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back to article Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

Microsoft is celebrating the news that Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) use in the US has officially dropped below one per cent of internet visits. In March, Microsoft assembled a team to push for the destruction of IE6, and have succeeded in reducing the market footprint of the browser. Currently 7.7 per cent of worldwide internet …

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Anonymous Coward

Huh?

"...add-ons for IE8 and IE9, dubbed UniBrows, that enable them to run IE6 legacy code."

<me>checks calendar. Nope, not April 1st yet.

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Happy

There are a lot of corporate Intranet utilities

that were designed specifically for IE6.

They are effectively screwed - they can't upgrade the browser because the web services won't run on the new versions, and they can't upgrade a given web utility because the upgraded/replacement version won't run on the IE6 that everybody has.

Thus any upgrade has to be absolutely everything at once - browser and *all* Intranet services.

To make it worse, a lot of these IE6 services are legacy with no support or upgrade path at all, so would need to be completely replaced to allow the others to be updated.

Thus a way to make IE8/9 handle their legacy applications transparently is quite valuable, as it gives them an upgrade path to escape the clutches of IE6, and then the risk of updating individual web services is greatly reduced.

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Not monobrow then?

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> They are effectively screwed - they can't upgrade the browser because the web services won't run on the new versions, and they can't upgrade a given web utility because the upgraded/replacement version won't run on the IE6 that everybody has.

Fortunately there is a solution (partial at least) with chromeframe, at least for sites with the correct header or tag.

Although I was surprised that youtube reported that ie 6 with chromeframe was out of date. Why can't they use their own products?

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Good

Let the middle and senior managers who authorised this madness 10 years ago stew in their own juices.

Let them be rewarded for their short-term thinking, lack of imagination and slavish adherence to everything from Microsoft.

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@Good

Let them crawl on their bellies and beg me to fix it.

Let them—

Oh, they've moved on, and don't have to reap what they've sowed.

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And they keep coming

"that were designed specifically for IE6."

And people don't learn and are doing the same for IE7. I was involved with a project just recently for an insurance claims processing system. The chosen browser - IE7. I tried to point out that GWT (the chosen development platform) output code for other browsers, and wouldn't it be a good idea to ensure that the CSS for the app worked with other browsers at least as a contigency? Nope. The app was being deployed to IE7 and that was that.

The insane part is there were no benefits to doing this at all. Even in a controlled deployment it's not hard to install another browser as part of the deployment, e.g. a version of Firefox. And chances are by doing so the performance would have been better too so everyone would have won.

I expect someone will eventually command that the app should now work with IE8 or Firefox and wonder why it takes 6-12 months of additional work and expense to make it happen. That's corporations for you.

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No one could possibly write a bit of javascript code to check the browser version and solve this problem.

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Happy

Every cloud...

Keeps a lot of people in full time work does all that fannying around created by short-sighted PHBs!

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Pirate

This might be true...

But at the end of the day the new guy/gal should have the chops to put together a long term plan. IE6 has been on a steady decline now for YEARS this story was not news to me. Planning for these types of major system changes is why a Manager is supposed to be a strategic thinker and also why they are supposed to be paid more than their employees. If the new leader of that team has failed to see the shift in Technology then I think it is time they walk the plank.

Pirate flag because it just felt right with all of this talk about Mutiny, Death and walking the plank...now if only there was a bottle of Rum.

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Anonymous Coward

Single sign-on?

Is there any straightforward way to do transparent authentication in Firefox as easily as you can do with IE and IIS servers? Because that can be a very useful function for Intranet applications.

Or is it like Group Policy support - something that Mozilla.org doesn't think businesses should care about?

Developing for a specific (and already deprecated) version of a browser is a bit dumb. But the development of "Thin App" technology means it needn't be quite the dead end that it used to be - if you absolutely need to, it's now possible to run an instance of IE6 or IE7 alongside IE8 or IE9, or even on an non-windows desktop.

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Unhappy

Browsers are being updated far too quickly nowadays and most of my add-ons no longer work with the latest and greatest versions. Problem is, my add-on functionality is a necessary part of my work day and using older versions is needed as a result.

FireFox especially has to slow way the heck down on their release cycle. Two major releases in three months is asinine.

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I don't find it bad

I'm using Firefox right now on a netbook thanks to being away from home and the performance is good. I used to use Opera with turbo mode on to squeeze as much bandwidth out of my 3G allowance but Opera really is a slug on this same setup. GMail and other complex sites are intolerably sluggish with Opera suggesting layout inefficiencies.

I'd potentially use Chrome instead of Firefox though I haven't had cause to switch away.

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well they are having to constantly update the browsers to support the new support the new phones, ipads, TVs, notebooks, fondles, keplunks, etc

what we really need is a cessation of all technology for 5 years. Can't the world just agree to pause for a bit? Do we really need TVs in 3D or TVs with hand gesture support? Technology is really going into gimmick territory now.

it's all becoming a bit piss

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N2

why stop there

Get rid of all of em

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HMB

Closely followed by...

gs.statcounter.com lists IE6 below 1% in the UK, and IE7 just dropped below 4%.

Maybe we should be waving goodbye to IE7 too.

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Stop

And IE8

IE9's not that good either when compared with proper browsers -- that's pretty much any other browser.

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IE9 is a good browser.

IE8 is the switch over point where MS started to get their act together as far as standards go (with IE7 a big jump forward over IE6, but not there yet). IE9 is, imo, where they build on the base of IE8 to make something pretty good. I honestly prefer it over Firefox for default browsing. (Though I use Firefox for almost all web-development). Opera is also very good.I'd honestly put things in the order IE9 or Opera, followed by Firefox. IE10 is looking very impressive.And I remember Mosaic, so I've been around browsers for a while.

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Anonymous Coward

".And I remember Mosaic, so I've been around browsers for a while."

Yeah, *that* makes your opinion so much more valid.

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IE9 is NOT a good browser

Try running the ACID3 tests (acid3.acidtests.org). You won't ever get 100% because it doesn't support all the standards that ALL other browsers support. For example background gradients, animations, etc.

And it's full of bugs - e.g. Peekaboo's back.

There's a difference between just "using" it and developing with/for it.

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hmm...

looks like i just got 100% with IE9! http://acid3.acidtests.org/

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Re: the base of IE8

"IE9 is, imo, where they build on the base of IE8 to make something pretty good."

IE9 may be many things, but it builds on a base that is sufficiently unrelated to IE8 that it will never run on Windows XP.

Speaking of which, are Microsoft planning to launch a "Kill XP" campaign? I hear that its market share remains defiantly above 1%.

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Facepalm

Acid3

Leaving aside whether Acid3 is a way to tell me whether or not I like a browser, BOTH IE9 and Firefox 8.01 report 100/100 on the acid3 url you provided and both fail in other ways. IE9 loses the drop-shadow around the title lettering and the border width around the colour blocks hasn't been resized. In Firefox, the styling on these two elements is right, but you actually get content that is supposed to be hidden plastered on the screen. Opera gets 100/100 and both of these elements correct.

Seriously, have you actually tried this in IE9 or did you just decide to write the above based on your assumptions? The Acid3 test is a death trap for browsers, using every uncommon practice and trick it can to break the rendering. And having compared the results for Opera, Firefox and IE with the reference guides, only Opera is perfect (despite all three being given 100/100 for score). Of IE and Firefox, anyone inclined to believe your post should try it for themselves, because IE has some two minor style losses and Firefox displays text that shouldn't even be shown on the screen!

Just admit that you have a bias when it comes to browsers.

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Ru
Boffin

"100% with IE9!"

The devil is in the details. No only has the score got to reach 100, but the result must be pixel perfect with the reference image. For me, IE9 is failing to dropshadow some text, for example. There may be further issues, but I've no idea what "smooth animation" is supposed to look like in the context of the test. Maybe I'll take a closer look later.

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@stim

Try understanding what 100/100 means on the Acid3 test first and what it takes to actually pass the test.

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@Ru

Also, click on the "A" once it's done, you'll get a mini-report on other tests that failed.

ACID3 - 100/100 is ***NOT*** a pass, people!

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@h4rm0ny

Just for interest's sake: are you using Windows to run the Firefox test?

I get a perfect rendition of the page, using FF8.0.1 (on Mageia 1). Chromium 16.0.912.63 also scores a perfect 100, whilst Konquerer 4.6.3 scores a lowly 92%.

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Acid3

Which is why I put detailed information in my post, as opposed to just copying the score. The site *does* report 100/100 for Opera, IE9 and Firefox all (in contradiction to what the original poster wrote). Opera is the only one that gives a pixel for pixel equivalent to the reference version (though it also takes twice the speed of IE9 which was the fastest of the three browsers). The point is not that any browser is perfect, but that the grossly biased original post that tried to make it sound like other browsers all scored far better than IE was wrong. IE9 drops a border thickness by a pixel and loses the drop shadow on some of the text. Firefox leaves red text on the screen that is supposed to be hidden (worse, imo, but I'm not pushing an agenda of one browser being objectively better than any other). Opera is, as usual, excellent.

It's not that any browser is utterly flawless. It's that the original poster made it sound like there were great big differences in quality of implementation and a poster who *correctly* observed that the site reported 100/100 which the original poster said it didn't, got modded down by some people. Presumably because they didn't like his facts. Bias is bad. I use Firefox for development because Firebug and the Web Developer toolbar are fantastic. I use IE9 for browsing because it renders things right (every real world thing it's come across) and is the fastest browser I've used. I don't use Opera because every time I accidentally middle click it sends the entire bloody contents of my clipboard off to a search engine and I can't find out how to turn that off. All browsers have plusses and minuses. But to reflexively mod down posts that report facts in favour of a browser because you have some snobbish dislike of the company, is just tragic. Such people should bugger off back to Slashdot where they can all pat each other on their back for their prejudices.

Really, IE9 is fine.

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@Kobus Botes

Yes. Windows 7 64-Bit. I've just tried on Ubuntu for you and on that platform it correctly hides the red text, though I have Firefox 8.0 on that platform so weirdly, the higher version number (8.1) on Windows gets them wrong. You really don't want to try the IceWeasal incarnation on Debian, btw. Just tried that one out and although it gets the drop shadow, hidden text and border thicknesses right, it actually has UTF-8 encoding errors and wrong <head> information - far more serious imo, than not having a drop-shadow.

Anyway, an interesting result. I would have thought Firefox should still render things the same regardless of platform, but it seems it is variable (or else the newer version number has more flaws than the older one).

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@h4rm0ny again

One last observation: clicking on "A" reveals that both FF8 and Chromium failed 0 tests, but took too long on some tests (less than 30 fps) and test 80 took numerous attempts (136 and 140 for FF and Chromium respectively).

How relevant is that for the man in the street, though? Or the dev?

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IE11 is pretty good although not as fast as IE10

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@Kobus Botes

Relevant to the man on the street, or even most developers? Not relevant. 98% of your HTML and CSS is going to look pretty much the same in any of the main browsers. I bash out pages in Firefox, do some quick comparisons in IE7,8,9, Opera and a webkit based browser before release, but very seldom do I actually need to go back and change anything for the sake of one of these other browsers. I can think of one instance in the past year. (Admittedly, I am not primarily a web-designer, but I do quite a bit of it) and that actually had to do with form submission rather than layout.

Still, it is nice to be compliant as much as possible and so it's interesting to see how they perform in Acid3. I think browser writers are now coding to the test as far as Acid3 is concerned, mind you.

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"I accidentally middle click it sends the entire bloody contents"

Settings-Preferences-Advanced-Shortcuts-MouseSetup-MiddleClickOptions & change to something else such as start panning

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Megaphone

Being backwards compatible

IMO that is the whole name of the game. One which Sun knew and lived like no other, perhaps to the point of taking it a little /too/ far at times but even so.. Solaris 10 easily ran code from older Solaris versions.

The big problem however is that coders and admins usually know about this. But the people in the GUI departments seem more focused on "selling" their products these days than to check up with what their users really want. I often wonder; is it really about a "better user experience" or to apply changes for the sake of it so that people might pick up the product because its "new" ?

Now; that isn't bad perse, not at all. If only they would realize that there are also plenty of people around who are happy with the product as it is now. Often it would have been little trouble to maintain the GUI as it was, but no; the need for change has arrived!

It keeps amazing me how some people seem totally baffled at the results. Many people who don't like change yet are enforced into it often find an even bigger change; by ditching the entire product alltogether to look for something else ("if I have to adapt the way I work I can as well check up on the competition").

To a certain extend I think the same thing applies here. Trying to "force" people into something is very likely going to drive a lot of them away from the product.

Finally; this move also shows a little hypocrisy. After all; IE6 is shipped with Windows XP, Windows XP is supported until 2014 as such the same applies to IE6, even though they'd rather see you upgrade to 7 or 8. So this move is a rather strange one IMO.

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Bah!

Yes, software is backwards compatible on Solaris.

Which is why we are still running umpteen Solaris 9 containers here until we can do a platform upgrade on our image service.

BoP

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FAIL

IE6 Still Lives

Working in software development for two companies whose main client consists of the NHS, I can safely say that IE6 is alive and kicking and in no danger of being replaced by anything else anytime soon.

As much as I would to state the death of IE6, it is still a thorn in my side!

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WTF?

"more developers and IT Pros can stop spending their time having to support such an outdated browser"

Riiight, "outdated". So devs don't wanna support IE6 just because it's old, not because it is an absolute abomination in terms of web standards.

I think not. Good riddance to that P.O.S.

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Joke

'Good riddance to that P.O.S.'

Oh, I thought it was a web browser, not a point of sale.

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They're the same thing, really

I was just looking up 'spleen disorders' on Alta Vista. The top 2 "Sponsored Results" ?

"Spleen Disorders Sale - Up To 75% Off Spleen Disorders Now. - Free UK Delivery On Select Items"

and

"A Liver Disorder Prices - We Have Millions of Products - A Liver Disorder on Sale"

I sh1t you not. There's nothing the interwebulator won't try to sell to you.

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Facepalm

I wonder if MS has learned their lesson yet about trying to enforce their own standards instead of sticking to actual standards?

Ehhh, probably not.

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Anonymous Coward

The problem with standards...

...is there are so many of them and they take so long to become ratified,

How many broswer makers started rolling out HTML5 support long, long before it was a standard.

And what is a standard?

H264?

Flash?

MP3?

Yes i.e.6 broke a lot, but when you compare it to the utter shite that was netscape navigator, it was either broken "standard" or a utter shite browser.

It's ironic that it took a nasty broswer (i.e.6) and a monopoly to kill of a crap browser (Netscape) to come up with something decent and a new era of browsers.

PS I use Opera, Firefox, Iron & i.e.9. Some do some things better and others. I simply choose the best for the job.

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Anonymous Coward

I still have my free black IE4 T-shirt that I never wore. I think it was for being within the first 100,000 downloads. Quite a feat with a 28.8 ISP.

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Sure about that?

I have the black Midnight Madness IE 3.0 t-shirt -> on a 33.6 US Robotics modem. Had about four downloads going on a Win95 Cyrix 686 133mhz, 8mb, 20GB HD machine. Was a long night lol.

IE3 was the beginning on the end for Netscape, only reason I downloaded IE was because it was *different*. There wasn't a hell of a lot out there back then - Netscape and then the text browsers (mozaic?), that's it.

Sent via Firefox 9.0.1

;)

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FAIL

correction

33.3 USR external modem - > did the upgrade to x2 (56.6) about a year later.

And the machine was a Cyrix 166+Mhz that ran at 133Mhz (remember the cpu mhz wars?)

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Mosaic wasn't text based.

I know for a fact that it had image support (though it was limited, SVG wasn't supported, neither was TIFF, and Im not quite sure about BMP) and it had a GUI, so by either of the two definitions of text-based browser, it doesn't quite fit.

Lynx on the other hand was/is a true text based browser.

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I can confirm this - Mosaic certainly had image support. It was the first Web browser I ever saw running, in one of my old university's computing labs in the autumn of 1994, under Windows 3.1. I remember watching a photo (of U2, IIRC) slowly loading in the Mosaic window on the PC next to mine, and thinking I had to find out what this program was.

I've spent pretty much my whole working life with the Web, and that was where it all started...

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I thought I'd fire up the engine on Win2k and IE 6.0 to see how things look here. Some of the icons have grey backgrounds instead of proper transparency but apart from that it's disappointingly Ok.

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That will be the fucked Alpha Channel support in PNG images..

I *hate* IE6. It would disappear quicker if MS allowed people running dodgy copies of XP to upgrade their versions of IE.

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Unhappy

Not sure that's an issue. AFAIR you can still download the full installation pack for 8 with a bent XP.

What might help more is if corp admins would allow those users who *don't* use HalfArsedAccountingShitApp 1.0 to upgrade, rather than defending their standard, IE6-ridden desktop image as if it were Holy Writ.

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Flame

Does anyone else remember the Windows SDK that would only install via browser (IE6)? After upgrading to a newer version of IE, it is flagged as malware and won't install. That's progress the Microsoft way.

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