Feeds

back to article Microsoft disables automatic IE 8 downloads

Microsoft will cushion you from the Internet Explorer 8 standards mess with software to prevent automatic download of its next browser to your machine. The company has released an IE8 Blocker Toolkit that will stop users installing IE8 via its Automatic Update service before compatibility testing has been finished. Microsoft's …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

I don't get it

But surely Opera, Firefox, Safari et al are more standards compliant than IE7? Granted, there are a few sites that don't work with some of those browsers (internet banking sites are big culprits), but as the majority of sites are ok, why won't a more standards-compliant IE8 be similar to using one of its competitors?

Whatever happens, we should be applauding all the browser producers' move to greater standards compliancy.

0
0

Flamebait?

"cushion you from the Internet Explorer 8 standards mess"

...

I'm trying to figure out how the author of the article has managed to come to the conclusion that an effort from Microsoft to make a browser more compliant with standards whilst also giving end users the opportunity to render sites in the same way IE7 does is in fact a standards mess?

Sure, in an idealistic purist world we'd tell developers of non-standards-compliant sites where to get off, and backward compatibility would be dropped altogether. On the other hand, why piss off the many businesses who have intranets that serve their intended purpose perfectly well even if those intranets do use a few non-standard techniques to accomplish the desired functionality. Let's face it, businesses are not going to adopt Opera, FireFox, Safari or Chrome unless the developers of those browsers provide the means to provide site-wide configuration by way of group policies. In that regard IE is king of the hill.

I guess all I'm seeing here is an ill-informed individual using their bias in order to get a few hits. Well it worked, I read the article and I felt inclined to convey my opinions.

0
0
N
Bronze badge

Cushioned from the standards mess?

Whats this, Vista comes with airbags?

0
0
Bronze badge
Linux

What Idiot would be so dumb as to use AU on Windows??

He who has Auto Update set (for anything other then, Satellite / Cable Subscription Cards), is a Fool!!!

AU is the first-ish thing to go, a close second only to Vista's UAC...

Oh. Well I'm in the process of turning Ubuntu anyway...

0
0
Linux

Some Big Users avoided IE7

The 3rd biggest employer in the world is, allegedly, the UK National Health Service. They seem to have standardised in IE6 and not "up"graded to IE7 anyway.

The story is that it is seriously complicated to get, at least some of, the National Programme for IT applications to work with it.

This has had the side effect of keeping Vista away as well. Apparently, very few IT staff are upset about this!

0
0

No, Microsoft

"Some major web sites, meanwhile, have not heeded Microsoft's advice to test they work with IE8"

They shouldn't HAVE to test if Microsoft would just bloody well use the W3C standard rather than their own broken standard.

I have this feeling that MS and Apple are going to do a one-upmanship war in which they roll out their own standards to avoid being perceived as a "me, too" standard. Lovely. Doesn't this sound like a return to the 'good ol' days' of IBM/Xerox?

0
0

Corporates Only

The linked article says the blocker toolkit is optional for corporate deployments only, and consumers are still going to get it through AU. In which case it's not going to affect IE8 take up that much?

Then again, maybe the article writer is factoring in that 99% of web browsing is done at work!

0
0
Gates Horns

IE7 sites that will not work with IE8

Include almost every medium/large corporations Intranet. Especially those built around Shairpoint and other MS technology.

That's the real problem here not 'web' sites

0
0
Sim
Gates Horns

Internet Exploder

"Some major web sites, meanwhile, have not heeded Microsoft's advice to test they work with IE8"

I code to w3c standards .(and then fix the site for Exploder 6 and 7) I don't feel very motivated to come up with any more different levels of fixes for differently broken versions of exploder.Neither am I keen to be adding any special tags that switch broken-ness on and off for Exploder 8. Perhaps Web Developers should use a browser detection script to display a prominent warning and link to Mozilla ,opera and safari if IE8 is detected.Thats my preferred solution but my clients would be less happy with this.

I spent 4 hours yesterday debugging an IE only website bug whereby an Ajax routine that returned xml data would not work if I used UTF-8 encoding,Exploder insisted on iso-8859-1 only but opera,safari and firefox did not mind which encoding I used. Unfortunately I will never get that part of my life back .

0
0

@David Eddleman: IE Hacks

The problem is that to support both IE and W3C standards browsers, sites use various hacks to get the page to display "right". The hacks used to target former versions of IE might also hit IE8, which could cause the page to break in IE8.

Now, neither of the other browsers on the market is fully standards compliant - thanks to the evolution of new standards. ;) So you always have to test in all the browsers, you want to support anyway.

0
0
IT Angle

What sort of Idiot would be so dumb as not to use AU on Windows??

and not be informed of what updates are available for your system..

Oh that will be Michael Habel...

0
0

@Flamebait?

For all those intranets that use their own quirky programs and pages with the past, non-standards IE versions MS could release a "business version". Then each sites own admin, with "certified professional" qualifications that they have studied long and hard for, could show their invaluable worth in these dire times in professionally installing and configuring the "business version" to run all the old internal pages etc.

Then for the rest of the Joe and Jill Blogses out in the world who had MS thrusted upon them when they purchased computing device, MS could release a "for the masses version" for all those casual users who aren't up with the hair-pulling nightmare of developers who have try to make pages work for all the standards browsers and then (dread) IE's multitude of unique "quirks" (per)version.

Then auto-update could silently purge the world of IE's past.

Pissing-on-the-fire icon, if it existed.

0
0
E

Links

links is the answer

0
0
Gates Horns

The "mess" of FIXING problems

This sort of nonsense really infuriates me. The real mess is that Microsoft botched their implementation originally, compounded by other people attempting to write HTML without understanding it properly and thus blindly mimicking Microsoft's mess. Now Microsoft is finally cleaning up its act - and these cargo cult web "developers" are whining that it exposes their pile of broken crap for the broken substandard crap it has always been?!

Seriously, anyone whining about their code "breaking" when rendered in a standard-compliant way just needs to have it explained to them that their mess has ALWAYS been broken - it's just being made more obvious now.

Evil-Gates, because even if his clowns are trying to fix the mess now, they're still the ones who made it this bad in the first place.

0
0
Coat

IE8 blocker toolkit won't install automatically

One: I think the article has it wrong: Specifically the IE8 blocker toolkit won't install automatically or with the regular Windows Update. Someone will have to trigger its installation.

Therefore home users will get the IE8 update as a regular high priority update.

Therefore professional web developers and their managers should do their jobs and be prepared to serve their clients, customers, and their clients' customers.

Two: Its a shame that *some* professional web developers think displaying properly on Firefox guarantees meeting W3C. You'd think they'd be better informed.

0
0
Gates Horns

You couldn't make it up...

Once again MS dig themselves a great big hole and gleefully jump right in.... tee-hee!

0
0
Linux

Auto Updates

Unlike Michael, I have the sense to have auto updates switched on for my Windows machines. And I also have the ability to have made the migration to gnu/linux on other machines.......not just kept the idea a pipe dream due to technological ineptitude.

0
0
Gates Horns

trust?

Standards? Are these the "standards" that Microsoft continues - to this day - to work so hard to embrace, extend and extinguish? Or perhaps the kinds of Microsoft-only patent encumbered unimplementable standards they use every unethical trick in the book to push through ISO? Could these be the kinds of standards that other people can read and use, or are they just the standards that Microsoft has decided as "standards"?

Me? I don't trust Microsoft. At all. Not with their 30 year history of lying, misleading, unethical, predatory and in some cases downright illegal business practices, especially with regards to "standards".

0
0
Thumb Down

Ouch.

According to Microsoft's documentation:

----

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=4"> <!-- IE5 mode -->

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7.5"> <!-- IE7 mode -->

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=100"> <!-- IE8 mode -->

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=a"> <!-- IE5 mode -->

In practice, Internet Explorer only respects the first X-UA-Compatible header in a Web page.

----

The FIRST X-UA-Compatible header! So, standards compliance is completely fscked from the get-go. Every other browser out there goes by the LAST instance of any command, i.e. <span style="color:red"><span style="color:blue">... will show blue ... Thanks, MS.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Re: Michael Habel

Hey, try not to be so hard on this Habel guy. He will surely keep several IT-for-hire people in business.

As a Technology Samurai myself, I have found no evil what-so-ever in Windows Automatic Updates. It is MUCH easier to roll back a bad update than to clean up after a virus or worm. All network sites are running WSUS, and in the past six years only once has any workstation running Windows Automatic Updates has needed an update rolled back.

Although, I did come across a problem with the DNS update which prevented IAS from running on an SBS 2003 server. Stupid problem, really, but only required a single registry entry change. Too bad I had to find the answer using Google as MS's own support search found nothing using the same search terms. But that is another rant altogether.

Paris, easier to clean up after than a virus or worm. Ew.

0
0
E

Seriously though

This seems to me like a case of M$ reaping what it sowed. Perhaps it will be another penny nail in M$' coffin.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

NHS

The 3rd biggest employer in the world is, allegedly, the UK National Health Service. They seem to have standardised in IE6 and not "up"graded to IE7 anyway.

The story is that it is seriously complicated to get, at least some of, the National Programme for IT applications to work with it.

---

Right on the first part, wrong on the second. The trust I work for has rolled out IE7 and we don't have any issues with any of the NPFIT web apps. If we had any ongoing problems i'd know.

However, we aren't touching Vista with a barge pole (even though it would be free to migrate to Vista) until required applications actually work on it.

Anon, because.

0
0
Gates Halo

Why the delay?

I, for one, welcome our new standards-compliant overlords. For once, I can code a website with W3C standards in mind, and have it work in Safari, Firefox, Opera and IE, instead of having it work in three browsers and going completely belly-up in IE.

As for detecting browsers, that's exactly what I've done for my latest project. Anyone using a standards-compliant browser sees the normal site. Using IE6 or IE7 redirects to an ASCII-only site with a layout and feel similar to an IBM 5150, no hyperlinks, forcing users to press keys to navigate between pages. Wanted to try it in the style of old text adventures, but that would have required too much effort and too many pints of Guiness.

Angelic Bill, because hey, who'd have ever though that IE would even be slightly standards-compliant some day?

0
0
Gates Halo

Lots of things still broken (@David Eddleman)

I'm trying IE8 at home. It's very nice most of the time, but some websites see "IE? Oh, then I shouldn't be standards compliant" and break IE8. If IE8 pretends to be Firefox then things work just fine (oh, the irony. I remember when the reverse was quite common).

Anyway, it's a very nice browser, but sites which detect IE (rather than more generally non-standard behavior) do break it by thinking that just because it's IE it's not standards compliant(formerly a good assumption). Google Reader is a prime example of this, but there are others.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Flamebait?

@Craig Posted Wednesday 7th January 2009 19:07 GMT

'' "cushion you from the Internet Explorer 8 standards mess"

...

I'm trying to figure out how the author of the article has managed to come to the conclusion that an effort from Microsoft to make a browser more compliant with standards whilst also giving end users the opportunity to render sites in the same way IE7 does is in fact a standards mess? ''

I'm trying to figure out if you are being ironic or just haven't bothered reading the article before commenting...

The problem, as you would know had you read the article, is in the way IE8 tries to handle the differing IE7 and IE8 standards. And the operative word here is "try": it fails miserably on several level, both in the "switching between standards" category and in the "can't render the page consistently" category.

*THAT* is the "Internet Explorer 8 standards mess" the article was talking about.

0
0
Gates Horns

Damn MS

I'm with other people here. I'm tired of having to code workarounds to get my standard code to work with IE. MS should have stuck to the standards all along and not done what they liked. I hope with IE8 and from then on, they stick to the standards in place so that we developers can write one lot of code and not have to jump through multiple browsers and Virtual Machines to make sure we've pleased Microsoft.

0
0
Joe
Alert

Pity the poor average PC user...

Most people with widescreen TVs are happy to watch with the picture squished and black bars at the top and bottom because they haven't set up their set-top box and don't understand the concept anyway... what chance does the man in the street have with figuring this one out?!

0
0
Black Helicopters

NHS and IE7

My trust has been told not to use it but we tried it on a couple of machines. There are a few steps you can follow, or just log in with Admin access and it all seems to work fine.

We have a couple of developers who "have to" have Vista. They are welcome to it! Most technicians I know tell me their main machines at home run XP - or Ubuntu.

Now if we could get this stuff to work with Mozilla. But that would mean it had to be rewritten by people who were actually competent!

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

More browser-sniffing code to write...

As if all our PHP/Perl scripts don't have enough already?!?

$user_agent = getBrowser(); //Detect browser using a series of hacks including detecting spoofing tools

if ($user_agent == "ie5"){include ("templates/template_ie5.htm");}

elseif ($user_agent == "ie6"){include ("templates/template_ie6.htm");}

elseif ($user_agent == "ie7"){include ("ttemplates/emplate_ie7.htm");}

elseif ($user_agent == "ie8"){include ("templates/template_ie8.htm");}

else{include ("templates/template_w3c.htm");}

Now design, test and debug FIVE different versions of your page template to go with this horrific list of includes...

THIS is why Web developers HATE Internet Suxplorer, supposedly standards-compliant or not.

0
0
Silver badge

@Tone & others ...

Michael Habel is correct.

Updating systems manually is the only way to run a network. Let the sheeple-masses who trust the auto-update features of whatever software they run beta test the "final release" before trusting it ...

You DO trust your corporate proxy & stateful firewall, right? And you DO run a similar setup at home, right? And you DO read ElReg and other tech sites, so you know when updates are available, right? And as a result, when the sheeple start screaming about "bad updates", you just sit back, smug that none of your users (including yourself) were bit by whatever bug $BIGCO missed, right?

Oh, wait, you guys are teenage boys ... Never mind. Trust $BIGCO, if you like. Not having credit cards, much less jobs, you won't lose too much money when (not if) you get bit ...

0
0
Joke

The simple solution.

MS eats a big bowl of foul tasting humble pie and announces to the world that it is no longer going to do a web browser and will only support the current batch for a few years and urge those that are stuck in the IE mud to move to other solutions.

Next it announces that it is going to endorse such-and-such W3C standards browser and offer it as the default choice on all future windows versions. (MS also announces that it will only support said default browser financially and not offer to "help" with the coding of this browser.)

And then in the real world...........................................................

Joke icon, for the irony.

0
0
Flame

@Flamebait?

"Sure, in an idealistic purist world we'd tell developers of non-standards-compliant sites where to get off, and backward compatibility would be dropped altogether. On the other hand, why piss off the many businesses who have intranets that serve their intended purpose perfectly well even if those intranets do use a few non-standard techniques to accomplish the desired functionality."

how about because I don't think we should allow those who can't be arsed to do a good job to hold us back from getting further down the track of progress, how about because if you're too fucking stupid to realise how important standards are, you can just deal with your own shit and not force me to, I mean, hell, if you developed the piece of crap that apparently works so well, then keep IE6 and your intranet to yourself, nobody forces you to upgrade, just stay with winxp and ie6

for the rest of us, fuck em, if you're on the net with a site that does that, then you deserve to burn, wheres my marshmellows

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@ various people

"I code to w3c standards .(and then fix the site for Exploder 6 and 7) I don't feel very motivated I don't feel very motivated to come up with any more different levels of fixes for differently broken versions of explode" - as an example

I think the whole point of the issues is that people have programed websites WITH IE fixes, and these need to be turned OFF for IE8 as its aiming for standards. So why are people moaning about having to code new bits in for IE (bareing in mind all the sites with specific safari/firefox/opera changes.

Oh and in the real world, a site working on IE is more important than standards complience, unplesent yes, but its how it is, all the people saying they won't make there site work with IE8, i hope they ain't running a web business to general users or they are gonna lose a lot of money.

0
0
Unhappy

Re: NHS and IE7

I believe Connecting for Health* still don't approve the use of IE7 due to problems with authentication onto the spine**

"or just log in with Admin access and it all seems to work fine"

You let all your users do this? I thought we had problems

Anonymous NHS Coward

*The national IT body for the NHS. A scarily clueless bunch of cowboys.

**The infrastructure that will control access to national patient records systems, etc. Appears to have been procured by a scarily clueless etc. etc.

0
0
Happy

RE. Some Big Users avoided IE7

My large multinational* is also still happily running IE6.

Since I work in IT security, this is a bloody nightmare.

I wouldn't be too surprised if, once IE8 is released, we decide to move to IE7.

__

* Well it's not mine really - I just work for it.

0
0
Stop

i have a solution

This is very simple for MS to solve - just change the name of the application...

If IE8 didn't say "i'm IE" in its user agent, but instead said "I'm George" (*) then no site would sniff it as IE and wouldn't try to "fix" its HTML to work..

Or is that too simplistic a view?

(*) just an example name it could use

0
0

re: You couldn't make it up...

As anyone who recognises me would know, I detest MS's incompetence.

However, here the incompetence is not (at least in the majority) MS. It's the intranet and quite possibly other sectors of MS who are working on "Intranet" and trying to keep the lockin on Windows so making sharepoint/Office/etc not standards compliant webpages.

It really doesn't look like IE8's fault. It could be sharepoint (part of MS)'s fault. It looks mostly to be the dumb fuckwit web developers who developed not Web Pages but IE pages.

Although I'd like to know if MS have FINALLY settled on the only sane way of making IE8 compatible with both Web Pages *and* IE6/7 pages: use a tag to say "this isn't a web page, it's a bastardised page written for IE6/7". Only those who have made an IE page need to fiddle with their work and they had to fiddle their work to get it to work in IE6 when it was started under IE5.5 and then change again to get it to work under IE7 and would likely have had to change to get it working for IE8 if MS still left it noncompliant with Web Pages.

0
0
Paris Hilton

re: More browser-sniffing code to write...

Nope, write W3C compliant code and it will (or should, and if it doesn't MS would like to know what is broken) work with IE8.

You then keep your hacks to make it work under other versions of IE prior to 8.

Since you had to make W3C compliant pages to address Firefox/Opera/Safari, this is no more work for you.

I feel dirty for defending MS here, but they unfortunately for my sensibilities on the subject, deserve it.

0
0
Bronze badge
Coat

The penguins are a bit slow today

So can I just say

"....software to prevent automatic download of its next browser ...."

Its called LINUX!!!!!!

Did you all see the clever joke I made??

0
0

Microsoft helping developers?

@ nobby

umm lets see, Microsoft could either do some work and save developers a load of grief, or expect developers to fix the problem. Standard Microsoft attitude seems to be to let the developers deal with it.

0
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Ummm

"....software to prevent automatic download of its next browser ...."

I may be a bit thick, but surely they could just mark IE8 as being a non critical/important/necessary/whatever update.

It seems to me that Microsoft want to force people to DL IE8 unless they specifically "opt-out".

Can we all imagine what would happen if apple surreptitiously installed Safari on the PC's of all itunes users itunes and then declared that users may "opt-out" by manually downloading a separate patch to disable the automatic downloading of Safari?

hmmmm

Paris, because maybe we are all as confused as she is

0
0
Thumb Down

A lot of utter bs from M$

...and frankly, I'm surprised that no-one has pointed this out yet.

Let's start at the beginning.

They've "developed an install toolkit to...". No they haven't. They've given a different set of installation options from the ones they foisted on us with previous versions of IE.

They've created a "compatability mode" = they've left the f*cked up, non-standards-compliant rendering in there making it even more of a bloated beast than it was before.

M$ are not fools. To stop many older sites written for IE5, IE6 and IE7(?) from displaying incorrectly, all they needed to do was slightly alter the tag that's sent from the browser when it identifies itself. If you've changed the layout engine M$ then you need to change the identification string that you send. It's fucking obvious. If you don't change it then systems will assume that it's the same rendering engine that it always was. So if instead of saying "IE..." it said "I.Explorer..." problem solved.

All they're REALLY saying is this "We're working on a new browser. It's shit and we're still retarded but please write something about it and give us some free publicity" and like a shower of tools, El Reg has done just that.

0
0
Stop

Turd on a stick

Pass the bin please, its for IE8

0
0
Gates Horns

Oh, MS,

you're just making this too easy.

Perhaps Microsoft is just a social experiment to test out the truth of PT Barnum's aphorism that there's one born every minute.

0
0
Paris Hilton

@Penguins are a bit slow today

You are right, penguins are a bit slow today. That's a nice change of pace for once. Not that I mind penguins, but they always get so noisy when discussing things Redmond.

Anyway, doesn't it strike anyone as odd... it seems MS is installing software to prevent software from being installed. Isn't this something that should be prevented upstream?? Why for the love of all that is good and proper would you install anything client-side, executable code no less! Taxing the clients system resources because someone didn't set the right database flags upstream.

Aww come on! This is just silly. I could write an automagic updater in bash that could handle selective installation of different versions of software and keep it below 200 lines easy. Bash and wget, 200 lines. Redmond, if you are interested?

Paris, because like her I really don't understand why they need extra software to prevent installing a new version of IE. I'm also wondering whether I, like her, didn't quite understand it all.

0
0
Linux

Silly questions and trenchant observations (or vice versa)

"What sort of Idiot would be so dumb as not to use AU on Windows and not be informed of what updates are available for your system?"

Anyone smart enough to follow computer news affecting their job, and therefore usually knowing of the problems BEFORE MS releases the fixes? And doesn't trust MS's fixes to always work right the first time? i.e. a substantial portion of the Register's users?

"...anyone whining about their code "breaking" when rendered in a standard-compliant way just needs to have it explained to them that their mess has ALWAYS been broken"

YES!!!!! America HATES being told this, but it's kind of a universal American principle. I mean, we got away with it, so it must have been right.

"It is MUCH easier to roll back a bad update than to clean up after a virus or worm."

"Reinstall from current backups" seems to work the same to me in either case. A "bad" update is one that, by definition, both fails and refuses to be rolled back. Hosing one's system with a defective update and getting infected with malware are BOTH undesirable outcomes, not mututally exclusive necessities.

"As for detecting browsers, that's exactly what I've done for my latest project. "

url, please?

"Isn't this something that should be prevented upstream?? Why for the love of all that is good and proper would you install anything client-side, executable code no less!"

It seems to me that MS is quite regularly looking for ways to justify downloading executable code of uncertain purpose to user's machines. What's surprising about it? It doesn't imply any particular piece of code is malicious, just that they want you to get used to the idea that it isn't your choice.

And anyone who mentions Paris Hilton at this point deserves children who become nostalgic Paris Hilton fanatics.

And no, I don't use Linux - I just though this discussion went on too long without penguins.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.