back to article Parcelforce website cold-shoulders Linux lovers

Blighty's national parcel service has no online facility for Linux fans because its website only supports some Microsoft Windows operating systems and Apple's Mac OS X. Many have complained that Royal Mail's Parcelforce.com site freezes out anyone using a Linux distro. One reader told us: "When you try and ship a parcel [on …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    odd...

    cos if the site made windoze users phone the 0870 number they would make more money.

  2. bygjohn

    That probably explains...

    ... why I couldn't track a parcel on my iPhone, then. Idiots. Haven't they come across things like web standards yet? Pathetic. And here's me wanting to support Royal Mail against the hordes of useless carriers... Pah!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Post Office woes

    You would expect this of an organisation which is the bastard child of the

    British Post Office. It's the same mentality which gave us those wonderful

    "Position Closed" panels behind which frosty-eyed women counted

    stamps and pushed pieces of paper about, as the lunchtime queues

    gradually lengthened to around three city blocks ......

    -

    Chris (ex-pat Brit, now, thankfully, living in Ireland)

  4. Daniel Bennett
    Linux

    How the hell?

    How the hell can they cold-shoulder Linux users, when Linux users are most probably using Firefox or another SUPPORTED browser?

    I fail to see the sense...

  5. Kevin Fairhurst
    Joke

    so...

    No reports on what happens when you spook the user-agent, or is pretending to the parcelforce website that you're running IE6 on XP even more unacceptable than picking up the phone and talking to a real human being?

  6. Paul Talbot

    No, we don't want your custom?

    "The spokesman added that the website supports 90 per cent of operating systems and internet browser users"

    Why, in this day and age, would a company deliberately refuse custom from 10% of its entire potential customer base (and a lot of people will just go elsewhere instead of picking up a phone)? Not least because there's absolutely no reason to refuse a Linux Firefox user if Firefox works OK on WIndows and OSX...

    Oh well, off to a competitor...

  7. Alexis Vallance

    No surprise

    I'm surprised they have a website at all. They still run the company like it was 1988 and make no money anyway.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Tardy Parcel Farce

    Seem like yet another case of lazy web development, this time by Parcel Farce. My response to any company that can't accommodate my requests...move on to another that will.

    Monkeyboy...because he really is evil you know :-)

  9. Roy Stilling

    So stupid

    If it supports FF, why should it care what OS FF is running on?

  10. Tim

    Every cloud...

    I tried to use their website last month on my XP/ Opera browser combo and discovered that they don't support that. So I tried Parcel2go and not only do they support it fine but they only wanted £8 for my shipping compared to Parcelforce's £25. Nice & quick too, they actually sent it DHL next day rather than than the 2-3 day service quoted.

    Tim#3

  11. MarkJ
    Linux

    The delivery company known as 'Parcelfarce'

    Spectacular own goal. Who on earth would write their web app to specifically exclude Linux users? What possible motivation could they have for doing something like that. And crucially, is it hosted on LAMP etc?

  12. Richard

    Isn't it about time?

    Why is it that there are still idiot developers (no doubt egged on by idiot managers and marketing droids) who insist on putting browser checks in at all?

    How hard is it to have a simple "we've tested this on the following browsers, if you're using anything else we can't guarantee it'll work" message? Unless you're relying on InactiveX, there's no reason for it.

  13. Dale Strickland-Clark
    Linux

    Let them fester

    I wouldn't even bother to complain. Let them fester in their own ignorance.

    I use this site when I need to send a parcel. No problems with Linux:

    http://www.parcel2go.com/

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Supports 90% of operating systems ?

    90% eh ? Solaris 2?, Irix?, HPUX?, SunOS?, BSD?, Gentoo?, Mandriva?, Ubuntu? OSX?, BeOS?, RedHat?,

    No I think we've concluded that it doesn't support 90% of operating systems. Did ParcelFarce mean to say 90% of customer desktop machines?

  15. Rob Clive
    Linux

    Why should they care?

    Why do they need to care about the OS anyway? Their application runs in the browser and is quite happy to use Firefox. It's just that some clever idiot decided to check the OS and throw a wobbly when it doesn't see the magic word 'Windoze'. This is just sloppy programming by some Windoze shop.

  16. Dave Stark
    Stop

    Parcelfarce

    Beware their customs payment page too - claims your transaction has failed but takes your money anyway, then lets you try again and again...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    90% of Operating Systems?

    "The spokesman added that the website supports 90 per cent of operating systems"

    Bullshit, I bet we could spend all day listing operating systems.

    "and internet browser users."

    Granted, but if you cant write a website to work with Firefox/Linux then I suspect your programmers are incompetent; in which case I don't trust your security. Thanks, but no thanks.

  18. Sean Ellis
    Linux

    Why does it matter?

    It's a web page. What does it matter what OS you are running on? Nonstandard HTML is an argument, of course, but they say that they support Firefox 1.0, so that's probably not the reason.

    Specific DOM quirks? No - Firefox support again rules this out.

    ActiveX components? Euucch. But, given the general level of clue displayed, this is possible.

    On the plus side, I've never had to use them so far, and now I'll just go and use someone else if I can't get in.

  19. this

    Gathering dust

    That's Parcelfarce in a nutshell.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Simple Answer

    Use someone else. Parcel farce tend to be more expensive I have found anyway.

  21. Nigel Titley
    Unhappy

    Doesn't surprise me

    I'm afraid this doesn't surprise me. Parcelforce has yet to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. What other courier service would send you a second class letter telling you that your parcel is in the local depot awaiting customs payments. My small business tries to avoid them for this reason. Either you sit on their track and trace facility (which is so brain dead that it can't even remove spaces from the tracking number) or you wait for an extra two days while your urgent package sits in the local depot waiting for you to turn up with your credit card.

    Every other courier we use can either take a cheque when they deliver, or can deliver and charge afterwards. I'm afraid they deserve to fail.

  22. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    parcelforce blows off 10% of potential customers

    So.... arcelforce blows off 10% of potential customers by designing their site for certain operating systems instead of open standards standards.

    Doesn't this sort of mistake require a lot of effort to get properly wrong?

    arcelforce won't last long if they make a policy of turning away 10% of business

    Sam

  23. Radek W
    Linux

    are p'force happy with 90% satisfaction?

    If p'force is satisfied to serve 90% users they should not cry if they loose 10% of customers, are not they?

  24. Andrew
    Unhappy

    The first (and only) time I ever used Parcel Force…

    … they diverted the repaired palmtop that was being sent back to me (from New Zealand) through their VAT/duty collection procedures. The device was being returned to me after warranty repair, and was obviously not a new device that should be subject to these taxes. However, it is worth noting that Parcel Force themselves receive a hefty “administration fee” for VAT/duty items, and so obviously there is an incentive for them sending as many items as possible through this procedure.

    No way was I going to pay about £50 for a device I already owned. I told them to send it back to New Zealand, as I would be back there a couple of months later, and could pick it up.

    Two days after that, I was informed an empty box had arrived back in Auckland…

  25. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    So what?

    To be quite honest, I've always found them to be a rip-off anyway.

    I tend to use www.interparcel.com for anything larger than a letter, and theyve always been very reasonable. No probs under Linux.

    As has been said multiple times above, this is either a case of crap developers, in which case I dont trust putting my card details in, or a specific block against OS's other than those they list, which is idiotic. Its a frigging web page!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Hey FreeTARDS

    How about this?

    Why don't you FreeTARDS get yourselves more than 1% of the operating system market and maybe you will get more than 1% of the development monies spent in the system dedicated to supporting you!

    Oh wait because you guys want eveything to be free you guys aren't even the high volume big spenders customers worthy of dedicated funding support!

  27. Darren Coleman
    Unhappy

    Royal Mail website b0rked on Linux too

    Curiously the Royal Mail website (www.royalmail.co.uk) is totally b0rked for me on Linux + Firefox, yet on Windows + Firefox it is fine. It's almost as if they are specifically breaking Linux support or something. Or maybe I've seen too many X-Files. Or maybe it's just my PC.

  28. The Envoy
    Unhappy

    Lazy or practical?

    Not a programmer of sites I've wondered if there are any great obstacles to overcome in making a site work for all browsers and operating systems? Or is it just plain (calculated) laziness?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    ...idly wondering

    is there scope for a site dedicated to providing linux-friendly alternative service providers (cf @Tim) to sites which insist on Windows ... a bit or SEO and googling "Parcelforce Linux" returns Parcel2go ...

  30. Naich

    This is a good thing

    This is streamlining their service by focusing their efforts in the important areas. Their drivers also do it by leaving your parcel at the depot, quietly popping a "you were out" card through your door and sprinting back to the van before you can get to the door. The benefits of this are that it's quicker, easier and better for the environment. No-one loses out except the poor fucker who wanted to actually get their parcel delivered.

  31. matt

    The funny thing is

    that according to netcraft:

    http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.parcelforce.com

    The site runs on Sun, so it's not like they haven't spent a lot of money on it!

  32. Christoph Silver badge
    Flame

    What colours do they allow?

    Do Parcelfarce allow people to use any colour of computer when connecting, or do they insist that they will only accept customers who use a standard beige box as that's 90% of computers?

  33. Paul Taylor

    FF on MacOS 10.3

    I tried using the ParcelForce site with Firefox on MacOS 10.3. It didn't actually refuse to talk to me, but at some point there was a crucial button that, probably as a result of the typefaces, was too far across the fixed width panel to be accessible.

  34. Peter Simpson
    Paris Hilton

    @AC

    "Why don't you FreeTARDS get yourselves more than 1% of the operating system market and maybe you will get more than 1% of the development monies spent in the system dedicated to supporting you!"

    I believe the point here is that there is no additional effort required to support Linux/other OS. The effort seems to have been exerted to *prevent* use by anything other than a few OS/browser combinations.

    Now, does that make any sense to you?

  35. Jamie Kitson
    Thumb Down

    Nationwide Is Worse

    The Nationwide site just loops back to the login page with no error displayed if you try to login on a linux box.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 21st century name for a company with a 19th century heart

    Don't you just love these dusty old companies who never quite manage to modernise. They think delivering a modern service means getting a new name and logo that makes no sense to anyone.

    If Thatcher hadn't have broken the unions and put an end to 'old Britain' back in the 80s, I doubt very much if any major UK company would have a website that worked in IE7 let alone Firefox on Linux. And the links would all be broken, the information decades out of date and every link that did work would be a random choice between PDF, DOC, RTF, ZIP or PPT formats. And online shopping would mean browsing a load of 48x48px GIFs before going down to an actual depot and queueing to buy the product.

    No wonder they're not making any money and keep having to streamline. I think the Register should have first gone around the websites of their commercial rivals and reported whether people like DHL, UPS and Addison Lee can cope with Linux.

  37. Gordon Grant

    Re: FF on OSX 10.3

    I'm betting it was a borked CSS. I'm betting it was styled on IE 6 which is totally borken when it comes to CSS. I should know I still have to code around it..

    since on IE6 width !=width it's width+padding+margins+borders i.e width of 200px not going to come out as 200px unless margins, padding and borders are 0 even then it's suspect.

    there is "hacks" for it but they are just UGLY!.

    wonder if would pass the W3C tests.

    Also it maybe that you have a "default" stylesheet running and that takes over when it can't find stuff...

  38. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    Interesting

    I tried royalmail.co.uk from Ubuntu 8.04 and latest (stable) Firefox - EPIC FAIL. Site is totally broken. So then I used User Agent Switcher and switched to IE7. Guess what? Perfect.

    No comments...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Use parcel2ship

    Unless you want your parcel to be used as throwing practice don't use parcelforce anyway. Try parcel2ship they send 25kg in the UK for £10 via DHL (who are actually helpful and you can use any OS/browser you want)

  40. Douglas Yates
    Linux

    It Does Work on Linux

    Two years ago I signed up with Parcelforce, and I've arranged the collection of several hundred parcels from my Linux machine. I simply changed the user agent string to read:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.1) Gecko/20061204 Firefox/2.0.0.1 (actually running on Suse Linux 10.2)

    The website worked perfectly after that.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anti social lot are we?

    "we pointed out that some customers would be unsatisfied with Parcelforce's advice that they should use the telephone instead."

    So is this Linux users or geeks in general that would rather use a website than speak to another human being?

    My efforts to persuade people that the IT department are not staffed by socially phobic wierdos and oddballs is dealt another blow.

  42. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @Hey FreeTARDS

    The best way to support as many users as possible is always to build sites to web standards. It may result in a few quirks but these can be lived with by many users.

  43. Aetyr
    Stop

    @ AC 10:50am

    "Why don't you FreeTARDS get yourselves more than 1% of the operating system market and maybe you will get more than 1% of the development monies spent in the system dedicated to supporting you!"

    No idea why you're talking about 1% when Parcelforce themselves already admitted it's 10% they're not accommodating, which is not a percentage any good business would want to systematically exclude.

    "Oh wait because you guys want eveything to be free you guys aren't even the high volume big spenders customers worthy of dedicated funding support!"

    It doesn't work on iPhones either and, as mentioned above, has issues on Macs at crucial points (despite Macs being part of the 90% that Parcelforce thinks it DOES support). People who can afford these two devices are often known to fit into the "big spenders" category, so Parcelforce could actually benefit financially from a bit more funding in the cross-platform support area.

    As is usual for all factless comments from angry trolls, you fail. Hard. Twice.

  44. Mike Manship
    Linux

    No penguins allowed

    Yeah, I noticed this a while back, it does seem that they've gone out of their way to actually develop code to prevent Browser/OS combinations from accessing their services.

    So I decided to go to the Post Office instead of using their dumb website, only to find that the real reason that we should be avoiding Parcelforce is the extortionate pricing.

  45. OSC
    Linux

    it's about standards

    Many people here and elsewhere wonder why GNU/Linux users get uptight since we are such a small percentage of the installed base. Some go on to point out that "you have to be really techie" to use it.

    Now, if the second sentence has any truth, it's not bound up in the canard about printer drivers or command line, it's about others' failure to use standards. (Laziness, as already described above) The ordinary user gets their cheap netbook from Tesco or Asda and can't use it to send a parcel to their relatives.

    They blame the computer, get one of those more expensive (not the really expensive ones...) ones, and so continue the status quo in which everyone ends up paying too much for software.

    There are of course, other reasons why I think GNU/Linux based computers are a good idea.

    It's wider than Parcelforce, and I could provide a list. Charities are the ones that I find particularly amazing, as you'd think they wouldn't do anything to exclude anyone.

    For an illustration of how it should be done, nip over to the Central Office of Information and read their newly published website guidelines. They listened to us, we didn't rant and rave (it's on our website) we just asked for standards.

    They agreed. Credit where credit is due. Just got to wait for the rest of the public sector to catch up :)

    Proper standards, nothing more, is all that is required. We all know what that means, no cant about giving our customers "choice" in which "standards" to use. Tim Berners-Lee slagged that off in 1996, and I think we can all agree he knows a bit about it.

    Gerry Gavigan

    Open Source Consortium

  46. Znort666

    Oh well,

    their loss. As more and more people seem to be using a wider variety of OS's, it seems their customer base will decrease if they refuse online support for them. In this day and age, surely you would want your business to thrive, using any medium possible.

    @AC freeTARD

    Love the Bill Gates icon next to freeTARD comment...genius!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    try to fake it:useragent switcher

    I have seen this problem in the past but there is a nice add-on for firefox users

    that will tell the website what is wants to see. Of cause it will not magicly add missing stuff

    but at least you should be able to make the first step.

    useragent switcher https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59

    If this works the page is a piece of crap since there is no busines to alienate customers about nothing.

  48. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    WAI ?

    Have a look at http://www.parcelforce.com/portal/pw/content2?catId=5800020&mediaId=10200111

    "We are working on making our website more accessible following principles laid down by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)."

    Apart from the lunacy of that link pointing back to the page it is on, I suspect that the WAI does not require the restriction to a single browser.

    Paris, because she knows only one way to do things.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone tried faking it?

    I have a nice little firefox plug in which can give false answers when queried as to your browser and OS. Its handy when something demands IE.

    Have any Linux users tried the same?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    none whatsoever

    "Not a programmer of sites I've wondered if there are any great obstacles to overcome in making a site work for all browsers and operating systems? Or is it just plain (calculated) laziness?"

    There are no obstacles whatsoever - so long as you're not using ActiveX you can put your onscreen output code together so that it'll work on anything (excluding really old browsers perhaps, IE5 for example). In fact, to actively exclude Linux creates more work than it would be to support it.

    If the site already supports Firefox on Windows, then it should work using Firefox on *nix - if it works on Safari, it should work on Konqueror (*nix) and Chrome (Windows) as they're all based on Webkit.

    They've actually bothered to get the user agent string and specifically apply rules to exclude certain Browser/OS combinations - presumably based on systems they've not tested the site with. So it's not laziness it's worse, they've deliberately made work for themselves to actively exclude certain systems.

  51. Arclight

    Saynoto0870

    Courtsey of www.saynoto0870.com don't dial the number, call 0191 5127003 to contact Parcel Force and get the same call for a lot less

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Parcelfarce

    Having worked (briefly) on a project for the Royal Mail, I am disappointed but not surprised.

  53. Mike Shepherd

    More tea, Mr Lennox-Brown?

    Funny, you'd expect an organisation of ex-GPO, ex-civil service people to be right up-to-date.

  54. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    So?!

    <rant on>

    I love the penguin, use it all day at work, but feck me, get over yourselves! The mail website probably doesn't Blackberry either or Amiga web browsers, or Lynx, but I don't here them complaining!

    I hate it, IE the world most insecure browser used to access on the world's most secure websites, absolute madness but get a sense of perspective. MS may not be the most popular company right now, but they have a massive share on the PC market and Linux does not, a crying shame Iknow, but never the less, it's true. Make inroads in the places that matter, we will keep trying, but fighting over one website ( mail ) or a video player ( BBC ) is going to make us look like spoilt little crybabies everytime something doesn't go our way.

    <ranf off>

  55. tardigrade
    Stop

    Why blame Parcel Force Majeure?

    C'mon guys. This isn't a Parcel Force problem. Surely you know that this is merely the Linux "Shit Filter" at work, actively blocking access to companies known to be utterly crap. This is great software at work! Even Microsoft are trying to clone the technology so expect access for XP and Vista to cease with the next system update as well.

    If you really do have the urge to hurl your temporal lobe into a blender and use Parcel Force, then simply go to Applications > Internet > ShiteFilter 2.0 > Preferences and remove it from the list of blocked sites.

    Simple, no?

  56. Perpetual Cyclist
    Thumb Down

    Don't I know it!

    In addition to this, Parcelforce REQUIRE my organisation to use this interface to log all our parcels, and it is impossible to link to the site directly from our intranet, requiring our operators to double-type the full dispatch details for all our orders. What's more, they need to run PC emulation on their Macs even to to do that.

    We ship a lot of parcels to many countries.

  57. Tony
    Linux

    @Peter Simpson @AC

    He's probably the developer...

  58. simon
    Linux

    Wine?

    try running IE under wine , if you really need to do this (though probably better to use another service )

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Rob Clive

    Isent it spelled Windows ?

  60. Righteously Indignant
    Thumb Down

    would this be the same bunch of idiots...

    ...who last week managed to lose my passport and blamed it on the snow? And then said that I would have to wait 10 days before I could complain... I think I lasted about 10 seconds before I was on the phone to their complaints department and in the end I had to send a real courier to go and collect the passport from one of their sorting offices. Which was closed. Because of the snow. F**ktards!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    DOH!!

    @Andrew, so what happened to the plamtop?

    I would have thought the solution was obvious, even to the fanboyz, an "enhancement", ahem, to your fav browser/OS combo that reports windoze as the OS when on the Parcel Farce or Royal Fail websites.

  62. Joe Montana
    Flame

    Insulting

    They can support firefox on windows, but not the exact same browser when running on linux? I'm sure it would work if you modified the user agent... Intentionally discriminating against a browser or os is ridiculous. What's wrong with just making a standards compliant site and not caring what browser people access it with?

    And the suggestion to call an 0870 number is quite insulting, those numbers are extremely expensive to call.

    I ship a fair number of items out, things like ebay sales, and this ridiculous behaviour will make me choose couriers other than parcelforce for future deliveries.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Incompetence rather than malice

    I've just been to their site and it seems to be little more than piss poor design. Firstly there are several parts that silently fail with JavaScript disabled -- there are no JS probes or noscript tags. Once I've allowed a couple of different domains in NoScript I get to the form in question. Switching my user agent from Linux to Windows lets me get pass the operating system check.

    @Lazy or practical: Making sites work for Firefox/ Safari/ Chrome/ Konqurer/ $standards_compliant_browser is pretty easy. Making it work right for different versions of IE is where the browser specific hacks come in.

  64. Shig

    Oh no! End of the world stuff,,,

    Considering that the mass-market choice of browser is STILL IE6 - I don't see that this is an issue? Certainly most of my customers don't even care about FireFox on PC, so for 1% of the market, they care even less.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Parcelforce are alright

    I used to be a PowerSeller on eBay (until eBay lost the plot a few years ago - another story) and sent a couple of parcels a week via Parcelforce. I was charged £6.25 for 48 hour shipment up to 30kg and charged my customers on eBay exactly that. Needless to say I did very well shipping all sorts of desktop computers and printers and so-on for £6.25. I also offered £7.50 next day but no one ever paid extra for that - and not once did I get a complaint about delivery.

    Also, I spent £100's per week at my local post office and in four years not a single thing was lost (apart from an item sat unclaimed at the sorting office once - not their fault). Everything I sent had the address clearly printed inside a documents enclosed docket.

    I liked the ability to use my PC to print out the consignment label (something Royal Mail still charge a premium for oddly) - but I always used to take the parcels to the local depot for drop off because it was more convenient for me than waiting in.

    I suspect their website hasn't been updated in a few years - spoofing the useragent cures the problem so hardly a big issue until someone at Parcelforce amends a text file?

  66. steogede

    90% - is a title

    As others have said they are (according to their own admission) purposefully turning away 10% of their potential customers. What no one seems to have mentioned so far is that because of the way that the overheads work; it is quite likely that every 1% increase in custom equates to (say) a 1.5% - 2% increase in profit. So essentially they maybe turning away a 20% increase in profit for no good reason (of course assuming that all their custom comes through their website).

    It is similar to a few years back when M&S profits fell by 50%, due to a 15% drop in sales (can't remember the exact figures, but I seem to recall it was of that order).

  67. Gareth Jones
    Unhappy

    They don't care

    'Thing is, Parcel Force just don't care. I know of two cases where they lost the shipment and still have their tracking site claim "your parcel is in the process of delivery..." two years (!) later.

    There is a Quango called Postwatch to which you can winge - they can't actually do anything other than wring their hands on your behalf - but did rather nicely describe the Parcel Force complaints system as "obfuscation on an industrial scale".

  68. Simon Brown
    Paris Hilton

    does this work

    If you have an ebay account and paypal account try this:

    1.) create second ebay account with address set to whatever destination you need to parcelforce your parcel.

    2.) on your main ebay account create a "buy it now" for an item for 1p, with shipping set at £12.

    3.) buy this item with the second ebay account.

    4.) mark item as paid, pay for postage through paypal.

    You can now send using paypal's bulk rates for parcelforce 24 and parcelforce 48 rather than the crap rates you pay as a consumer, plus you will be able to use the paypal / royal mail system to produce the stamp and docs yourself through paypal rather than through parcelfarce.

    I'm no fan of paypal / ebay but at least it's crossbrowser. And if that won't make me your BFF I don't know what will ;)

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    10% of it's customer base ?

    On a parcel by parcel basis, the Linux geeks who all still live with their parents probably ship substantially more parcels than the rest of the population as they trade their D&D figures and Manga comics

    <Flameproof Suit On>

  70. mittfh
    Boffin

    Hypocrites!

    Just out of curiosity, I ran a Netcraft site report on ParcelForce...

    Guess what? They're running Sun ONE Web Server on Solaris...

    And just as interestingly, their nameserver sits at consignia.com, which has a rather interesting address: "Royal Mail Group Limited, 148 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HQ, Sweden"

    Sweden?!

  71. TheOldFellow

    0870 Rip off too

    It's worth noteing that http://www.saynoto0870.com have some nice geographic non-rip off numbers for Parcelfarce too. Should you absolutely need to talk to them.

  72. Mike Flugennock
    Jobs Halo

    sounds like a re-hash of...

    ...that whole "this site best viewed in..." bullshit. Cripes. Hey, you guys, 1995 just called; they want their lame-assed anal-retentive Webmasters' requests of users back.

    (so, look; you guys have a little penguin icon, but no classic "Smiling Mac" boot icon. I'd rather not have to use Steve Jobs with a halo as while I'm an enthusiastic MacOS user, I really don't think the guy's been too goddamn' angelic lately. Either that, or how about Torvalds with a halo/horns?)

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unboxing

    Does this mean there'll be fewer unboxing videos on YouTube?

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nationwide isn't worse

    Jamie Kitson: "The Nationwide site just loops back to the login page with no error displayed if you try to login on a linux box."

    No it doesn't. I've been using it on various Linux boxes for years and it's fine. In fact I've just logged in now to my internet banking on an OpenSuse 10.3 box using Konqueror and default browser ID (which includes "Linux") with no problems at all.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Wine?

    Far easier to change your browser identification (built-in to Konqueror; available for Firefox) than go through the palava of using IE in Wine. And I don't suppose you can use IE in Wine legally anyway.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works for me

    With and without a switching of user agent headers.

    In fact I have used it a few times, and it has always worked. There is something else going on.

    A lot of linux distros don't use FF, in fact most don't, they use GP or IW, FF can only be used if you are using a compile from source distro, like source mage or your own, or you get it from Mozilla.

  77. Luke Armstrong
    Linux

    Works for me! :)

    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.6) Gecko/2009020410 Fedora/3.0.6-1.fc10 Firefox/3.0.6

  78. Skyraker

    Amiga

    It works on the Amiga.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ParcelFarce

    Why would anyone voluntarily use ParcelFarce anyway? They're incompetent, corrupt and so in the pocket of the unions, it's scary. The fact that the website excludes a minority who could do with getting some sunlight anyway (my experience with most Linux fanatics) is the least of their problems.

    Check these fine examples of Royal Fail and ParcelFarce mistakes:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/7853770.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/3023939.stm

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=30426256

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-497971/Postman-delivers-DVD-collection--residents-dustbin.html

    Not to mention the number of kids who've had money stolen from christmas/birthday cards.

    Privatise Royal Mail and open up the market. They'll have to play the game properly then. After all, Paris knows where to stick a nice, large parcel.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Improved website?

    Have they actually *improved* their website now? It used to probe for a specific version of the Adobe Acrobat *ActiveX plugin* which is why it also required Windows and Internet Explorer. Yes, those enlightened Foxit users were also turned away. Isn't this still the case? I thought it was because they were using PDF forms which only the Acrobat activex supported.

  81. Anonymous Hero
    Flame

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha...FAIL!

    Post office forgets to support noisy minority and failed desktop.....lolz. Stop dreaming freetards and admit that linux on the desktop is a huge FAIL, no shame in admitting you were wrong and coming back to windows.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @Royal Mail website b0rked on Linux too

    What do you expect from a site which can't even setup an @ Record?

  83. English Bob

    Direct them to the Morons in Webspace site

    http://www.cameratim.com/personal/soapbox/morons-in-webspace

  84. greenmantle
    Paris Hilton

    I just can't believe...

    that you spelt 'fanboi' wrong in the by-line.

    Paris, because she loves fanbois

  85. Schroeder

    @ha ha ha ha ha ha flamebait

    Yeah, another flamebait article about Linux, and yet again we see the Linux 'fanatics/zealots' posting well argued reasoned commentary about the issue, and windows supporting trolls / shrills posting ad homein flamebait attacks.

    Look, you did read the guidance from your masters ( google: Comes v Microsoft 'The slog' ) didn't you? You're rather failing at making Linux users look like kooks when all your posts can be summed up as illiterate teenage trolling. Or is that the only market share that hasn't woken up to how bad Windows and Microsoft really are?

  86. The Badger
    Flame

    Re: Hey FreeTARDS

    "How about this?"

    How about what? The Internet isn't Microsoft's plaything, you know. The reason why we have standards is so that people can have a choice about the stuff they use, and if that stuff behaves itself according to the standards then why should it matter who made it? Nobody should even care.

    The whole "90% of customers" stuff is a total charade, not least because it pretends that a lot of work would need to be done to get from 90% to 100% when in fact, if standards have been followed, it should be zero effort. In fact, perpetrators of this "90% of customers" fiction have probably done more work than would be required in order to make their stuff specific to Microsoft technologies in pursuit of "the shiny".

    It's like the whole BBC media format debacle. The BBC claim that "90% of viewers" being able watch their online content is doing enough of the job, but what you have is a situation where on top of paying the BBC's tax you then have to pay a private tax to Microsoft or whoever has booked a place at the trough. In this case, Parcelforce obviously think that their customers should be paying taxes to Microsoft, which is either generous or stupid depending on how generous we should be in assessing their performance.

    Well, if you like to have a bunch of corporations effectively imposing taxes on everyone and can't see past the inadequacies of the "catering to the most popular brand" strategy, especially when "most popular" is an artifact of questionable business practices, then you're obviously a brandtard who shouldn't be expected to keep up with even the most elementary aspects of the discussion.

  87. Andy Livingstone

    What do you expect?

    Sell them off......now.

    All these polls that say large percentages want them to stay nationalised are taken exactly where?

    Outside Depots?

    How bloody awful do they have to get before HM the Q strips them of their "Royal"?

    Not one single item sent by me during 2008 through their wonderful Recorded Delivery system (at extra charge) was processed correctly.

    Still, if Tesco online has problems handling Firefox should we get too excited at the Royal Mail?

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    But

    its always been illegal to send Penguins in the post...

  89. Matthew

    They don't support OSX either

    It's because they insist on the Acrobat plug in to print the postage labels it doesn't work. If you set your browser to pretend to be Windows it fails as it can't find the plug-in. OSX has the same problem. I had to use them to send a parcel last week ended up phoning them as I couldn't get a machine that would talk to their system.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Hero

    Bored are we? Did someone threaten you for other annoying behavior like using your cell in a restaurant, so you decided to tone it down and just troll forums instead, where you need not fear getting your ass kicked?

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parcelforce

    Why would you want to book a collection with ParcelForce anyway? They're one of the worst companies I have ever used.

    Their IT systems, from what I can tell, are complete rubbish. When you are not in, they card you and they can't deal with your enquiry unless you can say whether it is the first or second time they've carded you! So much for the package's reference number for being the primary key in a database table..it's clearly not.

    I would dearly love Royal Mail/Parcel Force to go out of business, to be replaced by organisations that are up to the job...becare RM/PF are not.

  92. Andrew

    @Ponder Stebbins

    I think there's little doubt that Parcelforce staff stole the palmtop I referred to before it left the UK. They (falsely) took my refusal of the parcel to be a lack of interest in its contents, and decided that they could help themselves.

    The thing that sticks out in my mind is the shock in the voice of the electronics company representative in Auckland when I spoke to him on the phone. To explain; in New Zealand, a courier is what you use when you want a really professional, premier service. Up until that time, it was unimaginable to me that a courier would ever steal anything!

    Good thing it was insured by the sender...

  93. Andy
    Linux

    @ha ha ha ha ha ha flamebait

    "You're rather failing at making Linux users look like kooks when all your posts can be summed up as illiterate teenage trolling"

    thats also why he didn't have enough braincells to enter the comment under his real name. Got to feel sorry for the sad little person

  94. Mark

    HTML Validator

    Just ran their font page through http://validator.w3.org/check

    264 Errors, 96 warning(s)

    Now there's a group of web developers that can feel proud of themselves.

  95. Fred

    Not So - I can view it!

    Perhaps i missed the problem, but using Ubuntu i can vist ALL area's of parcelforce.com!

    Another non-event!

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NOBODY

    in their right mind uses ParcelFarce anyway

    Complete and utter failtards.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bet they Use GPL/OSS code on internal systems

    Should change the GPL licence - If a company can't be bothered to support Linx/Other/GPL OS's then they should not use Linux/GPL stuff internally.

    Willing to bet a lot of the internal/web stuff at ParcelFarce run's on linux/GPL code.

    Site written to be browser specific - OK can but live with that.

    Site written to exclude specific OS - BAD (muppet for developers).

  98. Erman Ozen
    Thumb Up

    user agent modification

    just do the old user agent modification using the firefox addin. was handy using free iphone wifi while it lasted but I regularly change the user agent to iexplorer and windows when some web designer has taken stupid shortcuts.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Not So - I can view it!

    The issue comes up when you click on Send a Parcel and it goes into some other part of the website. This is where it gives the message ... on Mandriva with Firefox.

  100. John B
    Thumb Down

    Who cares about the browser? if you get through, you troubles are just starting!

    I have driven HGVs for Parcelforce, and they are the most incompetent firm still in business I know of.

    Bowling with an antique wooden rocking horse? Check.

    Losing a fully loaded trailer for 3 days (eventually found in the workshop)? Check.

    Employing 6 men to do a job, cancelling the job, and 2 YEARS later they're clocking on, going to sleep on full pay, because the union has to approve ALL redeployments?

    Managers having fist fights in view of the agency staff? Check.

    However, they make a nice home for waifs and strays. ADHD, narcolepsy, morbid obesity, self harmers: all part of the job's rich tapestry.

  101. Steve Anderson
    Thumb Up

    I for one thank Parcelforce for not supporting Linux...

    ... because it means I've heard of Parcel2Go.com. Thanks, commenters, for mentioning them.

  102. mike
    Linux

    Humans? Are you sure ?

    I doubt there was an actual 'Human' ath the end of that 0870 line, probably just another tele-automaton.

  103. mike
    Linux

    IE6, Chosen Browser ?

    "Considering that the mass-market choice of browser is STILL IE6 - I don't see that this is an issue? "

    you seem to be under the impression that there is a 'choice'

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    advice?

    It's not exactly advice if the advice is "either use IE or you can't use our service"

    That's force.

    "We humbly force you to use our preferred browser. For no apparent reason. Even thought IE has the most risks. Thankyou for your co-operation"

    Reminds me of all the website terms and conditions. "You do not have to agree to accept our cookie but if you do not you will not be able to access our website" and my favourite, the ID cards and new biometric passports . "You do not have to sign up for the ID/ new passports however if you do not you will not be able to leave the country/_____/_____"

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