back to article Opera chief: Microsoft's IE 8 ‘undermines’ web standards

If Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8 this week — as expected — then the company will likely be congratulated by many for doing the right thing and finally adding support for web standards to its browser. For years, Microsoft has gone its own way online with its own IE rendering engine. That's forced web developers to either …

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Why should Microsoft not support old websites?

"The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8."

This is a good thing, not bad. Why on earth should Microsoft intentionally break those old websites when they can maintain compatibility with those websites? Even Firefox and Safari can degrade gracefully and render those websites (which in high probability has already been abandoned by its developers). A browser that cannot render HTML3 standard websites cannot called itself a standard-compliant browser, even if that standard is depreciated.

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Black Helicopters

Opera Insignificant

If Opera built a browser to compete with IE 8 then that would be newsworthy, but they haven't built anything worth using for years now and their dysfunctionality is always attributed to the same lame line...must not be standards compliant....it has gotten real old Opera.

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Missing the point a bit

"It also means that Microsoft continues to exert undue and damaging influence over the web"

If IE8 didn't support these older sites, it wouldn't drive those webmasters to upgrade. It would drive network admins to block IE8 from autoupdate on their networks

"What about the home consumer?" I hear you ask. The home consumer is either using firefox, doesn't care, or only goes to sites that work in every browser ever made anyway.

This is and always has been about the crufty intranet sites that dinosaur corporations rely on; if IE 8 didn't support them all that would happen is that there wouldn't be a clear upgrade path for those sites (like, say, crufty site -> works in IE8 -> rewrite to be standards compliant, which should still work in ie8 -> roll out firefox)

And it's slightly arrogant of opera to criticise MS for going their own way, and then moan that Apple won't let Opera go _it's_ own way; it implies some kind of "I know better than you" attitude. And it's ironic that of the 2 popular paid-for desktop OSs*, MS is by far the most open...

*Just to avoid whether or not people consider linux a viable broad appeal desktop OS, which is something for another day

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Opera is the problem

> The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8.

If 'allowing' users to continue to view the content they want is a problem for Opera, screw the Opera.

They have come a long road along this 'standards' fashism, but this is way overboard.

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Truly horrific!

I have not done much web development, but the little I have done is a truly horrific experience when IE is involved. You spend 10% of the time writing to standards and it works almost perfect on FF, Opera, Safari, you then spend the other 90% of the time fudging your code to work with IE!

It is truly a horrific piece of crap and the quicker it's laid to rest the quicker we can help evolve the internet experience into something more pleasurable!

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Anonymous Coward

Moonlight

I never quite understand why on one hand, the open source people complain about MS and then in the next breath start a project to duplicate hat MS are trying to push into the market (I'm not suggesting Opera is open source BTW)

Why does anyone need silverlight anyway? Flash does an excellent job of making web sites inaccessible and awkward to use. Once you start adding silverlight to this soup, you end up with the web equivalent of the flash memory card "standards" - lots of different types of the SAME thing, all doing basically the SAME job. It just makes it all less convenient having multiple standards for these things.

MS would like nothing better than for all the (real" standards to just go away so it could then run with its own "standards". They will do what the old standards did. Just differently. And probably slower. And only on Windows.

<End of incoherent rant>

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Stop

Is it me...

...or Opera sounding more and more like spoilt kids in the playground each time?

Microsoft evil and destroying the internet by bringing out a more compliant version.

Apple evil because they don't let us do what we want and it's hard work, not fair.....

Mozillia whine less and get on with the job and somehow get a bigger market share.

Maybe many people just don't like your product and it's got f all to do with other people?

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Anonymous Coward

Heres an idea mr opera guy...

.. how about you stop complaining about MS and actually market your own browser, all you are doing is coming off as a jelous spoilt kid.

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Gates Horns

What's Microsoft to do?

"The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8."

Getting in the way of users is a terrible blunder. There's a reason for backward compatibility and Opera/FF executives know it (they're practicing it!).

As for the whole bundling debate, nobody is complaining about cars coming bundled with tires and a steering wheel. In fact, if your product isn't good enough to make a user switch, it plain sucks and you shouldn't be wasting his time in the first place.

It would be nice if those companies concentrated on making their browsers better rather than seeking rents from political authorities.

Signed,

So far a happy Opera user

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summing up

"Microsoft has a unique position - "

"It's a lot more difficult for the competition," "

And guess what. That's how they like it. They'll play the whinny "We're just a software company, why are you picking on us" routine when it suits them as well.

Incidently I hear of no migration tools so that the web sites crippled to work with Microsoft's botched implementation can be converted to a standards compliant version. But for those that don't make heavy use of server side VBscript (or rather the MS specific bits of what is generically ECMAscript) that might be just the push they need to dump IIS and go Apache.

Otherwise what's the option. A new 3 way code test. MS old, MS new and everyone else?

MS can spin the dual rendering engines as being the right thing for them to do regarding the older web sites. "We don't force the customer to upgrade their browser, they have a free choice."

Websites can continue running without even needing to politely warn that you have a non compliant browser. Giving no incentive for anyone to shift.

In other words. The barely minimum level of acceptance.

If I sound unimpressed remember that a sizeable chunk of MS software is for development. Writing a parser for a compiler or interpreter to read a grammar (For HTML pages and CSS definitions) *properly* should be well within their capabilities.*

Enfold,extend, extinguish will still be their preferred idea of standards compliance.

*Unless they dumped on some Summer intern to do of course.

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Oh noes, how terrible!

"The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8."

Why is this a problem? What MS has done is what Firefox, Opera et al don't do and that is... MAKE THE BROWSER COMPATIBLE WITH THE INTERNET!!!

The Internet does NOT always conform to html standards, we all know that. It never will conform to the standards.

Anyone who wants to use a fully-compliant browser is welcome to, but it won't work properly for the user's needs and wants. Even the geekiest user just wants to look at web pages on the Internet, not "correctly formatted html".

Now, should billions of web-pages be pulled from the Internet purely because their non-compliances offend the eyes of html zealots? What if your kid has created a webpage of their own that is a bit wonky? Should the web-gestapo come along and tell your child "Nein, yor veb-site duss not comply. DELETE IT FROM ZE SERVAH!"

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Head up arse...

While I would like for Microsoft to follow web standards, does Jon von Tetzchner really think it's a good idea to suddenly 'break' loads of web pages? Normal users won't understand the whole issue, they'll just know that IE8 has broken t'interweb.

I'd much rather see wider usage of the W3C validator icons on web pages - hint hint, el Reg

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Oh, do stop bleating, people!

"Microsoft [...] has not employed Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) that has been employed by Mozilla, Google, and Opera and is also from the W3C stable."

So you code your site to say "This site uses Scalable Vector Graphics. This was standardised by the W3C about a decade ago. If you're still using a browser that doesn't support it, try a different browser. Almost *any* different browser will do, because there's really only one bunch of clowns left who haven't pulled their fingers out."

Or write some sort of IE plug-in (using Silverlight?) to render SVG and frig your server to substitute that for any SVG content destined for non-broken client software. (Wasn't there an Adobe ActiveX control for this. I dare say it is a nuisance to code every piece of SVG as SVG-or-ActiveX-depending-on-the-client, but presumably the necessary script incantation can be automatically inserted by the web server.)

Failing that, perhaps the ultimate solution to the browser wars is for a small script on the page to communicate the browser window size back to the server, where the entire page is rendered onto a temporary PNG file and downloaded back to the client for display. *Then* we'll see just how fast IE is compared to browsers that are willing to do the rendering on the client side.

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Boo fucking hoo

Is this guy for real?

Microsoft start to undo the clusterfuck of what previous iterations of IE have caused and as an interim measure for web developers to update their sites to work properly with IE8, they are given the option to fall back to the way IE7 would render, so you know, everyone can still use the internet and this guy is crying like a little girl about it?

Surprise surprise, people with an iphone want to use multitouch which is how it's been marketed, why would you want to take two steps back to use Opera Mini?

If the product was as good as he claims, people would use it. It's either shit, which is why it's got such low market share, or they need to do some hardcore advertising to get the name out there.

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A warped kind of logic...

"The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8.

As far as von Tetzchner is concerned, that's not just bad for companies like Opera that must continue wasting time and money simply updating sites built for IE 6 and 7 to work with their browsers."

So...by offering backwards compatibility it means MORE work? Umm, no. If there was NO backwards compatibility we would have to spend shed-loads re-writing all the other websites so that they worked with (like it or not) the market leader.

I'm sorry but if websites X doesn't work in IE8 Joe Public isn't going to blaim M$ and suddenly switch to Opera. No, Joe Public is going to blaim website X and take his business to compeating website Y.

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Much hate ?

So he doesnt like MS for what they have done on the desktop and he doesnt like Apple for what they have done on the Iphone.

While I can agree with both points putting them in one article like this just makes him sound like a whiny bitch,

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What a perfect metaphor!

>> "...with its own IE rending engine."

Rending engine. Beautiful.

Was that on purpose? If not, it must be like when the planets align!

-dZ.

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whine whine

"if Microsoft provides a better product you might see a reversal of the trend"

Oh nose! Microsoft might make a browser that is better than opera, chrome, firefox et al and then people might use it.

Chrysler might make a really good car, that will be really mean of them because people will stop buying Fords. Nasty Chrysler, how dare they make a superior product.

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Damned if they do...

This is whining for whining sake. If MS didn't include an IE6 and 7 compatibility mode, people would complain it broke huge sections of the web. How about pushing some blame onto short sighted web developers who filled their web code with IE6 workarounds that only check for IE and don't differentiate between IE6, 7 or 8?

IE6 may be a pain to work with but if you're coding something that relies on such ugly hacks then you should be looking at achieving your look a different way. There are ways of acheiving cross browser compatibility that get around IE6 bugs elegently, IE6 has been around for what, 8 years? Why are people still struggling with issues where there are documented workarounds and alternative solutions?

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Perhaps...

The financial cost of cleaning the Internet; Making all web sites properly web standards compliant should be met by Microsoft.

Why? One may ask.

1) It's their own fault

2) They can possibly afford it.

3) They have grown rich and dominant through bundling IE with their operating systems and their attempts to make the web bend to proprietary standards.

In my ideal world Microsoft would foot the bill.

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Stop

Contradictions galore

So he wants to see more competition in the market but he doesn't like the fact that Microsoft have started competing in the market again. He believes Microsoft are abusing their dominant position within the market and that this is a bad thing but he believes Microsoft should have used it's dominant position in the market place to drive the adoption of open standards.

I'm no fan of IE and I quite like Opera but this guys constant whining about unfair competition is getting annoying. Firefox and Safari have managed to make huge ground on IE whilst Opera has been, at best, treading water. That isn't Microsoft's fault. That is Opera's fault. Stop bitching about everyone else and demanding the teacher makes the big boys pass you the ball and get on with making your browser more successful.

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Paris Hilton

well there's a surprise

Microsoft undermine standards in order to maintain a monopoly position.

News at 11.

Paris, cos even she could have seen this coming.

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Gates Horns

I for one..

...will not be congratulating them. Burn IE. Burn.

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I do not support Opera and others

I am consumer in the EU and I do not support EU money taking activities out of private USA companies in order to achieve the strange goal that browser must not be part of OS. I support only the goal that the browser must adhere to web standards, if its part of the mass OS.

I expect all these must be part of modern PC and OS, and work out of the box:

1. Program to ZIP / compress files

2. Calculator

3. File player (audio, video, pictures)

4. Browse Internet

5. Send receive e-mail

6. Copy CD, DVD or Blue-Ray (PC data disks)

7. Edit text (print the letter) and do basic spreadsheet calculations

8. Hard disk defragment and any other utilies (I do not want to know about them)

Many of them were not part of OS before and made legal processes before dying.

Now shall I write the MyCalculator program and then raise EU versus Microsoft trial so that they remove Calculator out of Windows? Also, who will compensate Citizen, for example, for lost sales of ordinary calculators?

Opera shall concentrate on writing a better program than the basic buil-in OS program, or I do not need their services. Instead, they concentrate on legal activities and that is wrong.

I do not want 10 companies responsible for the basic activities on my PC. Then nobody is responsible. Basic functionality must be part of OS and be covered by OS update/patching service, so I do not need to take care about program problems, compatibilities with service packs etc.

Windows has still too little integrations and OS is not so much usefull out of the box as Mac for example.

One stupid thing Microsoft is now doing - they removed even BASIC e-mail from Windows7 OS. Users will need to download e-mail application if they want e-mail. The support need for that will be much higher, its not clear if Windows Update will patch the separate mail program if problem appears, etc. And this will raise a logical question - if it is OK to sell OS without e-mail, why its not OK to sell OS without Internet Explorer, without calculator, defragment etc.etc.? If users will need IE or calculator, they can download them (they can for example download together browser and e-mail client). Imagine 80 y.o. windows customer downloading explorers, defragmenters and e-mail programs.

I hope MS will return e-mail back to Windows 7, its not too late and its quite simple application but many users use it and its enough for them.

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Tetzchner : Your helping isn't helping.

MSIE's deficiencies are very well known and there are enough neutrals already pointing them out without a competitor jumping in and making it all sound like spin.

I mean, the head of the Margarine Marketing Board is hardly going to come along and say 'Butter is fine actually, try some, see if you like it.', now, is he.

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jon

derrrrr...

yes, if Opera sold their browser MUCH more fiercely than they do currently, they may still have a chance..... but they still act like fanboy linux users....

Look at Firefox - yes, it has not got as many 'security' feature, cannot 'pretend' to be another browsr, etc, etc, but fanatical support has pused it right to the top..

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Go

Hey Oopera, Moziolla, Goggle ...

... want a little cheese with that whine?

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It's a bit like

Rain on the Clyde coast, IE8 doesn't conform to web standards, utterly predictable.

Efros

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Coat

re: Opera Insignificant

If Opera truely is as insignificant as you claim, how comes all the other browsers are constantly stealing it's ideas?

Speel Dials, "Awesome bars", Tabbed Browsing, Mouse Gestures are ones that sprint to mind, i'm sure there will be more..

I predict next year, Firefox, Google and Safari will be stealing Opera Bookmark/Notes/Contact syncing features, and that Firefox will be desperately trying to make a mobile browser even half as good as Opera Mini...

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Coat

Pragmatism

I coded my sites for IE4 ( later IE5/6 ) because they were the significant browsers used at the time and tweaked things so Mozilla, Netscape and Opera would work tolerably if I could be arsed. I now use FF all the time and it has no problem with those pages unchanged from then.

I can blame MS for forcing me into non-standard coding through gaining dominant share but I'll be buggered if I'm re-jigging those pages now. For good or bad MSIE was the de-facto standard so that's what browsers have to accept. Firefox succeeded for me when the decision was made to do so. Maybe not 'a decision', but however it happened, FF started to render IE pages a lot better which made it the alternative to IE for me so I jumped ship from MS as did everyone else I know.

Maybe Opera could take a lesson from Firefox and understand what it is that drives customer to a product and what keeps them away. Perhaps it will then become clear why they have such insignificant market share.

MS can stop bleating too - They created the mess so they can live with it. And the irony of my recommending people to use FF if MS cannot render the pages as they dictated they should be coded.

Mine's the one with all the unused HTML tags in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Opera == Evil

Oh god, when the hell are Opera going to wake up and realise that what MS are doing with IE8 is a GOOD THING and will benefit EVERYONE.

I will never use Opera as my main browser just because of the amount of crap that comes from that company. The sooner they stop bitching about MS and trying to have a dig at them every time they make a decision (and usually a good decision) the better.

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@Adam

"Why is this a problem? What MS has done is what Firefox, Opera et al don't do and that is... MAKE THE BROWSER COMPATIBLE WITH THE INTERNET!!!"

Errrm... I think you'll find that that's what adhering to W3C standards is all about....

Twunt.

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Pirate

Amateur web developers

Stop whinging and start doing the job you're paid for.

If the web sites what you wrote don't work in standards compliant and market leader browsers then you were taking money under false pretences. The world doesn't run for the convenience of geeks and no-one spending money gives a shit about standards compliance.

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Unworkable

The fact is if microsoft had disallowed the old style support they would have been lambasted by users who use things like internet banking some of which RELY on the broken old IE model.

The best anyone can hope for is backwards compatibility and a switch to turn the old functionality on and off in the application itself to allow "pure" and "non-pure" browsing.

All seems like sour grapes to me from the other companies, the real loosers should microsoft remove the old support would be customers who would avoid ie 8.x for as long as possible, which is I am sure what their competition are seeking.

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jon

RE: re: Opera Insignificant

... because Opera does not seem to care... :( :( :(

they spend a lot of time and energy on their 'fantastic feature' - we were hoping for something REALLY great......

And they release 'speeddial'.... to yawns all round, and some hope that they may improve on it...

but no, it is still just a 'tacked on' thing that activates when you get a 'new page'...

Now the idea has been 'hijacked' by FF, they have made it better and much more versatile, and still pleas to opera staff to do add this level of functionality seem to fall on deaf ears....

it is no wonder opera's share remains so low......

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Stop

The webs wont break

If IE8 was going to dump its compatability modes, every web developer would know this way in advance of release, and would update the site accodingly, so how would this break most web sites?

This would also create a lot of work for web devs, which would help the economy, so how is it a bad thing?

Also, any future site maintenance or updates would be simplified as they would only need to be coded to the standards. This would make like so much easier for web devs.

You guys saying that it is good that microsoft is keeping the compatability modes are obviously not web devs, and don't understand how annoying it is to code for different version of IE. As users though, you would not be affected, as the only sites that would be broken are the ones no longer being maintained.

I see this as a step in the right direction towards full compliance to the standards. As long as IE9 drops the compatability modes and is standards compliant, then Microsoft has done the right thing with IE8, as this will give the web devs plenty of time to get their sites sorted out.

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Stop

Opera

Please don't bang on about Silverlight not working on Linux - why would anybody want it to work on ANY platform? Is Flash not bad enough on its own.

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Gates Horns

Opera is half right

First, I'm not opera user. I like it, but I stick with FF.

The problem with Opera is not Opera isn't good enough. Matter of fact, Opera is a superb software by itself. What "kills" it is there is seriously lack of plug-in and extension. FF on the other hand is really winner in this area. FF itself isn't perfect, in fact far from it. IMO, if we only compare the "naked" browser, Opera > FF > IE. however, we don't use "naked" browser.

For MS, why can't it kill the old rubbish, and start with standard? If your car has a bad wheel, it is broken. Do you want to fix it completely, or do you want to adjust everything else just to make it "working"? It is perfect time for MS to follow the standard, and start over. Maybe it will help them to sale more copy of their next Windows 7.

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jon

Oh, and before you say I'm 'bashing opera'....

I LOVE Opera! - yes, BUT do tell, WHY does FF do almost all sites WITHOUT having to pretend it is 'something else' ????

Fuzzy Wotnot 's position is so true - Instead of web designers using their knowledge to make a website, only needing a good texteditor, etc, they are only using MS tools to make a website without any forethought of design, so are 'trapped' in the MS way from the start ....

and of course they are too lazy to test in any other browser - they only test in FF due to the thousands of FF fans that will complain...

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Anonymous Coward

@adam

'Even the geekiest user just wants to look at web pages on the Internet, not "correctly formatted html".'

Actually I do all my web browsing through telnet and render it in my head :-D

I moved to FF about a year ago, primarily because I'm a Windows user but felt MS had fallen behind on the browser development front - FF had more to offer me. The one thing that is missing (and appears to be a MS deficiency) is the history not auto-appearing on the run prompt. Using IE, if I've visited google previously, I can hit start->run and start typing www.google.com and it will autocomplete. With FF, that's not the case.

Opera, I previously used as the Opera Mini j2me app - but stopped at version 3 (before v4 stopped catering for the lowest common denominator by pretending to be Safari). I've now got an iPhone and frankly don't want to see what Opera can do on that platform. FF on the other hand, I'll consider...

On a closing sarcastic comment, I think it's dreadful that Ubuntu comes with Firefox by default...

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But on Winmo

IE is crap, just horrible & Opera is brilliant.

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Gates Halo

Whiney bitch much?

I think Opera's just pissed because it sucks and sees the end of the road in its near future.

On another note: "On a closing sarcastic comment, I think it's dreadful that Ubuntu comes with Firefox by default..."

Oh noes! They're using their dominant position within the consumer open source OS community to unfairly force users into using FF.

I await the day that MS falls into full compliance with the frivolous lawsuits and ships the EU a version inf Windows with no web browser bundled. Go download your prefe....oh. Damn.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Re: Re: Opera Insignificant

The biggest problem with Opera is not so much their innovative features, it is that the underlying browser and their bone headed and stubborn excuse for why their browser doesn't work on the web (NOT STANDARDS COMPLIANT).

Oh sure, Opera does open some pages faster only to be stopped dead in its tracks by a non compliant code...so with Opera you go NOWHERE FAST!

The world is full of non compliance but according to Opera if it doesn't comply the world will come to an end, and with their browser it does because it just doesn't work while the other NON compliant browsers (shame on them) like IE, Firefox, Google (for some mysteriously unknown reason for which Opera just can't figure out) get you from point A to point B on the web much better than fussy old Opera. Opera just keeps pounding the drum for standards that simply don't exist and that is why they will never be significant.

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Gates Halo

Well actually...

Not only is he completely wrong, so are Microsoft for giving in to the W3C self abuse society and trying to make their new browser "compliant" rather than "able to read the internet".

Just make the browser read web pages like IE 5.5, 6 and 7 do and don't worry about whether it reads it according to some rules that somebody made up.

And certainly don't listen to cry baby browser manufacturers that can't get 1% of the market due to their crapness.

Written on Firefox.

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Anonymous Coward

Not helpful

He makes some valid points look quite stupid. I don't think that's helpful at all.

Also @ AC 8:07 "Moonlight" - The reason for implementing Silverlight on other platforms is that *not* being implemented on other platforms is its only real purpose.

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Paris Hilton

There is no need to include IE6 compatibility

Just design IE8 to the W3C standards properly and allow it to co-exist with IE6 on the same system. For asshats that still require IE6/7 they can install IE6/7 on their PC's alongside IE8 and have it integrate into IE8 as required in exactly the same way that IE does today when I type a URL into Windows Explorer.

That way people who don't want/need the extra bloat/security problems don't have to have it and people who have crappy IE flavoured sites will start losing hits when Joe Six Pack browses their site at random and finds that it is broken while corps that have krufty IE6/7 intranets just need to stick IE6/7 into their desktop site policies and everything will work as it does today.

Paris, because there is no question of compatibility when she is concerned

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al
Dead Vulture

The end for windows

Time for Windows to end!! Finished! Our Govt are pumping billion in their coffers!! It's another Wall Street! Goodbye IE 6,7,8,9....Welcome Linux and savings. Opensource is the future. I have stopped using ANY MS product 2 years ago and guess what? NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER. G'night slaves

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