaris 7 (2.7), at least not the version of IE that I had. It says that I need to use a version of Solaris 2.5 or greater!

    Also it's the only piece of Unix software that I ever ran across that asked me if I wanted to make it the default browser, typical M$crap
  • by TedC ( 967 )
    Whatever happened to the Opera port that TrollTech was supposed to be doing?

    Good question. It's too bad that one of the moderators doesn't have a clue what Opera is. How can the discussion of an alternate web browser be off topic?


  • If I'd installed it first on my main machine, I'd never have noticed. On the old 486 where I install s/w that I need to document for tech support, it's painfully obvious that IE5 looks faster than it really is.

    Yes, IE5 is much faster putting something up on the screen when you hit the back button, but if you immediately try to scroll down, there's still a wait. It looks like IE5 caches a bitmap of the last window, and remembers where the hotspots are, but if you want to click on something that is outside the "viewport," you still have to wait for the re-render -- delayed a little more by the re-draw.

    That's not faster, that's just craftier. Arguably, with the mix of machines out there it's the right thing to do. Just call it what it is.
  • Oh, I dont know... Microsoft does seem to have a disregard for privacy. Remember the GUID's that all their apps tack into documents. Then there's the infamous 'registration' data dumps that send a list of all your apps back to MS to 'help with compatability problems'. Then there's the forced internet registration of Office 2K or else the program shuts down after 30 days. Of course they had the 'no-DRDOS' code inserted into Windows so it would crash if run ontop of DR-DOS.

    Microsoft has a very well documented history of inserting Trojan Horse code in their programs.

    So I think that any MS code on my machine will never run with anything near root privilege.
    Actually, given my experience with MS code on my Mac, I'll never let a byte of it on my Linux machine. MS can write acceptable code for their own platform, but anything they do for other platforms really has been sub-standard in my experience.
  • funny you should mention how vehemently some linux users hate M$, a couple years back, the same thing could have been said about the Mac vs. Wintel arguement, and look now, the top selling office suite on Mac's is a microsoft product. This would be nothing new for M$ to do. M$ doesn't have much to worry about, most consumers assume that M$ makes the better (or best) application sets, so if they make a web browser for linux (charging a nominal fee for it of course), that's what the cattle population will use, even if there is a free alternative.
  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @08:52AM (#1880502)
    The IE ports to UNIX are implemented atop Mainsoft's [mainsoft.com] MainWin product, which is a "Win32 API atop UNIX" package. See this item [mainsoft.com] about IE5 and MainWin, which says:
    Rather than rewrite the code for the UNIX version, Microsoft chose to use MainWin to rehost the source code on UNIX.

    The same was true of IE4, according to stuff on Mainsoft's site.

    I saw something ages ago on, I think, Microsoft's Web site indicating that they were developing a Win32-atop-MacOS package and getting third parties to do Win32-atop-UNIX packages; they were, I think, pushing this as a way of getting app developers - or, at least, custom in-house app developers - to write Win32 apps and to get them on other platforms with those packages. I don't know if that's the way they do MacOS ports of their own apps.

  • I tried Hotjava under Linux. It looks nice, doesn't crash, even renders slashdot correctly. It's also got the neat java widgets that I like.

    However, it is _SLOW_ on my 128MB Pentium II 300 machine. Netscape is much much much faster. Also, if i type a URL in, it's so slow that it will actually mangle the name I type in. I have to type it really slowly so that it can parse it correctly. It's evil.

    Hotjava is just too slow to use as an everyday browser, but I suppose if I absolutely need to run a java app from the net, it would work.
  • I would welcome availability of IEx on Linux simply because by doing so they endorse Linux as a legitimate alternative. Certainly helps with the "sales pitch".

    A bit like when I read that the Win98 refresh includes a "masquerade" capability: perhaps *that* will force ISPs - be it cable, phone, whatever - to accept the legitimacy of such a configuration in general even though *I* don't expect to ever use the Win98 version of it.

    (Course, I'd probably be a tad less enthusiastic about the latter if I was vending WinGate.)
  • An M$-built window manager. Brrrr. If it was GPLed . . .

    I don't envision Microsoft GPL'ing anything. It does not seem to be their style to actively develop in an open. Why would they budget their resources to a product that has no ties with monetary return when it comes to shrinked wrap sales? They could benefit by supporting GPL software, but I have never seen Microsoft as supporting software. Maybe someone else could relate to Microsoft support, but it escapes my experience.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @05:38AM (#1880520) Homepage Journal
    I have had issues with Netscape 4.x being stable before, but have had no problems with it in the Redhat 6.0 distro. The problem with severe memory leaks and random crashing and on certain pages appears to have vanished. I only restarted netscape a few days ago [attaway.org] when I accidently killed the window with Alt-W (I frequently have dozens of browser windows open.)

    Would I test Microsoft's browser? No Thanks, I would never trust a code base like that on my computer. I don't want something reading my /etc or /home or whatever back to the parent company to see what competitor's products I have. Its a matter of trust and Microsoft does not have it. Not only that, I don't want to get comfortable with such a product to only get "locked in" to the standards they promote. Active-X? No Thanks!

    Regardless of my lack of problems, I hope to have a GPL'd browser soon. It would be nice to swap code with a browser and build something on a whim.
  • by shani ( 1674 ) <shane@time-travellers.org> on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:36AM (#1880522) Homepage
    I downloaded it. It is large, slow, and extremely crash-prone. On the other hand, it did consume all available memory (I can't run both Outlook and Explorer on my desktop, since I only have a measly 64 Mbyte of RAM.)

    It is, unfortunately, a fairly typical Microsoft product. In Windows, IE is better than Netscape (by which I mean it's faster, uses less memory, and crashes less often), because they really need for it to be, and because they can get in bed with the OS. In Solaris, they don't seem to care. It is actually bad enough to make me wonder why they bothered.
  • by andyf ( 15400 ) on Tuesday May 25, 1999 @03:36AM (#1880527) Homepage
    Actually, some italian guy wrote a shareware program called FullScreen for Netscape that does just what IE does, plus a little more. It's only for Windows, though, I think.
  • Microsoft has one purpose statement: _MAKE MONEY_. All their actions are just logical extensions of this goal (combined with a few shady morals). Microsoft doesn't really have anything against Linux, but they want to destroy it because the Open Source movement is threatening their market. If destroying Linux will lead to more M$ capital, so be it.
    I think that, yes, MS will begin pushing their own applications for Linux. They know they can't destroy it - it's too big, too late. What they can do is edge out their competition in this fresh playing field. Ever hear of FUD [tuxedo.org]? As long as a similar Microsoft product is in the works, some of the people (all of the time) will forego buying a competitor's product. After all, you never know when They are going to fall under the shadow of the Giant.
    An anti-Linux team may not really translate to getting rid of Linux - it may mean USING it instead. There's a huge, glorious, new market there - can you really picture M$ not getting their fingers into this pie somehow? Get ready to see "NT Server for Linux" on the next round of shiny brochures!
    It would be interesting to see the correspondence between the anti-Linux team and the team porting IE.
    Wouldn't it be _interesting_ to see the source code of IE for Linux? Keep a sharp eye on your filesystem if you ever install it. Remember, M$ has done twisty little things before (see " Inside the Windows 95 Registration Wizard [ora.com]").

  • Just a week or two ago, wasn't it announced that Micro$oft was starting up an Anti-Linux group?
    So they're Anti-Linux, yet developing software for it. Hence, users should be quite wary about this.
    They never cease to amaze me.

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