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The Internet

Citifi.com Denies Alternate Browser Access 227

Mr. Magoo writes "Citifi.com, CitiBank's new financial services portal, is the latest big web site non-Windows users can't access." When I view the site with Netscape under Windows, I get a marketing blurb that says 'Become a Citi f/i customer and enjoy the convenience of being able to bank, invest, and pay bills 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any PC that's connected to the Internet.' Tried it with Netscape 4.05 and M12 under Linux, and I get no dice. Lynx 2.82rel.1+ssl under Linux seems okay, though. It seems we've got another poor-web-design victim.
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Citifi.com Denys Linux Browser Access

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  • "You, IT guy, why are we blocking out paying customers? I know you can fix this, so please do."
    ARGH! As the IT guy that would recieve such a demand, my response would have to be, to the manager; "The features you demanded are the reason". To which a "not good enough", or similar, would return - regardless of the fact that such a manager probably wouldn't be able to manage a "Hello World" HTML page if they studied from now until doomsday (which, as it happens, is only a few hours away now ;).

    The solution has to be better than that. How do you get a manager to compromise on features because some browsers support them and some don't - especially when most managers don't relise that there's actually more than one brower, 'cause, hey, there's one Word 97.

  • The problem with CSS is that none of the major browsers correctly implement even CSS1, which has been a standard since 1997.

    There are two general classes of problem:

    1. Simple non-compliance. Take a look at the w3c style sheet "acid test" [w3.org] in whatever browser you are using. Unless it is M12, it will probably be wrong. I've tested this on:

    • IE5
    • Netscape 4.7
    • Opera 3.61
    • Amaya 2.4 (!)
    • Mozilla M12
    all on NT.

    2. Worse, at least NS 4.* has a implementation so buggy that styles often crash the browser.

    One may say that browsers will be forced to follow, but try doing that now in a real-world commercial situation. "Sorry, dear client, but since we are big on style sheets, we are going to build your site such that only users of a pre-alpha browser will be able to properly view it. Oh, and yeah, about 30% of your visitors browsers are going to crash while visiting your site."
    "Why? oh, because we think that your web site should perform a public service, even if it means you lose business and visitors. But just you wait until the browsers catch up!"

    CSS works a lot better in intranet setups. That's what I have our corporate intranet using, because we have influence over the browsers used on the network and understand that things are going to look somewhat different in IE/NS/Opera/M12. Plus, we understand (unlike clients, god bless them) that CSS will, eventually, work, and that we will benefit from having plenty of internal experience. But that won't be for a while.

  • I'm going to assume that you are talking about the <BR> and <NOBR> tags, since you seem to be posting in HTML formatted mode.

    I'm aware of these, but my point is that if you use the <BR> tag to break a line in the middle of a paragraph or <NOBR> to prevent a line break makes things go screwey in some cases. I've also tried replacing normal spaces with &nbsp; tags, but the end result is still not what I'd like. The other last resort I've used before is to use <PRE> in conjuntion with Style Sheets, but again, it's not the best answer.

    The problem is that in most cases, we're not talking about blocks of poetry or stuff that will more or less look the same in any browser. I'm talking about paragraphs, where the man decides he wants the line to break at word X instead of word Y. Well, that's all well and good if it's gonna be viewed on Win boxes with IE, but what about somebody who checks it out on a Mac or a UNIX box? The differences in font rendering and sizes will make the line break in some unusual place . . . maybe 2/3 of the way through, maybe 1/3, depending on where you use the tags (this is with the exception of <PRE> of course).

    And, as nice as CSS is, it doesn't solve the problem of different font rendering on different platforms. The point I'd like to get across is that creating documents / web sites with HTML will never be a precision process like creating a flyer in Pagemaker or Quark, at least any time in the near future.

  • You're welcome... Just a dumb little pet peeve of mine. :) How come I don't get no "Informative" points for that? :( hehe..
  • What they fail to realize is that some people may have legitimate reasons to not upgrade their browser. If you have older hardware and not too much memory, the recent versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer run unacceptably slow.

    Instead, you could also just install the new root certificates from Verisign [verisign.com] and Thawte [thawte.com], and continue using the old browser.

  • Nevertheless the correct English spelling is "denies".

    Funny thing about languages... They tend to _manipulate_ things for their own purposes, not always true to their roots. :)
  • Moral: big money uses Netscape.

    Heh... Maybe on Wall Street. What I see (I work for a subsidiary of a very large multi-national financial institution) completely contradicts that. 85% of the entire corporation is running on Microsoft operating systems. About 14% running NetWare (that's about 90% of our server population) and the remaining 1% can account for the various others such as AS400, Unix, and OS/2 (sigh... nearly gone).

    Btw, there was a memo, about a year ago, maybe less, explicitly banning any and all forms of Linux from the company. Use of it on a company system/network is grounds for termination.

    So what browser do we use internally? Both. With a solid preference for IE.

    Face it, it works, it's simple to use, and it's not ugly. ;^) So is this not an example of the modern corporation? I haven't seen another since the pre-browser wars time....
    ---

    Dr. Trevorkian
  • by boojum_uc ( 122395 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @03:32AM (#1430101)
    Your Question:
    So, the question is; How do we inform computer illiterate managers that the Web is a collaberative community of standards, rather than a dictatorship governed by high school bully tactics?

    My indirect reply:
    I have the doubtful good fortune of being one of the people whose job it is to translate between the wishes of managers and the work of development staff. I'm the one who either has to persuade the managers that what they said is a really bad idea and shouldn't be passed on, or I have to take that message and go to the developers and try to negotiate a solution that is both possible and accomplishes what they want.

    I run into the situation that you're describing a lot-- particularly with cross-browser and standards issues-- and I've won a lot of those battles on the behalf of open (at least relatively open) standards-- but I think we need to look at how you're framing your question here.

    Managers are illiterate about computers. Often about Internet. Very true. They do, however, understand their own business. You need to ask them to care about things like usability across multiple platforms and open standards because, and only because, it impacts their business. If you talk to them about community standards and collaboration and Internet history their eyes are going to glaze over and roll back in their heads. And why shouldn't they? Do you care about every issue in every field of every portion of life that impacts your core business? Would you stand around wanting to debate the relative merits of--oh, I don't know-- plastic formation methods just because your keyboard is made of plastic? No. (Unless you're hopelessly eclectic) You'd want to know what difference it makes to you and whether you should care about it in buying keyboards.

    Managers are precisely the same. If you tell them that they should make their website accessible to all browsers because it isn't fair or violates good design standards or whatever, that's going to mean nothing to them. If you take the same situation and use arguments relating the issue to their website, however, that will (generally) sink in. For instance, I frequently discuss how unstable the browser market in general is and how features can differ from even one version of a browser to the next-- so some cool proprietary gimmick they want to use may not be implemented in the next. That leads to the inevitable question. "Surely there are safe features?" I then talk about standards and their purpose.

    Generally there's a problem because they've got some home-grown genious working for them who learned how to build web pages with Front Page and couldn't write good code if his life depended on it and is in love with some plug-in dependent navigation element. He or the boss will object that it's 'too difficult' to write code that will work everywhere. I then will sit down with the manager and do the cost figures with them about what it would cost in time and manpower to do it properly now versus what it would cost them to redo completely should their mistakes this time make it necessary. That comparison generally hits home rather close to where it really hurts.

    Above all, if you want to communicate good practice to management and non-IT people in general, be patient, try to understand their point of view of the matter, and don't assume they're stupid people just because they're stupid about computers.

    Gee, this was really long...

  • Agreed. The only thing you can portably do is specify table cell widths (in percentages) that happen to break the paragraph in the appropriate place on the most common resolution.

    HTML and CSS trade the precise control of a DTP program for portability, and I expect they will always make some tradeoff. If you must have a specific layout, try PDF.

    As for fonts, you can always try Trudoc (www.trudoc.com). It's a portable font standard that comes with Netscape, and there's a (tiny) ActiveX control for IE. It's the closest we'll come to a standard for a while. . .
  • by dw ( 5168 )
    Trust me, they know. They were getting complaints from their Linux users earlier this month and called us up. Being affiliated with linux.com we're used to getting questions like this.

    She explained that their Linux customers could not view citifi.com and wondered why. So I opened up a browser and was suprised to find the "Your Operating System" message. I explained to her that this was a limitation imposed by their web designers and asked if there was something on the page that would prevent linux from viewing it.

    No, she wasn't aware of anything specific but inquired about javascript support in Linux. I said I'd do some research and get back to her, and politely asked to have their web designers call to resolve any problems. I sent her a link on Netscape and java/javascript but havn't heard anything back since...

    If you'd like a contact in the company to send *polite* inquiries to, send me an email.
  • I think people who decide to switch to linux should just take what they get and not complain.

    You can think whatever you like, but I am free to complain and I will do so if I choose.

    They Chose to change OS's and if someone has a service for windows, then too bad. Don't complain! Accept it.

    What's with your arrogant attitude of trying to tell other people not to complain and to "accept it". Whether or not I choose to speak out against something is my choice, not yours. Maybe people don't have manners in wherever you're from and it's accepted for people to push others around and tell them what to do, but among the people I know it's not acceptable to tell others what to do and think. Especially in such an ill-mannered way.

    Don't make everyone cater to your needs.

    We can't make anyone cater to our needs. But we have the option of asking sites to support certain basic standards, and many of us will continue to do so.

    babies.

    Yes, I can see that your mentality is obviously far more mature than anyone else's...

    BTW, no one is forcing you to read the story. If you have nothing to add to the discussion, feel free to go elsewhere.
  • I just called the 1-800 number to express my concern over their site's practices. The gentleman I spoke to said that just in the last half-hour he had spoken to five others calling about the exclusion of all other operating systems than Windows and MacOS and using only IE and, to some extent, Netscape.

    As was stated here before, about keeping a calm demeanor and stating things in a professional manner, I explained to him that even if they decide to include Linux, this will not solve the problem. They must make it so that the connecting browser has the appropriate security layers. I explained that there are many OS's out there (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Irix, BeOS) and more than two browsers (Opera, Lynx).

    He stated that the "problem" is being worked on, and that those interested in their services check back in the coming week(s).

  • Hmm... Maybe they should make use of one of the many available HTML VALIDATORS. Crappy HTML is no excuse for anything.

    A browser should not silently render a broken page.
  • I think people who decide to switch to linux should just take what they get and not complain. They Chose to change OS's and if someone has a service for windows, then too bad. Don't complain! Accept it. Don't make everyone cater to your needs. babies.

    Why should we allow them to pervert our ideas? We made those protocols, formats ansd servers, so it's our right to annoy the hell out of marketdroid slime that abuses it until they will comply. Who the hell are you and why you think that we should not do that?

  • View Source [view-source] is rather boring. aA simple redirect.

  • by Saurentine ( 9540 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @10:17PM (#1430113) Journal
    I think this message I received from Suretrade might explain things for you... It's not about alternate browsers, it's about insecure browsers.

    ============================

    We have been informed by Netscape and VeriSign? that the Digital Certificates** contained in Netscape Navigator? and Netscape? Communicator browsers with version numbers of 4.08 or below are about to expire. In order to maintain the highest level of security, many secure sites, require a current certificate when establishing a connection.

    A browser upgrade to Netscape Navigator or Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher, or conversion to Microsoft? Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher (Apple Macintosh? users must use version 4.5 or higher) will automatically update this certificate. If you do not upgrade to Netscape Navigator or Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher, or convert to Microsoft Internet Explorer by December 31, 1999, you may no longer be able to connect to any secure site on the Internet, including Suretrade. We will not support earlier versions of these browsers after this date.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A YEAR 2000 ISSUE.

    To ensure uninterrupted service to Suretrade and other secure web sites please follow the directions below.

    ========================

    (instructions for upgrading followed....)

    Netscape 4.05 is not compliant, and it's my understanding that Mozilla M12 doesn't yet have a valid digital security certificate authentication in place yet. I could be wrong.

    I think this particular problem is someone getting all freaked out over nothing. Note that the Lynx connection with SSL works fine.

    IS THIS REALLY POOR WEB DESIGN?

    They should be refusing accounts from these soon-to-be-useless-to-connect-to-secure-sites browsers unless they want a whole bunch of tech support calls on or soon after Jan 1, 2000!

  • ...given how poorly Netscape has implemented CSS so far -- remember CSS? It was supposed to take the style out of HTML and make it possible to write a single webpage that'd satisfy all browsers, from Lynx on upward? -- I would never and could never blame anyone for giving up and banning it from their site.

    It's a real shame that the W3C standards haven't been followed, along with ECMAScript. If the damned browsers would only render absolutely to-spec, then it'd make all webauthor's jobs easier, make all webpages far more cross-platform compatible, support speech- and whatever-based browsers, and so on.

    And they'd *STILL* be able to have fancy, stylistic sites. HTML for the content and high-level structure; CSS for the styles. Gahd, that'd be nice.

    But, no, Netscape went and balled it up on CSS; Netscape and MSIE both balled it up on HTML; Opera has balled it up on the ECMAScript. Gah.
  • I said that I doubted that there were "all that many [in comparision]," not that Netscape didn't have any affluent users.

    Look at it this way: out of all the operating systems for which IE isn't available natively, the two most popular ones on which a person would be trying to connect to this bank's site would probably be Linux users and BSD users. And aside from the folks who struck it rich on the Linux IPOs, you're not exactly looking at a demographic flush with financial success.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • troll.

    Here's a correlation-buster for ya: Wall Street. Investment banks, hedge funds, brokerage houses. Trading desks. Running on Solaris systems. Browser: Netscape.

    I worked there. I talked to people. Yes there are some NT shops, but even the travelling techs from Bloomberg/Bridge will tell you that the serious shops aren't on Windows.

    Moral: big money uses Netscape.

  • People like you and I probably don't give a crap how it looks, as long as it works and the information is there, but computer illiterate managers only have the surface looks to judge by. Heck, when I was developing the code in the background I was accused of moving too slowly, but once I was working on the cute interface I was suddenly moving at a blistering pace - fact is I was working at the same quick speed the whole time.


    What you forget is that on the web, the image IS everything. If you are a company on the web, no one knows anything about you except for your web page. You can be the little guy, but if you have the biggest and best page around, people will assume you are the top dog of the industry. Yes, in theory every web page should work in every browser, on every OS, but in reality, it just doesn't work that way. Most company web sites are nothing but a big ad, and in that case, image IS everything. Most people care less about the information than they do about about the "image" it portrays.

  • Fox didn't change its site because a few people sent email to the webmaster with a link to the "Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW." It changed because thousands of people, mobilized by Slashdot, sent email and telephoned -- and not just to the webmaster.

    Don't worry about Citicorp's webmaster. Send email, or better phone, a customer service rep and tell them you are interested in their services, but you are not willing to get a different computer (don't confuse them with OSes). Explain that your computer is not Windows, but it works fine with every other bank.

  • Hi, I use OS/2 Warp 4 90% of the time,with Netscape Navigator 4.61. Rest of the time i use Redhat Linux 6.1 with Netscape Navigator 4.51. Most sites allow me to view them. Those that limit acces to certain OS or web browser i don't visit,don't give them my business so they'll lose customers,money. I also write web pages and know that each browser reports its name,version number and operating system it's running on to all sites it connects to. This info is in the browsers ini file and can be manually edited,since it's a text file. You can change ti to report whatever browser,version number and operating system you want your visited site to think. If you really want to get connected to citifi.com try this,but i avoid sites that by design don't want me. Why would i want them ? In a year or two most new computers might have Linux installed. Will they then allow only Linux and disallow Windows access ? Their thinking is stupid,illogical,against bussiness,they only make enemys,lose business.
  • The worst part about this is that I'm a spelling maniac. My grade-school English teachers used to just pit the entire class against me in the spelling bees, because I used to win every single week. I placed fifth in my regional Scripps-Howard spelling bee. Of course, second post to Slashdot, and my skills hit the fan. Thanks for pointing out the error; it's fixed now.
  • The number listed "if you have any questions" is 1-800-2-CITIFI (1-800-224-8434). Call up and ask if they realize they're cutting out a sizable (and affluent) demographic with their browser-restricted design.
  • why care about this ?

    nobody forces anybody to use their crappy site !?
  • ZDNet kind of started the thing, but run a few of their pages through any validator or check out the site in Mozilla. Crap city!
  • Make sure you are polite when you call.

  • Hey there. While I tested the site with Linux, It *also* won't render on a Mac using Internet Explorer, or any other OS/browser combination other than the ones it mentions on the site. This is not a Linux problem, this is a poor web design problem, and you've clearly missed the point.
  • Two quick solutions.

    1) Direct non compatible browsers to a page explaining that all complaints should be sent to the email address of your boss.

    2) Explain to your PHB that at this very moment there is a person on webtv, cell phone, palm pilot who is trying to access your site and can't and in the future when he is trying to access the page from his car or toaster he will not be able to either.
  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @09:38PM (#1430136) Homepage
    Hey guys, it looks like this problem is everywhere. My grandmother just put up a site to show her recipes for cookies that she gives to orphans. Not only that, the damn site doesn't support Netscape 2.x OR Quicken for Windows 3.11!

    Dudes its time for some serious hacking. Get her.

    I've also got some rumours of a Lisa Loeb fan page that won't let any small mouth bass view the site. That's only a rumour right now though, let's not get all worked up over nothing.


    Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com]
  • The root certs shipped with IE4.5 for Macintosh also expire tonight. We just found out at work the beginning of this week. We were waiting all week for the other shoe to drop and find out IE4 or 5 was the same way.
  • I don't know what that citifi.com thing is, but I know that Citibank's regular online banking [citibank.com] is platform neutral. I was very relieved when they brought this out because before I could only use a Windows-based program to do online Citibank banking and it was one of the few reasons I had to boot into Windows.

    Part of the beauty of the web is that it is so platform neutral. I hate to see this changing!

  • Yes, good point. Maybe talking to the webmaster doesn't do much good in many cases. But please, do note that, as has been pointed out already, this site works fine with at least one Linux browser, lynx with ssl patch, so it doesn't seem as though it's a windows-only site, just that they are banning what they believe to be insecure browsers.
  • It's a little hard to believe that there are all that many affluent people who would be using Netscape, compared to those who use Internet Explorer.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • The article says that Lynx works (with SSL). Is the original submitor certain that his Netscape has been Fortified? Does ->Help ->About_Netscape show U.S. grade RSA?

    How is it that *Lynx* works?

    BTW, web banking at my bank (The TD Bank of Canada) works perfectly with Netscape/Linux, despite the fact that it's not officially supported. But you *must* Fortify it. TD's security standards will buzz you off if you try it with export-grade encryption.
  • That's not fair... maybe they don't know they're cutting out Linux users, or maybe they're just assholes.

    Has anybody got Internet Explorer on HP/UX or Solaris? Try the site and see if you can get in... from that we can see if they're actively searching the user agent info for Netscape and Linux (or Unix).

    Oh, and for god's sake don't DoS the server. We don't want to look like zealous fools; we just want to polietly telling them they're cutting out possible market share.

    Though of course, the obligatory Che quote:

  • Someone probably left out a /TABLE tag or put a FORM tag in the wrong place.. Netscape usually decides not to draw the page..
  • Citibank might be able to afford it, but I have problems getting funding for just the minimum number of PC required to deck out the staff. Where am I going to get six PCs to demonstrate browser issues?

    I know, I know, dual boot, etc - but then there's the problem when I show that what I've designed only works on 1 in 6 and the manager has a friend at some other company who he's convinced have a wonderful web page that works perfectly. What's wrong with me? The fact that the other page is probably a disaster area (or a mock up) is completely beyond them. Or maybe we payed $20,000 for our product and we have a team of me, where the other company spent $2,000,000 and have a team larger than my entire company.

    I know I'm whinging, but I could really do with some ideas on how to educate the luddite decisions makers on the rules and netticate of the Web.

  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm@@@icebalm...com> on Thursday December 30, 1999 @10:23PM (#1430148)
    I just checked it out, try this guys...

    Turn on cookies and go to www.citifi.com [citifi.com] and you'll get the lame "We dont support anything but windows or macos, go away" message. Then click on "About Citifi" at the bottom, suddenly you get access to the navigation bar at the left, and the one at the top right, which offers you to check out their entire website, INCLUDING:

    A Home link which takes you to their main page

    A Products and Services page

    A Signup to be come a new member page

    And to even "sign in" to your account

    (Direct Links not included because their site runs on https with cookies and it seems without seeing the "disclamer" that your OS isn't supported, it does not work.)

    And more, it looks like you can navagate the ENTIRE page REGARDLESS that it says you're unsupported.

    So the 64 thousand dollar question is.....

    Why have the disclamer that non-Windows and non-MacOS users are unsupported if they can, even with the disclamer page, navigate the entire site?

    -- iCEBaLM

  • However ONLY on Windows. They are likely unaware that there are perfectly good SSL netscape browsers. Either that or bad programming with some generic javascript thingy that only allows browser versions with "Windows" in the HTTP-AGENT variable. Some of these places only seem to know about Windows and Macintosh.

    My bank (in Canada - mbanx and Bank of Montreal) offers online banking trading etc that requires SSL and I've used netscape on linux and freebsd with their site since version 3.0 (they now require version 4+ due to javascript and toerh java crap).

    It is an issue for the banks going forward which they are silly to ignore. If they support standards it's EASIER for them to adapt to changing consumers.

    There will likely be a lot more people banking from phone screens and handhelds (like an SSL lynx on your cell connected PalmOS) and completely non-GUI VUI's (voice user interface) devices (to say nothing of blind user interfaces etc etc) in the future why not be ready for them. These firms are saying loud and clear:

    "Hi we DO NOT want you business - ever. Go away now. There are only 10, 15 , 20 million Mac,BeOS,Unix users out there and we willing give you up to our competitors. The expense of changing our web site (50$ an hour) is simply too high compared with the measly amount revenue in the form of mortgages, insurance purchases, online stock trading any of you will ever do".

    They also want me to believe they are high tech, high security, on line financial powerhouses but they don't know how to design a website ... hmm.

  • It is pointless to see this situation as Citibank vs. Linux. It's simply a case of bad html. Someone did not do his homework and test it. I've seen it happen to people who failed to test in different browsers, at different resolutions, etc. It's almost sad that html is so easy to code and browsers are usually so forgiving that people do not even take the time to write something decent.

    z.




  • First it was Fox, now it's Citicorp.

    I personally do not think this as a case of "evil conspiracy". I think this is a case where big companies are employing clueless nincompoops to design webpages for them.

    If we are to spread the goodnews of Linux, we must start by educating the big companies of our presence, and we must demonstrate our collective purchasing power since it is our money they are after, and if the big businesses can see that we represent a sizeable portion of their total business, then they will stop hiring those clueless nincompoops.


  • If you're really curious.. Bank of America has worked for me, perfectly well. They do their thing with cookies and forms.. no scripting that I noticed.
  • Anyone making 40k+ a year ought to be smart enough to close out tags.

    Of course anyone making 80k+ a year doesn't have time to close tags... Then again, I wish I was one of them!
  • Ha ha ha, I'm not the one who chose and OS for which IE is not available. I chose an OS for which IE is not UNAVAILABLE :)

    Stoopid Windows, but I like it anyway. When you have a 450mHz pII, it almost seems fast....
  • I make pretty good money.

    So do most of my peers.

    Not ALL Linux users are fresh out of college, you know...
  • Deliberately denying users of alternative, non-windoze operating systems access to a web page is both an economic and political attack on the free software community. If we cannot do our on-line banking online, what is next? On-line purchasing via SSL. Online viewing of streaming video? Online viewing of XML (the purported replacement for HTML)? This is an economic and political battle which, if unfought, will result in all of us being coerced by simple necessity into using a platform we despise.

    It is not only appropriate, it is essential that we respond in kind. Boycotting is just one means of doing this (close your citibank accounts, and make sure they know why you have done so). Educating your friends as to why this is matters is equally important -- and if you can talk them into voicing similar concerns to organizations which behave like this, so much the better.

    Checkfree, for example, works flawlessly with 128 bit encryption under Linux and is "bank independent" though it does cost $10/month for the service. Still, it is one of many alternatives which are friendly (or at least not aggressively hostile) toward alternative platforms (Northern Trust of Chicago has free online banking which also works fine under Linux, and I suspect if you look around one or more of your local banks will be similar). I would suggest anyone interested in having Linux, *BSD, or any other non-Microsoft platform usable on the web of the future put their money where their mouths are and support companies which allow us to conduct our business on the platforms of our choice, using open standards with the tools of our choice. Any other approach means sacrificing your options for someone elses bottom line (guess who's in this case).

    This doesn't make us "html" or "web" police, it makes us concerned consumers who won't allow our vendors to use coercive tactics in order to force us into using their strategic partners' inferior products in order to gain the "privelege" of using their services. Without us (the customers) they do not make money, and we should not be at all shy in using that leverage to our advantage.
  • Unfortunately, this problem isn't confined to just the denial of service to non-Windows users. Why...just last week, I tried to download some software for my Linux box from work where I use IE (for later transfer to my Linux box).

    Instead of gaining access to the "Open Sourced" source code, I was flatly rejected simply because I was using IE. It even went so far as to suggest I use another non-M$ browser and join the non-M$ browser revolution. I left the site with the intention to never to come back and feeling like I needed to look for the "colored" water fountain.

    So, I left the site and went back to freshmeat looking for another alternative to what was on the other site. As I tried to download the gzipped file, IE5 launched the VRML browser. Seems it thinks that all .gz files are VRML.
    Took some time to whip my browser and force a registry scrubbing before it would leave my gzipped files alone.

    So much for this "uppity" web surfer.

    Can't we all just get along?

    Until the world realizes that browser diversity is necessary, we might as well be back in the 20th century. :-)

    Happy New Year, Everyone! And, for those that believe its the new Millenium (see...another issue we can't all agree upon), "Happy 3rd Millenium".

    Peace to all.







  • Okay, I'll admit that my personal experiance probably isn't broad enough to support the "we're rich" theory but it's all I have to go on.

    Linux users are often well paid IT professionals or students with a lot of earning potential. Blocking out the guys with strong technical skills will block out the guys with above average incomes. Blocking out the guys with high incomes is bad for business.

    Letting them know about this is good for us and good for them.

    Any thoughts?
  • by paul.dunne ( 5922 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @10:27PM (#1430170)
    Well, if the sites works for lynx, what's the problem?! It probably looks fine under Netscape and Mozilla too, if you can hack them so that they id themselves as lynx (HTTP_USER_AGENT or whatever). I hope we are not going to see a spate of stories like this: "www.so-and-so.com doesn't work on my browser". I mean, get used to it, people. This happens all the time. If we had a story about it on slashdot every time, there wouldn't be room for anything else. If you want to do something a bit more constructive than whining on slashdot, check out the Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW [anybrowser.org]. Then, write to the webmaster of offending sites, let them know they're fucking up, and point them at that page.
  • The first blurb on from citifi.com:

    "Imagine a financial center with no walls..."

    Bahhhahaha! ..it really is kinda funny when the opening page is a wall!

    blah blah blah yea yea yea blah yea blah
    _________________________

  • Well, the problem with your analogy is that your c-64 was released approxamately 17 years ago, and lacks most features that would be required to play a graphics intensive game, like q3. On the other hand, my os has what would be required to conduct secure transactions over the internet, in fact it is MORE secure than the first two OS's listed on their consolation page. And Zico, and his argument dissapear in a puff of logic.
  • And when mozilla allows Netscape 5.0 (I work with the code daily -- don't tell me it's not coming because I know how good it is), and sites begin actually following the W3C standards and IE won't render properly you know what?

    We'll forget that you were high and mighty about using Microsoft garbageware, and welcome you into the fold as a user of OSS software. Of course, you're free to stick with IE if you'd like, but it won't be our fault when you begin getting locked out of sites. Choice is important. I respect that.

    The point (other than that this story is crap and shouldn't be on /. anyway) is that an incredibly high percentage of sights are viewable on all browsers -- it is the rare sight which is actually not usable due to browser or platform. To exclude a priori a large set of browsers is stupid (and reeks of gross mismanagement or being in bed with the monopolists). Eventually the shoe will be on another foot and the MS/IE arguments won't hold water for anyone else either.

  • It's a real shame that the W3C standards haven't been followed, along with ECMAScript. If the damned browsers would only render absolutely to-spec, then it'd make all webauthor's jobs easier, make all webpages far more cross-platform compatible, support speech- and whatever-based browsers, and so on.

    "Standards" are not written as "do this, and everything else is nonstandard". There are levels and optional features, extensions, fallbacks and mandatory subsets. And most important, there is the rule "Be conservative in what you send out and liberal with what you can accept as the input". If some page requires something that is not guaranteed to be implemented, and if such thing isn't present, can't be read at all, it's broken even if that something is included in some standard.

  • "A browser should not silently render a broken page."

    And anyone, ANYONE , who makes web sites for a living should be fscking smart enough to remember to add ending tags (Although, for the record, all of the table-related tags are there. The javascript is uuuuuuuugly, though!).

    I'm sorry, but I do all of my development (web or otherwise) in a plain jane text editor (EditPad [jgsoft.com], to be precise) . I despise anything that changes what I wrote. Anyone making 40k+ a year ought to be smart enough to close out tags.

    Remimds me of UserFriendly [userfriendly.org].

    Thoroughly, off topic, why does Google [google.com] have all of those `2's around the Google logo?

    Jedi Hacker (Apprentice) and Code Poet
  • Here is what I get when I visit with macintosh/ie4.51...

    Citi f/i currently supports Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 running Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. It also supports Macintosh running Netscape Navigator only. If you need further assistance, please call 1-800-2-citifi.

  • Rubbish. There's nothing they're doing that requires Windows specificity.

    --
  • That explains our incredible returns in FOREX markets...

    Hey, thanks Microsoft! (never thought I'd say that!)

  • [root@angel:/root]$ queso www.lite.citifi.com
    192.193.201.10:80 * Reliant Unix from Siemens-Nixdorf

    The Maginot-skirting is classic FUBAR though.

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • And it looks like their server isnt supported by them..

    www.citifi.com is running Netscape-Enterprise/3.6 SP2 on Solaris

    Interesting...

    -- iCEBaLM
  • isn't there a way to update your certs?

    In an rpms for ns 4.70 i saw a diff for the cert file...
  • I just did call them. They claimed to have only a skeleton crew on board and they currently have no idea if supporting Linux is going to happen or not. If everybody calls, they might see the error of their ways and draft support into their site soon.Either that or we all could call up and ask for free copies of Windows :-) -PhaseBurn
  • The disclaimer may have been required ... ... by their supplier. The producer or WinNT ....

    They're running Netscape Enterprise Server on Solaris, I just checked Netcraft...

    -- iCEBaLM
  • I'll use what ever OS does the best job. for servers, i use BSD. For games, web browsing and office suites and music, i use windows. I won't be complianing because when linux does a better job at all those things (long time from now) I'll switch. But that time is not here. not by far. It's not about MS and all that politics. It's about what works. Windows works for me in certain places and unix fill the holes for my other needs.
  • Someone probably left out a /TABLE tag or put a FORM tag in the wrong place..

    Nope.

    If you try it in Linux you get the following message:

    Citi f/i currently supports Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 running Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. It also supports Macintosh running Netscape Navigator only. If you need further assistance, please call 1-800-2-citifi.

    You can, however, click 'About Citi/Fi' and you eventually end up at the same site at you see on Windows.

    Since they only support Netscape on Macintosh I suspect they may require their cusomers to use some custom browser plugins.

    Anybody know for sure?

  • Perhaps you should just point them to the W3C verification tools [w3.org], or the Web Interoperability pledge [zdnet.com].

    Heck, the WIP is even on ZDNet, which should be familiar to your local PHB.

    You can also grab screenshots of the various browsers in dual boot situations. Another option is to show them the access log of the webserver (for the past x years) broken down by user age. But I'm sure just Opera, Netscape, and IE under Windows (which should be available :0)) will be enough to convince them.
    ---
  • You really can access their web pages by side-stepping the front pages, even start to open an account on-line (I had no desire to actually finish the process) ... at one point it midst mention of Quicken adn other stuff it wanted me to 'download an application' - I decided not to thinking I'd get some M$ code .... then realized it was a PDF file .... oh - an old fashioned account application .....

    But the best part was on their page entitled "About Encryption":

    For a 40-bit key there are 240 possible different combinations. For a 128-bit key (the level of encryption that Citibank requires) there are 2128 possible different combinations.

    "Ooooh .... 2128 possible combinations - the power of large numbers will keep me safe ..... no one will guess my key" .... after the fit of sarchasm subsided I realised that some bonehead web designer who knows nothing about encryption had dropped a "^" or two

  • re: Google

    I saw the 3's and now the 2's. Im guessing its the countdown to New Years.
  • The decision to allow only Windows/Mac browsers would not have been made unless:

    $ required to support other browsers > $ made by supporting users with other browsers

    Remember, Citif/i is a business. Quit bitching about what's Right and Wrong.

  • You missed the point entirely, sorry.

    The problem is not that the site "doesn't work" with Linux browsers -- that would be a browser problem -- it's that it checks what OS you're running and denies you access under anything but Windows/Mac.

    There is no reason to check what OS the client is using and deny them access based on it.
  • As an employee of one of citifi.com's impending competitors [fundsxpress.com], I should probably be happy that you are giving this advice. Our services don't require the use of a particular browser, and we try not to make browser-specific decisions in our designs and implementations.

    However, I cannot resist pointing out that you are full of shit. There may be people who want to use citifi.com's services, for whatever reason, and they have every right to give CitiBank an opportunity to explain themselves before going to someone else. Since when is polite protest not legitimate? If you are too passive to do anything about a problem, that is your problem; keep it to yourself. The rest of us reserve the right to try and improve things.

    --

  • If that's all it took don't you think that they'd do it? They don't deny access to their online banking systems. It probably took 10 minutes to write the rejection page that's there, if it was as easy to support the unix platform they would do that rather than turn away other potential customers.


  • The best thing to do is to call them at 1-800-2-citifi and let them know of your displeasure.

    Please do be polite, after all, "you catch more flies with honey" et al...

    Interestingly, the rep I spoke to had just bought Redhat Linux, so I definitely found a sympathetic ear :)

  • 'Cause it ain't gonna happen. People like you wonder why people use Windows or Macs, when the answer is staring you right in the face. It's because they can actually get work done and have fun because they don't have to deal with this shit. Look at all the time that's been wasted by people such as yourself in the past two weeks, because this site, and that site, and that other site aren't supporting your OS choice -- we won't even get into software and hardware. Until Linux can make some serious gains on the desktop, I'll keep it on some of my servers, where it belongs, and I'll just keep getting work done and having fun using Win2K while you pull your hair out over petty little stuff like this.

    You can moderate me down all you want, but just try thinking about it sometime.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • The ones using free Operating Systems would have leftover money in their pockets.

    The ones who sent money to Bill Gates, would be sitting in the corner with vacant looks in their eyes, wondering how they managed to burn through all that cash. And thinking that perhaps the animated paperclip wasn't worth that much money after all...
  • Maybe introduce it like handicapped access -- "you have to compromise on form to let certain people access it. You wouldn't want the blind sueing us, eh?"

    I'm sure you can put some positive "help me, and I help you" spin on making a compatible page, with an "enchanced" version for the market droids to peer at.
    ---
  • It's funny that their solution for an expired certificate is to either upgrade to a Y2K incompatible browser (IE 4.01 isn't w/o other patches) and Mac I.E. 4.5 has the SAME certificate problem.

  • Haven't you paid any attention lately? Some reminders:

    - Microsoft is a monopoly.
    - Microsoft abused that monopoly to maintain that position and gain monopoly position in other markets.
    - Microsoft has slowed down innovation by abuse of its monopoly.
    - Microsoft tries to stuff their products down your throat.
    - Microsoft does some of this by deforming protocols in a way that it works only with Microsoft products.
    - Microsoft deformed the way its web browser works for this very reason.

    These are facts, according to a judge. No arguement possible.

    Some of us stand up to this. Just because Microsoft is limiting your choices and your freedom. For me, it's not about a brand, a look, a name. It's about freedom. Learn something about the history of the laws of your country, and maybe you'll understand why people have fought to get it where it is now. The reason that you can connect to the internet, that you can state your opinion here, that you can do what you want, be who you want, is all because people fought for YOUR freedom. You'll have to know some background information to appreciate it instead of taking it for granted.

    We just simply can't allow a company (whose only goal is to make money and doesn't care about you or me) to control anything about our lifes and limit our choices. Especially not a company which has shown abuse of that power.


    I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.
    -Voltaire

  • Whether Microsoft products usually work fine or not, is debatable. My experiences vary. Some products do, some don't.

    It was not an oversight on my part not to say anything about that. I didn't mention it because it was irrelevant to the point I was making.

    You see, even if they all work fine, Microsoft is still limiting my freedom. Because you didn't say anything about that, I assume you either don't want to see it or didn't read my post very well.

    I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.
    -Voltaire
  • A reality check like this was long overdue.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Have you discovered some sort of link between browser use and financial success?

    Or is it that, in certain financial circles, use of Netscape is frowned upon?

    If I use Netscape, am I doomed to a life of abject poverty, begging for scraps of food from the overprivileged Explorer users?

    Inquiring minds want to know!
  • Great idea, call a help line number to ask about OS restrictions on a web site.. I'm sure you'll get plenty of help.
  • Well, it's not an OS issue (Macs are supported with Netscape), and it's not a browser issue (both Netscape and IE are supported on different platforms), so it sounds to me like it's a coding problem. Hopefully this is the case, and it will be taken care of soon.
  • This saddens me, because I just signed up for an account with citi f/i and was prepared to really like them. However, I will not be canceling my check or boycotting them in protest. I've looked at the online services offered by a number of banks, and all of them have extra fees for this "convenience."

    I object to being charged for the privelege of doing something that makes my bank's life easier and saves them money.

    While this putrid web-design incompetence does make me a little leary about how well their banking services are designed, I'm still in favor of the general idea of online banking enough that I'm willing to support them.
    Then again, It's not like they're the only online bank around [yahoo.com]. Can anyone recommend another no-extraneous-fees service that isn't stupid?
  • In that article title... it's "denies" not "denys". :)
  • by Trepidity ( 597 )
    Well, so? There are tons of pages that are written badly. w3history.org [w3history.org] doesn't allow "alternate browsers" either (Opera won't work under Linux or Windows...it requires IE or Netscape), but Slashdot had no problem linking to it (without any browser comment) anyway. Why suddenly the comment here? Do we only care if Netscape/Mozilla under Linux can access a site?
  • After a small bit of work, I was able to access their site.. but I don't see why they REQUIRE certain browsers ..

    I use wwwoffle for a web proxy .. I edited my /etc/wwwoffle/wwwoffle.conf to report my User-Agent as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)" when i connect to a site. I was then able to enter citibank's site because it thought i was using msie for windows

    After some exploration, I have come to the conclusion that citibank's new site is JUST EYECANDY with ICKY javascript. It works fine with Netscape for Linux .. we deffinately must give citibank the same talk we gave fox.com!

    i used this same method to access fox.com when it still didn't allow netscape for linux

  • ...at their "browser update notice" page.

    Important Browser Upgrade Information!
    If you are using a Netscape browser older than version 4.06, or Internet Explorer version 4.01 browser for the Macintosh, Citi f/i recommends that you download a newer version of these browsers before December 31, 1999. This is because the Certificate Authority certificate that allows you to use this service and other services from other companies securely (that is, with your communication encrypted) will expire at the end of 1999. Once the Certificate expires, you will receive a message online warning you that the certificate has expired.

    In other words, instead of making a nice message on non-https part of the site and leaving it to users to take actions, smartasses decided to make wild assumptions, how User-Agent field must look in the "right" browser, and redirect everything that does not look like Windows or MacOS to a page with rude message and no mentioning of certificates, just because they don't know, which version of Netscape for other systems (hint to citifi -- the same as for Windows) they should recommend.

    Very lame.

  • by fireproof ( 6438 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @11:00PM (#1430261) Homepage
    Not to try to knock your answer-- it ought to be that easy. That's the logical way to solve it. But, I've had the same experience as the guy who you're responding to. It's not that easy. I tried to explain that it would look different in different browsers, tried to explain about CSS and all that jazz, and even finally tried your trick. I showed 'em the site I was working on using a 98 box on Netscape 4.6, a 95 box with IE 5.0, a Mac with IE 4.0, and Linux box (mine) with Netscape 4.7, and finally Linux running Mozilla M9 (I think) and it turned out that "Internet Explorer is right. The others are all wrong." This despite the fact that IE on the Mac looked different from IE on a Win box. And nevermind that Mozilla is the most CSS compliant browser around. After all, hey, Netscape (and by extension Mozilla) is dead. Gone. Bye-bye. Later.

    Sheesh, it drives me up the wall.

    "Make sure our site ranks high on search engines. Make sure you repeat keywords in the meta tags." (Like they know what a META tag does) . . . How do you explain to somebody that it ain't that easy, and that repeating keywords kills your ranking?

    "I don't like where that line breaks!" Like I can really have a lot of control over that. Say some user who has increased his font size comes along. The text breaks in some odd place for him.

    "Make sure you test those CGI scripts on Windows and Macintosh!" Like the browser really affects the way the CGI script operates.

    And, of course, as the guy mentioned, there is always the "You need to move faster!" When I'm trying to kick the bugs outta a script. Then, if I get rushed into putting the script into action without adequate debugging, it's my fault because it wasn't right before it went live.

    Where does this all end? I don't know. I think that some of the stuff you can create with Shockwave/Director/Whatever is cool. Quicktime movies and RealAudio are neat. We can do neat stuff with the web that wasn't possible four years ago. But, we're losing sight of the original purpose of the internet -- to allow information to be accesible to lotsa folks in a platform-independent way. It's easy to ignore part of the population (those who use Lynx, those who use Linux, or even those who don't want to install Shockwave on their computer) since they may not make up a large percentage of the population, but that doesn't make it right. I know we'll never go back to that completely, but I just wish people would TRY to understand that before they go deciding what, why, when, and how they want their website to look and act.

    Sorry, I know a lot of that was off-topic, but I've been steaming over some of it for a while, and this thread provided an opportunity to vent a bit.

  • Folks,

    I hate to sound like this, but consider this: Windows makes up something like 85% of the desktop user base in the world right now.

    Because of that, it's obvious that Citibank is going to go after that market first. Given that Internet Explorer 4.0x and later and Netscape Communicator 4.06 and later for Windows 95/98/NT4 should work with Citibank's new site, that will cover the vast majority of potential customers for this service.

    Anyway, once Netscape Communicator 5.0 ships some time in 2000, this will no longer be an issue, since Communicator 5.0--based on Mozilla technology--should in theory work with Citibank's new site with no problems.
  • For sites that appear to nix Linux users for no apparent reason, there is a simple arguement that should be applied:

    Point out to their webmaster that their site is probably not useable by people with alternative browsers, particularly blind people, and then point them to the AOL lawsuit that is currently in the works.

    Don't necessarily bring up Linux, or the requirements for Javascript or the fact that a certain required plugin only works on platform X. But tell them that their page is not going to be usable by handicapped people, and they should make the small but necessarily fixes to remove excessive obstiticals to make their page usable by all.

    I'd also like to see someone start a page on various .com sites that were redesigned after the browser handicap was pointed out, sort of a victory list. Get something like that going, with a good number of large .com sites, and you might actually have more sites that look good. (and get these types of stories off Slashdot, as it's beginning to look like SW:TPM stories, with a new story for every little bit of trivia)

  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @09:51PM (#1430277) Homepage Journal
    Having worked 18 months in a bog-standard, IQ-challenged real estate company where managers call the Web "Netscape" I ask; What can we/you/I actually do about these sort of things? The problem is that technical decisions are being made by people with no technical knowledge. Directors ask for features in web stuff that only exists in IE5, and any web developer will describe as unreliable or a kludge. I regularly have users & managers tell me that something on my web stuff should be "moved a little to the right". I have to design brochures using a database that can output simple HTML, and they have to look perfect regardless of how big the headings are ("maybe we should make the font a bit smaller") or how small they are ("Gee, there's a lot of white space, maybe we should make the font a bit larger") or regardless of 20 other attributes that could vary hugely. They even want be to be able to control page break, on a web browser! I wouldn't be able to do half the stuff I'm told to do if I couldn't specify the browser - I know I'd be getting Javascript errors and display weirdness if I had to even support two different browsers, never mind completely different OSs.

    People like you and I probably don't give a crap how it looks, as long as it works and the information is there, but computer illiterate managers only have the surface looks to judge by. Heck, when I was developing the code in the background I was accused of moving too slowly, but once I was working on the cute interface I was suddenly moving at a blistering pace - fact is I was working at the same quick speed the whole time.

    Managers of companies appear to believe the world revolves around them. When I told one that a feature he wanted was not supported by the HTML standards he actually asked me to get them changed.

    So, the question is; How do we inform computer illiterate managers that the Web is a collaberative community of standards, rather than a dictatorship governed by high school bully tactics?

  • I don't think I'm ever likely to need to use citifi.com. I don't think I would ever have gone there at all if not for the Slashdot pointer to their article.

    I know it's nice for sites to offer access to all operating systems, but I find it hard to get worked up over something like this. If you don't like it, there are thousands of other banks in the U.S. alone. (I bank locally anyway.)

    Now, something that does annoy me is that I can't seem to get access to my Commerce Bank [commercebank.com] account's automatic check-dispatchment system (click on the "sign in" link) with Netscape/Linux even when I accept all cookies and connect directly to the Internet. sigh.
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @09:57PM (#1430280) Homepage
    Citi f/i currently supports Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 running Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. It also supports Macintosh running Netscape Navigator only. If you need further assistance, please call 1-800-2-citifi.

    It rendered differently using Netscape (I used both Netscape and Opera behind a junkbuster proxy that disables cookies and masquared my user agent to be Netscape 4.7 on 2.2.13). It looks like it used Javascript to block arbitray browsers.

    As it's their website, it's their choice wether or not they allow people using things other than a certain browser and/or OS. I, however, don't see why they'd not allow any forms/SSL 128 capable browser to become a potential paying customer.

    I do have one question, though. Are we, the Slashdot readers and contributors, going to become the "website design police" -- cracking down on any site that just plain doesn't have high standards and proper design? Let these companies go and block people out -- then politely email them to ask them why they don't want your money. This should raise eyebrows, and eductate over at the company's office. "You, IT guy, why are we blocking out paying customers? I know you can fix this, so please do." Why not setup a public forum, or a site of some kind to audit websites for people, free of charge? This would certainly kill a few bugs with one squish.
    ---
  • Here me out before the flames come in...

    I think it's ethically wrong for them to deny access based on OS, unless there's some kind of sound technical reason for them to do so (which there isn't in my mind) It's against the spirit of the internet. Cross platform information sharing was one of the reason why the web took off in the first place and they're violating that ideal. However, decisions like platform support aren't made haphazardly and I'm sure that they sat down looked at the cost analysis comparing the price of making sure the site worked with all platforms vs the expected revenue from users accessing the site via unix hosts. I know that if you stick to good clean code browser and os differences shouldn't give you any problems, but a lot of people aren't writing good clean code.

    I've been using their online banking system from my linux box for the past year, I know that I show up in their web logs. I'm sure a lot of other unix users show up there as well, but I'm also sure that they don't have enough non-windows, non-mac clients to warrant extra effort in platform support

    Citibank is a buisness, they look at the bottom line and do what's most profittable. In this case it was denying access to non windows/mac users. Do I wish that they would support all of the OS's or at least unix? Yes... Do I blame them for not supporting them? No.

  • I keep getting inconsistant results. Queso from behind a firewalled machine said it was a Siemans host. Queso from my home box (behind Netcom/Mindspring) always shows "Dead Host, Firewalled Port" on anything. Checking Netcraft this morning I find:

    www.lite.citifi.com is running Simple, Secure Web Server 1.1 on Solaris

    You can check it [netcraft.com] yourself.

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • There's "www.citifi.com" and "www.lite.citifi.com". Not sure why queso turns up different....

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • Hi, Lurker surfacing.

    Just have to say that the certs aren't actually
    expiring in any of the browsers. Verisign was
    thinking of changing them 5 years ago, but then because it would break SSL sites for them ( in the sense that users would have to go get new certs), they CHANGED THE DATES ON THE OLD CERTS.

    Same milk, new bottles. Actually, same bottles with new date labels. MMMMMM. Anyway, the certs are the same in older versions of IE too ...except... and here's the brilliant part ... IE doesn't tell you when a cert expires.

    Awesome, huh??? That way users can go on browsing
    with a compromised cert ( if such a thing ever happened ) and WOULD NEVER KNOW the authority expired them. Of course, in this case it worked out for them because A) Versign was lazy B) They don't believe the certs have been cracked, stolen, or whatever from the magic safe they keep them in.

    I just had to say that because it bugs me that so many messages "alerting the customer" don't include that little tidbit.

    Of course, the certs haven't changed, too, so in Netscape if you click "ok" to continue you will be just as secure in 4.0 as you are with 4.5 or any version of IE you can name. You only have to click the button once ( at the start of the key exchange ), and you can go on with your life happy in the comfort of the SSL tunnel, without tearing your browser down and installing the AOL "shop" button.

    Thank you for your time. This particular issue bugs the hell out of me...particularly because the only reason you can't solve it by updating the certs is because the government's little "server gated crypto" plan relies on...you guessed it...verisign cert #3, and if you update that with a 'new' public key, the only really new thing, which is the date, causes step-up certs to die.

    Thank god they are there to protect us from all that crypto being exported.

    Now I will submerge again. I have nothing more to say....
  • Not that this is the case here, but perhaps a company wants to design a site using a specific valid HTML 4.0 layout which Netscape is unable to display correctly. Then, looking at the demographics, they see that Netscape now has less than 20% of the browser market, and that only half of those users are the type of clients that they're trying to attract. They might just decide that keeping their current layout and losing some users is a better deal than redesigning the site in an inferior way.

    It's completely fair on their part. You are the one who chose an operating system for which IE is unavailable, and you need to be prepared for the negative aspects of that decision. If I pulled my C-64 out of storage and decided to make that my main OS, it'd be ludicrous of me to complain to Id that it's not fair of them to deny me the fun of playing Q3-Arena just because I'm using a C-64.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @10:07PM (#1430311) Homepage
    So, the question is; How do we inform computer illiterate managers that the Web is a collaberative community of standards, rather than a dictatorship governed by high school bully tactics?

    Simple. Line up three machines running the same OS and 3 different browsers. Also have 3 different machines with the same browser next to it. Tell them to that to write the page they want, that only 1 of these 6 potential money paying customers will be able to see their fancy design. Show them how a simpler, more elegant design will probably solve the solution. Make the page designer fellows work in FrontPage or some similar gruby HTML "design" program, and then force them to look at it in a few browsers.

    That should clear things up. If they don't believe you, lock them in a room with a terminal, Lynx, and a pot of coffee for a few days.
    ---

The solution of problems is the most characteristic and peculiar sort of voluntary thinking. -- William James

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