back to article Mozilla: 'Internet Explorer 9 is not a modern browser'

Mozilla has taken a right swipe at Microsoft's Internet Explorer, telling the world that the latest incarnation of IE is not a "modern browser." On Tuesday, with both Firefox 4 and IE9 on the verge of official release, Mozilla technical evangelist Paul Rouget hit back at apparent Microsoft suggestions that the new IE offers more …

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Flame

Now that IS funny

Mozilla the maker of one of the most unstable browsers criticizing MS on their browser.

HEY! They are both vomit.

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Alert

unstable!

Been using Firefox on Win XP 32, to Win 7 64, and various flavours of Linux, on netbooks, laptops and hi end, home built gaming rigs, for both home use, and work use, and stability has never been an issue with Firefox.

I suggest you either look at the plug-ins your using, or for other issues with your system, rather than blaming Firefox.

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Unstable? Shirley you can't be serious!

I have to agree with Mark on this one. I started using Firefox 1.0, and I haven't looked back since. I periodically use various versions of IE and Chrome on other computers I have to use, and I always miss Firefox on them. IE crashes like a bitch and seems to almost deliberately misunderstand websites, I've spent god knows how long looking for errors in webpages that Firefox simply ignores but causes IE to have a flid and not display the page properly.

Firefox + AdBlockPlus = WIN.

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Bronze badge

Firefox Bugs

I use multiple versions of FF and IE (I'm writing this from the factory floor on Win98 with FF2 and IE6), but I've got an open bug on FF HTTP that has been open for years, causing it to fail on perfectly ordinary HTML 2, let alone 3,4, or HTML 5. Very simple HTML generated by an embedded application, which passes any HTML verification test you care to try, other than FF.

Sure FF and MS pick which features to implement, and which order to implement them in. I'd be happy if FF could implement "fixing basic HTTP bugs from the bug database" as one of their priority features.

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Grenade

Harsh? Us?

Nope. I don't believe that we are being harsh at all. For a start, he's an AC, so chances are that this is just a troll or, at the very least, a fanboi. Even if he isn't, there's precious little evidence to back up his claims in his post and like quite a few others on this subject, I've had Firefox running stably on a number of platforms from Windows 98SE to Neptune, 2000 to 7, openSUSE and Fedora Linuxen and even, dare I say it, RISC OS 4.02, the latter being the only unstable example, more likely because of the underlying system than the browser.

Maybe IE9 is an improvement on IE8, and nobody would want to criticise Microsoft on that score. The only real subject here is whether they are making IE9 out to be something it isn't, in which case the article is dead on and AC's post needs a lot of fleshing out before it could possibly avoid the flack it's taking.

This isn't being anti-Microsoft; it's merely being realistic.

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Funny This

I haven't found Firefox to be unstable - although recent releases are slightly less stable and use more RAM than previous releases.

I'm browser agnostic but Internet Explorer is simply too slow compared to Firefox and Chrome. I don't dislike IE, I'm just too impatient to bother with it.

And in my opinion excluding IE9 from Windows XP is the worst marketing move Microsoft has made in their history. Windows XP is the first Windows release where people have decided "stop here, no more Windows upgrades". I look at my main website stats (100K+ visitors/month) and Win XP is 48% of my visitors. Win 7 is steady at 24%. Vista is 6%.

I think if Microsoft doesn't have IE9 support Win XP, they are going to regret it. They are surrendering the browser wars to Firefox because Win XP is where the battle is.

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Silver badge

AC 15th February 2011 22:26 GMT didn't mention speed or memory usage, only stability.

He followed it up by saying it is vomit, which is a far cry from your response. He deserves the downvote he is getting.

I hesitated before downvoting you because the actual text of your post is reasonable. I haven't seen the issues you have with FF crashing, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening to you. But you are attempting to defend a remark that was indefensible and that had to carry the decision.

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Yeah...

> And he provides a laundry list of standards IE9 doesn't support,

> including Web Workers, offline Application Cache, HTML5 forms,

> JavaScript Strict Mode, the File API, and WebGL

...all of which are rarely used because of compatibility issues. Also, I wonder how useful that stuff actually is for most content, which is effectively rendered text and some graphics. It's a shame XML transformations, JPEG2000 and other stuff (which would help in this regard) is considered less useful -- even blocked by Mozilla, in the case of JPEG2000 -- whilst they wank about JavaScript rendering speed and so on.

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Your post has to be a wind-up

"...all of which are rarely used because of compatibility issues"

*Headdesk*

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@solarian

"rarely used because of compatibility issues"

Compatability issues with what? Microsoft's distorted idea of standards, perchance?

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WTF?

Face meet palm

"...all of which are rarely used because of compatibility issues"

Point meet solarian, solarian meet point. I believe you missed each other earlier.

All I will say is "why do you think there are so many compatibility issues?"

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WTF?

...if the minutiae of it all really matters.

Yes it does. Very much. Anyone who has ever scripted cross browser apps will tell you the devil is in the details.

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Anonymous Coward

Who to believe?

One camp is pitching their homebrew "test" as proof of goodness when all it does is show there aren't any regressions for all the things they thought to test for themselves. Another camp uses third party test suites and manages to explain some of why that is important. And let's not forget the former bunch has a habit of skewing "test results" and other trickery to the point that we have a word for it and worse, we _expect_ them to be at it again, every time.

Who to believe?

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Stop

As a user...

Since the teachers are fighting in the staff room, I'll just choose the one with nicer colours that doesn't keep crashing.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's something else to consider:

If you've ever taken the time to read through W3C "standards", you might have noticed that they're entirely one-sided. That is, they're voiced at the website markup writer, not the browser programmer. This leads to all sorts of ambuigities that cause loads of extra code in browsers to try and deal with the quirks, next to having to patch up for the inevitable broken markup -- missing closing tags, broken quoted entities, that sort of thing.

The W3C blamed SGML and came up with XML and XHTML as an "improvement", which it wasn't because the blame wasn't with SGML, but with the sloppy way everybody was having a go at this HTML thing. Which in part was caused by ambiguous wording in the HTML standards, in another part by overly forgiving browsers, yet another part by the large army of standards-illiterate web monkeys, and after that came redmond and did what they do best: Exploit the mess to force their own market dominance. This they did so well that even they themselves are now regretting it in the form of trying, and failing, to finally get rid of IE 6.

But have we learned? Has the W3C learned? Well, if you'd care to dive into the document object model abstraction text avalance, you might find out. I for me look at the sheer volume of wordy stuff that still is full of ambuigities, and say: Why no, of course they haven't, and neither have we.

Everyone's to blame here. In this particular instance: Can we blame redmond for doing what's in their DNA? Yes, yes we can. And we should. If you believe in capitalism, even more so. Theirs is a company that doesn't have everyone's good in mind when writing their software, but that's alright. We oughtn't worship them for it but demand they deliver proper software, instead of elaborately lying about it. So in that alone, thanks and kudos, mozilla, now if only you'd come up with a less crappy browser (and yes I've looked at some of that code), that'd be swell, thanks. And the W3C, please some better sta... ah, forget it. That'll never happen. Not from them anyways.

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Anonymous Coward

You really missed the point there, didn't you.

Standards are there to formalize the way parties interact, here how browsers display websites. A bridge, if you will, between the two. Only this is only half a bridge: It tells the website writers what to do, but is illegible, shoddy, unclear, ambiguous, in short everything a standard shouldn't be, on the browser implementing side. The problem is that it's one-sided.

Your counter-argument is damnable bunk in that first you're accusing browser writers to fail to keep up with the unformalised fantasy tags everyone should be able to put willy-nilly in their webpages and then you blast them for finding new shiny features requiring new tags, which is no good either. What is it?

Just like the spite the browser developers argument. Without them, there'd be no browsers and thus the web would still have flourished? If that's what you think there's no real point discussing standards as you appear to believe that hot air would do equally well.

To me, the point of standards is that a standards-conformant website would display within standardly-defined acceptable parameters on any standards-conformant browser. The fact that this isn't so, means that the standard isn't up to the task of standardising.

That certainly isn't the only issue as people willingly go out writing non-conformant stuff for a single browser and then complain the others aren't quite the same and oh the extra effort required, but that's outside the standardisation scope. Perhaps it wasn't wide enough, perhaps they're just being whiny lusers. But that wasn't my point.

And yeah, I tried getting started with writing a HTML parser that was fully standards compliant only to find that the documents were organised solely to aid website writers that for each little thing that I'd like to know, like what all the variations of a valid quoted entity are, I'd basically have to re-read the entire stack of documents each time to gather up the tidbits and then still not knowing for sure if I've gathered all the possibilities. That just doesn't work for a protocol implementation. The W3C is full of that, so I gave up.

Anyway. I say that standards shouldn't be one-sided, nor should they be ambigious. If you don't understand that you have no business writing standards. Unless you're the W3C, because so far I haven't seen a document from them that doesn't do that. Apparently it's de rigeur for webmonkeys too, hm?

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Anonymous Coward

Piffle.

I'm saying any and all W3C standards type stuff that I've seen is shoddily written. Would you care to argue that the W3C did in fact not write the CSS spec? And that's including the XML stuff, and everything that bases off of that, that first requires you (but doesn't tell you) to have read the DOM abstraction papers. Or something to that tune. It's been a while since I tried and it seriously put me off.

Not to say that there isn't a lot else wrong in webmonkeyworld, mind. But to me, the /standards/, the stuff that form the foundation to interop, are not fit for purpose exactly because they focus on only one side of the issue. I really don't care about the details further than that.

Which is why I haven't a faintest about all the politics. But then again, the W3C is a self-appointed standards body and if they can, then someone else can, too. Reading that WHATWG FAQ I can understand why they enacted themselves. Not that I necessarily agree with it, as they're apparently just as lacking in understanding why you have standards, and in a sense might be the mirror image of the W3C. Sort-of the pendulum swing to the other extreme. Had the focus been less one sided there would have been neither need nor call to swing to the other extreme.

So even if every bit of blame you lay on the WHATWG is justified, that doesn't absolve the W3C in any way. In the end we're still without usable standards, only the field is now even more muddied. Yay.

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WTF?

Mozilla 4

Mozilla don't look capable of delivering a real competitor to Google chrome from what I've seen of Firefox 4 betas so far so perhaps they should shut up

IE9 is looking fairly decent to me

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Joke

"IE9 is looking fairly decent to me"

Should have gone to Specsavers...!

ROFL

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Stop

and

as far as I'm concerned FF is shit, why does it take 16 hours to load (with no add-ons - I don't do Lexus lights I'm afraid)

IE9 seems relatively ok though El Reg is a bit odd sometimes.

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Sounds like PEBCAC to me

..given that it launches pretty snappily on my multicore desktop linux monster, macbook and netbook. Maybe you should ask someone technical to help clean all the malware and cruft from your computer?

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Stop

This is my title. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

There is one BIG problem with IE. The fact that it basically only operates on one platform. If you're running on Linux or Solaris, then its just not an option.

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but wait...

IE9 is still locked into the whole Windows OS... with all the problems that causes.

Isn't time that MS disconnected the OS and browser.

As for FF4 vs IE9.... I will wait for final releases to really see ... but both are getting so carried away with features and options that nobody really uses!

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Pint

But there are solutions here also.

>> IE9 is still locked into the whole Windows OS... with all the problems that causes.

>> Isn't time that MS disconnected the OS and browser.

IE9 on Win 7. Win Phone 7, or tablet and maybe the XBox 360 and its successors. That may not be cross-platform as the geek understands it.

But it can be a very big market.

H.264 is deeply entrenched in markets that WebM may never reach. Industrial and medicalapplications. Video security. Video conferencing, video production and so on.

It is perfectly plausible in the enterprise environment that you are going to want to view this video in a browser, with full hardware support.

The corporation is pragmatic, not ideological. If IE9 provides a solution that FOSS cannot, then it is IE9 and Microsoft that wins.

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Happy

commingled code is illegal for MS

Commingling the code between IE and OS is illegal.

The US Appellate court decided it was a violation of federal antitrust laws. Microsoft tried to appeal that specific issue to the US Supreme Count and they refused to hear it. Microsoft continues to sell IE illegally.

And, no, the fake settlement does not change antitrust law. The law is determined only by fully litigated issues before the court. No settlement changes that.

And it is true that commingling the code causes technical problems.

It is also true that the OS and any broswer require a different development and refreshment cycle. Just look at Microsoft. Why does Microsoft beta IE 9 separate from the OS? One, to meet competition. Two, it is not an operating system function. It is application.

I guess you can act dumb and stupid like Microsoft to claim otherwise. But that only proves your lack of intelligence.

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Megaphone

waste of time worrying

By the time 2014 comes we'll be using tablets and whatever browser is supplied in that is what the masses will use. They don't care about browser names, standards or security holes.

If they did then they would have abandoned IE years ago.

We should ask what the average Joe likes/dislikes/wants about web surfing, consult web developers on how to acheive that and develop HTML5 to that end.

Then give HTML5 to browser developers and tell them to render that.

Let's try not to do it backwards! :)

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Happy

Backwards...?

Well if you're going to design by committee then I suppose you might as well get *everyone* involved! :)

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Happy

I would bet that IE is still better at

Falling for the drive by hack.

***t never gets old.

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"(IE9 is) meant to suit real-world practices"

Sure, and we all know that, for Microsoft, real-world is what their valued customers are doing.

You think you're a valued customer ? No you're not, unless your name is part of the Fortune 1000. Those are the "real world" for Microsoft.

You and me and the millions upon millions of Windows licensees count for chickenshit at Microsoft.

And I highly doubt that developers have much say, even if they do work in Fortune 1000 companies. Their managers probably have more clout, which means IE9 is going to do what highly-paid suits want it to, not what the vast majority of its users want it to.

Business as usual then.

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Anonymous Coward

Take the red pill

Welcome to the real-world, Neo.

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Gates Halo

Wake up nd smell the coffee

Microsoft is a business, profit comes before all else; that's what a business does. All he people here whinging about standards are geeks or developers that simply don't get that the reality if about profits and market share. In business you only produce "fit for purpose" products. You don't spend R&D capital on implementing features that will not generate revenue or capture market share.

Most fo the folks on here want to evolve the web, that's fine, do it at YOUR OWN expense, not that of a business - that's if you think you can compete against giants like Google and MIcrosoft.

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Fortune 1000 also forced to purchase IE

It does not matter who you think you are. Microsoft forces you to purchase IE regardless.

If you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not matter. Not on technical issues. Not on legal issues. Illegal means force you to purchase IE again and again. Regardless of its technical merits.

Why anyone even bothers to look at the technical issues for IE is beyond me. You still are forced to purchase it illegally.

So why care what it does? They got your money just the same. And they know they can continue to force you to pay. And they will.

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Grenade

As a web developer...

... who works on projects with a very tight budget, HTML 5 really won't be an option until about... 2014.

You have two choices, you either support the features that the the stats tell you are realistic (browser usage stats) and get the job done quickly, or you implement new features that older browsers don't support & end up coding in swathes of additional caveats for those older browsers - graceful degradation.

That's all very well, until client X tells you "It doesn't look like the design in the browser we use at work", in which case, graceful degradation goes out the window and you end up turfing out those great new features and relying on the current standards, or hopefully convincing the client to upgrade!

Believe me, I love experimenting with new features, but when the client is breathing down your neck and the boss is counting the hours, you tend to have to stick with the current status quo.

Right now, that's HTML 4 & CSS2, with Jquery to assist in applying at least a few new features.

That's the reality of commercial web development.

When microsoft release another browser, I shudder, as this introduces yet another browser to test on, with it's own set of issues.

For some clients (most specifically those in big corporates), that means having to test in ie6, ie7, ie8 and soon, ie9 - which also means having to support a couple of virtual machines! (and obviously, testing in firefox, safari, opera & chrome - on mac & pc)

In closing, if Paul Rouget is correct in implying ie9 is way behind the pack, it means commercial web developers will, once again, have to wait a very long time to use new features, unless they've got exceptionally wealthy, understanding clients.

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Go

Sounds like ....

... job security.

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IETester

is the solution to your VM nightmare... not a complete solution (I wouldn't trust it 100%), but it's a good indicator of how a site would look in the different versions.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish it was a solution...

... been there, tried it, it's an alpha release.

When your testing for commercial projects, you have to use the actual software an end user would use, rather than a hacked implementation.

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No Complaining!

Sure, it would be cool if every new feature of every spec were supported by every browser manufacturer instantly upon release, but it is common knowledge within the professional web development community that production sites are typically built to conform to specs that are at least several years old. It's always been that way. Sites you build, today, must conform to browsers built yesterday.

"For some clients (most specifically those in big corporates), that means having to test in ie6, ie7, ie8 and soon, ie9..."

All of the "big corporates" that I have worked for seem pretty standardized. I've never seen one with so many different OSs in their network. Typically, their IT departments do a pretty good job of making sure everyone is using the same level of gear, with maybe a couple of outliers.

If you are referring to generic web development testing, then, yes, you do need to test on all of those browsers, even the new ones from Firefox. And you also need to test on Macs with various flavors of Safari and Chrome, and on other Windows browsers/versions, as well, like Firefox 2-3.x, Opera, Safari, Chrome, and even on Linux boxes with FF, Chrome, Konqueror, etc., should your market require it. Then you move over to mobile device testing, where you need to test iOS, WebOS, Symbian, WindowsMobile, etc., and the variety of browsers available for each of those OSs.

So, if you're complaining that (a) there are parts of the emerging standards that you can't use in production, yet, and that (b) the release of another MS browser means an addition to your testing suite, well, that's all part of the fun. No complaining allowed!

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FAIL

So near and yet so far...

"it is common knowledge within the professional web development community that production sites are typically built to conform to specs that are at least several years old"

You're quite right but I think you also miss an important point - I've only just managed to give IE6 the finger and it will be years before I can rely on features being implemented in the latest browsers available today - But in 5 years time, we'll be having this same conversation - I'll finally be thinking about kicking that god-awful IE8 support. Meanwhile, FF 7, Chrome 5 and IE 11 will be out - And yet again IE will be behind the pack.

It's not that I want to use these features today in professional sites, it's that I want an end to the continual headache that is Microsoft Internet explorer. IE has caused me more wasted hours, bug reports, hacks, code smells and shoddy fixes than any 3 other browsers combined - And as a company it has cost thousands upon thousands of man hours to support Redmond's latest steaming pile of shite (Don't even get me started on backwards compatability modes - ie8 in backcompat doesn't render exactly the same way as ie7, etc. - so I actually have to support 6, 7 pretending to be 6, 7, 8 pretending to be 7, 8 and now 9 and all its quirks)

I don't think there's any doubt amongst professional web developers - IE sucks and has held the web back for years. I feel perfectly justified in complaining about MS (I have to add, I love their development tools, I love Windows 7 and quite a few other products - It' just the IE team I want to drag behind the shed and slaughter)

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I assumed Matt89 meant he was doing the outsourced work for the Big Clients.

They might be standardized internally, but their public facing stuff has to deal with everything out there. Sometimes even the twit still running a copy of Netscape 3.0.

Haven't done the development work myself, just been the helpdesk tech in the room listening to the developer bitch about it. And cursing even more to myslef because I had to support the dev guy so he could test it.

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There's something fundamentaly flawed

When nobody can implement a standard completely. Maybe it's just all to complex.

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Stop

Let's step back for a moment and have an overview

Regardless of what the standards say, browsers have to be coded in a way that does not cause them to crash, otherwise we are back to the problem of hackers expoiting those vulnerabilities. Arguably the correct answer to that is for browsers to parse web pages with a "standards checker" and to refuse to display anything that does not properly conform, well, not without posting up an appropriate warning page first. This will knock out clean up the web considerably. Ridiculous suggestion? Let's not forget that this is precisely the way that Microsoft have handled things on the Desktop, and this is largely the way NoScript works. The snag is that the hackers will expolit holes in the standards. Fine, standards are moving far too quickly for the health of the web, in my opinion. Compare building a web app with building a bridge, there is no robustness built into the web and that's what the focus has got to be, not cramming more features in.

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Go

Ahhhhh ...

Quality, not quantity.

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there is a flaw

first, which standard? There is plenty of versions to choose from and doctype declaration doesn't help since there must be implied version too. Second, only tiny minority of sites would work without warnings of any kind, which would render such browser totally unusable (to users who don't want to spend their days validating websites). And third, there is something called "graceful degradation" and "parser rollback" - normally when parser can't understand what presently interpreted part of the document is about, but throwing an error at the user is not an option (for reason I gave above) it will try to step back to state that makes sense and proceed from there, ignoring nonsensical parts it saw earlier. This is approach all modern browsers take, thus allowing them to display plenty of documents that aren't even *trying* to follow W3C standards.

Comparing web app (or any other kind of app) against any kind of physical structure ... doh, you don't want to go there. There is no analogy to be made here, unless you consider near-zero production cost against R&D cost, in which case we can have nice and informed discussion, but few will be able to follow.

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Good to see...

Good to see that Mozilla are basically confessing that Google Chrome is more standards compliant than themselves and will be so for the considerable future!

Google Chrome + AdBlock = WIN

Now if only they could do Firebug well for Chrome.

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Thumb Up

Correction..

SR Iron + AdBlock = Win

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Unhappy

It's as though MS think their customers/users are ignorant...

... and don't understand or care about open standards, vendor lock-in vs choice, history/past-performance...

oh... yes that explains it really.

I think we're supposed to call it "leadership" and "real world standard setting".

What's wrong with just sticking to IE 6 anyway?

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