back to article Opera alerts EU to hidden Windows browser-ballot

Just when it seemed like Microsoft's European anti-trust tangle on browser choice in Windows was over, trouble is stirring again. Opera Software has told The Reg that it has informed the European Union of a possible problem with a fix that was designed to make Internet Explorer in Windows comply with EU antitrust law. Opera has …

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WTF?

Not that hard to reproduce

Anyone upgrading to IE8 as part of their Windows Update cycle will see these configuration screens. Surely I'm not the only one who has had to explain why those aren't a "virus" or some "hacker" to less technical relatives or office mates.

Personally, I think the ballot has fag written all over it. Completely annoying, just like those damn harley riders, and about as useful. Didn't Firefox just hit 30% share? WTF? Opera should stop whining and make a browser people want to use.

Flame away!

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WTF?

"ballot has fag written all over it"?

I assume that in this instance 'fag' refers to cigarettes -- to imply that the ballot should likewise be lit afire -- and is not more tedious homophobia/ ignorance being bandied about under cover of "it's just slang, I didn't mean to denigrate LGBT or any other people, all the kids are saying it, it's just a word, what's the harm" ... right?

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FAIL

South Park reference fail

Fag (Făg) n. 1. An extremely annoying, inconsiderate person most commonly associated with Harley riders. 2. A person who owns or frequently rides a Harley.

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Anonymous Coward

"ballot has fag written all over it"

I assume you don't watch South Park. In season 13, episode 12, the term "fag" is changed in the dictionary to refer to a group of annoying people. In this case, a group of Harley motorcycle riders.

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More British English...

I see you're all from the US and so the South Park reference is obviously it - but for what it's worth:

In British English fag has two slag meanings I don't think it has in the US, and neither has anything to do with homosexuality or South Park.

The one you all know about is cigarette; the other is anything which is a pain in the neck to do, because it takes time or is boring or tricky. Having to click through nine screens of browser set up, or then choose a browse on the ballot screen, both definitely qualify as 'a bit of a fag'.

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FAIL

Easy to replicate

Just do a reinstall of your machine (eg from the original CD image for home users; in a corporate environment from your slipstreamed SP3 Pro disk) and then run Windows Update. IE8 will now be one of the downloads available...

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Alien

interesting

i dial into 3-4 users computers a day to fix things. i'd say about 25%-33% pop up that message when i start to use ie on those systems. there are no other browsers installed on those systems. they just cancel that dialog as it doesn't mean anything to them.

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I don't see why any of this matters...

If a corporation wants to bundle their own proprietary software on their own proprietary operating system... I fail to see anything wrong with that.

Also... I don't see this being intentional, or as the article said, even something the average user would see. Everytime I build an XP machine for a customer, halfway through the updates, I have to configure IE8.

Microsoft has done quite a few things wrong over the years, but I've never had an issue with what they do on the software side of things.

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Anonymous Coward

That is a large part of...

the problem. Microsoft should have been broken up into three or four companies years ago. I suspect the reason that this hasn't happened is that they have enough politicians on the payroll...Ooops I mean has PROVEN to be honest enough that breaking up the company isn't necessary.

I'll leave it to you to decide why Microsoft hasn't been broken up into separate companies.

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Silver badge
Megaphone

MS Tards . . . Attenshun!

"If a corporation wants to bundle their own proprietary software on their own proprietary operating system... I fail to see anything wrong with that."

I'm sure this stale old chestnut will be repeated ad nauseum throughout the article comments and the answer will need to be trotted out an equivalent number of times.

Here it is, in glorious full caps just so you don't miss it;

MICROSOFT HAS TO DO THIS BECAUSE THEY ARE A MONOPOLIST. LINUX AND APPLE DO NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MONOPOLISTS.

For fucks sake, I hope MS pay you well for the shite you are forced to spread, I honestly do.

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Moan moan moan

You don't hear Firefox bleeting the way Opera do.

Why not?

Easy: Firefox is a browser people WANT to use. Opera isn't wanted, and only hopes people are duped into installing it on this crappy screen.

Maybe if Opera took the time spent whining and used it to develop a product people want to use, they'd find people would actively seek out their product, as they do Firefox.

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FAIL

Firefox fanboi fail

"You don't hear Firefox bleeting the way Opera do.

Why not?

Easy: Firefox is a browser people WANT to use. Opera isn't wanted,"

Except by Mozilla. Without opera, how will Mozilla see new features to put into Firefox?

The difference is Marketing. with $50M to spend on advertising (got from Google, for adverts) there is a lot of marketing (and a lot of lies in that marketing - 'fast safe secure'? Firefox is none of them, when compared to other browsers)

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@Andrew

""(and a lot of lies in that marketing - 'fast safe secure'? Firefox is none of them, when compared to other browsers)""

You are seriously accusing Mozilla of lying for marketing, after the stunt the IE team pulled a couple of days ago? - Everybody "sugar-coats" their products for marketing, but there is a big difference between covering your own black-eye up with makeup and punching the guy next to you to try and draw attention away from your own injuries. -- Which is exactly what the IE team did to Chrome not three days ago.

But yea, lets examine those "lies" you mentioned, shall we?

Fast: Compared to IE? Hell yea. No question. - Compared to Chrome, Safari or Opera... depends on who's current release is younger. -- For evidence, try a Google search. In fact, allow me to get you started... This one, for example: http://sixrevisions.com/infographs/browser-performance/

-- To the IE fanbois: Yes, IE is slow. IE8 is like an old Mini compared to the high-performance racing-brooms that are the standards-supporting browsers. And IE9 is still like 2 years from being a reality. (By which time it'll be just as slow as IE8 is now, relative to the others.) -- It's the trade-off for Microsoft's business model; catering to the businesses with long-interval releases, rather than to the people, with rapid releases. IE9 would actually do fine (in regards to speed) if released today, but it won't be due to them not wanting minor releases. - It's easier for the business world to deal with software that isn't upgraded to often (see IE6's market-share if you question that sad reality).

Secure: The internet isn't secure, but in relative terms Firefox is a good choice. As bad people tend to want to hurt as many people as possible with as little effort as possible, the browser most likely to become a victim of an attack is the one with the largest market share... It's an classic argument that you've probably heard a thousand times before, but for good reason. -- But then again, Firefox has a much much faster response time to threats than IE, so you could up it's "security ratio" by a few % just on that. (I'd cite the recent "Aurora" attacks, as an example.) - Relative to it's standards-supporting colleges, Firefox shares a very similar security policy (open-source), with the exception of Opera of course. You'd have a hard time getting a good answer to which is *more* secure.

Safe: What exactly do you mean? No sharp corners to hurt yourself on? How is this different from "Secure"? (And did they actually use this word?.. I must have missed that particular ad.)

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FAIL

Yes, Firefox does moan

Actually, Mozilla have blogged and spoken extensively on the EU/MS case.

The Mozilla boss blogged a *LOT* about it, and they kept highlighting all sorts of problems along the way.

So clearly you are just blowing smoke. Pay attention and stop whining about Opera. Mozilla was in fact much more vocal, whereas Opera just answered questions from journalists.

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What about....

What about just clicking the ask me later button?

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Not surprisingly...

Some issues with this ballot:

In my experience (Belgian French PCs), it install automatically on PC where IE is not the default browser, and until now is still an optional update (if offered!) for the pc where IE is the default browser.

On the first page to confirm the internet connection is present (as if they could not detect it...) there is a prominent link on how to restore the IE icons, but to go to the ballot screen you have to scroll down and click on a small lost Ok link.

On new PC or new user account effectively, the ballot screen when installed manually will be hidden by the IE wizard.

On the whole I would say Microsoft has taken every possible step to not comply. In fact the current two page process and distribution filters are specifically designed to gain back some of their lost market share.

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Give it up

Lie noted Opera has better things to do with its time than chase Microsoft, but: "I'm a little stubborn on this, I want this thing to work."

....

Riiiighhht. Give it up Opera, or more specifically, give it up Håkon. So the ballot screen doubled your downloads, now you've got twice as many people using Opera you tell us. Yet you piddle around with ways to make it look like Microsoft are deliberately trying to screw you over.

Let me state this clearly: if (desktop) Opera were any good as a browser, we'd all be using it. Some of us unfortunately have to use it from time to time to ensure applications will be compatible with the boss's nephew's Linux desktop that happens to be running Opera. I've even tried using it for a whole month to try and overcome that "it feels different to what I'm used to" scenario. Opera is a failure of a browser, and that is due to no fault by Microsoft.

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Thumb Down

Mommy!

"Mommy, I can't see my logo!" FFS.

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Flame

Fanboy don't get it

""Mommy, I can't see my logo!" FFS."

So MS fanboys defend criminals now?

Yeah. I thought so. No surprise.

Or you don't get it's the law which is broken here (to be specific: A court order, which is the law as far as you know).

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FAIL

Fail

Did you even read the article? It clearly states that the IE welcome screen appears on top of the ballot screen.

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Alert

Not that rare.

Happens when you first install Windows. I know I probably reinstall Windows more times in a month than most people would in their entire lives but there are more people like me.

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Linux

No, not that rare at all!

But that's an OS argument. I won't derail this thread any further.

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FAIL

Whinging

After all, anyone who blindly clicks through dialogs without considering what is on them, is as likely to pick the first browser icon they recognise. Which isn't opera.

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Flame

sigh.... them again?

"When you've been through the 10 screens of IE settings, you are limited with what you can be bothered doing next."

And there it is....

So off Opera, we cant be bothered.

Why move to Opera when we cant be bothered? Cos we want be bothered.

Im getting a little tired of Opera's bitching and running home to mother.

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FAIL

@LAGMonkey

""When you've been through the 10 screens of IE settings, you are limited with what you can be bothered doing next."

And there it is....

So off Opera, we cant be bothered."

...because we've just waded through 8 screens of IE setup already?

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Anonymous Coward

I like Opera browsers...

but wish they would give up this very childish conflict.

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FAIL

Laws don't apply to rich people?

"I like Opera browsers... → #

but wish they would give up this very childish conflict."

... and let MS do whatever they want?

Laws don't matter if you have enough money?

Or do you mean that if you are punished for monopoly abuse, the verdict alone is enough, no need to do more?

Essentially sentence of 5 years in jail is forgotten and you are a free, because that's all there is and nobody have demanded you to be put in jail. Brilliant.

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FAIL

Childish?

So pointing out huge flaws is "childish"? Then Mozilla must be very childish indeed, because they were much more vocal in their official blogs than Opera. All Opera basically did was to answer direct questions from journalists.

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FAIL

what is realistic?

"Opera’s example, where a Windows XP user has rejected installation of IE 8 for the year it has been available but suddenly decides to install it is not realistic"

Er, yes, it is. My father just did it (and he's by no means computer-illiterate), by re-enabling updates.

Perhaps MS are suggesting that my father isn't real? I would take that rather personally.

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Gates Horns

Colour me cynical...again...

Quoth Microsoft:

"the user would need to have IE set as their default browser and have never configured it for use"

Gee, that sounds like a default install configuration, straight off the DVD.

Imagine if someone had to re-install their MS-Windows from scratch.

Or imagine if your IT department had to wipe and re-install your machine

Or imagine your machine gets hosed by some malware, and you have to re-install.

Or imagine if you get to 6 months since your last clean install, and MS-Windows has slowed down with a heap of cruft - again - and you get out your discs to re-install - again!

Since I don't run MS-Windows at home, I have to do more imagining than most, of course. :-)

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Go

RE: Colour me cynical...again...

"Since I don't run MS-Windows at home, I have to do more imagining than most, of course. :-)"

Your imagination reflects reality almost exactly. Are you psychic?

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Anonymous Coward

Stop crying

I like and use opera for about 80% of my web browsing, but their constant wining is starting to get rather old. Chill out Opera.

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Stop

Seriously, now

He even admitted that there were better things he could be doing. I see the solution being worse than the problem, being that the browser choice window is kept 'on top' until it is dealt with. How annoying!

In the words of the unnamed woman at the sermon on the mount 'Leave it alone, give it a rest'

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Grenade

Selection screen for everybody

I do hope MS come out with a revised browser screen, and this time update those machines that aren't running IE as the default browser. Quite a few home users have had their PCs set up by some 'expert' who naturally tends to populate the machine with the software they choose for themselves irrespective of its suitability for a beginner. Why shouldn't these users also be given a choice of browser? Cue the downvotes from those who choose the path of the black and white animal with the stinky rotten fish breath.

P.S. It certainly looks to me like Opera have nothing better to do than whinge all the time.

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Linux

Downvotes?

I doubt that.

Now, about that bundling of Windows…

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Flame

That's nothing

Try changing the default search provider away from Bing; first it's a tiny line of text buried at the bottom of a confusing dialogue, secondly it takes you to a website that is frequently not working.

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"Find more providers"

there's a clearly labelled choice "Find more providers" in the drop down with the already installed search engines.

that takes you to a site which I've yet to have fail for me, but YMMV.

Aly page/site that hosts it's own search provider can also prompt to change the browser ("Find on this page" can also check)

Opera, Safari, Chrome and Firefox are all harder to change search defaults than IE

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WTF?

absolute BS

don't know about the others, but in FF, just click on the logo in the search toolbar and you get a dropdown list of search providers to choose from

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But Bing isn't one of them.

You have to install it first, and when you go to Tools/Add-ons and type Bing into the "Search all Add-ons", the Bing Search plugin somehow doesn't make it into the "featured" add-ons, you have to click on the "See all results" link to get to it. (Apparently 20,000 people per week are prepared to jump through this hoop).

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Hmmmmm

"Opera’s example, where a Windows XP user has rejected installation of IE 8 for the year it has been available but suddenly decides to install it is not realistic"

"Not realistic" meaning they're never going to install it on XP ? Or "not realistic" as in "we always pretend that nobody ever waits a year for our new releases to be sufficiently debugged"?

What's the situation with Windows 7 (which is still one big security hole with all the stuff you HAVE to run as admin)?

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Anonymous Coward

Need a 'none of the above' button!!!

I continue to use Seamonkey as my preferred SUITE despite mozilla's attempts to destroy the whole point of an integrated solution. The problem *I* am having is that the browser select screen pops up every reboot - and I can't disable it because I can't select Seamonkey!

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Stop

Just delete it

Easy, just open regedit, go to HKLM/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run and delete the key for the popup, it's called "browserchoice.exe" or something similar. You can also delete the file from SYSTEM32 as well.

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Black Helicopters

Obfuscation

is after all Microsoft's forte, is it not.

I haven't seen mention anywhere yet, of Microsoft's dastardly mean trickery in this "Browser Choice" issue.

I encountered this Browser Choice while running a Windows Update (manually of course). This sneaky little f*cker pops up a screen just like some virus or malware. It clearly told me that this was my ONLY chance to make a choice of browser preference.

Since I already had all 4 (?) of 'em, installed, I was rather pissed that Bill's applet was demanding that I re make my earlier choice, again, NOW ! Which one do I want to use ....... forever. Couched in such terms as to make someone less enlightened think that this decision would be irreversible, final, like no going back ..............

It's simply more of the same old US marketing terrorism tactics that we and the Afgahnis, et al are very used to by now, surely ! You know, treat everybody as if they are stupid and are actually being graced by American intervention, automating everything and pumping shit into some dumb stupid grinning moron, happily stabbing at icons all day long, in the belief that the divine dispenser gives us sustenance rather than a nasty shock.

The metaphore is internet security, for those without the irony gland.

Choice ? Good old Opera. Right On !

ALF

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New accounts

"Opera’s example, where a Windows XP user has rejected installation of IE 8 for the year it has been available but suddenly decides to install it is not realistic."

But it's what you'd see on opening a new XP account or with a fresh XP install, no?

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Bronze badge
Linux

Opera has a point

If a user clicks through the IE8 setup screen, uses IE a bit, closes IE, then notices the choice screen, will they even bother with it? MS would do better for the IE8 setup screen to only appear when and if the user selects IE from the choice screen. The best time to tell a person that he has a choice of browsers is when the person fires up his PC for the first time, and both Opera and MS are aware of the fact.

Tux, because Linux never forces a browser onto the user.

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If this is highly unlikely?

Then why has it happened to me on both XP, Vista, and 7?

The reason, Mr. MS Spokesperson, that someone would install IE8 and not configure it, is rather obvious to anyone that has even an inkling about Windows Security (or lack thereof).

I install IE8 and never configure it because if I have the latest IE, I am more secure than with earlier versions.

So this is extremely common MS, don't kid yourselves.

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Thumb Down

What about new PCs?

I just installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 and was hit by this? Surely its actually quite a common occurence as Windows prompts you to update as soon as you install a PC which may well be before you start web browsing. As soon as the first service pack goes out this will almost certainly be included in Windows from the start and presumably should be shown before the user starts browsing for the first time.

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Grenade

Good Grief

I can't possibly be the only person sick to the back to the back teeth with this shit. The windowed paradigm has been going for years now , even the biggest asshat in the world is capable of brininging windows into focus and managing the interface , let alone cancelling out of an installation of a new browser.

Here's a radical idea you clearly haven't thought about , rather than riding the hysteria wave one more time , to get your product yet another bounce in the news cycle why don't you try promoting it on it's merits , you know something like "Lets talk about Opera it's the best browser out there" , OK so I have no career as an advertising copyrighter ( or god forbid a journalist !) but I might actually pay some attention to it.

The last line is a classic , //Lie noted Opera has better things to do with its time than chase Microsoft, but: "I'm a little stubborn on this, I want this thing to work." //

scrtach that for this:

// "Truth" noted Opera gets most attention when he bitches about Microsoft , and since he can't think of anything else to do with his time , he "says" "I'm a lot paranoid about this, and since I can't trust people to judge my product based on its merits I'm going to talk about this shit instead"//

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FAIL

Fail fail fail

The IE8 welcome screen actually blocks the ballot screen.

Why are you whining about Opera anyway? It was Microsoft which broke the law.

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Megaphone

Oh grow up.

OK so the user hasn't updated their IE... so what?!

If MS didn't have the ballot on a IE page and IE didnt exist, then no one could download the other browsers anyway and thus yet another complaint.

M$ aren't going to provide a browser install of their competitors in the installation of Windows or this Windows Update. Geez.

A user will simply click through the box or ask later... and when they get to the ballot screen.. Oh hello.

*THEY HAVE A CHOICE*

If they don't select Opera, get off your high horse and shut the hell up and make a better browser.

Fools. Utter fools.

Not once have I liked this screen due to the fact that its not fair to force M$ to support another browser. If M$ have to do this, so do Apple and Linux. Yeah, I went there!

Zzzzzz

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